Degrees, that is. that's the first time over freezing since Christmas time. I went out in the sunshine, with a shovel and cleaned off the steps and the walkway. Such a treat to see the packed snow peel up on the shovel, and the steps and bricks reappear. We have not been able to keep the walk bare- too much snow, and no place to put it, really. With a little above-freezing weather, the top of the snow crust melts a little and slumps, so that what was 27 inches is more like 15. And, you can finally see what slobs the birds are! Under the feeders, the seed hulls and chaff are appearing out of the snow. The dog wants to stay outside. She curls up on the snowbank by the door, and snoozes with her nose in her tail. It's quiet outside, but a very alive quiet. I shoveled out the end of the driveway, where the plow has shoved the road-scraped packed snow and ice. It is heavy work, but I went at it slowly, stopping and leaning on my shovel and giving a neighborly wave when any car passed.
Inside, I watered all the plants. Great news! The Amarylis is preparing to bloom! The flower bud has emerged from the bulb and is headed skyward. It's about 4 inches tall this morning. It will be 8 inches tall tomorrow. The amarylis is another of my houseplants with birthdays, though she is only 5 years old. She was a marked-down-to-50-cents after-Christmas purchase in 2003. I brought her home, where she bloomed in February. Then, I put the pot outside under the lilac branches, and forgot her. In the fall, I noticed the bulb was showing good green color under the brown husk, so I repotted her and brought her in. She bloomed in February again. I have repotted her annually since, though I have not really put her in a bigger pot. She bloomed twice in 2007, and once in 2008. Each time she blooms, she gives me 4 or 5 big blossoms. I have no idea how long this can go on. Does the bulb ever divide? And who cares? Come February the first, there will be big red blooms in a south window, looking out over the snow. I can never repay her.