An April appraisal

Susan Manzke
Now Media Group

April came in like a lion this year.

Snow was not what I wanted while looking at tulips popping out of the ground. Snow was not what our son Rob wanted while he moved into his new house. Snow was not what Bob wanted while contemplating planting season, but that's what we got.

Today, as I begin to write this column, it's snowing again. The only thing good about this fact is that an April snow doesn't hang around for long. The sun is much stronger than it is in January. It is also out for hours, allowing melting to take place. The bad thing about snow in April is that we do not want it at all.

Winds have picked up, too. When I took our dog Sunny for a walk today, I found myself bent into the wind to keep from being blown over. The way home was easier as the wind gave me a push in the back .

I'm not ashamed to wear winter clothes in the spring. This cold and windy weather gets me shivering. But instead of staying inside, I make sure I'm bundled up. No way am I putting away my winter clothes just because the calendar says it is spring. That would jinx the warm weather coming.

I remember the changing fickled spring weather 30 years ago. Our four children didn't mind the snow. In fact, they reveled in it. They loved that they could still sled. Of course by April, all their winter gear was worn thin. The knees in their snowsuits were gone and so were some of the seats. There was no way to replace mittens either. Stores had stopped selling winter weather gear in February.

Every April we ran out of clothes hooks by the door. With two seasons taking turns, we had stocking caps and spring jackets, coats and sweaters, boots and sandals. It was just a tangled mess, but if it was time for sledding, no one cared if mittens matched — off they went to play.

That thought reminds me of my childhood. When we didn't have mittens, we wore socks on our hands. Also when our boots sprung leaks, Mom slipped plastic bread bags over our feet before putting on our boots. At least that way our tootsies stayed dry.

These days with just me and Bob living here, having spring and winter gear hanging on hooks isn't so bad. There's enough room, and I'm not in any rush to put things away. I'll wait for warm weather to really set in before tempting fate.

Okay, so I did try to look spring-like. Last week I wore a light jacket to town. I soon figured out I had made a mistake. It took forever for the car's heater to warm up as I sat there shivering.

A friend said she wore layers of spring clothing to stay warm. 'I refuse to get out my winter clothes until next December,' she said through chattering teeth.

I told her that she was the one who jinxed us. Being prompt with washing and storing her family winter gear made the snow come again.

As a farmer, I'm an intent weather watcher. I found I can get a 10-day forecast on the Internet at Right now they are saying we are heading into a warming spell. Of course, they told me that two weeks ago. They lied.

But I'm counting on normal warmer April temperatures by the time this column is in the newspaper. Still, I'm not packing away my winter clothes. You won't be able to blame me for jinxing the forecast. And friends, if your winter clothes are heading for the back closet, you are at fault if a blast of cold returns. Remember that.

There's still time for washing and storing those coats. I'm considering that a June chore, maybe even July. Happy April, everyone.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;