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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Visit to the Garden

We brought wonderful warm weather home from Egypt to Minnesota. You might not believe it based on the post right below this one, but temperatures have reached 50 or more on all but three days in the past two and a half weeks. Yesterday and today were both in the 70s.

Naturally, that prompts one to take a walk through the garden. Now, in the summer months, our backyard garden looks like this:

But autumn and winter transform that into a much bleaker landscape:

It's always amazing to watch the transformation once the snow is gone and the plants begin to spring up out of the ground.

Now, what's this?

Yes, there's a little speck of purple next to the sidewalk. Let's take a closer look.

Spring has sprung! While the tulips are barely getting their leaves out of the ground, this lone crocus has bravely poked its whole head out to celebrate.

Other signs of spring abound. Men in shorts and sandals!

But is this normal - or some weather extreme? Monday afternoon I was at the University of Minnesota on my regular weekly trip to the Charles Babbage Institute rummaging through historic computer documents. As I left the parking lot, I commented to the attendant, "What a beautiful day!"

She replied, "Yes, and when has it ever been in the 70s in March in Minnesota?"

"I remember 83 degrees on March 30," I said. "The year was 1968."

I remember the date and temperature like it was yesterday (well, it was March 30 yesterday.) That was at the end of my first winter in Minnesota. After struggling through the long winter, suffering from frozen feet on the twin cities buses, living with a 1956 Dodge that refused to start when it was more than ten below zero, winter had ended. I was driving down Franklin Street, stopped at the traffic signal at Chicago Avenue when I heard the temperature on the car radio (WCCO, of course).

Maybe this wasn't such a bad place to live, after all. When the end of March arrived, all was pleasant again.

One year later, March 29 of 1969 brought a brisk low temp of minus 5.

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