While a place like Washington, DC, can go straight from winter to summer, that just does not usually happen here. The first week of April, 2013, Washington was suffering from ninety degree temperatures and we were comfortably in the low eighties.
Our sandy soils do not support all the blooming trees that you might see in central North Carolina or southwest Virginia. Both of those areas explode into spring sometime around the third week in March. It is a wonderful show to watch but it can have its downside.
I have often thought that one of the cruliest ironies for northerners moving to the bluegrass parts of Virginia and North Carolina is that they learn quickly that the beautiful spring scenery comes with grass which needs to be mowed at least twice a week. There is something very pleasing to the eye about a fresh mowed mountain bluegrass yard but it is truly a lot of work. Even as April moves towards its end on the coast, we have to look for pretty green grass but we usually have hardly cranked our mowers.
The picture at the top of the post is behind my bulkhead and tends to get green earlier than most of our yard. It looks a lot greener than the balance of my yard. The rest of my yard which I mowed on April 18, still looks pretty brown. in another two weeks it will look great. Fortunately, I still be mowing it less than once a week even well into May.
While our grass gets green later than the grass in the Piedmont of North Carolina, our vegetables and berries get ripe sooner. As is often the case, I mowed our yard on the same day that we got our first box of Eastern North Carolina strawberries. Swapping a showy spring for early local berries is a trade off that I am happy to make.
I would far sooner be eating strawberries than mowing my yard twice a week. Still some of the trappings of spring come and go quickly on the coast. Bradford pear trees which bloom for weeks in the mountains often shed their blooms for leaves in less than a week here at the coast. Many years our daffodils at the coast are gone in days. This year, an extended spell of cool weather kept them around for most of a month. We have to hope that our lettuce will mature before the middle of May or often it will get bitter with the warmth of an approaching summer.
I actually do not mind mowing grass down here on the coast. It is good exercise, the ground is level, and except for the heat in August, it is not too bad. It is one of those things where progress is easily discerned unlike much of the work I have faced in my life. However it is work and I do have a big yard here at the coast. I continue to insist on mowing it with a self-propelled mower that I walk behind. For my most recent mowing, I turned on the GPS tracking in my phone to see how far I walk when I mow our yard. When I finished I was surprised to see that I had walked 2.75 miles. It looks like I am getting some worthwhile exercise behind the mower.
Based on that 2.75 miles, I cancelled my afternoon hike and enjoyed a nap. It was spitting rain anyway and I would rather walk when the sky is blue and there is a better opportunity for a nice picture. I am not going to complain about rain either. It was a nice warm rain and I would rather have rain in April than have a dry April like we had a few years ago. If April is dry by June things can be desperate.
With the first local strawberries here and the first mowing done to coincide with the first blooms on my tomato plants, I think it is safe to say that spring along the Southern Outer Banks is proceeding well. We are perhaps a couple of weeks behind what is normal but nothing out of the ordinary. It does look the spring crops will have enough moisture for a good start.
We just need the wind to stop blowing and the fish to start biting and all will be well in our sandy world along North Carolina's coast.