Another Long, Slow Oregon Spring … Again?

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As spring begins to unfold in our Oregon neck of the woods, I feel a little like I’m Charlie Brown playing baseball with Lucy again. Every year – whether I recall my habitual error or not – I make the same misjudgment about the Oregon spring! I’m doing it right now – I’m sitting here telling the world how dumb I am when it comes to knowing when it will finally be spring-like here, and yet part of me is shouting, “YEAH, BUT THIS YEAR IT’LL BE DIFFERENT!”

Nope – it’s never different. Spring in Oregon is a loooooooog, sloooooooow, process. I’ve proven this in any number of ways, aside from simply observing the conditions – and one of the most telling is the measurement of the ground temperature. No matter what’s happening each daytime, if the temperature at night remains cold, as is common in an Oregon spring, the temperature of the ground will remain under 60 degrees – and the tomatoes will simply refuse to grow. Want to take a wild guess as to the average date each year when the ground temperature reaches 60 degrees? Would you believe usually sometime after the first week in June?

I grew up in the Northeast, and I swear I remember how spring would arrive there – unless my memory is just completely messed up, my recollection is that one day it’d be cold and nasty, and the next day, spring would be there! No long, slow emergence, just BAM! Spring! But – I’ll give ground here – this could be the warped, unconscious mind of youth at work here too. Too long ago for me to worry over – But … it’s there just the same.

I think another problem for us here in Oregon is that winter is not really cold and nasty – it’s more like two weeks of rain, clouds, and moderate temperatures, followed by 3 days of sun and warm temps, followed by two weeks of gloomy clouds, threats of rain, and moderate temps again. This is how winter goes. It’s not like spring arrives to break the long, cold winter spell – it’s more like the temperature rises an average of a degree or so each week, and otherwise, the weather doesn’t change until sometime in mid June, when the rain just stops for the next four months.

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Actually, this roll-out of spring in Oregon doesn’t really bother me – maybe in an amusing sort of way – but not really much else. But what does bother me is that it’s not very good for many of our common fruiting trees. First off, most fruit trees need a goodly amount of cold (temps under 40 degrees) in order to set fruit come spring (whenever that is) – and I’m sure that one reason why some of my trees don’t fruit well is that they simply don’t get the needed cold. But even worse is the periodic warm spells during our winters – this can prove deadly for the fruit trees!

I’m sure that somewhere inside every fruit tree is a brain of sorts that tells it when it’s time to start developing buds and leaves – and in my general ignorance, I’ll assume that periods of warm weather may well trigger this reaction. Seems logical – right? Well, if that’s true, then this year would have been trouble for those trees, because we had at least 3, maybe 4 distinct periods of a week or more of warm, sunny weather in the middle of our supposed winter. How’s a tree to know?img_ok1647

As I walked around the yard yesterday, I noticed some encouraging things – buds that appeared beautiful, plump, and ready to burst forth. But I also noticed some strange behavior too. Cherries are supposed to be early, and I didn’t see much evidence of bud development yesterday. Not much from apples either, but they’re late bloomers. The pears where a surprise – they seemed much ahead of last year, and interestingly, the pears that bloomed first last year are not showing much of anything yet this year. Strange.

I guess time will tell – I think I’ll let nature and the weather work out their differences – and I’ll try to just be a good observer.

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About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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7 Responses to Another Long, Slow Oregon Spring … Again?

  1. thetravelingpickle says:

    I absolutely love the spring time and I think you are definitely right about the northeast, spring just pops up one day! Here in the northeast we have had many teases but no actual consistent spring weather.. sadly only a few 60 degree days here or there. Be glad you are in Oregon where spring is beginning because New York is most certainly in winter! Thank you for the welcome and the tips about blogging.

  2. Marty Magee says:

    I remember going there in the summer to visit when we still lived in New Mexico. I brought shorts–no long pants. Then, I decided I wanted to pick berries since we couldn’t do that in Albuquerque. I borrowed my then skinny brother’s pants and cinched them up. He also lent me a jacket I pulled the arms up on.

    I didn’t tell you this part–I was picking berries for money–just so I could say I’d done it. After working (or mostly keeping my pants up) all day, I made $7.

    We’ve since moved to Oregon, left twice for California for work reasons, and are now trying to retire there by our daughter, who stayed put.

    I like your blog–and the beautiful Oregon pictures. It’s a great part of God’s creation.

  3. drfugawe says:

    pickle (Ha, I love it!) and marty,
    Thanks for visiting and commenting – nasty day today – I guess we’re having winter again.

  4. Marty Magee says:

    I talked to may daughter in Salem. She said the rain was coming down. Sunny here in Fresno. We ate lunch on the sun porch. Every place has its beauty.

  5. drfugawe says:

    marty,
    Our good days will come – enjoy your beautiful spring!
    john

  6. melanie says:

    north florida skipped spring again this year, and it was 87 this weekend. please bear in mind that it was below 30 a few weeks ago, but nevermind. i saw something this weekend that i have never seen before in my 34 years of living here. i was in a park full of oak trees (huge pollen producers) and there was a large bbq pit fired up. when the wind would blow the pollen would attach itself to the smoke and create a huge cloud of yellow pollen-smoke that you couldn’t see through. it was similar to the pictures you see of dust storms in the desert. crazy. needless to say, i was covered in yellow. we all looked jaundiced by the end of the day but being covered in pollen is apparently a good sunscreen–no burn.

    i’m an optimist. and a claritin purchaser.

  7. drfugawe says:

    Hey! – I was watching a program the other night that was saying that 50 million years ago they think that tree pollen, smoke, and sea water came together to create mammalian life! Really! I hope you didn’t go swimming that day, cause if you did, you may be pregnant.

    Ha!

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