Changing months

A few months ago, I wrote about the appeal of living in a four-season spot such as the Hudson Valley. I explained that things like the imminent baseball season and the awakening yard were pleasant evidence of the transition from winter to spring, and suggested that each season brings its own welcome change.

Then came this sweltering summer, with the second hottest July ever flipping over to an August that is already continuing that trend. It would seem more effort is needed to find the appeal of this season. Or maybe not: As I was looking at an August schedule, the iPod shuffled to Tom Waits’ “Broken Bicycles”, and the line “September's reminding July/It's time to be saying goodbye” caught me, launching me into this post.

We’re in the dog days of summer for sure, but then again NFL training camps are open! Helmets are on, and two-a-days are taking place up in Albany (Go Big Blue!) and elsewhere. Plus, August means something else in the Hudson Valley. The month is bookended by the Ulster County Fair and the Dutchess County Fair. I’ll be having my first 4-H milk shake in nearly a year within the next 48 hours! August is good.

Just for kicks, I thought I would flip through the rest of the calendar to see if I could come up with a somewhat non-contrived list of what I look forward to each month.

September starts with the Columbia County Fair, the last one in the region that I hit. And, of course September means the start of the football season. Sure, it’s the home stretch of the baseball season, but Sundays will be spent in front of the TV watching football. All. Day. Long.

October makes me think apples (the locally grown apples are out at this time, and they’re the best), Mallomars (yes, the seasonal cookie and perhaps the most trivial thing all year long to which I look forward), open windows, and foliage. Oh yeah, and the World Series. And the football season being in full swing too. Sure, there is leaf raking, blowing, and mulching to be done, but I like October.

November brings the last yard cleanups and cranks up the holiday season. More importantly, the ski resorts start teasing their fans with constantly shifting opening day predictions, and the pretenders start to fall from the top of their NFL Divisions. And then there are those nuts: those big tubs of walnuts, filberts, Brazil nuts, and pecans--a staple of mine until they disappear in the late winter. No, November is not so bad.

December will find me readying for Christmas and keeping an eye on the ski reports. If I am good, the snow thrower will be ready. If the gods are good, the Giants will be in the thick of things.

January makes me think citrus fruits (there are no better oranges than the ones available in January), playoff football, and skiing. The bustle of the holidays wanes quickly after New Years, and that’s fine with me. All that’s left to do is ski and watch the playoffs. And, the NFL has this figured out just right: A late afternoon and evening game on Saturday allows time for local skiing in the morning, and then Sundays are spent watching football. Perfect.

February has that one last football game. Further, every four years, we are treated to what gave me the impetus to start this blog (the Winter Olympics). When the football season ends, ski season goes into full swing. Some get excited about pitchers and catchers, but not me. I can wait for baseball.

March is a tough month, and really can be something different each year. This year, winter stayed late. I made good use of a season ski pass I bought early in 09. Other years, it means yard cleanup, and getting ready for spring.

April is the real start of outdoor work and the stuff I’ve written about before: the blossoming yard, the awakening lawn, and the start of the long baseball season.

May likewise means grass growing fast and furious, more and more of the yard lit up in color, and the trees filled in. Then there is Memorial Day at the end of the month, a special holiday and also the topic of a previous post.

June signifies the arrival of summer, which in turn means vacations and the beach. I looked forward to June more when I lived on Long Island, but the beach is not nearly so close as it was back then...

July means, well, see June. And pump the temperature up about 20 degrees. It was a 31-day beating of sticky 90-degree weather in these parts. So, yes, I’m kind of happy to see it gone, and looking forward to the dog days of August for the reasons mentioned above.

That was an easy list to craft. I think I earned that 4-H shake…

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