The Old Farmer says of the month of March (and I quote), “In like a sea lion, cold and wet with fishy breath. Rain to snow and snow to rain—di-si-do and back again!  This month can’t be trusted; the hinge of spring has rusted.”

Well, D’ya think?

Good Grief!  If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  The bit of doggerel above pretty much nails it, at least so far.  We have the vernal Ember Days –Wednesday, Friday, Saturday between the first and second Sundays in Lent, fine for prayer and fasting and ordination of clergy; we have the vernal equinox on March 20 (want to bet there’ll be some wild weather episode?), we’ve already had the “Spring forward, fall back”, if you’re into the difficulties of Julius Caesar, you might want to “Beware the ides of March” (Used to be the due date for federal taxes—cute—but we got a month reprieve), Quinquagesima (Look it up) is long gone.  Saint Patrick’s Day this year falls on Monday so you can lengthen your weekend on the back end and eliminate the Monday Blahs. That ground hog called it!  Let’s hope that he wasn’t just being kind when he called for six more weeks of winter.  We’re all getting a tad tired of this.

Except, maybe, the Morton Salt people.

Virtually every municipality, county and township in the state(And  nearly every other state east of the Mississippi) has run through its normal stash of road salt and is making urgent requests to the Ohio Department of Transportation and/or any other supplier they can think of—they’ll be sneaking into your pantry for those round blue boxes next.  Heaven only knows what they’re being forced to pay for these emergency supplies.  Some of the substances being used to replace the scarce NaCl are rather interesting too.  Sand and cinders and ashes are not that far out—gritty, right?  One company has come up with a volcanic rock thing they claim is gritty-er; Vesuvius on Interstate 70!  Beet juice molasses and  cheese brine(Let’s hear it for Wisconsin Cheeseheads)are another story.  Some town out to the west of us picked up a bargain batch of garlic salt from a spice  wholesaler that was ditching the stuff.  The whole town smells like an Italian restaurant.  Potash and urea (Don’t ask what THAT smells like!) are also being used.  Any port in a storm…and we’ve had plenty of those.

So, anyway….  The Morton Salt Girl turns one hundred this year and there are celebrations going on until deep into May—100 parties in 100 cities in 100 days.  Check out Facebook and Twitter and all that for details.  Or go to Chicago, to Wrigley Field, to Morton Salt Girl Day(

Morton Salt Company started out in Chicago in 1889 as Richmond & Company, agent for Onondaga Salt.  It was renamed Morton Salt in 1910 and incorporated magnesium carbonate, later calcium silicate to promote free-flowing, hence the slogan, “When It Rains, It Pours”.  The girl, herself, appeared in 1914 and hit the public prints in the October issue of Good Housekeeping.  She’s been redesigned a number of times—well, a girl’s GOT to get a few new threads once in a while, ditto for the changing coif and even the print on the box—and she’s getting the celebrity treatment again this year.  She also gets a new font for the  print of the company logo(fresh and friendly, the company calls it).  Pay particular attention to the “R” in the word “Morton”.

The packaging of the various products that the company produces : culinary salts– sea salt from the Costa Blanca in Spain, kosher salt, lite salt, garlic salt, roasted garlic sea salt. Iodized salt (developed to eliminate to occurrence of a thyroid deficiency of iodine resulting in a goiter), ice melters,  Epsom sals, water softeners, chemicals, pharmaceuticals—will be updated, simplified, with a special birthday graphic– collectors alert– just for 2014.

Morton Salt has even donated 250 lbs. of salt for use in a poured salt installation , titled “Floating Gardens”  created by Motoi Yamamoto at the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte, NC.  It is, or was, made from salt poured in a pattern not unlike a giant representation of an enormous cloud formation on the evening weather map.  We’ve seen a few of those.  Took him about a month, working about 10 hours a day, to create the work on the floor of the museum atrium.  Took the folks who came in to dismantle it about ten minutes to completely demolish it.  In Japanese culture, salt is often used to repel evil spirits and cleanse a venue for activities of many types.  No information on how the evil spirits affect the roadways.  We have our own take on that.

Let us close this lesson with two other quotes from The Old Farmer’s 2014 Almanac embedded in the information on the month of March:

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.  And…(my favorite)…

Be not a baker if your head be of butter.