Connecticut woods in winter Monday, Dec 31 2012 








You know it’s windy Sunday, Dec 30 2012 

when the house is shaking and the windowpanes rattle.  On the plus side…after a distracted morning wondering where the drip is in the library, never a sound one wants to be hearing, I have finally discovered that it is not a drip at all.  The big plexiglass panel over the diamond pane windows has developed a tendency to go ‘pop’ at the bottom corner when the winds sets it vibrating just right.

The wind is making nice big drifts out of the snow though.  Whirling dervishes of ice rise up out of the meadow and come racing east, the drive that was plowed just a few hours ago is already rapidly closing, while the north lawn has been transformed from a flat plain into a landscape of drifts and eddies around the trees.  As the wind hits the west face of the house, it rises and drops the snow; eventually the west lawn will have a great drift that can easily be twenty feet long, for most of its length it will be only a foot or two, but as it drops over the story high bank it will fill the space, eight feet deep.  Blocked by the house, the east lawn will have no drifts at all.

Brrrr Thursday, Dec 27 2012 

Snow, of the heavy damp sort, finishing off as rain.  Far nastier stuff to deal with than snow at much colder temperatures.  Liquid water at or below the freezing point tends to be heavy and dampening of clothes and spirits.  The snowblower can’t deal with it.  On the other hand the tractor, believe it or not, started right up and proved effective.  Of course, we can’t use the blade on the gravel front drive…so I do hope that no one tries to come in the front entrance. …believing that they can do so, despite it being unplowed, because of the tractor tracks….  Would rather not have to fish a delivery truck out of the meadow.

I shouldn’t complain Tuesday, Jul 17 2012 

Compared to the Mid-west, we have plenty of water.   According to the U.S. Drought monitor, we are merely ‘dry’.  Well, I have my doubts about the accuracy of their monitoring for this region.  It isn’t, after all, a major agricultural center and the water rights for the cities are ample, well protected, and unchallenged.*  So, why should they monitor it closely.  Besides their fine print does say that it may not be accurate…

So my doubts….Stub Hollow’s brook is only barely flowing, and really only below the old Stoney Lonesome pond, which is spring fed and controlled by a dam.  Stub Hollow’s headwater marsh, which is mostly a point of surface water collection about half a mile above the pond, isn’t producing much water.  Usually, the brook has a significant year round flow, sufficient that you will have to either wade or be very agile at rock hopping, and has fish.*  The big swamp on Maple Hollow has only a center channel, mud that should be 4 to 8 inches under-water is growing grass.

Julie’s Pond, spring-fed, is holding water; but the outflow is down to essentially a seep.  As opposed to about ten gallons a minute in a normal year.

And its only mid-July…

*The various city water companies own huge swathes of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York; they are routinely overlooked property owners.

*the unbiquitous little fast moving minnows, never more than about four inches in length.  but fish nonetheless.

Zap! Friday, Jun 29 2012 

We have had several vigourous thunderstorms recently, with ground strikes near the house.  One strike took out the barn’s lighting, another we knew had hit close by (if the window goes white with light….sort of a dead giveaway).  But we couldn’t decide where, as there was no visible damage. 

Then I noticed that the daylilies…those gorgeous daylilies with at least one bud stalk for every fan…beneath the West Meadow fenceline looked oddly brown today.  The fence is electric wire, the gate is a metal t-post, as is the corner post, and the daylilies run between those two and have grown up above the bottom wire, which is not live*.  I think you can guess the rest.  It is the oddest thing, though.  It looks exactly as if a six inch wide band of herbicide was applied, with the bottom wire in the middle.  Anything within three inches is brown, anything that was directly touching is crispy, charred, and otherwise carbonized. 


Thunderstorms Friday, Jun 22 2012 

are always a welcome break from a heat wave.  They are beautiful, aw-inspiring, and terrifying.  They are also a bit like very large, slow-moving car accidents…once they are under way, you can do nothing to stop them, and they just might change your life.  Unlike a car accident, you can’t do anything, more in the position of roadkill than a driver.

This one took out some branches, had a lovely light show, and some impressive wind and rain.  No hail, for which as a gardener I am very appreciative.  On the other hand nearly two inches of water in fifteen minutes does interesting things in the basement.  I was told that one wall had a nice little fountain, and it certainly made a lake.  But, the basement is designed for it, and it will all drain back out.  Just, don’t plug the table-saw in for a while, eh?

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