Had our first frost last night, which for around here, was later than usual. I don’t know exactly how cold it got last night, but I wish I did. I’ve been looking at digital max-min thermometers, especially the wireless ones, for a while now, but the price keeps me from indulging. It always comes back to: “Do you know how many plants I could buy for that much money?” And I’ve discovered that a lot of the wireless ones don’t record temperatures as low as -35°F, which is the lowest I think it’s ever gotten since we’ve moved here. One company that prides itself on making wireless thermometers that do go that low is Koch. Theirs go down to -58°F–hopefully I’ll never need to measure temps that low! I don’t know how much these thermometers cost; the website doesn’t give prices and I think you’re supposed to find a retailer. Really, once you know that it frosted last night, or you had a hard freeze, what more do you need to know? But the record keeper in me wants to know, just like I want to know how many tenths of an inch of rain fell on any given day and what our exact latitude and longitude are. The only real question is, is it worth fifty, seventy, ninety bucks to know? So far, the answer has been, no.
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
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