The editor's wishful thinking.

I know it is going to be cold and icky the day you read this, but hey, I say spring has sprung! Did you see, and smell, all the nightcrawlers Tuesday morning? That’s a sure sign of spring.

My tulips are up quite a bit and the rhubarb is peeking through the mud. I am kind of concerned that the tulips will get nipped in the next few days. I guess I’ll find out if it is true that tulips are tough.

I’ve been driving by the lake a lot lately because I wanted to take a picture when the ice was gone. I figured it would be an early ice out date (and I thought I didn’t have enough news for the front page.) A friend who lives on the lake called Tuesday morning to tell me it opened up overnight. Kip took the picture and then it didn’t even make the front page.

Steve Lingen, the parks director, was in the office the other day and I asked him if he knew past ice out dates. He told me Ron Zinniel had a list that was started by Ron’s dad, Joe. Ron told me Joe started recording ice out dates in 1988. That year the lake opened up on March 1. We figured that early date was what made Joe start the list. Joe kept the list up until 2005 when the ice left the lake on April 1. Ron started recording the dates again in 2008, so he is missing two years.

If anybody has a list that goes back farther than 1988 feel free to share it with me. I like to listen to naturalist Jim Gilbert on WCCO radio on Sunday mornings and he used to report on ice in and ice out dates all the time. It seems to me he was sending them to a researcher in upstate New York. I don’t hear him mention the topic as much the last few years, but he got me interested. He would ask people to send him the dates for lakes around the state. One time I heard Gilbert say (young) Joe Piehl reported on Sleepy Eye Lake.

I’ve been seeing and hearing robins, our spring harbinger. I spotted one sitting on a branch near a window in our sunroom the other day. I hope he isn’t the same guy that repeatedly flung himself at the window last spring.

I know we can still get snow, and there is nothing more heartbreaking than April snow when you thought you could go to a high school ball game, but I’m predicting the end is near. I peeked at the long range forecast and it looks like a mild Easter weekend is coming our way. Good news for the Easter Egg Hunt.

Two more sure signs of spring are the end of the basketball season and St. Mary’s musical. We get to celebrate the end of the basketball season in the best possible way this winter. Best wishes to the Sleepy Eye Indians girls basketball team as they head to the state tournament. And, best wishes to the cast of Lucky Stiff as they present their production this weekend.

Guess what? Starting on St. Patrick’s Day the daylight hours are longer than the nights. Happy spring!