posts tagged with 'weather'

it never rains but it... rains some more

This morning I took the dogs out in the rain, because Leah had already done it more than enough times this week. After a hot dry June—the hottest on record for Massachusetts, I understand—we've had a very wet July, and that continued today with the passage of Tropical Storm Elsa (which by the way, shouldn't Elsa be bringing snow and ice, not torrential rain?!). I had my raincoat on of course, and boots, but I should have added rain pants, since by the time I got home I couldn't have been any wetter if I'd fallen in a pond.

The rain has certainly been good for the plants, and for the water table, and for our cozy inside reading time, but I think we'd appreciate a little moderation. June was too dry, July is too wet. We're feeling kind of cooped up now, and things might be starting to mildew. At least the rain stopped in time this evening to let friends gather on the back porch (rain has a much greater effect on our social life in these pandemic times!). But there's more in the forecast for next week. I hope we don't all float away!

how we're beating the heat this time

We're living through a heat wave this week. We kept the house reasonably cool for the first couple days, but by now that's a distant memory. It doesn't help that it's also very humid. We're doing alright though, thanks to a variety of adaptive measures. The boys' favorite is our blow-up pool.

Zion and Elijah swimming in the pool on our deck

feeling no heat

We got the pool last year, and we've managed not to pop it so far. It lives on the deck, which is great because there's a perfectly flat floor with no danger of sticks or rocks, and also because I don't have to worry about damage to the lawn. The boys have been having a great time out there: singly, all together, with friends... Listening from the street you'd think we had a full-size pool in the backyard with all the noise they make splashing, "diving", and even playing Marco Polo!

Elijah jumping into the pool, Harvey watching

next we need a diving board!

While we fit in the pool well enough, Leah and I find that the boys' enthusiasm leaves it a little dirty for us to feel quite comfortable soaking. So we take other routes to beat the heat. We've got a window AC in the bedroom—which is to say, Leah's office—so she can work in comfort. Relative comfort, at least. When the humidity gets too much even there, she does her swimming at the pond.

Me, I've discovered I do the best when I spend the most time outside. I've spent lots of time weeding and pruning the last few days, and it's been really hot—but when I take a break and sit in the shade for a minute the air feels charmingly cool and comfortable in comparison! Plus, I'm more on top of the weeds than I've ever been before! In the past I've failed to understand how people could embrace really hot weather like this, but I'm actually kind of digging it this week. I've even taken a couple good bike rides! Maybe improved heat tolerance is something to do with getting older?

Tomorrow looks like it's going to be the last day of the heat wave before cooler, rainy weather takes over. I'll miss all the weeding time, but the plants will appreciate the rain. And it'll also be nice to give the water meter a break: between the garden, frequent showers, and water play in the yard keeping cool has taken a lot of water!

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April snow brings wet fun

On Friday morning when Harvey announced it was snowing Mama denied it without even looking. Yes it was chilly and rainy, but snow in mid April? Well, sure! It's happened before. And over the next half hour the big flakes mixing with the drizzle got more frequent until they took over completely and the snow started piling up. By lunchtime there was a couple inches on the ground—enough that we altered our plans to hike with our friends and went sledding instead.

the kids sledding in the misty drizzle

spring in New England!

Not that it was easy! Boots, mittens, and mufflers had all been misplaced since the last cold weather. And the sleds were way down in the back of the basement. But we made it happen, and were only ten minutes late (no worries; our friends had the same problem with their own gear). By the time we hit the slope the snow had changed back into drizzle, but that didn't mean it was warm. Quite the reverse, at least for the grown-up type people shivering at the top of the hill! For the kids the main issue was that the wet wet snow wasn't particularly fast, but it got better as they packed it down. And it was prime for making snowballs!

the kids rolling a big snowball

the first of many

It was lovely to be there at one of our favorite sledding spots—where we hadn't gone all winter because of our friends' careful quarantining. That said, we didn't actually manage to stay very long. After a little over an hour everyone was sopping wet and ready to go home, making it easily the shortest play time we've ever had with those friends. But it was lots of fun while it lasted! And now that it's sunny and springlike again we can look forward to running around barefoot with them later this week. Ah, the joy of an April snowstorm!

