This morning I picked green onions from my garden to make coleslaw. This afternoon my narcissus is covered in snow. Snow in March, you ask? Yes, this is Missouri.
It’s been snowing off and on all afternoon but now it’s sticking. Of course it will all be gone by tomorrow and by Monday the temperatures will be back in the 70s. That’s just the way it is and the way it’s likely to be at least until late April or early May.
I can remember one April several years ago when nearly three feet of snow kept me from town when we lived not too far north of here near Russell, Iowa. I don’t think that’s going to happen here this year but who knows. Although I’ll be wearing shorts again next week tomorrow’s just the first day of spring.
You don’t always find what you go searching for but quite often if you maintain an open mind you come across something unexpected, something better. I had hoped to find a few deer sheds, maybe some arrowheads or signs of early morels.
Of course I knew it was too early for morels but I did find several signs of spring on my five-mile hike at Elam Bend.
The dog and I found no sheds but did see an early buzzard, a few ducks, and forsythia and daffodils coming up at an old abandoned home.
We also discovered other signs of man, some unexpected and some that were undesirable — an old piece of machinery slowly being claimed by entropy, a Missouri Conservation Department tractor as wildlife plots are planned, an unexpected jet refueling, a green field appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day, and cans and bottles discarded by cretins. And we also found the license plate from an MDC vehicle but because it was state property we left it as we found it. If the driver or the department is still looking for it, you can find it near the pond southwest of the tractor.
It wasn’t the most colorful time of year to visit but I felt the need Sunday to get outside for a while so with a backpack, a water bottle, and a camera, I hiked a few miles around the Missouri Department of Conservations’s Pawnee Prairie not far from where I live.
What I found was little more than the wind, the sound of a few killdeer, the leftovers of coyote meals, and a single startled whitetail. Not far from the Nature Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch Preserve, the 400 or so acres of tallgrass prairie is best visited in the summer or fall when you can better appreciate the bluestem, Indian grass, side-oats grama grasses, pale purple coneflower, and finger coreopsis wildflowers. Better yet visit the Pawnee Prairie, call the Dunn Ranch to find out when to view greater prairie chickens and bison, and experience grassland similar to what Lewis and Clark discovered.