UNEXPECTED WEATHER?

You can’t expect the weather … except … you really can. It’s unexpectedly hot around here. But it’s summer, so this unexpected heat wave was entirely expected and is completely normal.

The electric company apparently didn’t expect it and have gotten quite hysterical about the whole thing. You’d think it was their homeowner customers who created this emergency by our derelict over-usage of electricity. It’s not the mall which refrigerate the entire space to 65 degrees when it’s 100 outside. Oh no, never the commercial customers.

Meanwhile, it’s freaking HOT and the humidity is up there too. A couple of days ago with this weather visible on the map and the television meteorologists getting all excited, National Grid swung into action. It has been a pretty dull weather period, more notable for what isn’t happening (rain) than what is, namely muggy, gray days during which it looks like rain, but doesn’t.

National Grid started sending out (pardon the pun) heated warnings.

I got the first two via email, then two more via early morning robot calls.

Turn down your air conditioning to 78 degrees! Avoid high bills! Don’t stress our power grid. (Subtext: We need all the power to keep malls at 65 degrees. You homeowners are not big customers, so you can sit at home wheezing and sweating.)

If I turn the A/C to 78 degrees in this house, the humidity will turn our home into mold city.

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In the spirit of coöperation — and in hopes of not getting an electric bill that will knock me off my feet — I turned it up to 75 degrees. This is an older house without central air. Just window A/C. and even that, not in every room. We don’t cool rooms we don’t use much. Which is, to put it mildly, not as efficient as we might wish. It’s all we’ve got and summer is short. Our A/C units are less than two years old, so this is as good as it will get here.

By the time evening rolled around, the house was disgusting. We were disgusted.

Sticky. Hot. Everything was damp, especially us. The dogs wouldn’t sleep on the sofas, preferring the hard floors where it’s cooler. They’ll go outside only if threatened. Even so, they were throwing us dirty looks which hadn’t been washed this century.

By nine in the evening, I looked at Garry and said “How hot are you?”

“Bad,” said Mr. I Love Summer. “How are you doing?”

“I’m miserable,” I said. “I was thinking — damn National Grid. I can’t breathe!” I have asthma. The humidity was making my lungs work a double shift.

I turned the air conditioning to a more breathable 73. After an hour, air returned to the house.

I’m betting the people who write electrical usage “guidelines” are not sitting and sweating in their houses. I bet they have central A/C set for their personal comfort. They are not sweating out the heat wave. I know power is an issue, but so is quality of life.

Flash message for guideline issuers: OLDER PEOPLE TOLERATE HEAT POORLY.

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That’s right. You get older and your body is not as efficient at regulating core temperature as it was in youth. Those of us with other physical stuff, like arthritis, asthma and heart problems? Our ability to tolerate days of sitting in heat and humidity is dangerous to life and the continuation thereof.

I’m sure I’ll get the bill for this mad, crazy need to breathe. The bill alone might give me a stroke. Right now, I don’t care. I just want some air.

DAILY POST | UNPREDICTABLE?

THE CHANGING SEASONS – JUNE 2016: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

The Changing Seasons: June 2016

THE SUMMER SOLSTICE


The weather has been strange everywhere. A mild winter, followed by an early spring. The leaves were at least a week ahead of schedule. Out in the middle of the country, non-stop rain created massive flooding, while the west and southwest have had temperatures so high the forests turned to tinder. At least half a dozen states are burning as I write this. With temperatures over 100 degrees farenheit (40+ centigrade), there’s no relief in sight yet.

Home. The bare trees are maple and oak. The ash and other trees were left (mostly) in peace.

Home. The bare trees are maple and oak. The ash, catalpa and other trees were left (mostly) in peace.

Here, in southern New England, our mild winter was followed by plentiful, but not excessive rains and it looked like it would be a lovely summer with full rivers and ponds where the birds could nest and feed.

Then … the Gypsy Moth caterpillars arrived. A week into June, and suddenly, the house, the driveway, and every hardwood tree in the forest was covered by aggressive, destructive, invasive hairy eating machines. Millions and millions of caterpillars. Everywhere. You could hear them dropping as you drove, like hail on the car roof.

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In short order, they ate every leaf off every oak tree and for dessert, consumed the maples, apple, and every other fruit tree that was not protected. The ground was writhing with caterpillars to which many people are allergic, making leaving the house a nightmare. It was like living in a bad horror movie.

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Trapped in the house, we finally got someone to spray the house and surrounding areas. Within a couple of hours, they began dying … filling the roof, driveway, walks, and ground with the corpses of caterpillars.

