During the past couple of weeks our mountain weather has gone from the mid sixties to the low twenties with several inches of snow, a few inches of rain and lots of windy days and nights thrown in for good measure. During my almost thirty years in the western part of North Carolina I have seemingly seen it all.
Several observations can be made about spring in the mountains: it rains more than it snows; we are always teased by fantastic weather only to have it vanish completely over a several hour period; and the daffodils always want to bloom before the weather on the top of the earth is really ready for them. In between we have what everybody has: sometimes the late frost gets the fruit and the rest of what blooms early and sometimes it doesn’t.
Have you ever noticed how the big chain stores like Lowe’s Hardware get seeds and stuff to plant way before it is really time to even think about it. But if you hesitate even for a Saturday or two you will find that all the seeds have been bought and if the the past is any indication, they won’t be getting any more of that stuff in for those of us who realistically waited.
We once had a store in Boone that catered to the “real” gardening crowd. If we came in to early because of one of those tempting warming trends, we were told in no uncertain terms to cool our jets and wait for a while until it was really safe to plant. In other words, they wouldn’t keep you from buying but would let you know that your success rate would increase if you waited until the time was really at hand to plant. They were the ones that bought seeds in big cans and would measure them out into little packets for sale and would generally have enough left if you wanted to plant that extra run of spinach in the fall and had forgotten to buy the seeds in May. Whereas, Lowe’s and their like, time everything to move quickly so that they can free up space to sell us the next season’s stuff before we are even done with the last one. It’s all about moving the merchandise and making a profit for the stock holders rather than about you and me and the people that keep them in business.
This year, after having run out of seeds last year way before I was ready to run out of them, I bought lots of salad seeds and even got some grape and berry plants though I knew that I wouldn’t be in the garden for at least a month. They will be out of stock long before I have even planted a row of lettuce but I remember what the market was like the past couple of years and though I wasn’t ready to buy I wasn’t ready to run out in mid-summer either. Push, push, push. Wal-Mart even starts selling Christmas lights in September these days and in my neighborhood there are a couple of people who haven’t taken last years lights down yet. Maybe we will still see them in August—what do you want to bet!
In other news I could mention the last and perhaps one of the best books I have ever read. It’s called “The Shack” and is very hard to fully explain. Fact or fiction, it is a book about one man’s encounter with God after his youngest daughter is kidnapped while on a family camping trip. It is one of those books I looked forward to getting off of work so that I could come home and finish reading. If it is your time to read it you won’t be able to put it down. All I can say is that for many of us it is a big piece to the puzzle of our lives and where we are to head in the days in front of us.
This past Sunday was an example of one of those beautiful spring days that I often reference. My biking buddy Glen and I headed out after church and a quick lunch to take a 30 mile ride on one of my favorite roads. It is always the same but different every time—we have a great ride and pat ourselves on the back every few miles for being on the road and not in our easy chairs taking a Sunday afternoon nap—although by mile 25 I was tired and hoping my car was just around the corner. It wasn’t and I did finally make it home and into my big easy chair with a glass of Merlot as my reward for being such a good boy. It’s a tough life but somebody has got to live it.
As you have probably noticed, blogging has taken a back seat to…I really don’t know what but it must be important. Life is lately like the price of gas and almost everything else…prices keep going up and we really don’t know where all the money goes other than the fact that there is often more month than money many times. I remember when gas was twenty five cents a gallon and you could get a hamburger, fries and a shake for well under a dollar.
In the meantime, I sit and wait for another good book to fall into my lap and the next episode of “Lost” to appear on television. In due time it will be time to drag my winter weary body into what was once a garden and do something to make it look that way again. Thursday is looking good for an afternoon ride and then another cold weekend is in store before things begin to heat up and the days get longer and the walks after dinner begin again for the next year.
Enjoy your ride and I hope you find a good book to help you through the next few weeks.