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50 Degree Day

Report From An Opinionated Gardener – February 14

Many moons ago, when I was in high school in Wisconsin, there was a local tradition called 50 Degree Day. After a long, cold upper-Midwest winter, the custom was that on the first day that the thermometer hit 50 or above, an informal holiday was declared. This celebration mostly involved cutting class or calling in sick to work and heading to the local bar, if I remember correctly, although maybe there was a gathering at Iverson Park as well.

I thought of this today because for the first time in over a month the temperatures were above 50. Briefly, to be sure, but it was a welcome thaw nonetheless. Snow banks shrank, ice melted and everyone felt a wave of hope that rode in on the jet stream from the south.

It won’t last, of course. The next six days will be more seasonable and chances are the snow banks that remain in shaded landscapes will stay for at least another two weeks. Or longer…here on the Cape we’re more likely to get snow in February or March than we are in December and January.

To me, 50 Degree Day isn’t about cutting class or going to the bar. It’s about relishing what you’ve got, when you’ve got it. It reminds us not to expect that such gifts will last forever, but to cherish them when they do arrive.

Melted snow from the drive and upper gardens filled the rain garden today, covering the ice with a layer of water. Yes, tomorrow it will all be frozen again. For now, however, it looks like an early spring thaw.

6 Responses to “50 Degree Day”

  1. 1
    JWLW:

    HI C.L., I don’t see any snow in that photo. Send some of that 50 deg. up here we still have at least 2 feet of snow on the ground with piles from plowing as high a 6 feet. It may be June before it all melts.

    Have a great evening,
    John

  2. 2
    CL Fornari:

    John, Well just to the right and left of this area there are snow banks… including the pile that the snow plow left at the end of the drive. After today’s thaw, however, they’re all smaller. :-) Wishing the same for you SOON!

  3. 3
    Forest Keeper:

    Me and my bees were happy for the warmth today!

  4. 4
    Skeeter:

    I remember those 50-degree parties at Iverson!!! Just chanced on this looking for some ideas for a 50-degree party for my grandson! It’s a tradition my family has upheld since my days at UWSP in the 70′s! :)

  5. 5
    CL Fornari:

    Skeeter,
    I love that you’ve continued the tradition!

  6. 6
    Whole Life Gardening » Spring Connections:

    [...] Iverson Park in Stevens Point, WI and remembered a recent comment that was posted in response to my 50 Degree Day piece. Skeeter commented that he remembers this local celebration so well that he’s continued it [...]