Cheating ‘Old Man Winter’ with warmer temps


By Steve Hansen

Former QCS Managing Editor

We’ve been enjoying a few weeks of false spring in eastern New Mexico. It seems that in some ways, we’re acting like it’s really going to stay warm and pleasant.

We might be right. We’re in an El Nino year, and while some parts of the nation are colder and wetter, others are warmer and drier as predicted.

We got the right end of the phenomenon this year, it seems.

I’ve had my bicycle out more often than usual, and in short sleeves and shorts. I’ve been doing cooler weather cycling in jogging pants and a light jacket, but it doesn’t feel right without the breeze on your knees and elbows.

The hunger-inducing scent of barbecue has been hanging in the air in more places, too.

I’ve burned through a bag of briquettes in the past several weeks getting a head start on my ribeye technique.

Weeds and grasses, which always outflank my intended plantings, are already overgrown. I have spent some time weeding in hopes a killing frost will mean less weeding when the warm weather comes to stay. Tucumcari’s usual quiet has been punctuated by the drone of lawn equipment.

Some insects and spiders have also made early appearances in unexpected places. Wasps have been buzzing around. It seems to me that they’re slow, though, like people who find themselves awake for no reason at 2 a.m.

I uncovered a spider hole while weeding, and the resident arachnid stood at the entry, apparently curious about the intrusion. I’ve seen lots of spiders who have been fooled by the unseasonable warmth, though.

One of the prettiest sights has been a premature eruption of cherry blossoms. They usually provide the fanfare for early spring, but I think they’re ahead of themselves. I hope that doesn’t mean no cherry crop this year if winter weather returns.

This uncommon bout of spring weather, however, has been a welcome break from ice on the streets and scraping windshields. If it doesn’t last, at least we’ll know that we temporarily cheated the Old Man Winter, even as friends up north are still digging out.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

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