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The Big Spring Thaw

February 16th, 2011

It seems to happen overnight. One day you bundle up when you head outside, protecting your skin from dry cold harsh wind. The next day you wake up to the sound of the snow melting from the warm sun dripping from the eaves of the house.
The snow edges away from the grass and the rocks, receding into the earth. It will come again, a few times more, but it won’t stick around for long after the first big thaw.

You head outside and the air once again has a scent, fresh, clean and earthy, the sun actually feels warm on your face. The ground feels slightly soft under your feet, you know spring will not be long in coming.

Soon enough, you can start working in the garden, clearing away the leaves, cleaning up the branches that fell during the ice storms, unwrapping the hydrangeas to awaken from their long winter slumber. You can’t get too ahead of yourself or you may uncover something too quickly only to get zapped by a late freeze.

Spring doesn’t officially arrive until late March and there is still much winter weather to come, especially here in NE Ohio. We’ll still have snow, frost, freezes and weather down in the single digits. There’s just something about the first big thaw of the year, it invigorates the gardeners soul.

What is the big event that signals the coming of spring for you?

23 Comments to “The Big Spring Thaw”
  1. goatpod2 on February 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Our snow and ice is starting to thaw out too!


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  2. Nebraska Dave on February 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

    My big are maybe little event is when the Crocus poke up through the last of the snow sometimes and bloom their little hearts out announcing to everyone that spring is here. After that come the tulips, daffodils, and Iris.

    Have a great first thaw day.

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  3. David on February 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Hi Suzi, how much snow do you normally get? If those pics are current you are waay ahead of us, we still have 20-28 inches or more of the white stuff lying around. We have gotten somewhere around 58 inches so far. We still have a ways to go but the weather is finally starting to turn.

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    • Susy on February 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Not sure how much we’ve gotten so far this year (I think our average is about 50). We did get an inch of ice, which would have been a lot of snow. We’ve had a day of warm rain, which melts snow really quickly, and more rain is in the forecast for tomorrow.

      We’ll still get more inches of snow here, but since we’re going to have a few days in the 50’s the ground will start to thaw and it won’t stick around long.

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  4. Nancy from Mass on February 16, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I have 2: one is when the Phoebes start their early morning call “Pheobe, Pheobe” I just love that. The other is when I notice that the trees along the highway have that reddish-greenish look on the tips signaling that they are starting to have leaf buds. I get so excited seeing that on my drive to work. I have already started watching the tips of the trees.

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  5. Dana @ Potted Farm on February 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    For me it’s spring when the crocuses start to bloom. Seeing that pop of color really means spring.

    I’m originally from NE Ohio, but living in Boston now. Amazed at how different the two are weather-wise.

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  6. alecia on February 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Signs of spring arrival here already in 7b – temps in the 70’s the last few days- lots of bulbs popping up,buds swelling on limbs. geese flying over head and our outdoor cats lounging in the sun instead of lounging in the shop or garage.

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  7. Kelly on February 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I count the start of spring on Imbolc (Feb 2), and the height of spring as the Equinox (yes, I know by most standards I’m off, but it works for me). We’ve started our thaw and I’m noticing the upward trend of temps. The biggest signal, for me, is the light. The higher angle and look of the sunlight tells me that spring is here.

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  8. Sense of Home on February 16, 2011 at 9:57 am

    We have been enjoying a thaw as well, LOTS of snow to go yet and it will get cold again, but it is so nice to SMELL spring in the air.


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  9. Dave on February 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    When Tess the horse starts shedding her winter coat. Joanne just brushed out about a half grocery bag of Tess fur that went right into the compost pile.

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  10. amy on February 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm


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  11. Lynda on February 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    The violets my Auntie Jill gave me bloom…she dug them from Mt. St. Helens before the eruption…they’re a real deep purple and tiny…they’re the very first flower to bloom in my yard…then the daffy’s, tulips and almonds…all within days of each other…

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  12. Daedre Craig on February 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I can’t believe you have bulbs coming up already! I hope you don’t get another big chill.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  13. Sincerely, Emily on February 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    You are right, winter isn’t over yet. I remember the soft squishy wet spring ground when I grew up in MN & WI – and there is a spring “smell” that goes with it. fresh. We don’t have that here – nothing to melt. Right now we are having warm days and like you said – it isn’t over yet. But it sure is nice to see a glimpse of spring. Emily

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  14. Daedre Craig on February 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    We’re expecting rain tonight and tomorrow and 50F temperatures…so hopefully all this dirty snow will be gone soon.

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  15. bonnie on February 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I had my first crocus bloom today – a little yellow exclamation point of yellow in a brown and gray landscape. The tree buds are swelling; the red maples already have red buds on the tips of their branches here in the middle of NC. Spring is on its way. There will be little signs all along from here on out. There will be a rapid crescendo of blooms in March and then April will bring the dogwoods and azaleas which are extremely popular in my area.
    As kids we had to wait until the dogwoods bloomed or the bumble bees showed up to go barefoot, so I guess that’s spring, lol.

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  16. Kathi on February 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    we also have feet of snow cover on the ground in Ct., but on my walk today,I noticed the pussy willow beginning to bloom.The pussy willow always gives me hope that spring really will come again.

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  17. Mimi on February 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Maple Sugaring, the smell of sunshine on melting snow and the feel of winds from the west.

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  18. Deb on February 16, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Spring in Michigan arrives when I can hear the peepers (frogs) in our pond singing me to sleep each night . It only lasts for a few weeks but it’s the best music to my ears!

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  19. annie on February 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    The sign of spring for me used to be when the clover and ranunculous growth explodes, but these days it’s that the chickens get spring fever.

    Perfectly content birds who, during the rest of the year calmly go inside their house at night, decide they *must* sleep perched on top of their house. Chickens who haven’t flown all year suddenly start taking off in these long uncontrolled flights (which is hysterical) or fly up into trees. And they fight a lot at this time of year.

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  20. Emily Jenkins on February 17, 2011 at 1:24 am

    The sign that spring is on it’s way is when there is a long enough thaw that I get to thoroughly strip and clean the duck coop for the first time since fall, haha. My favorite thing about the first few thaws is that my workload drastically increases and I have so many chores ahead of me that I can’t possibly pine for the gardening season.

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  21. MAYBELLINE on February 17, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Right now!
    The buds are popping on some trees. My fruit trees are a little behind but I expect blooms any day. The almond orchards are starting to break. Soon they will be enveloped in clouds of white and pink petals.

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  22. mamaraby on February 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I’m enjoying the warmer weather, but I’m having a hard time with the Spring part. It seems like the winter storms are raging around here (in a figurative sense).

    Reply to mamaraby's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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