This past weekend was a sweet taste of what will be coming our way in a few months — the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of spring.

While I’ve often lamented this winter’s lack of cold weather, and — ahem — snow, I have to admit, the weather was blissful.

I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that my body was tricked into thinking spring had already sprung. There’s a reason people perform the annual ritual of spring cleaning. It’s just a natural instinct.

It’s safe to say, though, that maybe it only affects a certain percentage of the population because I’m pretty sure my husband has never felt the urge to clean much of anything, no matter the season. Lucky for him, though, he’s got me.

I caught the spring cleaning bug big-time during the warm spell and spent several hours clearing out my garage, sweeping out the nooks and crannies and putting everything back in order.

Later in the day, the kids and I took a long golf cart ride around our new neighborhood. Regular readers of this column will remember how much my father enjoyed taking his dogs for golf cart rides at Lake Anna. I’m sure he’d be pleased to know we’re keeping the tradition alive with our dog, Scout, and the kids.

We had the windshield down, sunglasses on and wind whipping our hair. It felt almost like summertime.

We noticed a lot of slips were empty at the marinas near our home and several empty cars in the parking lots. I hope this means that plenty of folks were out boating on Sunday.

Keep in mind that even when air temperatures feel warm, the water is still ice cold. It’s important to wear life jackets no matter the time of year, but it’s especially important during the winter months when just minutes in the water can kill.

While the warm temperatures were a nice respite from the otherwise dull and gloomy rain we’ve been experiencing in Southern Maryland during much of the cold season, I’m still praying for some snow.

There will be plenty of time for taking golf cart rides this summer, but just a short few weeks’ window for having a snowball fight.

Park Quest coming in April

Here’s something to look forward to during the warmer months, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources just announced that registration for Park Quest 2020 will open April 2 starting at 10 a.m.

I highly suggest you write this date on your calendar now or put an alert on your phone to remind you because the spaces fill very quickly.

Park Quest is designed to get the whole family outdoors to explore and appreciate Maryland state parks. This year’s theme is “Hiking Through History — Discovering the Past and Exploring the Present.”

Teams consist of at least one adult and one minor 16 years old or younger; there is a limit of 10 people per team.

The goal of Park Quest is for teams to visit as many of the designated parks as possible and complete assigned tasks such as puzzles, hikes and scavenger hunts. The activities are designed to take about two hours to complete.

For families with older children or teens who are looking for more of a challenge, bonus quests are available at some sites. These optional bonus quests are more strenuous and take additional time to complete.

Teams that complete a minimum number of activities will be entered into a drawing for prizes at the conclusion of Park Quest.

Only teams that register online will get a Park Quest Passport that entitles them to be entered for prizes. The cost of registration is $10. Families who miss the Park Quest registration can still participate in the activities, but they won’t be able to get a passport or be entered for prizes.

Quest materials will be available on the DNR website for the duration of the program, May 1 through Oct. 31. Each park name will link to a detailed description of the quest, including downloadable materials.

For more information, go to https://dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest/Pages/Home.aspx for the Park Quest homepage. You will find links to the rules, frequently asked questions and a liability waiver that must be agreed to when registering.

Winter turkey season is upon us

Winter turkey season season was established in 2015 to provide hunters with an additional hunting opportunity that would not conflict with the other hunting seasons. This year’s winter turkey hunt will take place statewide from Jan. 23 to 25.

Last year, 73 wild turkeys were harvested during this three-day season. In 2018, the number was 87 birds.

While the wild turkey population was almost non-existent just a few decades ago, an extensive program to trap and relocate wild flocks has been exceptionally successful, a true feather-in-the-cap accomplishment for DNR’s wildlife managers.

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t see a few wild gobblers somewhere in St. Mary’s County.

While the success of the hunt can be affected by many variables, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant number of turkeys harvested this year.