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Valentine’s Day is upon us

Saint Valentine’s Day is five days away. The day of celebrating with hearts, flowers and candy, gift cards and candlelight dinners is only five days away. Remember your Valentine with a special gift. Remember that flowers speak a powerful message on Valentine’s Day! You can give a potted flower that will continue to give beauty and color long after Valentine’s Day passes, with a pot of read azaleas.

Planting a row or bed of red for Saint Valentine’s Day. Celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day by planting a packet or two of red radish in a garden plot row or bed. A quickie vegetable that will produce a harvest in 45 days. A packet costs less than $2. You can choose from varieties such as Cherry Bomb, Cherriette, Early Scarlete, Globe, and Easter Egg. A radish crop will produce quickly and not interfere with later vegetable crops. It’s hard to believe, but radish are a member of the cabbage family. Another interesting fact is that the leaves can be used in salads if harvested while tender. They have a taste similar to the radish bulb itself.

Valentine’s Day is also hump day. We all know that Saint Valentine’s Day is Friday, but on his special day, we can also celebrate the fact that on Saturday we can celebrate hump day as we reach the middle of February. An old wives tale says that on hump day, the back of Old Man Winter breaks. Whether this bears any credibility, we know for sure according to the calendar, winter has 35 days remaining.

Halos and thunder in midst of the winter. A halo around the moon on a cold winter night might be a beautiful sight and could be the harbinger of a snow within a few days. A ” halo” occurs when the air aloft is cold enough for ice crystals to form around the bright moon. My grandma in Northampton County was a lover of snow and kept her eyes out for a halo around the winter full moons. According to her prediction, the number of stars that were visible in the circle of the halo were the number of days before we could expect some snow. My mother’s predictions were a bit different because she believed the number of visible stars were the number of inches of snow we could expect.

Thunder in the winter is another rare occurrence and an event my grandma took note of. Her predictions of thunder in winter was it was a sure sign of snow, and the number of times it thundered stated the number of inches of snow that could be expected. Some of her predictions came true, some did not-sounds like many forecasts today, doesn’t it?

Thunder during a winter snowfall. Probably the same atmospheric temperatures that cause thunder in the midst of winter also causes it to thunder during a snowfall. The temperatures aloft allow today’s weather forecasters to make forecast for these events. My grandma probably had no prediction for thunder during snowfalls. Maybe global warming was not a factor in the 1950s!

The Jonquils, Hyacinths, and Crocus are spiking. Even in the middle of cold weather in February, signs of spring are bursting out as the sleeping bulbs of jonquils, crocus, and hyacinths and daffodils are producing dark green spikes as they sense the arrival of early spring next month. They are certainly a welcome sight on a cold February afternoon.

The Cardinal could be the official bird of Saint Valentine’s Day. The bright red color of the male cardinal and the rustic colors of the female could promote them to official birds of Valentine’s Day. We have seen quite a few Valentine cards with cardinals on them. On the lawn at the feeders, they seem to make a live Valentine card. Many states have the cardinal for their official state bird.

2020 is a leap year and February has an extra day. Leap Day will be Saturday, Feb, 29. An old legend my mother always mentioned on Leap Day was that Old Maids could increase their odds of finding a husband because they had an extra day to search. Regardless of this legend, we have an extra day of winter and maybe an extra few inches of snow for the 2020 season. This event happens every four years.

Planning the 2020 garden by ordering seed. The extra day of February is the ideal time to plan the garden for 2020 and the seed you would like to grow, and to order those see you can’t find locally. Many seed companies offer discounts or free shipping if you order early. Always remember, always purchase only what you cannot find locally because ordered seed have only 25 or 30 seed per packet, and seeds of green beans, peas, lima beans are sold in two ounce packs and some are $6 or $7 per pound plus shipping and handling.

Checking out Christmas cactus and the ferns wintering over. The Christmas cactus are thriving in the sunny living room away from direct sunlight. A drink of water each week and liquid plant food once a month keeps them green and growing. The panda and asparagus fern are lush and green and require about the same care as the cactus. They are good investments that endure many years with little effort.

A drink for the birds of winter. Birds are thirsty in winter and when the mudholes and birdbaths are frozen, they have a difficult finding a drink of water. Every day when temperatures rise, empty ice from the birdbath and fill with fresh water, Get into the habit of doing this every afternoon and discover how many birds will visit the baths.

Hoe Hoe Hoedown: “Close Knit”- Sally: “I got this new sweater for $35 to help me keep warm this February.” Hattie: “Do you realize that it takes three sheep to make just one sweater?” Sally: “No, I did not know that they could knit.”

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Ray Baird

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