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The Four Seasons of North Florida

November 1, 2014.  Snow hit Northeast Tennessee before it hit Downeast Maine.  I don't live in either of these locations now.  I miss it this time of year- when the snow is fun.  After Christmas, I'm rather sick of it and I'm thankful for an early spring.  The seasons in North Florida are different from any others.  There can still be some chilly nights, unlike central and south Florida.  But we still get the same amount (sometimes it feels like more) of love bugs.

Spring-time hits about middle to end of March.  It can still get kind of chilly at night, and it rains a lot.  It's a catch-22 because most of the risk of frost is gone, so you can plant crops outside.  However, the mass amount of rain that downpours, pretty much drowns them.  Or, in the case of this past spring, it packs the soil down so hard that it strangles the seedlings.  By April, the weather is gorgeous.  Everything is green and it's warm.  Warm.  Not hot, and not humid.  The days are getting longer and you want to be outside doing projects that you've put off all winter.

Then, by May, summertime hits.  We'll see a month or two of good weather.  Sunny and breezy, and still not too hot, but starting to get a little more humid.  The torrential downpours of spring have stopped.  Now, there's a drought and if you don't water your crops in the morning, it could be days before they see any water.  The sun is already hot enough to dry out the soil by midday.  Sometime between spring and summer, the love bugs hit.  Better not skip a weekend without washing your car that is just covered, because the toxins in the little guys' bodies can eat away at the paint.  But, there are no mosquitoes.

By the middle of summer, it's back to raining.  Not heavily, but steadily.  It was July 27, 2012 when we first moved to Tallahassee.  I referred to it as the armpit of Florida, because it was humid, wet, and gross ALL THE TIME.  You're, again, at risk of losing your crops to flooding.  You will have to mow the lawn about every 3 days, and if you miss a mowing due to the weather you might lose your small dog in the grass.  If you're on a plantation, you'll also have to keep an eye out for cotton mouth snakes, and be constantly terrorized by frogs and snakes, and bears that want to eat them.  Don't try to plan any trips to the beach because every day the weather will show that it's raining at some point.  The end of summer also means another round of car washing- the love bugs have returned in full force.

Early fall comes and the rain stops.  It's pretty much springtime again.  You only know it's fall due to the calendar.  If you're a local, this is the best time to go to the beach.  It's still warm enough (at least on the Gulf side) to play in the water, but all the summer tourists are gone.  The beginning of October will come, and your northern Facebook friends will be posting pictures of all the leaves changing.  Don't expect to see any of that.  Central and south Florida will carry on their extended summer, none the wiser. By the end of October, your lawn is pretty much dead.  There may have been a few nights that it's been cool enough to sleep with the windows open.  The mornings and evening will require a light jacket.  But if you try to put on a pair of those cute riding boots at 6 am, when you go to lunch at noon you will be sweating bullets and getting funny looks.  Most everybody winds up sick.  They say allergies (the golden rods or something are in bloom), I say that it's 40 degrees when I go to work, and it's 90 degrees when I go to lunch and my body doesn't know how to react.  Office air conditioners (at least mine) don't switch off when it's cold, so oftentimes you wind up going from 40s to 60s to 90s then back to 60s within an 8 hour day.

By winter, you can see that the underbrush in the rows of planted pine have died.  You may have even witnessed a few leaves going from green to... less green.  You'll see frost in the mornings, but never snow.  The threat of a winter "ice storm" shuts down the local universities.  But, it's 45 degrees outside.  So really, you're out of work for the day because it rained.  I think we've established, it does that a lot in Florida.  You'll see a lot of deer making appearances- which is fun unless you see them on the side of a 65-mile-per-hour road.  You may have to turn on the heat a couple of times.  Unless you sleep with 3 little heaters like I do.  The cold peaks in January-February and then it slowly starts the cycle back over again.

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