Hark! Pussy willows in February?

Pussy willows? In February?

It’s hard to believe.  You’re walking up the road pondering whether you even need a winter coat–when you see Them.  Pussy willows.  In February.

Who would have thought that a tree could be so crazy?  If you look around, you can ascertain that 99.9% of the other trees are behaving properly.  They certainly haven’t been fooled into imagining Spring’s early arrival.  They know that Spring isn’t coming for a long time.

But you know how juvenile trees are.  They have to rebel.  They have to impulsively sprout upwards and feel the warmth in the air.  We can only hope that adult trees will admonish them.

“Don’t you dare,” they will say.  “If you sprout too early, you’ll be sorry.  Keep your energy down in your roots.  Otherwise your green buds will freeze.  Listen to us elders.”

A February thaw!

The folks around here are divided in opinion about this thaw.  Most of us are quite delighted.  We want to bud, too.  We want to walk coat-less down melting roads.  (Not that we would.)  However, the ice fishermen and snowmobilers scowl and carry on.  They want this darn February thaw over.  And quick. No dilly-dallying. 

Animal tracks everywhere...even the animals are dreaming of spring.

The animals are out and scurrying around.  They sense of change in the air.  The little squirrels and chipmunks and shrew and mice look for seeds and other mid-winter treats. 

Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, was also my last day to collect property taxes without penalty.  A taxpayer stopped by before dinner with his payment.

“Saw a wolf just up the road from you,” he said.

A wolf? Really?  I haven’t seen one.  I don’t want to see one too close in the woods–but on the road would be nice.  This is the second person in two years who has spotted a wolf on our road and told us about it.

Spruce trees dream of springtime sap...

I am more likely to spot something ordinary like sap on our spruce tree.  It’s probably leftover sap from last year.

Or snow sliding down our metal shed roof.  (Most of the snow has slid down the garage roof.  Barry will start up the tractor after work and clean up the excess of snow near his garage.)

Snow prepares to slide off metal shed roof

I actually put away my heaviest coat and took out a medium-weight fleece jacket.  Don’t worry.  I didn’t really put away the heavier coat.  I just moved it two hangars toward the back of the closet.  Just in case it stays warm for a couple of days.

Footprint of melted snow

Now don’t any of you folks think that it’s REALLY approaching spring in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  It’s not even close. 

Every February we get a thaw.  And then we’ll get another thaw or two in March.  It will thaw in April, but random snowstorms will still entertain us. 

“We used to get a January thaw,” Barry mused last night. 

“I think that was when we were kids living downstate,” I suggested. 

OK, OK, it still LOOKS like winter.

So how’s the weather where you live?  Would you consider 40 degrees a heat wave or a cold spell?

Lots of plowed snow banks

Would you be putting on warmer coats or lighter jackets?

Don't put away the shovel yet. Not until May.

Anyone seen pussy willows?   🙂

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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38 Responses to Hark! Pussy willows in February?

  1. Funny how we both wrote about the same topic today – I guess all of us Michiganders are feeling the same way!! 🙂 I’m not sure what I would like better – a thaw in the middle of winter (and then returning to winter), or keep winter going full-force until March, and then have an “early” spring….

  2. Reggie says:

    You had me giggling all the way, Kathy. Honestly, I cannot imagine living in a place as COLD as yours! You and Barry are clearly hardy souls. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      It’s WARM, Reggie! LOL! It’s really warm. My mother-in-law and I were talking about this. She used to live in northern Michigan and now she’s freezing down in Georgia at 50-some degrees. (12 celcius?) We think the blood gets thicker when you live in a colder climate. That’s what makes it feel–almost–pleasant. (Barry and I certainly not ANY hardier than our neighbors!)

  3. kiwidutch says:

    Snow shovels out until MAY!? Wow! I can barely handle the might-freeze Dec-Feb routine here in The Netherlands. 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) is definitely cold, but (Celsius) is a heat wave LOL.
    Joking aside, for me it’s still mighty cold where you live Brrr. Wrap up warm until the thaw!

    • Kathy says:

      It IS the thaw, kiwidutch! It’s WARM! Gosh, you and Reggie don’t believe me. lol! Read what I just commented to Reggie. I think our blood gets thicker. By the way, did you know my daughter and I visited the Netherlands a couple years ago? Rotterdam, Amsterdam, lots of places. Wondering how close you are to where we traveled.

