I noticed our snow shovel had some cracks – the one time I used it this winter. So I visited our friendly Koeger’s Ace Hardware to get a backup shovel. Walking past Rite Aid, I noticed the store had summer lawn furniture out for sale! I’m doing my part to make it snow, like washing my car. But, really, buying lawn furniture? Not stooping that far! – Not Giving Up On Winter, Yet
Here we go. It’s the week of Snowdown, Durango’s annual celebration of winter. How could anyone possibly throw in the towel on winter?
Um. Action Line sees a lot of towels.
The latest is a photo from our steadfast friend Jack Turner, who glanced across the street earlier this month and saw on the neighbor’s sidewalk a snowblower with a For Sale sign.
A snowblower. For Sale. In mid-January.
“Should I start watering my lawn?” Jack asked sarcastically but quite somewhat absolutely seriously.
So Action Line called Darrin Parmenter, ace horticultural expert and local CSU Extension director for tips on defending one’s turf.
Darrin has written frequently over the years about watering in dry winters, including a column in early December 2017.
There have been only two small storms since it was published.
“You need to winter water when temps are above 40 or above,” he said. “We now have overnight single-digit and teen lows. So if your ground is frozen, even in the warmer afternoon, water will be shed away. Established lawns should be OK for now.”
The exception is newly installed sod, trees or shrubs on south-facing areas.
“These will have a tough time freezing and thawing and need water now,” he advised. “I fear we’re going to see a lot of plants not making it.”
With winter 2018 halfway over, it’s hard not be deeply cynical.
Not that cynicism is bad.
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist,” said the great comic philosopher George Carlin.
Nevertheless, snowless days keep piling up in the winter of our discontent.
A quick look at official snowpack data shows local river basins with a paltry 39 percent of “normal” snowpack.
Moreover, snowpack is only 22 percent of what we had at this time last year.
To read Darrin’s tips on winter watering, visit: https://preview.tinyurl.com/its-dry.To look at the snowpack chart, go here: https://tinyurl.com/dang-dry.But if you really want a downer, click to: https://tinyurl.com/really-dang-dry.It’s the National Weather Service’s three-month precipitation prediction, showing the region with a 33 to 40 percent probability for below-normal rain or snow.
OK. Enough of the nattering negativity. It’s Snowdown. Get out and enjoy it, snow or shine. Almost all Snowdown events are not snow-dependent.
As for Rite Aid’s patio furniture, Action Line sauntered into the store to investigate January sales of lounge chairs and patio tables.
“No one has bought any as far as I know,” the nice clerk said.
For once, Durango has shown an uncharacteristic sense of seasonality.
Either that, or folks were too busy getting ready for Snowdown.
But even Rite Aid isn’t really buying into the January summer shtick.
Cruise by the store and you’ll see the definition of a snow job.
Next to the warm-weather patio furniture, there’s a huge pallet of firewood for sale.
And you wonder where the Snowdown Follies gets its material.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you wonder why meteorologists don’t predict meteors.