Greenpoint: The snow before the spring

A snowman and snow woman stand in this yard of Clizbe Street in Amsterdam, Monday, March 13.

A snowman and snow woman stand in this yard of Clizbe Street in Amsterdam, Monday, March 13.

Our March snowstorm dumped about 18 inches and knocked out power for 26 hours, but it didn’t seem to matter that much.

Big snow dumps mid-March are kind of a tradition around here, and we were well prepared, with buckets filled for the morning round of goat watering, a house full of wood for the stove, and a stew made for ready heating and eating. We even managed to find a stash of candles.

The wood stove kept the house warm, and we put the four-gallon stock pot on top to melt snow for continual goat watering. The chest freezer in the basement has enough jugs of ice in it that I knew it would stay cold, and I put food from the fridge in a cooler on the back porch.

Sometimes having the power out doesn’t change much up here. Communications are halted because there’s no cell service, so we have no phone or internet when the power goes. But I had warned whoever needed to know that we’d probably be cut off once the snow started, and after the roads were cleared the next morning I went into town and worked from the library.

The downside of the storm is that there still appears to be about 2 feet of snow on the ground, so when everyone else is talking about what a lovely spring day it is, we’re saying, “Yeah, but … ” The snow layer keeps the temperature about 10 degrees cooler here, and even when the sun is warm there’s a layer of cold air on the ground.

I’m making my own spring, with my vegetable seedlings coming along in the window. We got them some LED grow lights this year so we can prevent leggy seedlings reaching toward the window for the sun. My winter sowing experiment — seeds planted in plastic-jug mini greenhouses and left outside to start their growth with the season — are buried under snow — which is where they would be in nature right about now, so I guess the experiment is right on track.

The household Floridian is getting a little stir crazy, hankering to get a hoe into the garden and avoiding the fact that even if the snow melts this week the ground will still be frozen for another month.

March is all about winter wearing out its welcome, and the sunny days are more of a tease than a reality.

I might be overanxious for spring, too, but I’m planning a little escape — a weekend visit to the ballet-dancing Brooklyn child, who assures me I will see blooming daffodils and forsythia in addition to contemporary choreography.

And when I get back home, I can transplant my seedlings into bigger containers, even it it’s weeks before they can get into the ground.

Greenpoint appears every other Sunday. Look for it next on April 9. Reach Margaret Hartley at [email protected] or on Twitter @Hartley_Maggie. Opinions expressed in Greenpoint are not necessarily those of the newspaper’s.

Categories: Life and Arts

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