The dance of the seasons can be intense. As a person whose life and livelihood is so intertwined with these rhythms, the seasonal shift can sometimes feel more like a wild roller coaster ride than a gradual transition. (This year I think the fella running the roller coaster has fallen into a deep sleep and my best option is to hang on tight and enjoy the ride!) Each spring on the farm, we take note of cold snaps that seem to arrive in concert with the flowering of a particular plant. It’s a phenomenon the old-timers around here will mention, too, if you’ve got the ear to listen. You’ll hear of “redbud winters” and “blackberry winters”. And right now, as the dogwoods are just coming into bloom and we are experiencing another round of cold weather, “dogwood winter” is at our doorstep. A few days ago Eric commented on the fact that his day began fully laden with the burden of winter gear: coveralls, hat, coat – the whole nine yards. By mid-morning, the day had shifted into spring; hat and coat discarded in a heap. And by midday, we felt as if summer had arrived as we sported our t-shirts and bare feet. In the span of a few hours, if I’m not mistaken, we saw the temperature shift from below the freezing point to nearly eighty degrees. Practically a fifty degree difference! Today, however, we were back in our coveralls all day long. The (hair) sheep don’t really seem to mind a bit more cold weather. They have not yet shed their thick winter coats and with their bulging pregnant bellies, dogwood winter feels just right! This year’s dogwood winter brings with it freeze advisories for the early morning hours tomorrow. We aren’t too concerned for the crops we have in the garden so far, as most of them are fairly cold hardy. But our strawberry patch is blooming prolifically, and a freeze there doesn’t excite us very much. So today, we took precautions with our strawberry plants and covered them with row cover to hopefully help protect their tender blossoms. But we don’t have a way to cover the apple trees which are in full bloom now, too, so we can only hope for the best. That’s just the way it goes. Winter may still be sticking it’s foot in spring’s front door, and we may eat a few less strawberries and apples this season, but the wild roller coaster ride I’m on right now is just beautiful.