a daffodil smashed down by the snow

snow showers, snow flowers

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the lion was late

Yesterday it was in the mid to upper 40s, with enough clouds and wet to make us at least consider whether this March 1st was doing the lion thing. Today when I woke up it was 10°, and let me tell you that a 35 degree swing in less than ten hours will produce some serious wind! Certainly, by the early hours of March 2nd the weather was properly leonine. We lost power briefly overnight, which woke Zion up—he needs his fan running in order to sleep. Or maybe it was the wind that woke him up and lack of fan that kept him from going back to sleep for a while; my sleep was certainly interrupted by the wind shaking the whole house. The wind kept up through the morning, and on our mid morning walk with Grandma I was ready to declare it the coldest day of the winter so far. But even as frigid as it felt, the March sun is strong, and while it was well below freezing all day I got too warm moving around outside mid afternoon. And at least on the edges the snow kept melting. The lion is here now, but that lamb is on its way!

no day

After the blizzard before Christmas we've barely had any snow for over a month, so a storm forecast for Monday was big news. Details were uncertain, since apparently it was hard to tell where the rain-snow line would end up; so hour by hour the projected totals swung wildly. But it looked bad enough Sunday evening for the NWS to issue a winter storm warning beginning at 7:00 Monday morning, and the schools to call an early-release day. We were doing school too, at our house, and I thought early release would work for us too: we didn't even have to set an end time, since everybody's ride would be sticking around the whole time. But it's hard to hold firm when the forecasters are so excited, and at around 8:00 we decided to cancel for the day. It wasn't snowing yet, but we understood that it would start soon.

Well, it wasn't snowing at 10:00 either, when we were meant to have begun our day; nor at 11:00 when the boys and I biked over to Chip-In to pick up some emergency supplies (eggs, milk, and candy). A few flakes tickled our noses on the way home (and one hit Zion in the eye) but by the time we were done with lunch they were gone. At 2:00, when our school time officially ends, there was maybe a little snow mist in the air. At 3:00 it was snowing well, but barely accumulating. Not til 5:00 was there enough that you could start to shovel if you wanted.

It was a weird day, with all that waiting. I hadn't planned to do anything but school, cleaning, and cooking... and without school I just did the other two. The boys felt like it was a snow day, so they didn't want to buckle down to anything; but through the morning there wasn't much else to do. After lunch things did pick up a little bit with friends getting out of school, and then in the afternoon they managed to find enough snow that they came home pretty wet (and were rewarded with hot chocolate!).

At suppertime the snow started falling in earnest, and when we woke up this morning to well over a foot on the ground I had to concede that the forecasters knew what they were talking about when it came to the magnitude of the storm. The timing, though, they maybe didn't nail. Oh well. We can see our friends on Friday! Oh wait, there's rain and snow coming Friday?

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signs of fall

Changing leaves are very well—very well, this year—but there are other more impactful signs of fall around here lately. Saturday night saw our first freeze of the winter, so the garden looks a whole lot different now than it did before the weekend. I'd taken out the slicing tomato plants and the romas already, but the cherry tomatoes were still going strong. They did fantastic this year: I kind of wish we had been able to quantify how many we picked, but even if we'd been willing to take the time to weigh all the tomatoes we brought inside, that would still have missed the hundreds that we ate right there in the garden. But I think its fair to estimate that we enjoyed hundreds of dollars worth of tomatoes this summer. They took up a commensurate amount of space, too, as they kept growing and sprawling from May through October. Now they're gone, and the garden looks flat and empty. Neat, too. (There's still some greens growing, but they don't bulk nearly as large.) Now it's time to start planning for next year! The garlic will need to go in before the end of the month... where should we put it?

It's also the season of cold mornings in the house, which means morning baking! Today I made pumpkin muffins to share with our school friends. Only I noticed something with our new oven. See, when our last one broke it was the electronics that went wrong: the heating part was still fine. But since they're connected we had to replace the whole thing. To keep that from happening again we bought the most basic, no-frills model, with no kind of digital components to possibly go wrong. It works great! It also doesn't have a window in the front: I guess that also counts as a frill. Only, without the window, I find it hardly heats up the kitchen at all! Great in the summertime when we're baking bread, but in the winter heat in the kitchen is half the point! It makes me wonder how much energy we wasted in all the other years—heat that wasn't cooking our food! It also makes me wish for a wood-burning stove... now that's fall comfort!

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rain and shine

Yesterday it rained all day, the first rainy day for about a hundred years (actually: the first real rain since September 30, and the first all-day rain since August 29). We enjoyed it in the way you do, by reading books and gazing into various glowing rectangles for hours. Rain on Tuesday shows good timing, because that's when Harvey has all his classes, but you be sure there was lots more screen time besides that. We did get outside for a bit after lunch, when it was only raining lightly: I thought to dig out our three mini lacrosse sticks, thinking that would let us play ball without getting too soaked. I don't know if that really worked, but lacrosse was a hit and the boys were eager to play some more today.

