“When is spring ever going to come?!”
I think I’ve answered this question 100 times in the past two weeks. It’s the curse of March, this impatience for spring. It’s only gotten worse now that someone told my children that March 20th is the first day of spring. (Thanks a lot, teachers!)
“Spring comes when it comes” is my answer a lot. As well as “We can’t control the weather; it does what it wants, no matter what the calendar says.” And sometimes “Weren’t you wishing for snow in August? Now you have snow, go enjoy it!” if I’m feeling particularly irritable.
But I get it. Of course I get it. This is a tough time of year and, though I don’t mention it to the kids, it’s even tougher once you become an adult and you can see via omnipresent social media that it actually IS spring in other places. That’s a nice piece of modern day cruelty.
So how to survive March, when the charm of snow is past, everything is grey and dingy, and every walking surface is either a mud pit or treacherously icy?
Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the few, dubious benefits of the season:
1) Tap. We have a handful of maple trees and we tap them. On a good year–a really, really good year–we might eke out two quarts of syrup after all is said and done. It takes 15 minutes to collect sap each day for about a month plus 12 hours or so to boil it all down, which is about 20 hours of time. Current cost of Maine syrup is about $17/quart at the store, so that means we save about 59 cents an hour making our own syrup. It doesn’t make much sense moneywise, but it’s totally worth it “getting out of the house in March, teaching our kids where food comes from, and doing something oddly entertaining”-wise.
2) Crocus Watch 2015. Put your kids in front of the crocus bed (if you can figure out where it is) and tell them to get you when the green shoots come up. As our crocuses are currently under 18 inches of snow even after the melting from this week, I reserve the right to change this to Ground Watch 2015. You could also do Grass Watch, or possibly Back Deck Watch, depending on the amount of snow in your area.
Incidentally, if you do not have a crocus bed, you need to promise me that you’ll plant one in the fall. It is so tremendously helpful for your early spring sanity.
3) Get wet and dirty. Last spring I watched as my kids played with a few sticks, a handful of leaves, and a small stream of snow melt in the driveway for almost an hour. They built dams, they floated leaf boats, they scraped out tributaries… They came in soaked and filthy, but who cares? It’s the one time of year when every dooryard in Maine becomes an wetland that evolves by the hour. Embrace it!
4) Get snowy. There’s more snow predicted for most of us this weekend. The thing I like about spring snowstorms is that every one could be the last one, which is almost as exciting as the first one. Almost. Break out the sleds one more time, build one last snowman in the sloppy snow (melting snow is amazingly packable!), or carve the snowbanks into a relief sculpture. You bought snowpants, make sure you get your money’s worth.
Now get out there! Only two more weeks until April.