Garden Diary - February 2018

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Onion Snow
Saturday, 17, February to Tuesday, 20 February 2018

On Saturday morning I went to Howell Living History Farm for their winter kitchen events. Sunshine when I got there, overcast and gray when I left in the afternoon. And then, in the evening, it began to snow.

By 10:49 p.m. it had really begun to accumulate.

Sunday, 18 February

Sunday morning there was a winter wonderland
with about 6 inches of heavy snow everywhere.

When Dave came and plowed he went a little wide at the edge
of the driveway. Towards sunset a few deer came carefully
across the snow, to take advantage of the exposed grass.

Monday, 19 February

For as much snow as we have, it's clearing very rapidly.

It must be onion snow!

What's onion snow? The term originated in Pennsylvania, with the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and language. It refers to a snowfall that occurs after the spring onions have been planted, and comes just as they are sprouting. Our February snowfall seems rather early - don't know anyone who has begun planting onions. That's usually a March event. And 6 inches doesn't seem "light" to me. It certainly is melting away quickly.

Tuesday, 20 February

Just look at the landscape at midday on Tuesday. Snow? What snow?

Another Pennsylvania Dutch late-spring snow term is "sapling bender," when a heavy snow in Spring bends branches of young saplings.

There's also "sap snow" or "sap-busting snow," used for snow that falls in the final days of winter. Nights are still cold but daytime temperatures have climbed above freezing. Sap is rising in trees, importantly in sugar maples.

But soon, I hope, my snow will come in the form of snowdrops.

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