(Click to enlarge and clarify.)
The cold air has charged south, and it is colder in south Texas near the Gulf of Mexico than up here in southern New Hampshire, near the North Atlantic. At 2:00 AM, as I’m stirred by insomnia (and aching muscles due to leaf-raking,) it is fifty degrees warmer here than at the same latitude in Nebraska, 52 here and 2 there. (+11 here and -17 there, Celsius.)
It’s all coming this way. The snow has covered Canada and expanded down into the northern Great Plains in the USA, (though it has retreated in western Russia.)
However despite my dread about the approaching onslaught, I actually did live up to my resolution to avoid worry, and to enjoy the benign weather while it lasts. This stuff has happened before. An article from The Weather Review in 1896 describes warmth on the east coast, as it hit minus fifty in Montana: http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/024/mwr-024-11-0414.pdf (Article at bottom of page.)
I decided I should take care of the leaves in the pasture, before the snow presses then all down to a brown wad.
Most have to get a “burn permit” to burn leaves, (though many ignore the law), however the bureaucrats haven’t caught up to the farmers yet, and farms require no permit. If I was in the mood to worry, I’d worry about the inevitable fee for a farm-permit which our future will inevitably hold, but maybe I’ll get lucky and die first.
In any case, I took the easy route and burned the leaves out in the pasture, rather than lugging them all to the garden to use as mulch. (Rather than the drifts of leaves becoming a brown wad that kills the grass, the ashes will fertilize.) I was glad I did it, for it never fails to generate a lovely mood at the Childcare.
On the amber autumn afternoons
When the forest has finished disrobing
Before snow’s bed sheets tuck lullaby tunes,
When Geese, who want to spin the globe, wing
Silhouettes in western skies, my rake sighs
Dry leaves to piles, and I lower to light
One leaf with one match. The children’s bright eyes
Spot the sight, and all rush up in delight.
The flames spread, the rake scuffs, and hours pass
With nothing more needed, for few jobs draw
So many helpers as turning a mass
Of rustling leaves to hot, orange awe
And the sweetest smog and the quiet delight
Of sparks swirling up in a deepening night.
Photo Credit: http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/burn-baby-burn-using-fire-in-the-garden/