Richmond, Va. White Christmas?

Ok, here we go. Defining a “White Christmas”. If you search for info on White Christmas anywhere, you will see a reduction in instances and your memory (and old Christmas pics). A white Christmas only counts if it actually snows on Christmas day. Snow on the ground on the 23rd say, extending thru Christmas, does not count as a White Christmas in the record books….. Last year, 2009, we had snow on the ground, but is not actually acclaimed as a White Christmas. This year….. Hate to say it, but I think we will have one. The low teens to mid 30’s weekly, and the weekly precip, will catch up with each other next weekend (12/18-19) like the dusting last weekend (which I also called on the 4th) and then for the next 3 weekends… I DID NOT want to say that… But it’s what I see, what my numbers say.. I also think it will warm up earlier this late winter/early spring… We’ll see. We can only hope.

Remember last year? Every week, we got it on the same days just about for like 5 weeks, then it started spreading out. The FA is saying milder this year, I say they got their pig spleens mixed up. I think they got Hawaii’s and Va.’s pigs confused.. La Nina has been getting bigger in the South Pacific all Summer, pushing that great heat we had around to us.. Now as the days get shorter, and the angle of the Sun gets less, that heat turns cold, the weekly Jet Stream stays constant, but dipping further south, the Arctic Dome has no confrontation, and it bursts like a balloon, dumping those nice teens into the lower South. As the Tropical Waves are still pushing off Africa, the precipitation coming out of the Western Gulf, traveling up through the Tennessee Valley, all it takes is for the Jet Stream to push down 400 miles more, and the storms are to the East of the Appalachians, and that, my friends, spells I.C.E for us………

Get to the grocery store NOW, get that snow shovel and ice melt NOW, get those limbs pruned away from the power lines NOW… 

I’m sorry, but I do love the heat. I was lovin’ the 90’s and 104 deg days last summer…. I can always get cooled off, but cold? You can have it. We need this frigid cold here. Some things that were bothersome in our gardens, won’t be back anymore. Some bugs, weeds that came here as “volunteers” from southern nurseries, won’t be back, lessening our usage in chemicals. Next week is the shortest daylight hrs.. We start gaining again around the 24th like a minute a day. Starts taking off to 2 min’s around Jan 8th, I think…. I can’t wait!!! Seed starting time is right around the corner!!

Ma Nature’s Watch Broken?

So here it is, middle of May, and we are repeating last Spring.. Only in a more dramatic fashion. In my gardens, I have Tomatoes blooming, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries on the bush. Cherries are reddening, and Peaches are about 1/3 the way to done…. And everything is in great abundance, better than before. I am a little worried, again. You see, I also have Mums budding and blooming, and my Lenten Rose won’t go down for the count. Our weather pattern is getting a little daunting. Typically, in the last 4 to 5 years, (except for last year), it was already hot. I saw pools open up early, before Memorial Day, and I was already tan. Last year was way cooler than those previous years, I don’t care what the oomphs say, we only had 2 or 3 different weeks that it got to the 90’s, not in a row, just random times. I’m worried about those Mums and what are they telling me….

I shoveled way too much snow this year. I ended up making a pusher blade for my JD tractor.. Genius it was. El Nino and La Nina switched last year. I think it will be worse this Winter. Who just got snow the other day out in the Mid-West and in the Great Lakes? Snow, then Tornadoes. Ouch… My back can’t take another Winter like this year. Statistically, every 30 years or so, we get this weather, but there have also been at least a 25″ single snow dumping here in Richmond during those times… Something to think about. And here’s the kicker, most folks here ain’t from here. Some came from the lower South and think we are protected from harm. If I heard once, “It doesn’t snow in Richmond”, I heard it a thousand times. Well, yes it does. Yeah, my Mums are scaring me a little. Two years ago we had the 15 year early bloom, then we had a 10″ dumping of snow in March last year. The Tropics were kinda quiet on the East Coast, now the next season is worrying me some. Will the Atlantic heat up enough to support a cyclone? Or does it just need the difference in air to sea temps with the Tropical pushes off the African Coast? I need to check the Coral Bleaching sites so I can plan my Summer. Last night we had our first really big blow. When the National Weather Service interrupts the TV, everything here stops, and my 9-year-old son and I head for the porch and watch the whole show, start to finish, it’s just a thing we do.

