Sunday, 25 April 2010

Melt, can't you?

Rice husks help to melt the snow on a rice field

Nobody understands the weather any more. After one of the snowier winters in recent years, spring was late, and has had several false starts. These were ended by great dumps of the white stuff, sufficient to bring the ploughs out. 

Dazed insects confused by the household heat flew heavily out into the white in search of flowers. 

People were starting to sniff the warmer air behind the clouds, looking out of windows, or standing by allotments with arms folded, appraising the melt. Would they be able to plant any time soon? After months inside, they were itching to be at it, and had to be satisfied with tidying and picking at the edges uncovered by the sun. To help it along, they spread rice husks, ashes, vegetable leaves and peelings on the snow. Anything that is darker will warm more quickly and speed things up. The very keen could not resist breaking up the snow with spades, and even using machines to chop it up and spray it to one side. The growing season is six or eight weeks shorter than elsewhere, and this year it is going to be late starting. But everyone is on the starting blocks, and everything green is ready to leap at the solar signal.


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