Spring planting crowd is anxious|
|McDougal Farms northwest of Antigo, an innovative family business relying on the whims of Mother Nature for its customers, was a very pleasant place this weekend.|
After one of the most brutal winter seasons on record, and a cold, windy and snowy spring, an open house at the McDougal site on Bluebell Road in the town of Neva drew a big crowd. Customers selected flowers, hanging baskets, herbs and plenty more in greenhouses carefully situated near the McDougal residence.
It offered a cure for some of that Mother Nature misery.
“For the most part, our customers have been pretty upbeat,” Maydene McDougal said, “considering they were showing up in their winter coats.”
This year the averages for May have often failed to reach their mark.
For example, the average high today is 65, which may be met, and the average high to cap the month in Antigo is 69.
McDougal said when the people wearing those heavy coats came into the warm and bright greenhouse, it was like someone arrived at an oasis in the midst of a desert.
“You can just see the change in moods,” she said, “being around live and growing green plants really helps.”
She explained the McDougal operations have had “challenges” this year with the cold temperatures.
“Our plants didn’t seem to notice the difference, so they just kept growing,” she said.
The McDougal greenhouses were full, although a bit depleted from the weekend open house traffic. But the growing continues and the facilities are ready for a brisk late spring and early summer rush.
Maydene’s husband Jerry, a key part of the operation, is a little worried that as the growing continues and space is running short.
Some of those pressures may be lifted this week. With weather forecasts for temperatures in the 70s, for the first time since the fall of 2013, the McDougals are hopeful and confident it will be a great spring and an excellent summer for their operations and all of the people who purchased flowers and plants.
“We are just going to keep plowing forward like spring is really going to happen this year,” McDougal said.
“We get our honey bees on Tuesday and the baby chicks have already arrived,” she said, “we are just waiting for the heralds of spring, the lilacs.”
On Sunday afternoon there were no lilacs yet as sprinkles of rain fell and the winds were kicking up. But it was obvious the “oasis” comment is a reality.
Everyone at McDougals was smiling.
Jerry and Maydene McDougal were working in one of the greenhouses on Sunday afternoon.
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