So far this Spring, I think we have had almost as many 90 degree days as last July, but then it goes to the upper 30’s, and does not get out of the 60’s. Like yesterday, upper 80’s, now, today, mid to upper 60’s. Tomorrow. 90’s. We had frost the other day just West of here and hard freeze up into the Great Lakes. No wonder my Mums don’t know what time it is, they actually think it’s late October except for the amount of actual daylight. Spurge, Henbit, and Chickweed won’t stop, and Dandelions are afraid.. For the first time in 6 years, I had to cover my vegetable garden, twice, due to late April and early May frost warnings… But I gladly did it, because I will be the first to eat from my garden. In my satellite compost place, my old Collards and Broccoli are re-growing in abundance. Best of both worlds.

Something else, all my Spring blooming trees and shrubs bloomed on time, but went out very quick, hardly any time to enjoy. Yep, I will re-equip my JD again in the Winter. How long will the effect of the Volcano eruptions of late make us crave Global Warming? I hate the cold, would much rather sweat, but I do enjoy the seasonal changes here in Richmond. Not too long ago, lakes and reservoirs were drying up, people were watering their lawns in the wee hours so as not to get caught during water restrictions, and now, we are back in the Nuclear Winter of the Reagan era. I like how the weather people like to say things like the temps and snowfalls are the largest and coldest since about 30 years ago. Ya gotta love the cycles, because if you do some checking, about 60 years ago, it was the same. It’s not just us doing us in, Ma Nature likes to do us too, we just need to learn to compensate for the time frames, and either save our watering for a long hot, dry Summer, or start spraying a lot of aerosol into the atmosphere and slow the long Winters. Or, just deal with it.

Spring Mums

Tropics Still Pushing

Tropical Influences

So has anyone noticed where the East Atlantic Tropical Waves have been forming this year? I have seen just about all pop up in a more Southern Latitude this year than normal…. But, I have also done some homework for you. Most depressions have formed lower than normal because of the Atlantic’s surface temp. Its cooler than it has been for the last 15 years, so they need to go South to pick up some warmth.  Most of the cat 4 and 5 storms that get to CONUS are born off the coast of Africa, right at the Cape Verde Islands. This year, they have been from a more southern Latitude. La Nina is alive and well, and El Nino is pushing from the West at the upper altitudes, knocking off the tops of the tropical depressions. and the Coral Beds have not bleached out like they have in a long time. So, if the Jet Stream is holding off in the Great Lakes region most of the time, and the Atlantic is cooler than it has been in a long time, and my Asters have been blooming for well over a month, and the squirrells have been like “practice” nesting for the last 5 weeks, and…. well, there is much more but I will spare you the agony of my worldly observations.

We are on a 30 year cycle here in Richmond. 15 year “mini” cycles. When the Jet Stream holds like it has been, then it is almost like the refrigerator door being shut all the time, keeping in the cold, letting it build up…. Its getting ready to open… and when it does, there will be a lot of cold air pouring down to us every 7 days for a good while. We will see the same weather patterns every week, on the day for about 12 weeks.  Wouldn’t it be cool, if I were right on this? Moisture patterns will continue to form from the South East and cold dry air from the North West. Lets see, cold, dry Canadian air meeting cold, wet  Southern climate…. Um, carry the 2, multiply x pi, and we get kids home from school a lot, so stock up on your snacks, line up a babysitter, get your firewood, and don’t panic. It will only be here for about the next 4 years, then we are back to 68 degrees on Christmas…

