Listen To Punxsutawney Phil

Here in Oregon, we were one of the seventeen states of the U.S. that was not slammed by blustery, frigid, mid-winter blizzards. While other Americans have been digging their cars out of snowbanks and paying outrageous heating bills, we've been opening windows and planning the gardens. The mountain has lost most of its snow pack resulting in a very disappointing ski and snowboard season.

I'm not trying to gloat or anything. Though we are enjoying the spring-like temperatures and frost-free roads, residents here are always a bit on edge knowing that it is just too early to get settled into spring.

We want to whisper to the awakening  buds to pull up the covers and go back to sleep for a couple more weeks- we'll wait.  From experience we know that any day things could suddenly change- the temperatures could drop and we'll get buried with snow. Worse yet, the temperatures could just drop. And drop again.

So we are hesitant to embrace the temperatures of spring in the fear that as soon as we start pruning and raking and planting primroses, the North Wind will laugh boisterously and blast us for our folly.

We've lost plants to this fickle season many times such as roses and shrubs pruned too soon.  Fruit crops have been destroyed when the buds on the trees woke too early only to have winter suddenly return for one last hurrah. 

No matter what nature seems to be telling us we need to keep checking the calender. Yep. It's still winter.

With his thoughts turning to spring, Mr. Dirtywrench hauled load after load of black gold from the compost pile, aka the Pile O' Crap, to rejuvenate the raised beds before planting time.

Mr. D. is a keeper, doncha think?

But I won't get too excited about planting those seeds quite yet. According to the calender it's February. Winter.

Oh yeah! It's Valentine's Day.

That explains the semi-annual arts and crafts mess in my kitchen.

And the extra four hours I spent making special cookies for the shop customers instead of the standard chocolate chip and peanut butter.

These are Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Valentine Cookies modified for the cookie jar. Powdered sugar decorations would never hold up in a cookie jar so I drizzled them with white chocolate. I just want to say that the cookie dough, oh my, the cookie dough made for divine eating. And I try not to eat cookie dough as a rule. I never even ate a finished cookie to test because I ate too much of the dough. Delicious!

For the first time in recent historical memory, Mr. D. and I are going out to dinner on Valentine's Day. I think we may have gone out sometime in our early days but not since having kids (read in twenty-eight years) can I remember going out. Maybe that's just because having children has sucked all the brain cells out of my memory banks. Regardless, I usually cook because Valentine's Day falls just before pay day, that is, when we are dead broke. But this year we are breaking tradition and going out. May wonders never cease during this, our thirtieth year of marriage.

What are you doing for Valentine's Day?