Was outside cleaning out the beds, and when I was cutting back the peony foliage noticed the red spear tips for next year poking through already. I don't mean I went digging for them -- I mean they were poking through the soil surface already. That's crazy! I wonder if that gives us any clues as to what sort of winter it will be. I also noted in passing that buds of trees and shrubs look like they're fattening up already -- a couple months ahead of schedule, I don't recall ever noticing them fattening up before winter even sets in.