Winter or Spring? – 4/21/21

I certainly hope Mother Nature is now done playing with our sensibilities.  We were attacked by another bout of Old Man Winter yesterday morning, as a trailing arctic cold front swept through our area, bringing with it twenty mile per hour winds and a number of snow squalls.  It was the first time we had seen any snow since April 2.  The temperatures plummeted from a high of fifty degrees just after midnight to about 39 shortly after sunrise.  What early morning sunshine we received was gradually smothered out by large, billowing, dark-gray clouds that rudely spat snow down on us for most of the day.

By the late afternoon, the air temperature bottomed out at 33 degrees with a wind chill that felt like 100 degrees below zero.  The light snow that fell intermittently throughout the day transitioned into determined snow squalls that shrouded our nearby mountains and hills from view in a thick milky-white haze.  Our goats, who had braved the brisk winds to graze on the fresh spring grass in the goat pen, stampeded back to the barn at a full gallop when the first big squall struck.  A few moments later, our cat, Calli, streaked out of the ravine and dashed under the porch.  She scrambled so fast that I believe her little paws didn’t touch the ground more than five times in her 250-foot mad dash from the ravine to the porch.  After catching her breath, she was more than happy to follow me back in to the house.

Surprise April Snow Squall – 4/21/21

The parade of snow squalls became frequent and intense enough to begin laying down a light dusting of snow, as dusk settled across the landscape.  We could see a thin blanket of snow covering all the roofs of our buildings, our mower deck, the ramp to our shed, the wooden fence braces, and even on our freshly tilled garden.  The snow never accumulated to a measurable level before the storm was spent sometime during the night.

When I let Calli back outdoors before daybreak this morning, I saw in the glow from my flashlight many snowflakes drifting with the breeze, like swarms of tiny, white Alleghany gnats struggling to swim in the wind.  These light flurries continued to fall as I went out to milk Essie and tend the goats.  The morning low was 34 degrees, so we had barely escaped another hard freeze.  However, we may not avoid that fate tomorrow morning, as the temperature is forecasted to bottom out in the upper twenties.  Barb is considering hoeing up a light covering of dirt over the tiny potato plants that are emerging in our garden to protect them from frostbite.  The fierce winds that made it feel so cold outdoors yesterday are still blowing hard this morning, as I write this post.  Hopefully, Old Man Winter will be satisfied by this final exclamation point he has placed at the end of this cold and snowy winter season.

Fortunately, our local weatherman is promising us that our temperature will break the eighty-degree mark this coming Tuesday for the first time this year.  The last time our temperature broke eighty degrees was a full six months ago.  For the record, we received a total of 59 days of snowfall (as of April 22) this season, which is the most I have recorded since we retired to our farm during the winter of 2016-17.  The flurries we continue to receive this morning mark the latest snowfall we have observed at our farm since April 25, 2015, when we returned from a week-long vacation in New England.  Long-term historic records for our area will document a number of light snowfalls during the month of May, but we have yet to witness one.  Our seasonal snowfall total still stands at 33.5 inches, which is more than enough for us.  Now if we can only get the winds to subside, everything will begin to feel much better.  To date, we haven’t had a lot of luck with that.