No takesies-backsies Ol’ Man Winter! Here it is the middle of April, our tax paperwork has been completed, our winter clothes are stored and our summer vegetable and herb garden is planted. Truth be told, our winter was so mild, we could have planted our urban crops in December.
Now that we are nearly a month into spring, I guess Jack Frost decided he missed out on a perfectly good winter and must make up for it. We woke up Wednesday to alerts of frost and freeze warnings for Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
However, convinced by the weather trends of the past few months and the Almanac I bought Hubby, I planted my garden three weeks ago. The garden has been doing really well. It’s the best garden we’ve had in years. Not only are our seedlings strong, but all the seeds I put in the ground came up, too.
My winter wardrobe, including coats, hats and gloves, were all stored. I actually had time, it being so warm this year, to wash, sort and donate items I haven’t worn in years. But after the sudden temperature drop, I had to head upstairs and find something warm to wear to work. Nothing I had in my bedroom was suitable for 30-degree weather.
After working all day, it was time to take action. First, we had to dig out more warm clothing. We certainly could not work in the garden in our winter work clothes. We had to dig out our cold-season chore clothes.
Finally decked out in jeans, warm socks, sweatshirts, coats, gloves and hats, we realized we had two trash bags left, which were needed in the kitchen. Since we shop with reusable grocery bags, we had no plastic bags. We had two options for covering our vulnerable seedlings: reusable grocery bags or mismatched sheets.
According to the article Hubby posted to my Facebook wall, sheets and reusable grocery bags work well to protect plants from frost. So, trudging around the house in my winter get-up, I gathered all the bags I could find.
Apparently, we have thousands of reusable bags. My guilt gene kicks in whenever I stop by a store without bags. I am no longer able to select plastic bags that may take decades to break down and could potentially kill generations of wild fowl before decomposing when asked what type of bag I prefer for toting home my apples, toilet paper and greeting cards. Therefore, when caught in a store unprepared to save the Earth, I have no choice but to purchase more reusable bags.
I found twelve in the pantry, sixteen in the mudroom, three in our bedroom, six more in the room formally known as our middle son’s room but now affectionately called the study, one under the sink in the bathroom and eight more in my trunk. After discovering how many I had in the trunk of my car, I berated myself for purchasing two more bags the day before, thinking I had none with me when I stopped for ketchup and a loaf of bread.
And yes, it takes two reusable bags to carry home ketchup and a loaf of bread, because it’s NEVER just ketchup and a loaf of bread. Between the condiment aisle and the bread racks, I stumbled upon seven other items I realized we needed. While waiting to check out, I tossed two more necessities into the cart I had to retrieve when I realized I couldn’t hold it all.
Once we had our pile of reusable bags gathered, we began the task of covering each individual plant. Realizing the bags were not going to be useful for protecting our three rows of corn or the hundreds of bean stalks getting ready to grasp the shafts of our garden fence and reach for the stars, I sent Hubby in to seek out the mismatched sheets.
Hubby likes an excuse to use his pocket knives, so I assigned him the task of measuring the rows, cutting strips of old sheets and covering the corn and beans. I am happy to report that the rows were sufficiently covered and Hubby did not lose a finger. He was quite adamant that the knife never broke the skin.
We set our alarms for 15 minutes earlier than our usual wake-up time so we could remove the reusable shopping bags and sheets. Since we hit the snooze two more times than usual, we had to rush to uncover everything.
Reusable bags and old sheets are now piled in a corner of our dining room. I had to buy three more bags when I stopped for milk on Friday. The laundry basket is overflowing with a combination of warm and cold weather clothes. But, our garden is doing just fine. Take THAT Ol’ Man Winter!
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Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and author of “Thurston T. Turtle Moves to Hubbleville.” She lives in Asheboro with her husband, three children and mother. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.