Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘weather

Weather Coming

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We’ve been warned that a major winter storm is on the way, so after work yesterday I did some preparatory plowing. All week long we’ve been getting small amounts of snow. Too little to warrant clearing each day, but enough that by yesterday it had added up to deserve attention, especially if we could get almost a foot more in the next two days.

I needed to push the old snow back far enough to create room for the oodles of new snow the National Weather Service has been warning us about for days.

While the weather is coming, Cyndie is going. She leaves for Florida today to spend a couple of weeks with her parents.

Looks like she picked a good time to be flying south.

If the predictions are accurate, I suspect I will spend the first weekend of her absence clearing snow.

Ready, or not, here comes some weather.

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Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2020 at 7:00 am

Feeling Humble

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Rain in winter is proving to be our new normal in the region of Minnesota and Wisconsin where I grew up. All we can do is react to the conditions presented, but it’s an unfamiliar winter landscape to me to have water raining down onto our snowscape. It’s such a mess.

I wonder what the furry animals of the northern forest do to cope with these conditions. It must be hard not being able to burrow into the powdery snow for insulation from the cold. From my experience, dampness in temperatures that hover around the freezing point feels much worse than dry cold temperatures well below freezing.

Delilah and I discovered evidence in our hayfield that looked like a coyote may have uncovered a rabbit nest.

The wet snow is revealing a wide variety of tracks. The surface keeps changing between being very soft when the temperature is above freezing and crusty enough that Delilah doesn’t break through when it refreezes.

It is humbling to find evidence of how many creatures are wandering our trails just before or shortly after we have walked them. There were footprints on our north trail that were so large I tried to get Delilah to step into one for comparison. It didn’t work, but trust me, in real life, these are unmistakably and rather impressively bigger than Delilah’s.

I’m pretty sure Delilah peed her scent all over any other markers left on that trail.

Trespassers return at their own risk.

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Written by johnwhays

December 29, 2019 at 10:39 am

Cold Now

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If we thought winter was coming on a little quick and fierce last week, today it has moved to another level of harsh. Single-digit cold temperatures are not a very friendly way for winter to show up and say hello.

So much for getting to know her first.

We have entered the period when any mechanical device that may have functioned normally in moderate temperatures is now being taxed to the brink of failing to function at all. When I attempted to back out of my parking space like usual after work yesterday, my car protested with unexpected sluggishness.

Oh, yeah. It had been sitting out all day in the Arctic chill. I forgot it’s no longer business as usual outside.

The flurries of snow that fell over the weekend hardly stayed on the ground. There was a small corner patch of the driveway that was the first to freeze and collect snow. The rest of the pavement still held enough residual ground warmth to melt the flakes that landed there.

That won’t be a problem any longer. At these temperatures, the asphalt is plenty cold now.

Our landscape pond is solid ice. If it wasn’t so small, we could use it as a skating rink.

The leaves might make the surface a little rough, though.

The cold air makes for a beautiful evening sky. Cyndie took this picture when making a trip to the chicken coop to close the door for the night. We have the water tanks plugged in to keep them from freezing, but the hens have to fend for themselves to keep warm. They are all winter-hardy breeds and fluff their feathers up in comical poofs of a genuine down coat to stave off the cold.

The coop provides shelter from the wind where they can smoosh together on the roost overnight to share their body warmth. I never watched to notice if the ones on the end are given a turn in the middle at some point. Seems only fair.

The harsh cold we are getting blasted with today is a fine ‘how-do-you-do?’ from winter, but maybe we can look at it as a bit of tough love that will serve us well as the season progresses.

After this start, returning to normal temperatures for November will feel absolutely tolerable!

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Written by johnwhays

November 12, 2019 at 7:00 am

Not Subtle

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Mother nature wasn’t subtle about bringing on winter weather this year. The pleasure of warm fall days was a rare occurrence. Now it seems as though harsh, biting cold temperatures are the norm.

Our neighborhood was on the edge of accumulating snow on Tuesday night, which made the first 10 miles of my commute on Wednesday morning a little tricky. The ol’ Subaru didn’t want to stop at the first three intersections of my drive, sliding on the slippery layer of new-fallen snow. Luckily, at the early hour of my departure, there was little other traffic sharing the road.

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Delilah was thrilled with the new snow coating, dragging her nose to scrape up some of the precious white stuff. That double-layer coat she wears year-round is a lot more comfortable now than it was in the summer. No wonder she is so happy. It’s finally her weather again.

Last night there was a halo of ice crystals around the moon that evoked memories of the sun dogs that form on the coldest of winter days.

Cold like we are getting this year is a lot more intense when it shows up as quick as it has and we haven’t had time to comfortably acclimatize.

