Sunday, May 23, 2010

This New World

How do we know if the weather we are experiencing is anomalous? What is average anymore, anyway? All we know is the weather is completely unreliable in ways that are surprising the locals. That says something. We had frost both Saturday and Sunday morning. Our potted tomatoes and red peppers did not appreciate that in the least. We heard from some folks who have been living here for many years that this is the coldest spring on record in the past 40 years. First time that the temps haven't hit 80 here in the hills, nor 90 in Sacramento valley by now. We'd be happy if the temps went above 60. It's that cold, and it's been wet. The hummingbirds have been behaving even more territorially, if that's possible. One male will literally take over an entire feeder for himself on the coldest days, and not let anyone else feed at all. Life is rough in the era of climate change for everyone. There are very few flowers for the butterflies, who fly low over the overly green fields, hoping for a spot of color.
So, I've been putting out more food for the birds. We are feeding so many grosbeaks, goldfinches, juncoes, mourning doves, spotted towhees, steller's jays, house finches, nuthatches, song sparrows, and our much adored quail. Roger was watching all the activity at the feeders and asked, "What did they do before we fed them?" Then he answered his own question, "Oh right, they had the whole world."
The trees came down last week The crew was incredibly efficient and hardworking. We now have reduced our fire danger and opened the yard to more sunlight. Next year at this time, we will have a fenced space, raised beds, flowers for the hummingbirds and butterflies, more of everything for everyone. That's the plan. We'll proceed as if the temps and rainfall will be normal next year, whatever that means.

I hope you can see from the before and after photos, that we are still surrounded by forests. The birds are still singing. We're all adjusting to this new world.


  1. And what a wonderful world it is!! Our weather here in Seattle has been bizarre, too. We had the warmest winter on record and everything was blooming/bloomed out by the end of April. Then it decided to get chilly again and for a couple weeks now it barely gets out of the 50s if it does at all. In one 24 hour period we've had rain, lots of strong wind, gray gloomy skies that clear up for a few hours and everything is gorgeous and then the rain and wind returns again. I'm still wearing winter clothes. It's just amazing and just last year we had the most snow and cold temps in over 40 years?????? Who knows what next year will bring -- or do I even want to know???? Everything there is looking terrific and I know you're loving it -- cold weather or not! Hope you have a great week!


  2. Looks as if (some previous posts) that you are finally settling in.

    The Sierras are a beautiful place, to be sure.

    BTW, we are in the upper 80s all week, which is summer weather here, with the humidity....grrr.

    Cheers 2 U both!

  3. The trees were nicely done. We have no "normal" weather either...every day is well above average or well below. I do so love your new habitat.

  4. I look forward to seeing your new flower beds next spring.

  5. I love Roger's answer to his own question.
    Think "normal" ought to be scrapped from the weatherman's language. We are creating new normals daily.
    Enjoy the cool, we are looking at a week in the 90's.
    Like your new look since you still have a lovely bunch of trees but are fire safe and garden ready.

  6. Looking good! I'm sure the little feathered friends appreciate it.

  7. For the past several years, folks were joking that New England had become just like the Pacific Northwest. Rain, rain and more rain. It moderated the temps last year, at least, for which I was grateful. Our March and April this year are the hottest on record--a trend that has been continuing for most of the past five or six years. Very depressing. We've had those wild temperature swings this spring; it killed the maple sugaring season early. Folks have had to protect gardens from frost. And earlier in the month, we'd already had temps in the 90s.

    The yard looks lovely drenched in sun. Your summer will come and we'll be blessed with photos of your vegetables and prepared meals...and, dare I ask, recipes?

  8. It looks great R and R and I cant help but read Sylvia K's comment and ditto that for us.

  9. The property is looking good! Regarding the dearth of flowers: Is there any wildflower mix it would be safe to sow?

  10. Strange weather here, too, Robin (we're at about the same elevation as you are, just further south in the Sierras). It was 38 degrees this morning and barely reached 55 by late afternoon. Off and on gray, then blue skies, and rain for the rest of the week in the forecast along with more chilly temps and even snow higher up in the mountains. Incredible, considering that May is almost at an end.

    We haven't been able to plant our garden yet for fear that the cold will kill off the small starts. I'm wondering if this season will produce much in the way of lovely, tasty roma tomatoes and the pretty aubergines I love so much. I've always preferred cold weather to hot weather (it's just how I'm made, I guess) but even I've just about had enough of sweaters and shivery mornings now. I keep thinking I won't need to use the wood stove anymore, and then end up starting a new fire. I guess maybe we'll use up ALL of our firewood this year, instead of having some left over.

    I hope your plantings survive the frost. Thanks for posting the lovely photos -- oh, that butterfly! -- and keeping us apprised of happenings with you, Roger, and your new home.

  11. While we here are having an unseasonably hot dry spring, and the Ottawa River is at record low levels. Just read that "Normal is a cycle on the washing machine". 'Bout says it!

  12. I keep checking on the weather in Oregon and northern California and thinking that it sounds quite frigid there. Meanwhile, the weather at my mom's place in Ottawa has been sizzling. Makes me glad not to be at our old farm. It's a bit on the cool side here, but after looking at forecast across the country, I'm feeling kind of lucky at the moment. Strange weather indeed!
    The yard looks very nice - great view and no trees too close to the house. I'm sure the birds are appreciating the food this year.

  13. I keep wondering if the volcano in Iceland is or will be lowering global temps by pumping all those particulates into the atmosphere. Maybe we'll catch a global warming break, but then it would just give the deniers more to jabber on about.

    I just read about a family feeding themselves and several area restaurants on 1/8 acre in the middle of Pasadena CA. Raised beds, chicken and goats. Makes me wanna get my fingers in the dirt.