Monday, March 03, 2014

Winter Arrives Late And Stays

The rains came again, 4.25 inches (10.795 cm) in two days. We appreciated every drop of it, even if it did mean staying in the house with the dark foreboding skies looming over us before, during, and after the storms. When there was finally some light in the sky at the end of the day, I ran outside to get a photo. It was still raining, but there was light!
This kind of weather doesn't make for very good photographic opportunities, so we sit in front of the fire and plan our escape from the foothills back to the coast. We watch the water collect in the rain gauge.
Any break in the rain is a chance for a walk, even a short one, so we take what we can get. Up on the muddy reservoir we watch a female mallard and bufflehead together. Nice little moment to see the difference in their sizes. Buffleheads are the smallest ducks and very very cute.
This Sierra newt, who we dubbed Mr. Gingrich, of course, was the first of the season. We think there was a bit of a diesel spill in the reservoir, which explains why Mr Gingrich is heading away from the water.
And the beautiful rains always coax the fungus from their slumbers. This is a Black Elfin, a Helvella lacunosa. We haven't seen one of these since 2009. A dark crazy surprise from under the rain soaked leaves. Some people eat these, but the look alone makes them seem creepily inedible to me.

It's still raining. February's monthly total was 17 inches (43.18 cm), almost twice our normal monthly average. Whee!

20 comments:

  1. Nice to see some one else getting some rain, we had more today even though the last few days have been nice.

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  2. I am thrilled you are getting rain. Phew. Cool that you have a fireplace to enjoy and brief periods to explore.
    Buffleheads are such handsome ducks and my favorites.

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  3. Glad to hear you've had some rain, finally. I hope it percolated into the ground and didn't just run off. It's amazing how quickly life responds. I haven't seen any high altitude snowfall reports yet, but maybe it's early enough for that!

    Apparently black elfin is also to be found here. I've never seen any, but was surprised to see that it's fairly closely related to morels.

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  4. Good to hear you're getting rain at last, but one does wonder why it all has to come at once!!! I know you must enjoy your fireplace!! It's gray and rainy here in Portland, too. Hope you have a great week!! Stay warm and dry!!

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  5. yes, Sacbee is reporting that March will be a wet month, but will set no records. sounds very different up there in the foothills. That 'shroom looks like a cow pie. I tasted a truffle the other day - yuck!! Smelled and tasted like really bad b.o.

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  6. Bill-- If only it would just rain at night! We like to get out and hike around, and cabin fever sets in pretty fast!

    Arkansas Patti-- We spend a lot of time in front of the wood stove. It's one of our favorite spots in winter.

    Wayne-- I've been looking for numbers on the snowfall as well. It was a warm storm, so the snow fell at a much higher elevation. The black elfin is a pretty cool little mushroom, we were really glad to see it.

    Sylvia-- We always say, we'll take the rain how ever we can get it, but we do wish it would give us a little respite after a while. Hope you have a great week too!

    Tara-- I've been trying to find the February rain totals for the state. The website hasn't been updated yet. I don't know if we broke records, but it was a very WET MONTH. I'm not much for eating wild mushrooms.

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  7. I heard that downtown San Francisco got 8" of rain on Sunday! Wow!

    We get Buffleheads in the winter here, but they migrate further north come spring. They are, I agree, wonderful ducks.

    I also agree about the fungus. Maybe if it were breaded and deep fried--and I didn't know what it looked like beforehand--I would be more willing, but au natural--probably not. This would be perfect for the food contests on "Survivor."

    Our predicted 12-inch snow/ice/sleet storm fizzled into a 2-snowstorm--thank goodness! I'm not complaining. The last thing we need here is more snow. EVERYONE has had it with this winter in the northern Piedmont.

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  8. Here's hoping you will have more gentle rain. And always at night.

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  9. Scott-- We loved seeing the Buffleheads. Such cute little ducks. It's an interesting thing to consider the "look" of a food. I really don't like eating foods that look like what this Black Elfin looks like. Maybe it looks like black mold or something. Ugh. The east coast winter has been wild this year. I'm hoping spring arrives early and stays.

    NCmountainwoman-- Yes, always at night!

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  10. That is a lot of rain for a short period.

    If I saw that black elfin in the woods I would probably wonder what animal left it.

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  11. Mark P-- We've had two inches more rain since then! All is quiet now, but more is on the way. It's true about that Black Elfin, it does like some kind of animal poop. Oy.

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  12. Glad to hear you are having some rain. I know it's hardly enough but every little bit helps. I would pass on those mushrooms too. Have you decided where on the coast you are going to try and settle next?

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  13. Lotsa precip up this way, too. We don raingear, open umbrellas, and walk about. March is a crazy month, but at least things are blooming...

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  14. jsk-- We're thinking about heading up to Humboldt County. Probably back to Arcata. Want to be by the ocean and in a more radical left-leaning place.

    isabelita-- Ah, I think if we lived in town, we'd probably go out more in the rain. Here, it's muddy and a crazy mess. Yes, things are blooming, and I'm not worried about the deer finding things to eat anymore. There's plenty.

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  15. Mr. Gingrich. That's funny! The older I get the more I kinda like the rain. I suppose it has to do with how much responsibility one has like if you have to go to work or can simply sit at home and watch it.
    Humboldt is beautiful indeed.

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  16. I do seem to anticipate and welcome rain more these days. Maybe because I'm less nomadic -- let the sun shine where I am and the rain fall and refresh the plants and aquifers in the places I plan to visit next ... In Queensland, in Australia, we had 17mm in Brisbane in February, traditionally one of our wettest months. The rules have been suspended ... I don't think these are the rules we wanted to break. But, still curious and engaged ...

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  17. Love seeing a newt! Have you heard any frogs yet? With the relatively warmer weather here, I've been hearing them in the evening these last few days because I've had my windows open. An hour ago it was sunny. As I was writing, there was a sudden downpour, and I'm wondering if there will be a rainbow somewhere. A few hours ago I saw two Bald Eagles in the sky above downtown Bellingham. We're getting close to Spring Solstice.

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  18. wow! That is lot of rain. Although we need rain badly down here in SoCal, but can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if we EVER got than much rain?

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  19. Rubye Jack-- Ah, glad you liked the Mr. Gingrich reference. I hope I can get accustomed to more rain. I didn't like it very much when we were up in Port Townsend. It's the persistent gray that is so bleak. But I have hope for the northern coast to be a bit more accommodating.

    Anonymous-- I wish it would rain all night long, and let the sun shine all day. Oh if only I ran the world!

    am-- We've been hearing a frog chorus for a month now. It's louder than we've ever heard it before. One of our favorite songs! Yes, spring is almost here. We're having temps in the 70s and sunshine already. The daffodils are blooming like mad, and all the green shoots are coming everywhere!

    Pat-- Southern California would go completely crazy with this kind of rain. There would be flooding, and the roads would be even more dangerous than they are during regular commute times. I think this drought is going to stick around a while longer. I have heard rumors about an El Nino forming… we'll see.

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