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like winter. Brrr. Wish I could remember where I stashed my favorite cold-weather gloves the last time I used them eight months ago.

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Written by johnwhays

November 7, 2019 at 7:00 am

October Snow

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I’d like to act all surprised over all the snowflakes flying this early in October, but we’ve had so many days of warnings this was coming that it’s something of a feigned surprise.

How can there be global warming? There is snow falling in October!

For those of you who think this way, go talk with the people suffering more wildfire calamity in California today or any of the record-breaking typhoon/cyclone/hurricane intensities over every ocean on the planet with each successive formation.

I’m sure these incidents and all the melting glaciers and polar ice are just a coincidence.

I grabbed a screenshot of the Weatherbug radar image with our location southeast of the Twin Cities showing the spread of falling snow from Buffalo to Beldenville.

The wintery weather has me thinking I should have already blown out the water line to the labyrinth and drained all of our garden hoses. Cyndie reported the water for the chickens was frozen this morning. At least she had already installed the plexiglass window panes over the metal hardware cloth in each of the openings earlier this week.

It’s probably a good thing the Twins got booted from the baseball playoffs so they don’t have to play games in this kind of weather.

We’ve got a fire in the fireplace and I am gazing out at the deck collecting flakes with trees full of leaves as a backdrop. It makes me think of a certain Halloween blizzard (1991) for the drastic cross-mixing of fall and winter.

Of course, I also have a vivid memory of the Halloween night it was so uncharacteristically warm I went for a long bike ride to enjoy the late taste of summer.

Luckily, today our location won’t get much in the way of an accumulation from this system, but it definitely serves as an attention-getter for what lies ahead.

Much as I love winter weather, I’m in no hurry to get there this year.

It would be so nice to have time to actually finish the deck resurfacing project before snow shows up for good.

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Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2019 at 10:10 am

Mixed Up

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Yesterday afternoon we had plenty of sunshine that enabled me to get out and mow some grass, not because I wanted to, but because it needed to be cut so bad I didn’t dare wait for another chance. Our grass had grown so much since the last time I mowed, it looked like a June afternoon around here on October 7th.

On top of that, the recent pounding of rain we have been receiving has our property as wet as a spring day. It was rather disorienting to need to mow around certain areas where there was standing water. That is something that used to happen at the beginning of the mowing season. In my lifetime of living in this region, October was not a month where mowing thick grass needed to happen.

This is not the climate of my youth.

Meanwhile, this June-type of lawn growth is days away from meeting up with its first dose of snow for the coming season.

It’s a mixed-up world.

Someone posted in our neighborhood app asking people to be on the lookout for a pink-faced calf that ran off into the woods. I’m not sure if the pink face was natural or the result of some special effects. The calf had been tied in the yard for a “cownicorn” birthday party.

The drama didn’t last long, because they found the calf just a short time later. It may not be all that mixed up for this rural community, but it was unusual enough to contribute more strangeness to the already crazy thick growing grass in October.

I accept that nothing is actually static, so unusual occurrences are always unfolding, regardless of how we perceive and frame our world. It inspires me to strive for resilience in the face of whatever new mix-ups might be around the next corner.

It’s hard to imagine what to expect, other than the obvious fact something new will show up as being totally mixed up.

Unless it doesn’t. But then, would that just seem mixed up, too?

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Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

Wettest Wetness

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It’s official. With the end of September earlier this week came the close of what Hydrologists consider the 12-month “water year” according to my favorite weather blog, Updraft. Beginning October 1, 2018, and running to the end of September 30, 2019, we endured the wettest water year on record.

The start of the 2019-2020 water year is not wasting any time in preparing to make a run at challenging that record. Water is actually bubbling up out of the soil in some places on our land where the pressure of groundwater uphill from us is pushing it to the surface, allowing it to then flow away down our drainage ditch to ever lower elevations.

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Tuesday night, after closing the chicken door upon returning from our class in River Falls, I stopped at one of our two rain gauges. There were 2.5 inches collected, but I wasn’t certain how many days that represented. I dumped it to start fresh but forgot to mention this to Cyndie.

Yesterday, she struggled to reconcile the low collection in the gauge by the house, wondering if it might be leaking or something.

Oops. My bad.

The gauge on a fence post down by the labyrinth made a little more sense with its 2.5-inch amount. It is common to see some disparity between the two, but both easily depict whether we are receiving small or large amounts of precipitation in random blocks of collection time.

Suffice it to say, our land is unbelievably wet right now. Soggy pretty much describes everything.

I think we are gonna need a bigger boat.

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Written by johnwhays

October 3, 2019 at 6:00 am