Winter in April
I'm looking out the window, and I see snow banks. How could this be? We were quickly pushing toward the end of April. Yes, April, not February.
Two memories come to mind. Last year, 2017, by this time we had planted 200 trees at my farm, and a good bit of our vegetable garden. The potatoes were in, the radishes and lettuce were planted. A pair of bluebirds were going in and out of the birdhouse that stands near the garden. This year. The garden is buried in snow. I haven’t seen the bluebirds.
A second memory, a bit dimmer. The year was 1948 or 1949. I was in high school. We had planted our oats in mid-April, as was per usual during those years. In late May, I was driving our Farmall H tractor, which Dad bought a couple years earlier. I was discing the corn ground, a twenty-acre field that we had fall-plowed. And it was cold. Cold for May. But I ignored the cold as I enjoyed driving the tractor from the first day we had gotten it.
I finished discing about supper time. Pa was doing barn chores. “Dang cold for this time of year,” I said.
“Feels like snow,” Pa said.
“Can't be, it’s May,” I said.
It snowed five or six inches that night. No corn planting for a few days. My twin brothers built a snowman. It remained until the first week in June.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Just when you think you’ve got something figured out, you discover that you don’t, especially when it comes to weather.
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life.