I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Snow vs Rain

So what's with the weather these days? It seems like Mother Nature can't make up her mind what to do with all the precipitation. Last year (September, 2012) she dumped inches and inches of rain, causing the rivers to crest over their banks by several feet, doing quite a bit of damage in the neighborhood.

This last fall, she tried again only it was later, in October, when the rivers were mostly empty. The water made it over the bank but not by much, enough to float the boats sitting there, but only just. Not satisfied, she tried again with less success. I guess she was just trying to do a little house cleaning.

Anyway, whenever it rains like that in the fall, I wonder if it's all going to come down as rain, or if there will be something left over for snow. There always has been, but you know how it can be. This year, that might be the case. This year, there's only about two and a half feet of snow, compared to the normal five or so feet.

But snowfall, or the seemingly lack of it, isn't the only oddity. Over the last few years, it seems that the winters have been getting colder, or the cold spikes have been getting longer, however you want to look at it.

What I used to consider normal was temperatures ranging from -10F (-23C) to +20 (-6C) with the occasional cold spikes down to -20 to -25F (-29 to -32C). Sometimes these cold spikes happen in November but nearly every year they happen in February, lasting only a few days, maybe a week at the most.

I no longer know what normal is. Those cold spikes now last sometimes weeks, though still centered around November and February. Average temps now hang around minus something, and occasionally it will warm up to 0F (-18C) or so and drop some dry snow. This winter, it has warmed up to above freezing and actually rained - twice - how depressing.

But the weather, the temperature, isn't much of an issue - it is what it is, it's the lack of snow that's really making things inconvenient around here. For us to get on and off the river, we need to shovel in a ramp. It's like shoveling a ramp down from your second story balcony. Two feet of snow on the ground for some distance around, both at the top and at the bottom, got us our ramp, but it's kind of steep.

Another issue of lack of snow, is being able to drive through the woods to get firewood. Elders and other bushes average around 4 feet high. Normally, snow weighs them down and covers them over and driving over them isn't hard. There's not enough snow for that yet.

And the rain. Poor trees. The high humidity + the very cold temperatures caused frost to cover all the trees. No problem and really rather pretty. Snowfall sticks to the frost and coats every branch, making them look all pretty and white, still no real problem. The wind blows and knocks most of it out of the trees and they're fine, but add rain to the mix and suddenly you have these snow-coated branches, and now that snow becomes saturated with water. It freezes and the wind won't dislodge much of it. The first bout of rain was bad enough but it hasn't snowed much since then, some fine dry stuff most of which sifted away, but not all. Now it's rained again, quite a bit actually, maybe a quarter of an inch of water in the bottom of the buckets I had outside. Now all the young birch trees and thin branches are bowed hard over.

This morning, when I was out in the rain packing trails and such, I heard a tree somewhere back of the house break. I'm pretty sure it was just a branch or maybe the top of a small spruce tree. I couldn't see it and it wasn't a big sound as if a whole tree had fallen. If it stays warm, and maybe a wind blows some of that will be knocked loose, but the warm will cause new issues. Overflow on the river. We need to pack a runway, and day before yesterday overflow was already showing up out there. It's going to make packing a runway very difficult. It really needs to get cold again. If we pack a runway like this it would be ruined, leaving ruts that will freeze and never smooth out. Ruts in a runway might damage a plane, if not cause landing problems.

So yeah, blame the rain on me cause I was wishing for more snow, now I want it to get cold again. I guess I'm not much different from Mother Nature. I need to make up my mind. hahahahaha