So the big picture is this. You will see things bloom, germinate, die off for good, and a lot more damage than in recent years. Stop paying attention to the media about fertilizing, and do your own homework. Get your Fall feedings in on time. Prune and structure like you are supposed to, or you will lose things. Strange things will appear that will baffle you if you have not been paying attention. Bugs will be confused and caught in the freeze without allowing for their mating time, but other bugs we haven’t seen in a while will try to get in to your comfy home, unless the limbs growing over the power lines that no one paid attention to will get you.. See, that’s one thing that Mother Nature will do to control her bugs and creepy rodents that are getting over abundant. Look up, the sky is falling. The moisture will continue, and I think I read somewhere that 1″ of rain could be 1′ of snow at 32 degrees at sea level, if the ground is at 32 degrees also….. Yeah, got my 2 Buck Chuck stocked up, fire wood this week, candles, flashlights, canned goods, and a little bit of other stuff to get me through the Winter…  We’ll see.

Watch the Critters. I Am, and They’re Scaring Me!

Anyone paying attention to the critters and out-of-season blooming plants? Whaddya think about Phenology? I kinda think we are in for it this Winter in Richmond, and all points north. Squirrels are wrecking the trees already. ALL my peaches are gone, as well as Elderberries, and now they are stripping my Red Twig Dogwoods. My Asters are blooming, and my Fire Power Nandinas are turning Copper already. Uh-oh, remember last February? Squirrels were literally ripping into houses, and weeds were kinda behind schedule. Then, 10 inches of snow in early March. We are on the cusp of the 25 to 30 yr bad winter scale. I’m getting my firewood very soon. Nope, not waiting. What about Atlantic temps? Still below last 15 yr average, no tropical weather so far, OK, one depression in what, late April? All the bugs came about at the same time frame. They know, come out, mate, lay eggs, die. Woohoo! Kinda like failing 4th grade… Ya got rooked… The Farmers Almanac has been famous forever on their predictions. I mostly rely on anyone over 70, to let me know. They know the year, month, date, what day it was, and the most believable ones, know what time the big storms hit. (That’s the ones you take care of). Pay attention folks, I think it will be a quick, early Fall, followed by long, cold and to some (mostly parents of school age kids), miserable winter. This doesn’t mean not to study for Winter Exams, but, well you startwatching Mother Nature yourself. Kinda has me nervous so far. My employer usually listens to me on these things. We get the bust on everyone because the local weather folks will miss certain things. March 2nd was a “dusting” with maybe 2-3 inches. We got down all winter gear and products on Feb 28th, all gone by the 4th. Ya kinda have to respect Mother Nature. She’s talking to us, and some ain’t listening. Maybe I’ll look at a Generac for my home… No, have two fireplaces, and parents have the generator. We will survive. Freezing a lot of garden veggies, which I will have to use for bartering to the parents. Collecting pinecones , twigs, and fatwood. Warmth, food, company, something good to read, and collecting 2 Buck Chuck for emergency use, also a bartering tool. Next few years the whoohoos will be crying Nuclear Winter to us because of the temps….Maybe the sky IS falling. Maybe its the Southern Oscillation, you know, El Nino and La Nina misbehaving. I dunno, you watch. Make your own opinion.

Again, congrats to Boondoogle, Australia for not allowing the sale of or transportation of bottled water in or through their township. First place in the world to say no… Who’s next?

OK. Bottled Water and Green Roof Blogs Combined. Stop Nagging Me.

OK, here goes. Since I first published these two blogs about 5 years ago, I can’t get any peace. Mostly because I took them down for all the comments and e-mails and because I don’t have time to answer all of you. There is no need to e-mail me, because about 95 % of the comments were positive accolades with wanting more. They are just to get you to think about sustainability and what we are doing to Ma Nature and how we can reverse some things, quickly….

