posts tagged with 'weather'

giving up on keeping cool

Back in July and early August when it was really hot I was doing all kinds of things to keep the house as cool as possible. Turning fans on at night, closing windows and blinds during the day—and of course minimizing baking and boiling. I didn't even like to run the vacuum during the day, it made so much heat! And then we had a beautiful stretch of mild days with cool nights, and even a few days that you might call chilly... and I almost started to think that winter was on its way. Well, it's hot again now. But since I've already transitioned to winter mode I don't care, and it's all cooking all the time. Last week it there were all the baked goods and jam the boys made for the fair, and since then we've kept right on going the same way. I made bread and biscuits over the weekend and Leah made cookies; this morning Harvey baked some dog treats (since the fair he's gotten interested in dog training) and I made sourdough bread and enchiladas for dinner. Sure it's horribly hot, but on the plus side it makes the breeze from outside feel downright pleasant! And of course we get to enjoy all the baked goods. Tomorrow I hope to make jelly from the grapes we pressed at Backyard Farm Club last week, which will add humidity as well as heat. Oh well, it's almost September... surely it'll be getting cool again soon!

water babies

The boys have spent a lot of time in the water the last few days. Monday, of course, it was nearly four hours in the pool. Yesterday was cooler, but we brought the bikes to Walden and rode trails for an hour or so until they were warmed up and ready for an hour or two in the pond. Today for park day I had no anticipation of swimming at all, with the temperature in the 60s and rain in the forecast. Of course, I should have known better! Good thing the swimsuits were still in the car.

Elijah wading into Freeman Lake in the rain

just swimming in the rain

Zion's and Elijah's, anyway, even though I suggested they bring them inside where they could dry (Harvey is a better listener). And when we got to the park I requested they stay away from the water; even though we had dry clothes, other families did not. But then it started raining, and we all got pretty wet anyways. And a few kids changed and went in, and reported delightedly that the water was warm: way warmer than the air! While we parents worried a bit about what would happen when they came out, it seemed cruel to deny them the opportunity to try.

Not everyone went in; some of the kids, far from having swimsuits, were wearing long pants and hadn't brought dry clothes. A few of them were pretty unhappy about it. But there were other fun things to do besides swimming, like directing the course of the streams that were flowing down the hill across the beach. And in the end, everyone got wet, either in the lake or in the rain. So we all learned a valuable lesson: when you're going to be by the water, bring a swimsuit. And a towel, definitely a towel too.

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weather forecast

We're all kind of holding our breath looking ahead to this weekend: the forecast says that Saturday and Sunday will be close to 100°F. We don't feel ready for that! Temperatures in the high 80s last weekend left us practically prostrated. And it's actually kind of hard to believe it'll be that hot: today was cloudy and chilly. Well, we will see. And I bet we'll be able to find ways to stay cool!

kids boating and swimming in a pond

ABB: always be boating

hail yes

Saturday had all the weather. There was sun, there was rain—a little bit during the pole capping parade—and there were even thunderstorms. As we were coming home from helping with a food drive outside Donelan's Supermarket and enjoying the sparkling sunshine after the latest downpour I noticed some white stuff in the yard of a house down the street from us. "Look, it snowed!" I told the boys—as a joke, because at over 50°F I was sure it was some construction debris or something. But then the next lawn was white too, and the one across the street...

"It's hail!" we all realized at once.

lots of hail on our back deck

hail aftermath

Yes indeed, while it had been raining on us in Acton we'd missed a hailstorm at home, a hailstorm whose furthest edge was just a couple hundred yards beyond our house. There was plenty of hail for us to admire, but Zion at least was a little upset to have missed it. Leah was home when it all fell but she missed it too: she was working, and didn't know it had done anything more than rain hard until we told her..