Today, now, the weather was completely different. The rain washed all the humidity out of the air, and the day was clear and crisp: peak fall. Of course I had an hour and a half of Zoom meetings in the middle of the day, but the rest of the family had plenty of chances to enjoy the sunshine. I finally got out into the garden for a bit in the afternoon, but I kept being distracted from pulling out the tomato plants by gazing around at all the beautiful red and yellow in the trees. Fall is a good season.

BOOM!

Last night I had just said goodnight to the kids when I noticed that light rain had started falling, so I went out to put the bikes away (it's supposed to be part of the boys' cleaning up chores, but mine was out too so I can't cast stones). All of a sudden the world was split open by a tremendous boom and I about jumped out of my skin! It trailed away into rumbles that made me think it was thunder rather than a nearby house exploding, but I still wasn't sure. I ran right back inside to find the kids fully awake and pretty upset. Zion had his flashlight on and was checking for smoke or fire—he thought it was a house exploding too, and maybe our house. After a shock like that nobody could go right to sleep, so we all came downstairs. Of course I still had to put the bikes away, and as I was doing that I got to talk to all the neighbors who came out to look around for signs of explosion damage, then I went back in to talk with the boys. For some of them their main feeling was distress; for others, excitement. Either way it took a while before anybody was ready to try bed again.

The strangest thing about it all was that we didn't even have the rest of the thunderstorm: we had a few other distant rumbles but nothing more, and it never even rained hard (right then—we had lots of rain in the middle of the night). The only other time I've ever heard thunder that loud was when the building next door was hit by lightening. We looked around for a strike, but didn't find anything. You know how they say you shouldn't swim when you can hear thunder even off in the distance, because you can get lightning way far away from the center of the storm; clearly we've now learned you should never swim at all. Exciting!

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climate control?

It is possible for our house to stay cool on hot summer days. Or coolish, at least: cooler than outside, enough to make the children disinclined to get off the couch when it's steamy outside. Without air conditioning, that seems like a win. Of course, if takes a little action on our part. We need to have the right windows open at night, with the fans going—that's easy enough. First thing when we get up we need to open the doors to bring in that lovely early-morning air, the coolest of the day. Then—and this is the hard part—we have to close up the house at the right time. The windows and door facing east are easy: as soon as the sun is above the trees we can feel the heat pouring in that side of the house, so the curtains there make an immediate perceptible difference. But often, even as the air outside gets warmer and warmer, it's hard to close the other windows because we don't want to lose the breeze. If we don't, often by 3:00 it's clear we've made the wrong choice.

That's what happened yesterday. We were tricked by the misty overcast, and distracted by the forecast afternoon thunderstorms, and we left everything open all day. It wasn't super hot, but it was humid, and before long the mist burned off and the sun started burning in... and the house sure heated up. Worse, while we heard some distant thunder the five minutes of light rain that fell didn't do much to change the outside temperature.

We'll try again today, and since the forecast calls for sun and heat we'll be more focused on the job. It only got down to about 70° overnight, so that's our starting point. We'll close up the house after 8:00, and see how we do!

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summer show

Friday saw the first real summery weather of the year, and it ended with a summery thunderstorm. It was just getting started at bedtime with far-away rumblings; since I didn't want to miss the show I stayed up a little late. After everyone else was tucked in I went out to the garden to see the distant lightning away to the north, and it was as good as a fireworks display: some of the flashes were high and sharp, others low to the horizon, long-lasting, and flickering. It was all far enough away that the thunder was just a low background. But before too long I noticed clouds scudding overhead, and the wind started picking up. There were were just one or two closer thunderclaps before a light mist started falling and then, all of a sudden, the big drops. I was maybe thirty feet from the back door, but by the time I reached it I was as soaked as if I'd jumped in a pond. That was fine: I needed a shower anyway! I took off most of my clothes and went back out long enough to feel properly scrubbed—as long as I could, actually, before I died of hypothermia.

Back inside I dried off, closed the windows where the rain was pouring sideways into the house, and watched more of the show. The sheets of rain under the streetlight, swirling back and forth, were very satisfying. But there's a limit to how long I can stay up in the dark house, so I went to bed and fell asleep to the sound of the downpour and the last grumbles of the thunder.

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