Tag Archive | weather

It’s finally springtime—Or maybe not!

It’s hard to believe that after such a long, hard winter, spring has finally arrived. Except for when it hasn’t. 🙂 We’ve just experienced Dogwood Winter with lows in the 30s again. Next will be Blackberry Winter when the blackberry briars are blooming. (Unless I’m overlooking one of the winters.) Is there another cold spell in the offing? I hope not. The two I’m familiar with are plenty for me.

The year the trees froze

It’s difficult to believe the first month of 2014 is drawing to a close. It’s been an eventful month in many ways, but the weather is probably the most universally discussed topic, including the heat and draught in the western part of the country and the miserable cold in my neck of the woods (East Tennessee). The snow, of course, has contributed to weather-related miseries in much of the nation.

Our recent single-digit lows remind me of the night almost 30 years ago when the temperature got down to 24 below zero (air temperature) in my part of the state. (We were the coldest spot in the nation.) The next night was 18 below zero. One effect of that frigid temperature was that the trees froze. I would never have imagined that sort of effect from the cold, but I had to deal with the results for years to come.

As it happened, the previous fall my husband and I had done some extensive landscaping, including planting several dogwoods and a large maple. Although some of our shrubs were killed back to the ground, they came out from the roots and were fine. But the bark on the western-facing side of the trees that had frozen and then thawed was loosened to the point that insects could get under it, creating further damage. I was told that the only hope of saving the trees was to scrape away the loose bark and coat that area with a tree-wound dressing.

But once was far from enough. This procedure had to be repeated on a regular basis until the bark eventually filled back in from either side, which took several years. In spite of the number of hours I spent sitting on the ground scraping away dead bark, I wasn’t able to save all of the trees. In the years that followed, we lost three dogwoods, including a wild one growing in the edge of the woodland behind the house.

So on the frigid nights of this January of 2014, I think back to that January so many years ago and am thankful that for this day at least, I don’t have to worry about the trees freezing.

An End Draws Near

The view from my deck this afternoon is one of gloom. Skies are overcast, but it’s too warm to snow, so we’ll have to settle for the bleakness of a December evening.

12-31-12It’s December 31, the last day of 2012, and all the television shows are busily looking back on the events of the past year. There are many tragedies to review and relive, but I like in my personal life to relive the fun times. The family reunions, the visits with my mother (who will be 102 in February of 2013), fun times with my grandson and his parents, and sharing laughter with my husband.

I’m thankful for all of those occasions plus the friendships with my writer friends. We’ve had several years together, learning our craft and sharing disappointments and successes. I look forward to more successes in 2013.

So goodbye, 2012. And hello, 2013. One year from today, I hope I’m here writing a similar post, reminiscing about the good times and looking forward to the future with optimism.

A fond farewell to October!

October is almost gone, which is sad in a way. Not that it hasn’t been beautiful. I love October skies when they are so perfectly blue and clear, the perfect backdrop for the changing leaves. We have a maple in our front yard that turns a bright orange every fall. One day when I was outside working, I captured a beautiful picture of both the sky and the colorful leaves.

The changing leaves often bring with them memories of long-ago autumns. When I was a child, one of the most fun activities of fall was jumping into piles of dead leaves that my mother had raked up. We had many, many maples in the yard at the house where I was raised, and fall always resulted in a great deal of work getting the leaves up.

Other fall memories revolve around the smell of burning leaves. Those were the days when people didn’t have to worry about burn permits. We just raked our leaves into the driveway (which was gravel) and set them on fire. I can almost smell that odor floating on the crisp fall air, a fragrance that heralded the changing of the seasons.

Yes, October is almost gone. Halloween is only a couple of days away, and Thanksgiving will be here in less than a month. Goodbye October. I’ll miss you.

Where did summer go?

I glanced at the calendar today and realized that summer of 2012 will be officially over day after tomorrow. The first day of autumn arrives on September 22. The signs of fall have been in the air for some time, but just this week the mornings have started turning cool in that way that feels like fall of the year. The angle of the sun has changed, and the leaves are beginning to turn.

Some dates near the end of September hold special significance in my family. Tomorrow (September 21) is my husband’s and my wedding anniversary, and next Tuesday (September 25) is our grandson’s birthday. September 25 was also my parents’ anniversary. They were married in 1926. My father died in 1976, a month before they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

How do you feel about fall of the year? Is it a happy time for you, or does it tend to make you melancholy because it heralds the end of summer?

We have rain!

According to the rain gauge on my deck, we’ve had around an inch and a half of rain today. It came slowly and steadily, just what the poor, parched soil needed. Unfortunately, some farmers say it is too late, that their crops are already gone. I can’t recall any summer in the past where we’ve had such a long, hot, dry spell. Here’s hoping the remaining months of summer will be less severe.

But today, I’m just thankful for the rain!

If I hadn’t watered the Mandevilla every day, it would have dried up and died weeks ago. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to mind the hot weather.

Reflecting on weather—and the kindness of strangers

It strikes me as interesting how some dates seem forever engraved on our memories while others simply evaporate. I’m thinking now of weather-related dates, and obviously that’s on my mind because I suspect this summer will go down in the record books as the hottest ever for many U.S. cities. Records have already been broken in several towns across Tennessee and in other states as well. I’m guessing that in the future, we’ll refer to this as “the Summer of 2012.”

Even though it’s still June, dead leaves litter the ground in our back yard. I’m trying to keep the birdbath cleaned out for our feathered friends, but as soon as I put fresh water in it, more leaves fall.

Another year that sticks in my memory is 1985 when we had the lowest temperature in history for Knoxville, Tennessee: 24 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. In fact, we could “brag” about having the coldest temperature in the United States that night. It was cold the following night, too, around 18 degrees below zero if memory serves me correctly. We had an indoor/outdoor thermometer in our house, and I recall feeling relief when I saw the outside temperature climb to zero. Even though it was January when most trees were dormant, many of the trees in our yard and even in the woodland behind the house froze. The following spring, many started losing their bark where they had frozen and thawed, and some even died. I spent a good many hours over the next three or four years trying to save trees by removing the loose bark and painting the trees with a wound dressing. I saved all but a couple.

Then there was “the Blizzard of ’93″—a huge system that dumped copious amounts of snow on many Southern states that are not accustomed to that much snow and are not prepared for dealing with it. Trees and limbs fell, knocking out power to many areas, and some people were without electricity for up to a week. Radio stations stayed on the air taking calls from people who had not heard or had not heeded the forecast and thus were without their medicine or other necessities of life. People with four-wheel drive vehicles volunteered to pick up baby formula, diapers, food, medicines, and so forth, and take those items to people who couldn’t get to the stores.

There are many other examples of weather-related incidents that have created havoc in our lives. Summer storms, ice storms, tornadoes: all can destroy property and disrupt lives. The common denominator in all of these is that people not seriously impacted by a particular weather event (or even those who are) will rush to help those who are in greater need. For example, when a homeless shelter put out a call for bottled water yesterday, folks responded with enough bottled water to last the shelter for months.

Which just goes to show you that no matter how bad the weather may get, the problems it creates tend to highlight the good that is inherent in most people.