  4. holessence says:

    Kathy – “Ok, ok, it still looks like winter” is my favorite photograph, but I loved this “tease” post — sort of like dangling the proverbial carrot called SPRING. It’s coming though — and this post has served to enhance my hope. Thank you!

  5. Colleen says:

    Hi Kathy, I’m smiling at the memories this brings back. This was the weather of our childhood. And why I’ll always be grateful for down-filled coats and mittens! Even though we haven’t needed them for quite some time now.

    We’re in San Diego at the moment and people are complaining about the cold (low 60’s) but it feels perfectly OK to us.

    I’m looking forward to catching up 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, I am delighted to see you! Glad to have sparked some childhood memories. Guess where we’ll be in three weeks? You’ve got it! In sunny “warm” San Diego visiting our son. Any chance you’ll still be there? 🙂

      • Colleen says:

        Oh how I wish, but no….we’re leaving on Monday. It would have been wonderful to see you!!! I know that it’s going to happen some day 🙂

        What part of the area does Chris live in? We’re staying on the north side (I think!) Sort of an island in-the-middle-of-the-bay type of place. Lots of lovely beach to walk on. Rick is working and I’m just being here. I’m so excited for you that you’ll be here soon.

        • Kathy says:

          Colleen, he actually is now living in downtown San Diego, but he goes to the university up in La Jolla. Gosh, wouldn’t it be fun to “run into” one another on one of these trips? (Any chance you’re going to Georgia the end of April?)

  6. Susan D says:

    Grumbling here. I want Winter to stay Winter. I’m with the ice fisherman and cold-weather lovers … It’s sloppy out there instead of pristine … grumble, grumble… I’ve already been sweating – grumble, grumble. Okay, I’m happy for all those who are happy about the thaw … And, I adore pussy willows! Wonderful (!) pictures. Smiling and grumbling … yeah, I can do both.

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Ms. Susan D, Grumbler! I KNOW you are just like my husband! Both of you! Crazy cold-weather Lovers! I just don’t know what to think of you all. How to integrate you. Yet I shall allow you to exist…and especially love how you have integrated it into doing both! Thank you!

  7. Karma says:

    I think plants have been confused quite a bit Kathy. I remember seeing some buds and sprouts this past November, before all the snow. I’m enjoying the thaw too – folks here in western Massachusetts were driving with their windows down yesterday! It’s a little cooler today, but we are expecting 50’s by the end of the week, wahoo! In about a month, it will be time to start seeds, so we can dream that spring is really on the way!

    • Kathy says:

      Ms. Karma, do you think that it’s not just the juveniles that are confused? That many more plants are confused? I am glad you are enjoying the thaw. You guys deserve it. You have had such a cold/snowy winter.

  8. Pussy willow is so pretty, Kathy. I remember my English mum telling me about it and showing me artificial branches when I was a child! I don’t believe it grows here in Australia at all, not around my araea at least. I don’t even remember the temperature dropping below 40 F here! We’ve had a few days of 40 C though, but not this year. Love this story, I’m learning so much about the snowy weather in the northern hemisphere. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Joanne! I am glad to have been able to show you our Northern Hemisphere reality. Your weather sounds warm and delightful. I want to visit. Now. lol!

  9. I’ve noticed in the last few years that the trees seem to get confused from time to time. We’ve had our plum trees bloom in November!! That’s odd, even for Texas. Of course it’s not in full bloom like it is in the spring, but there were enough blossoms to notice.
    I like the 7th picture. Nice view!

    • Kathy says:

      Hello Mrs. Click! Weird…confused trees! Do you think it’s global warming? I like that 7th picture, too. A nice wide view. Wanted to show everyone “the larger picture.” I told you we lived in Texas for four months years and years ago, right? I hope your are enjoying these early blossoms…

  10. Marianne says:

    Kathy, it seems our temperatures are going up and down like a jackhammer too. Maybe old man winter will forget what he usually does and will do something different this year. We can hope. I’m ready for spring and summer, but then again, I’ll probably complain it’s too hot. I didn’t buy a car with air (silly me).

