What a long, strange winter this has been. Warm, cold, warmer. Cold, warm, colder. I call it yo-yo winter, in the 70s one day, 40s the next, in a cycle that has repeated itself a couple of times a week for months. It’s a wonder we’re not all sick. Presently at the SC Botanical Gardens in Clemson, Oconee Bells are putting up a couple of tentative blooms, testing the weather, and at the southern end of Lake Jocassee the red maples have begun to bloom. It’s the front end of February, for heaven’s sake. I can’t tell whether it’s spring, or winter, or an extremely extended Indian summer. Hey! Maybe it’s an alternative winter! Whatever we want to call it, I need to remind the weather gods that I need an extended period of down coat, woolen socks, beanie cap weather to properly prepare for the approach of longer days. The daffodils might be ready for spring, but not this girl. Not yet.