The start of spring depends on who you ask. February 2nd, when groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, his handlers declared an early spring.

By March 1st, and a few consecutive days with spring-like temperatures, Melanie declared the beginning of spring. There was no use pointing out the official beginning of spring – the vernal equinox – was still several weeks away. Any talk of winter would not be tolerated.  Even an un-spring-like snow storm on March 6th was not grounds for a reversal.

Even when the vernal equinox arrived, it was still cold, and the anticipated spring transformation was delayed.  Unseasonably cooler temperatures remained through March and April. At least three times the National Park Service revised their forecast of the peak bloom for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival lasts from March 20 through April 14, with the peak bloom usually occurring around the middle. But the first white of the blooms didn’t appear until April 4, finally peaking on April 9.

We waited. Watched with anticipation.  The spring transformation finally happened, like a slow-motion finale to a fireworks show.  The crocuses , daffodils and tulips popped. Grape hyacinths, redbuds and dogwoods blossomed in their turn. In fact, the cooler weather may have caused the blossoms to last longer than usual..the color lingering in its brilliance. The maples, red oaks, poplar and other deciduous trees provided a bright-green climax.

As the warm season begins, the To-Do List that is currently in scope:

GARDEN FENCE IMPROVEMENTS
Add the gates.  Choose an unobtrusive color and stain the fence.  Plant some vines frame the gate.

BIRDHOUSE MAINTENANCE
Repaint the exterior. Resurface the floor of the chicken run.

SIDEWALK
Finish adding steps and paving stones to the sidewalk. Add paving stones to the terraces.

FENCE REPAIRS
Many of the boards and a few fence posts must be replaced. WIll we have the budget to repaint?

MAINTENANCE ON THE EQUIPMENT SHED
Add gutters. Add wiring and lights. Repaint the exterior and improve the trim. Reseal windows and doors.

Of course, there will be the many routine items that compete for that most precious resource – time. Those include mowing, tending the garden and orchard, mowing, weeding the beds, mowing, miscellaneous repainting, and uh…more mowing.