Decoy weather–an apt term. Somehow, once October is over, it’s hard to call it Indian Summer anymore. I have noticed around here that we consistently have one day in the first week of November that is warm and sunny. I always give the kids the day off from school then and have a general clean up the yard day. Anything we don’t want to get buried under snow has to get put away, and anything we want to find once it snows, like snow shovels and sleds, gets put in a more convenient location. We usually don’t get decoy weather again until January, which around these parts is known as the January Thaw. The snow all melts but the ground doesn’t usually thaw. The kids go around in short sleeve shirts and their snowpants and boots for protection from mud. March and April are nothing but decoy weather around here. This past growing season we had summer-like weather in April, which broke many plants out of dormancy, and then hard, killing frosts in May, effectively ruining most of the traditional June-flowering plants. No lilacs, no peonies, and pretty poor showing from a lot of others. I once read this quote, but didn’t write down the source: Farming is the only socially acceptable form of gambling. I guess it applies to any horticultural enterprise. (If anyone knows who said this, please let me know!)
In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.
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