While on the theme of cataclysm, hoards of invading beetles, and the whole 2012 thing, I might as well end the month with climate change fears. Last week, the USDA updated its hardiness zone map for the US, and there were some significant surprises - yes, the government has spoken, and yes, it's warmer - just a little, almost everywhere. It does confirm that we are experiencing milder winters in most areas, especially in New England where I live, this January marks the 9th month in a row where our temperatures have averaged above normal, this month, by as much as 6 degrees.
It doesn't mean that we will be replanting our gardens with palm trees, but I have noticed that this is one winter where I have had something in bloom every month. Our snowdrops are in bloom right now, and the witch hazels are just opening, a good 3 months earlier than last year, but then again, last year our winter was the worst in recorded history, so who really knows what is happening?