Bottled Water (or, Why I can’t water my veggies in August)

If you think about what the polar Ice Caps use was for, then this will make some sense. How many aisles are dedicated to bottled water in any grocery store? How many grocery stores in your city? State? In the US? Not even talking world wide now. That’s a lot of cubic feet of water. The Polar Ice Caps are melting at an alarming rate, or should we say, dissolving? Salt does not freeze, but huge land masses falling into the sea will raise the sea level a good bit. Water is not sustainable. We do not manufacture water. We harvest it. Get it? The water we have on Earth, was already here. It does not go away. It goes up, then it comes down, then gets filtered in some way through natural processes, then back up, and, well you should see this now. The very water you are drinking now, could contain the very molecules of water that Moses parted, or even what was flowing through a prehistoric canyon, or that seeped through the leak in your backyard pool last year. Nevertheless, we do not manufacture water. Atlanta, was it, that just a while ago lost a very important water supply? Lake Meade, I think? I don’t know, there were so many over the years. If you wring out a sponge, it is semi dry, right? Until you re-wet it again.  I say we should release the water back into the planet, and let it do it’s thing. It is the giver of life, and we kinda need it to survive, not only to drink, but to help our crops grow so we can eat, as well as our livestock watering. Yeah, I know, your towns water smells and tastes bad. OK, consider this, more water in the Earth, can properly filter out the contaminates, such as all the prescription pills sent down the toilet at an alarming rate. If the Viagra starts showing up in the public drinking water, I bet there will be a whole lot more of you either complaining, or just smiling. And we know who will be who. I’m sure that since we caused the Dust Bowl of the early 30’s, and we corrected it in the same decade, without all the techno bull we have today, I would like to think we can reverse this water shortage we have now. Oh yea, don’t forget to ante up the millions of cases we have stockpiled underground in case of an emergency. Well, I think this qualifies as such. It’s not leaking out into space folks, Its still here, but someone needs to make a buck off it.

Green Roofs vs. White Roofs (or, What have we done?)

OK, now lets examine this a little bit. Now we think we had a good idea, to plant vegetation on roof tops, to, now let me remember here, either to absorb noxious fumes, or promote biological respiration/transpiration in big cities, or was it just because they were pretty? Now we are finding that they do absolutely no good, and may have backfired in a peculiar way. First, the not so bad issue. Now we have to feed them. Now the NPK we have to throw at them is flowing down the downspouts right into the sewer, and into our rivers. Wow, seen the algae blooms causing the dead waterways? Damn cows! Like its the cows, come on. Wait, just unbottle a few million gallons of water, dump it in the river, and we’ll be OK, right? OK, now the uncontrollable blister. Ever hear about Coral Bleaching?Usually you can tell where the major Hurricanes will come from this year, just by educating yourself on this phenomenon. Coral beds that bleach out either in the Caribbean, or around the Cape Verde Islands, will generate more tropical events. How’s that? Let’s see the simple logic here, then, again, the Polar Ice Caps will make sense to you, and you will dump out your bottled water. White reflects solar heat. Green, black, blue, all absorb thermal energy. OK, if the coral is bleaching, it is reflecting thermals up to the surface of the bluish-green surface of the ocean, where constant barrage of tropical waves are constantly pushing off the coast of Africa, every couple of days, then something is going to happen. Now if the conditions are right, and they will be, then rotation occurs, moisture develops, and there you go, cyclonic activity is born. Then, it gets a name, and we nervously watch it waver across the sea, until it hits our coastline, where we suffer greatly in damages and lives, BUT there is a good side to this too. We have bottled water to save us! Now, getting back to the roof thing. The Polar Ice Caps were supposed to reflect, not absorb, these thermals. Most tennis players wear white? I wonder why. Why didn’t we think to have white roofs? Give the Caps a little help.  The world is getting a little warmer each year now.  We can reverse this as well.

There, that’s most of the way the last blogs were. I don’t think the whole writings need to appear again, because if you don’t at least think a little about these subjects, then there is no need for me to be keeping this headache.  One last bit. I was noticing a kid the other day, pouring out water from a store bought water retention apparatus (bottle of water) and his mom yells,” Stop wasting that water!” Now just where did she think it was going? Outer space, or when it dries up, well it’s just all gone? But the water in the dishwasher, washing machine, or the car wash is not being wasted? Ow…. My head!