I was just looking back at the rains, snowfalls, low-temps, high-temps for the Feb & March. We didn't see much sun. I grew up in California and in the Sierras. I'd been to Utah, Coloradoo, the midwest in winters and my memory was of extreme cold, squeaky snow, frozen fingers. I'd been plenty cold skiing and sledding as a kid in the Sierra, but out there, I didn't want to play outside. Someone who'd moved to Truckee from the east to ski told me years ago that the Sierra winter is 2-3 days of snowfall followed by a week of sunshine, and throughout my life, that been largely true, I just didn't know that it was unique. This winter did not feel that way. I recall shoveling, a lot. The crawl-spaces flooded. Trees bent, broken or up-rooted. I hate to admit that I didn't feel much like getting out and enjoying that white sh*t.
We did have some beautiful spring-like days in March, which is normal, followed by more and more winter, which is also normal. For folks that have moved here after spring 2011, this "spring" might seem unfair but I assure you it is by-far the norm.
From a gardening, landscaping and ecological perspective, the soils have been well insulated, are warm and many plants have been able to produce roots all winter long. Hardy seedlings are emerging beneath the melting snow and the ample soil moisture promises an amazing summer of wildflowers. I just walked along one well traveled road with five pounds of native wildflower seed mixed with Biosol. Like those bulbs and sunflowers on Glenshire Dr. that Katrin and I planted, I hope to see these for years to come.
Voles, who do not hibernate, have been eating and breeding all winter, well hidden from their normal predators. We're just starting to see what havoc they have wreaked.
I'm enjoying raking my lawn in narrow paths AS the snow melts, just a little, every couple of days and it is a very manageable job. We're expecting our first load of compost, including topper, in early April and I'll spread that around on the freshly raked turf. I have SO much pruning and clean-up to do. I'm trying to follow the snow-melt to stay on top of it. If you lost plants, we are very sorry. We did too and so did most folks. Snowshoing through the woods you can see that this was a harsh winter ALL around, MANY native trees and shrubs suffered damage as well.
The snow-plow loaders pushed piles and ramps of snow thirty feet into my yard and I've yet to see the tops of many plants while the rotary plows that came through on some very cold nights literally shattered my blue spruce. I've seen the same on native fir. These plants all have root systems to support them, plenty of moisture in the soil and a determination to live and grow. Plants may develop a little "character" that stays with them forever and we'll be able to look at the dog-leg in a tree 20 years from now and say - "Ah! That's from the winter or '16-17".