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The hope for snow a recurring theme

The juxtaposition of the holiday season always messes with me – we speed up to reach the goal of slowing down. We rush to buy presents, wrap and/or mail those presents, decorate the house, make travel plans, create menus, and on and on and on. It is stressful, to say the least, and I try to find any excuse to not wrap (and sometimes even buy) anything.

Beth tends to shoulder the majority of that load – she is still a “believer” – but we all feel a bit of that pressure. The kids, from middle school, through high school and into college, are also getting ready for finals and final projects; the end of the calendar year typically equates to making sure we meet our budgetary and reporting requirements; and then we all face the stressors – or expectations – of presents and gifts, and the (rising) costs associated with them.

It all culminates with a Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) morning of smiles, coffee, sleepy eyes, cold toes and dogs with squeaky toys. And more coffee. All that stress, and potential debt, seems worth it at that moment, and for now, the process feels good. That warm feeling of having the whole family home, and to have that time off work and school, or maybe an opportunity to travel and see those you haven’t, or couldn’t, see for years.

What is on my wish list, you ask? Even if you did not ask, I am going to tell you, otherwise this would be an awkwardly short article.

As I perused past December articles, I seem to stick with a common thread: the hope for snow. The climate appears to have shifted from the white Christmas of old to a more “brownish” one. Growing up in Durango, I tend to remember snow on the ground as we forged for what seemed like miles upon miles of Christmas tree hunting. I remember snow-related toys under the tree, including those moon boots I scored back in ’79. And while my memory can sometimes be a bit hazy, I am betting my mom has photo documentation to back my assumptions up.

All of us who have some sort of association with plants – be it gardeners, farmers, ranchers, landowners – profit from winter moisture. From the snowpack at higher elevations that fill our rivers and streams in the early summer, to the slow release of moisture on the fields and yards that start their life cycles without the stress of a moisture deficit. Even a layer of snow on our compost pile, or our garden and vegetable beds, is a great benefit to their success the next growing season.

If the snow doesn’t fall in the next couple of weeks, think about watering your trees and shrubs. Pulling out hoses in the winter is a serious pain, but your plants – especially those that you recently put in – will greatly appreciate it. Remember: Water only when air temperature is above 40 degrees, the ground is not frozen and there is no snow; apply the water slowly during the heat of the day; and in general, apply about 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter measure 6 inches above the soil.

Happy holidays to you all. I am truly thankful for your kind words, suggestions for article ideas, and the occasional pat on the back and appreciation of my “dad humor.” Over the past 15 years I have written about 225 articles and I have enjoyed writing (almost) all of them! Except for that one about grasshoppers. I hate grasshoppers.

Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at darrin.parmenter@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6464.