Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: March winding down, Irish Fest over…time for Spring!


I was looking at some old columns for ideas and discovered that on March 21, 2012 it was 86 degrees.
That has to be a typo, because I don’t remember it ever being that warm in the middle of March.
According to the National Weather Service (I checked) it ready did happen. They said, “The historic heat wave during the middle of March has now set one more record by making March 2012 the warmest March ever in Southeast Michigan. Not only did all three climate sites break this record, they broke it by almost three degrees! This means that for all three climate sites, (Detroit/Pontiac, Flint and MBS), March 2012 will go in the record books as not only the warmest, but also as having broken the highest March temperature and breaking the record for consecutive days with highs above 60, 70 and 80 degrees
Unfortunately, that wasn’t this year…
It’s nowhere near that warm around here so far in March 2023, although we have been enjoying some beautiful sunshine and temperatures climbing into the 40s some days – except for the Irish Festival of course. Out here in “Little Chicago,” however, the wind is still howling most every day, regardless of the temperature.
With Mother Nature’s last blast last Friday, maybe that will be the end of it for this year. I guess we can always hope…
It may be cool yet, but it definitely feels a bit like spring out there.
To see the signs of spring, all you really have to do is look around outside.
The robins are back in force, the grass is turning a little green here and there and some of the trees and the bushes along the roads are showing a few tiny buds already. No flowers peeking up yet, but I’ll bet there might be a few flowers growing in town already.
Of course, the robins are back and looking for worms and most of the birds that winter down south are showing up again at the feeders. It’s a festival out there every day for our feathered friends.
One sure sign of spring that I really miss since we no longer live along the river, is when the turtles are on the move again. Around this time of year, they would be spotted along the road and crossing our yard to lay eggs in our little woods just west of the house. In years past Lisa’s girls and I have stopped a few times to help them cross the road. Have you ever herded a turtle?
For years we had a snapper who liked our woods as a nesting site and there was a big box turtle who has been coming to those same woods for years.
One year we had turtles laying eggs all along the river bank, more than I had ever seen before.
When the grass started growing, the eggs would begin to hatch. Jack had to be extra careful when he started mowing again because the babies would head for the river as soon as they left their eggs.
Those little woods were the home of a lot of wildlife. We had a small herd of deer that like to spend part of their days hiding out in there. One year, it was the hideout for a tiny spotted fawn.
There’s a spring in the woods so part of the area was wet for the turtles and, in some places, dry for the other wildlife babies. Multitudes of birds nested in the trees, and usually there were raccoons and sometimes even a skunk or two who would take up residence out there.
Another spring sign on the Tobacco was when the mallards paired up, always couples looking for the perfect nesting site.
Those days are gone forever. Last time we were down Washington Road, the old place didn’t look the same. Most of the woods were gone, so the new owners probably don’t see the wildlife like we did when we lived out there.
Marvelous Muddy March sometimes seems to last even longer than February when you are anxiously waiting for warmer weather again, but the middle of the month is pretty special.
Last weekend was loads of fun as I got to, with Jack’s help, take a few pictures for this week’s paper (don’t miss the Irish Festival highlights in this issue).

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