Spring in Alberta II

It’s April 20, roughly one month since the spring equinox. However, there’s about 10 cm of snow on the ground with more falling and another 10+ predicted for the next couple of days. The temperature is -11C at 8:00 a.m. with a predicted high of -4. That’s spring in Alberta. Although we’ve lost most of the accumulated ‘winter’ snow and the grass had started to green up, you cannot depend on the spring weather in Alberta. Songs have been written about it, but as any long-term Alberta resident knows, nothing is safe (in terms of garden plants and highway conditions) until at least the third weekend in May (near the ‘official’ Queen’s [actually Vicky’s] birthday of May 24).

Of course, even long-term residents tend to jump the gun, assuming the good weather we had over the last few weeks meant that winter had really left. Snow tires are taken off vehicles, garden plants are started (some even planted in gardens); but then old momma nature catches you, and decides you need to learn a lesson–Bam!

But that’s what I like about Alberta. She beckons you with one hand, but look out for that other one behind her back, the one with the switch. Yes, snow tires stay on vehicles at least until May, and gardens don’t go in (except for root crops like potatoes) until June. There’s a reason poplar trees don’t leaf out too early.

So, what’s wrong with that?



About Don Meredith

I am a writer and biologist living in Alberta, Canada. I wrote a monthly column for the Alberta Outdoorsmen magazine, and have published articles for several other magazines.
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