And then, they began to vanish. As mysteriously as they arrived, they disappeared. Starvation? They had eaten everything they normally eat. Caterpillar plague? There is such a thing and generally, on heavy infestation years like this one, it breaks out and they die by the millions.

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The trees are trying to come back. There are spring-like buds on many of the trees. Not every tree, but most of them. The oaks are the slow to leaf in the spring and even slower to re-leaf after defoliation.

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The gardens had no flowers at all until today when suddenly, roses appeared. Not where they were last year or any of the previous years. They showed up in a completely new part of the garden, leaving dead bushes in their wake. The day lilies — only two blooming — are covered with hundred of buds. Strange vision, with the naked oak trees.

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Summer is here. There will, I hope, be new leaves on the maples and some of the oaks. But today, you can see winter bare trees against a blue sky on the summer solstice.

NOTE: All the pictures on this page — except for Garry’s caterpillars — were taken yesterday afternoon. Also note how the trees are full in some places, but bare in others.


What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2016. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed. These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

This is the second year of participating and it is turning out to be much more interesting than I imagined possible. For followers of climate change, this shows rather more than anyone anticipated. Even if you have not participated previously, it’s not too late to join!

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SPRING IS SPRUNG

Ode to Spring

“Spring has sprung,

The Grass has riz,

I wonder where the flowers is?

The little bird is on the wing,

But that’s absurd!

Because the wing is on the bird!”

A ditty by Unknown

It will be near 70 degrees tomorrow. That’s 21 in Celsius, by the way. Weather just doesn’t get nicer than this.

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This is it. We wait for it all year. We dream of it while we shovel tons of snow and wash the residue of salt from our car’s under-body.

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal

We yearn for it through mud season while mopping the mess off the floors. Will winter never end? Will spring never come?

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Winter ended.

Spring came.

I wonder where the flowers is?

SUNRISE AT THE APPROACH OF THE EQUINOX

It only happens twice a year when the world approaches the equinox. I know because suddenly, the first light of dawn shines straight into my bedroom window and directly in my eyes.

It happened the other day and I was glad. Because no matter how screwy the world of people may be, mother Nature rolls down her own pathways. The sun rises and sets on schedule. Winter ends, spring begins.

Captured from my window, just the other day as dawn rose over the trees in my woods.

A CYCLE OF SEASONS

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

Seasons

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share an image evocative of the weather — or represent the current “season of your life” in metaphor.

Life - the road goes ever on and on

Life – the road goes ever on and on

Considering these two possibilities are so different, I’m going to go with the weather. Which is currently winter, but rapidly moving towards spring.

Winter

Winter

Spring

Spring

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Summer

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Autumn

SOME LIKE IT COLD – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – COLD THINGS

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Winter has arrived here in southern New England. It came late, but it has announced its presence on no uncertain terms.

It snowed last Monday. Snowed again all day Sunday and into early Monday this week. Now, the temperature is dropping.

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Right now, it’s hovering around the freezing mark, but by the end of the week, it will be hovering around zero.

Cold. Very, very cold.

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Some folks like winter. I suspect most of them are young, don’t have to get to work early in the morning … or are passionate about winter sports.

I loved winter when I was in elementary school. Snow meant the likelihood of school being canceled. It meant a day of sledding. Frozen feet and hands didn’t bother me, then.

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The world is pretty, all frosted with snow, but it’s difficult for us — older, tireder, with arthritic knees and bad backs — to navigate the slippery slope of the driveway. To park in the drifts which hang around parking lots right through the spring.

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But it sure is pretty.

cee's fun foto chall

WINTER SHOWED UP

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After a delightfully warm December and January (for the most part), and after the lying groundhog didn’t see his shadow, it began to snow.

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Late last night, the first sleet mixed with rain began to fall and by this morning, it was entirely snow. Wet, heavy snow. The kind of snow that sticks to everything, especially tree branches and power lines.

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The trees in the front and rear of the house are bowed with the weight of snow on their limbs. The weather services keep upping the amount predicted, though it doesn’t seem to be snowing heavily enough to accumulate a foot. I guess we shall see.

I’m hoping for a little breeze to move the branches and shake some of the snow from the trees. Snow makes pretty pictures, but it’s a real pain in the butt in every other way.

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Meanwhile, complaints aside, it is beautiful outside. It is a classic winter wonderland, worthy of Currier and Ives … or Robert Frost.

I guess we’re going to have winter after all. I was perfectly content without snow. Really. I was.

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