The weather has bounced back really cold. We had 23° on the porch this morning, and we had some pretty strong snow flurries yesterday, during the day. It’s a bit odd, with the forsythia blooming, the daffodils up, and the redbuds starting to come. It isn’t unusual to have a cold snap up until a week or so after Easter, but this is the coldest one I can remember in some time.
This Saturday morning, March 29, there is a Hemlock Help Clinic at the Union County Public Library. The program from 10:00-11:00 will focus on self-help for homeowners – identifying the problem, reliable and inexpensive self-treatment, and identifying qualified professionals. (If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it hundreds of times: “It’s cheaper to treat them than to cut them down, and if they aren’t treated, they definitely will die.” The first indication of the disease is the white stuff on your hemlock trees.) This will be followed by a more in-depth facilitator training from 11:00-2:00. Both programs are free and open to the public, but you are asked to register for the facilitator training so that enough materials can be made available. To register for the facilitator training only, call Donna Sherer at 706.429.8010.
The same program – but starting at 9:00 – repeats at Young Harris College, Goolsby Classroom Building #109 on the following Saturday morning, April 5th. Again, please register for the facilitator training only.
I’m told that the next tasting event at the Grumpy Old Men Brewery is Saturday afternoon, April 5. That’s at the far end of East Main Street, next to the old June Walker Chevy, and not too far from the high school.
I made a few mistakes in my last column, which I’ve corrected. The name of the band I heard was Battlefield Collective, and the people at the Fightingtown Tavern tell me that they aren’t open on Monday at this point in the season.
Turkey season started last Saturday. The report I had was that there was some cackling from the hens, but no gobbling, which means that it’s still a bit early for the mating season. I haven’t heard any turkey talk myself, and I usually do when the rut begins. Remember that if you are out in the woods and you hear turkey, owl, or crow calls, that they may well be being made by a turkey hunter. Especially if they sound real bogus. It is a good idea not to wear purple. Most turkey hunting happens in the early morning hours, or at least before noon. The presence of pickup trucks not plastered with hiker stickers is another indication that people may be hunting turkey nearby.
Trout season opens this Saturday. That’s a “permanent” opening day, the last Saturday in March. In my mind, it still signals the start of the traditional mountain season, although the old tradition of having a huge party the night before seems to have faded in light of the fact that a lot of our good streams are open year round. A lot of people have some dubiously nostalgic memories of a cabin full of revelers the night before opening day, all of them hoping that it rains and the creeks get stained, so they won’t have to drag themselves out of bed and into the creek.