It is with some relief that I read the weather forecast indicating that we just have to survive one more day of cold weather before some warmth descends upon the Crystal Coast this weekend. This morning I got up and checked the window thermometer only to do a double take at the twenty four degrees Fahrenheit that it registered. I have only seen it that cold on the coast a few times in my three winters. It is little comfort to know that London, England recently got several inches of snow, and several spots in the United States barely made it into double digits for their highs today. Cold temperatures into the thirties penetrated well down into Florida, and even along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi there were temperatures in the twenties. This is obviously a siege of cold weather that will long be remembered. Tonight just before midnight, we are already down to twenty two degrees Fahrenheit. It would not be a good night for one of the ducks to fall asleep in the water.It is times like this, that training as a Canadian becomes very valuable. When February rolled around in the north, one of the first things that we started doing was reading seed catalogues and dreaming of our vegetable gardens.
That is a whole lot easier to do in North Carolina than it is in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. We were lucky to get our gardens in the ground by mid June in Canada. Here on the Carolina coast, we are usually enjoying the first fruits of our gardens by then.
In fact just tonight I was thinking about my tomato plants which will need to be in the ground in less than eight weeks in order to be competitive in our annual great tomato race. Last year I won the contest with a ripe tomato on June 1.
If June 1 tomatoes are not enough to take your mind off of our cold temperatures, you can focus on guessing when we will see the first ripe strawberries this year. Last year they were ripe before the end of March. In 2007 the berries were ripe on April 14.
I am betting on a quick warm up in March so I think April 2 would be a great day for a taste of fresh strawberries.
While strawberries and tomatoes can get me thinking about warmer temperatures, thoughts of fishing and boating can certainly bring back pleasant memories of sunny, warm summer days on the sound. Since this is an extraordinary winter, I may be forced to take some exceptional measures such as going fishing this weekend if the temperature and winds cooperate.
Last year my first fish of the season was caught April 21. I know that I can do better than that this year. Perhaps a little pan fried fresh flounder from one of the local markets would create even more motivation to get out on the water early this year. Flounder is very easy to cook and cannot be beat fresh from our local waters.
Now that I have forgotten about the cold temperatures, I wonder when I will first get into the ocean this year. In 2007 we had friends from Boston go wading in the ocean on April 23. Compared to the foot of snow they left behind, we were like a tropical paradise.
Last year my first dip in the ocean was June 3. It was not long after that in June when I declared it a perfect beach day.