Spring is here. The mud is officially gone (in 95 percent of The Valley) and yards are drying up. It's time to rake and haul last fall's leaves and dead grass into the compost. It's time to clean up the yard and get the garden ready for planting while we wait for Vermont's most elusive season.

Foragers can get down to the river and along the steep hillsides in search of wild ramps and that spring delicacy, the fiddlehead.

Our two nurseries are open and stocked with beautiful flowers and plants plus hanging baskets, wind chimes and other items to help you enjoy being outside.

Although the temps are still dropping down toward freezing at night, most days now you can leave your down or fleece vest at home and venture out in only two layers. Brave souls have already been seen wearing sandals and shorts. The rest of us are putting our winter and mud boots and skis and hats and mittens back in storage for a while.

It's almost time to start bringing your seedlings out during the day to harden them off and you can order up some compost or a rototiller. It's time to put the screens back on – preferably after washing the windows, but it's not mandatory.

Soon the black flies will be here, and just as soon the river will be swimmable for the bravest. For everyone else, the river will be swimmable mid-June depending on the weather.

Riverside Park in Warren will teem with dogs chasing sticks and balls and each other. The Lareau Swimhole will attract legions – undulating berms notwithstanding. Warren Falls – where the feds have not yet completed the new parking lot – will be open soon. Friends of the Mad River will commence their river monitoring program.

Rejoice! We made it through a really long and very, very cold winter. Go outside and play without wearing layers. Plant things, grow them, eat them.

And speaking of green, huge thanks to all the magic elves that "Greened Up" our Valley last week and into this week. It was a mess and it looks much better now.