It doesn't hail often around here, and certainly not that big and that much. A day to remember!

hail on the garlic row

all the plants survived

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all the weather

Every time it's gotten warm the last few weeks I ask the boys if they think we're going to get more snow, and they always say no. And they're always wrong. Wednesday close to two inches of snow fell on us in the couple hours we spent at the park, and Thursday morning we awoke to this beautiful wintery scene.

snow covering every twig of the trees out the back of our house at first light

well, it is still winter

But the snow didn't stick around. Thursday was warm—not hot, but plenty mild—and the March sun made short work of all the new snow except in patches of deep shade. Today was even warmer, at least until this evening when we were gathering outside with friends, with the kids sunbathing shirtless on the shed roof mid afternoon. You could almost see the daffodils growing as they started to push their way out of the ground. Of course, tomorrow is going to be another winter storm: mostly rain for us, but sleety rain into wet snow with a high in the low forties. Elijah's party has been postponed until next weekend. Yay for March in New England!

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a spring outing in winter

Besides planting, feeling the ground under my feet again has got me thinking about biking. So on Saturday the boys and I headed out on an expedition to Fawn Lake, where we met some friends, had a picnic, played tag and hide-and-seek, floated boats in a stream, and generally had a lovely spring-like time of it. While enduring bitter cold and, from halfway through the outing, some kind-of serious snow. I guess you could call late February a transitional period.

Zion and Elijah riding on a muddy bike path in the falling snow

so much fun!

Fawn Lake is a pretty cool place. There are rocks and cliffs to climb and eat lunch on top of, a field for running games, and plenty of signs of beaver activity to admire. At first we were disappointed that we couldn't get onto ice—it was clearly thick enough over most of the pond, but less than cat ice close to the shore—but eventually we made our way to a cove where it was solid right up to the banks, and got our sliding time in (Zion was heard to remark that he wished he brought his skates).

the boys picnicing on the cliff above frozen Fawn Lake

good picnics make good outings

That would have been enough for the kids. But what I wanted on an outing after a giant thaw was to see some running water, so before heading home we took a little side trip to Wilderness Park, where the outflow from Fawn Lake forms a delightful stream rushing over rocks. Even though my stick boat didn't win the race, being by running water was a balm to my soul.

Zion and Elijah playing by a rocky stream

nobody fell in too badly

Of course, going to the stream extended the outing a bit, and as the kids pushed their bikes back up the icy hill out of Wilderness Park in a driving snow squall they were kind of questioning my leadership. Luckily they're strong cyclists, and the fact that the bike path home is mostly downhill made the mud and the snow a little less of an issue. Suffice it to say that we all made it home. Being on bikes again was a mixed experience: as we started out Elijah told me how excited he was to be riding again, and he wondered why we hadn't been cycling more over the past month. A few hours later he was ready to never see a bicycle again. And of course, no matter your energy level winter riding has its challenges.

Elijah lying under his bike on a big patch of ice on the bike path

ouch

The younger boys and I were out for four and a half hours (Harvey went home a little earlier because he had an online engagement with a friend). Imagine what we'll be able to do when it's actually spring!

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weather whiplash

It's been a strange winter, and never stranger than the last few days: from bitter cold to rain to sudden spring. That on top of the icy snow that let us sled and skate on the same field at the same time in not one but two different places! So as you can see I don't mean to complain—we've had tons of fun. And the fun continued today, despite the fact that just as we needed to spend an afternoon outside the mild spring weather of the past two days turned suddenly cold and extremely windy. I wasn't dressed for it! Even in the cold, though, the kids were happy to turn to some activities they haven't done in a while, like wading in the brook and playing baseball. I know that winter still has lots in store for us—and I don't even want it to end yet!—but the sound of running water and the mud under my feet wakened my spring senses enough that I finally put in my seed order. Let's have some more snow and some more delightful thaws and some more wild wind threatening to blow the house down (that's what we've got right now), and then lets have those seeds ready for spring! It's all my favorite.

kids playing baseball on some grass with snow in the foreground

as soon as there's grass

blizzard

It snowed on Saturday. We were anticipating it: it was in the forecast since at least the beginning of the week, but the amount kept changing. Would it be seven inches? Or 19? In the end the forecasters decided to give us a blizzard warning and lots of news chatter about a potentially historic storm. Some of that chatter was probably because we haven't had a big storm yet this year, and the first one always gets the most press. But even so, it was certainly a real blizzard. We didn't get two feet of snow, but we got plenty.