    • Kathy says:

      Smiling, Marianne. We humans are rarely satisfied, are we? And in our household, one of us despises the thaws (except he doesn’t have to shovel the roof) and the other of us loves them. Hope you don’t swelter in your car without air!

  11. bearyweather says:

    We have Spring Fever, too …. 40’s today (above zero for a change). Things are melting but no pussy willows, yet. Funny thing … I picked some pussywillows about 3 years ago, brought them in and put them in a vase of water. Believe it or not .. they are still in the vase, just as I picked them … they never fell off and they never fully bloomed … very strange, but interesting.

    • Kathy says:

      That is interesting that the pussy willows would last so many years. When we were in Florida last year, people were selling pussy willows from the Midwest. That seemed the oddest thing! I suppose many people use them as decorations.

  12. Dawn says:

    It was almost 70 degrees here in Los Alamos NM today. Now it’s 56. Computer says it’s 24 at home. I am enjoying the heat here…but I’d be happy to see 40 at home. If your pussy willows are in bloom then ours are almost finished and were probably in bloom when we left; we just didn’t notice.

    40 would be a heat wave…but no, I wouldn’t put away the shovel yet!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I am thrilled that you told me where you were! (I hadn’t yet returned to your blog to check.) I’m totally happy with 40 degrees in Michigan at this time of year. (Actually, it was only one tree that I saw blooming with pussy willows. All the other trees were sensible.)

  13. Robin says:

    I did see pussy willows! And coincidentally posted about them yesterday. Karma mentioned you had posted them too, but I didn’t have time to come over until this morning. That will teach me to check my email so I could have at least linked to your pussy willows so they could get to know my pussy willows. 🙂

    I have a good case of Spring Fever too. It’s been warm here and the snow is melting. Even the pond looks like it is thawing out.

    • Kathy says:

      Laughing, Robin. Pussy willows getting to know one another! Gosh, we all have fun in this on-line world! (I only saw one pussy willow tree…do you have lots of trees sprouting them?) It’s a little challenging, isn’t it, when the temps go back down in the 20’s after this little taste of spring?

  14. Central New York is on the verge of getting your thaw weather. Should be around 50 by Friday before cooling off again next week. That is just fine with me. A little thaw for a few days and then cool to keep things from flooding.

    Interesting a wolf near your home. You are getting closer to seeing one!

    • Kathy says:

      I hope your thaw is just about there, Scott. Our thaw is supposedly ending tomorrow. They are predicting a big change of weather with up to 50 mph winds! (Sigh…it was nice while it lasted…)

  15. emaclean says:

    Worse than pussy willows, we are seeing plum and peach blossoms. We had a warm spell last week and out they came! Now we have rain, heavy winds and low snow. Typical California winter.

    Lovely photos, Kathy!

    Erin

    • Kathy says:

      Sounds like our weather is up, down and all over the place. I just mentioned to Scott (comment up above) that our weather is due to change tomorrow. 50 mph winds! Yikes! May be time to hibernate again??

  16. Sybil says:

    Oh wow, pussy willows !

    Came across your site via Lynn Kovan’s, “Five Things” Blog in England. It’s fun seeing names of other Bloggers visiting the same site I visit. I figure they must know something I don’t know and I was right.

    Wonderful Blog. Lovely photos and well-chosen words.

    I’m on the East cost of Nova Scotia. We don’t have to wait quite as long as you for some nice weather …

    Why don’t you bring that pussy willow branch in for a drink of water in a warm room.

    Best wishes.

    • Kathy says:

      It’s funny, Sybil, how we bloggers get to know each other through this cyber-space. Thank you for stopping by. Are you acquainted with Amy-Lynn over at Flandrum Hill? I like to go visiting her blog, too. That is a good idea about bringing that pussy willow in. I might just do that!

  17. Pingback: Melting… melting… « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

  18. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Love those pussy willows – sometimes we cut some and bring them inside where they open up and give us much end-of-winter pleasure. After a relatively warm week we’re expecting more snow tonight. A couple of pussy willow branches in a vase by the window would look so nice…

    • Kathy says:

      Someone else suggested bringing pussy willows inside, Barbara. They might lift our spirits as the winter continues. I am wondering if the pussy willows I spotted last week survived our gale-force winds on Friday. hmmmm….

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