Fortunately, I don't need a calendar to know that the official start of winter is just a week or so away. I'm a gardener! I can just step right out into my garden and know right away that it is winter.
I can tell it's winter because I have a blooming poinsettia in my sunroom.
I can tell it's winter because a squirrel has found my bird feeder. I caught him out there earlier today when I went out to scout for blooms for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. I've successfully battled rabbits and voles; I'm confident I can beat these squirrels, too.
I can tell it's winter because most days of the week, I don't see my garden in daylight. I leave for work in the dark and return home in the dark. That's why I had to scout for blooms today, two days before bloom day. And I found some by the way. Yes, outside. Blooms. Or rather "a bloom".
I can tell it's winter because I saw the first seed display of the new gardening season at the local big box hardware store today. I even checked a few seed packets to see what year they were for, just to make sure it wasn't a leftover display from last season. Seeing this seed display made me want to drop everything, rush home, and start looking through seed catalogs. But then I remembered that it is just starting to be winter, and I have inches of snow to shovel before spring.
I can tell it's winter because it was in the mid 40's today but last week it was only in the teens for some days. This is just the kind of see-saw winter weather we can have that results in all that freezing and thawing, which causes some plants to heave out of the soil.
I can tell it's winter because my hands are looking less like those of a gardener and more like those of someone who sits around reading books and seed catalogs.
I can tell it's winter because someone will ask me this week what to do about all those bulbs they bought and never planted this fall.
I can tell it's winter because it has been over two weeks since the last lawn mowing of the season and I won't get to mow the lawn again for at least three months or more.
I can tell it's winter because I'm writing posts like this one, that provide very little useful gardening information. I promise to try to do better, after bloom day. In fact, I may let Dr. Hortfreud write a post, or maybe leave the laptop on and see if the garden fairies have something to say while my back is turned.
I can tell it's winter... can you tell?