Elijah mostly buried in snow

Elijah demonstrates the depth

It was actually hard to tell how much, because the main feature of the storm was the wind. It was relentless all day, and it blew the snow clear off some areas while depositing it thickly other places. And it was the wind that kept the boys from spending more than an hour and a half playing outside, since it was kind of hard to open your eyes if you were facing anywhere between north and east. Their game of "push snow into your friends' faces" also maybe limited their ability to stay out, but not as much as you might expect. In that time Harvey's hair picked up a dramatic amount of snow—from the air and from his friends combined.

Harvey in the blizzard with lots of snow in his hair

it's a good look

Then yesterday dawned bright, clear, and calm; as dramatic a difference as you could imagine. Still cold, though. The dogs were eager to get out, since after their morning walk Saturday they weren't able to go anywhere: we couldn't drive, since our little street was unplowed, and the sidewalks on the big street were worse than unplowed since the plow debris from the street left them completely impassible (and walking on the street didn't feel wise under the circumstances). They didn't mind too much—they mostly just hunkered down with their tails over their noses, like their wild cousins but on couches—but even though we still didn't have sidewalks Sunday morning they weren't going to wait any longer! Lucky we don't like too far from the woods.

the dogs running in the snowy woods

so much energy to burn!

We didn't have the energy for sledding Sunday—plus we didn't want to face the hordes of Sunday sledders—but we're super looking forward to some fun times this week!

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water everywhere

I had an unusually wet morning yesterday. There was the weather: wind-whipped wild rain going every which way, including into the cellar when a downspout fell off (and all over me when I went out to fix it). With the ground frozen our yard turned into a bit of a pond, but nobody went out to experience it because just opening the door got us pretty wet with the rain blowing in. Then there was the frozen spinach I was thawing on the counter overnight that leaked green water everywhere. But worst of all was when I reached for the clock in the morning and knocked over the glass of water Elijah had left on my bedside table when he came into the bed with us at 4:00, and spilled it all over my pillow and my clothes that I'd put at the head of the bed to be warm. My face too, but that dries easily. Then by mid-afternoon it was sunny and beautiful, so I don't mean to complain... it just all felt so thematic I thought it was worthy of comment!

snow day

Today we saw our first real snow of the winter. It started overnight and there was easily three inches on the ground by first light, but the boys didn't even realize it right away. We're so used to just getting a dusting at a time. At breakfast they noticed that it was piling up on the outside table—maybe four inches by then—and somebody said, "wait, it's really snowing!" Yes indeed. Leah, who had already been out with the dogs, could have told them that! We had a little work to do before they could go out and play in it but when a neighbor friend rang the bell at around 9, there was no holding them back. They spent the next three hours roaming the snowy streets, shoving snow in each others' faces (and each others' faces in the snow), and, in Elijah's case, working hard to make a snow fort.

Elijah sitting in a tiny snow fort in the falling snow

snow is to dig

I made them a hot lunch in acknowledgement of all their hard playing, and then after lunch we spent some time in that other great snow-day occupation: board gaming. By the time we finished the game (Harvey won, as usual) the snow had stopped falling despite some people's gear being quite wet we pulled the sleds out from the basement, got dressed again, and headed out to go sledding. Despite the kind of late start and the distance we drove to be able to sled with friends on the slopes of the golf course conveniently located across the street from the their house, we made the most of the remains of the day and got a great many runs in before it was too dark to see where the bumps were. It feels like we've waited quite a while for a real snowy day, and when we got it we were ready to enjoy it to the fullest. Plus it gave us five more hours to add to our total!

the boys and friends pausing at the top of a sledding hill at dusk

snow day is done

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