LOCAL VIEW –Yo-yo Spring–

We get one day of glorious sunshine, and everyone walks about with silly smiles pasted across their faces, and then we get six days of cold rain, whereupon there is a lot of sulking. In other words, it’s your typical New Hampshire Spring, culminating with the appearance of the most affectionate creature known to man: black flies. They absolutely adore humans. Humans are mean, and do not return the love. Or perhaps we are more spiritual, and love what cannot be seen: Namely the wind. (Because the wind blows the blasted black flies away.)

The effect of this is to make people manic-depressive. Oops. Sorry. I forgot that scientific studies have refuted the psuedoscience, and proven there is no such thing as manic-depressive.

The effect of this is to make people bipolar. (Scientific studies of bipolarism are not yet finalized).

Even ancient people understood this, with celebrations beginning with April Fools Day and culminating with traipsing about a May Pole. Of course, now we are more modern and wise, so instead we have military parades celebrating the mass murder of people who work hard, succeed, and become rich, and we throw confetti for communists. (We’ve become so much wiser).

To celebrate this madcap  moodiness I was going to write a poem starting, “Spring is like a yo-yo…

Indeed children at our childcare bounce up and down like kangaroos, only they also bounce off walls, which kangaroos avoid as a rule, and therefore I get hopping to move them outside, even if it is pouring. And it has rained a lot. You might think I’d get scolded for cruelty to children, but my wife fortunately subscribes to the old Swedish motto, “There is no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing”, so I don’t even get in trouble for getting kids out in the mud.

A couple days ago, while watching the human-kangaroos jump dead center into every mud puddle they could find, I began to think the manic moodiness has a reason: It was getting a lot of accumulated poison out of their systems. Likely winter builds up all sorts of crud in bodies, and a good work-out flushes it out of the system. Even the goats, despite their age, were gamboling in the pasture like lambs, and eating lots of greens, which also cleanses the system.

The smaller boys do not gambol; they attack me from every angle, slugging and tackling and head-butting. Or perhaps this too is a gamble, because one of these days I might punch them back, (as a way of enraging the state inspectors and watch-dogs, and consequently getting retired from my childcare business), (Yippie!) but for the time being I just prissily say, “No, no. Naughty, naughty. It is not politically correct to maim your teacher.” I say this to them as they lie looking up at me, stretched-out flat in a puddle. They are in that position because, through there may be laws against belting children, they have not yet made a law against my ducking and dodging, and, when children attack from all angles, I make a Spanish Matador look like a clod. Meanwhile I am thinking of ways to put all their energy to good use.

I had just hit upon the idea of digging a ditch and planting potatoes, and likely was looking up and thanking God for the stroke of genius, which explains why I wasn’t looking down, and got hit by the charging child. The small monster head-butted me at roughly twenty miles an hour just to the left of my solar plexus, (over my operation scar), and I thought it might flush a lot out of my system in a hurry.

But such is spring. Even the flooding creeks, streams and rivers are flushing refuse downstream. I looked at the boy and said nothing, so I can’t be arrested or charged, but the child did look worried, as I decided “Spring is like a yo-yo…” simply wouldn’t do for my poem, and decided upon, “Spring is like a colonoscopy…

You will be thrilled to learn I never got around to writing that poem. I was too exhausted from planting potatoes. I thought we’d only manage to plant three or four, and then the kids would all start whining, “Can’t we stop?”, but they really got into a groove, (or trench). They wanted to dig, dig, dig, and I had to break up fights over who would next hack with the hoe. They were tireless. We planted all the Pontiac Reds (that ripen early for summer potato salads), the Yukon Golds, Kennebecs and Katahdens (for late summer and autumn mashed potatoes), the Burbank Russets (for winter baking), and the Peruvian Purples (for weirdness). By the end I was whining, “Can’t we stop?” but the merciless slave-drivers shouted, “No! Onward! Onward you lazy wimp!”Yo 1 IMG_4782

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I tried to take a break by pointing out meal-worms and millipedes and mites, but the only thing that slowed some them was a bright crimson mite, and even that was merely for a moment.

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Then the other mites drove me on.

So that explains why I am hunched over holding my back in a manner befitting a man of my advanced years. My shuffling manner of walking, on the other hand, involves a hike. I thought hiking with the older children might be safer, as they tend to dawdle. I was wrong.

We headed off to look at a tree the beavers had nearly-but-not-quite gnawed down last summer. It was amazing that the tree didn’t fall over. But perhaps our beavers are under achievers.

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I wanted to see if winter winds had knocked the tree down. When we arrived we saw a snapped-off hemlock’s top had not only flattened the tree, but buried it.

Now, the hemlock may not have been a big hemlock for the west coast, but it was big for the east; I couldn’t get my arms more than halfway around it, yet it was chopped down by little carpenter ants and by a woodpecker who was after those ants.

Now by now you are probably rolling your eyes, and think I must be pulling your leg about beavers that can’t cut down trees, and woodpeckers that can, but I tell you in our neck of the woods our woodpeckers are not those cute little birds that go “tippity-tip-tap” like Broadway dancers. They are a foot and a half tall with wings nearly three feet across, and give a crazy yell like a jungle monkey,  “Kook-Kook-Kook-Kook-Kook-Kook!” If you happen to be climbing a tree and one comes around the trunk and you are eye to eye with it,  you arrive at a swift judgement: “This dude is crazy. He has the eyes of someone who hit his head into a tree sixty thousand times.”

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I tell you our woodpeckers are much tougher than your woodpeckers, and if you don’t believe me take a look at this tree:

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I  was getting a bit tired and figured I could scare the kids into heading back if I told them any woodpecker that could do this sort of damage was likely nine feet tall and ate small children instead of ants. The kids were terrified.Yo 5 IMG_4763

Obviously I needed a different strategy, so I whined, “Can’t we go back?”  But no, they insisted, “No! Onward!  Onward you lazy wimp!”

I tried to discourage them by saying we were going beyond the point where kids from the Childcare had ever ventured before. It didn’t work. There is something about the spring that awakes the Danial Boone in people, and rather than discouraging them I only challenged them. Pioneering became abruptly attractive, even to kids who ordinarily whine about walking six feet to hang up a coat. Without asking permission they went plunging off into the puckerbrush, and I had to follow, because I’m paid to keep an eye on them, but I did have misgivings, because a couple of the kids ordinarily go “eek” at a mouse and “ick” at a mudpuddle, (and Danial Boone hardly ever did that). I knew they might change their minds.

Also we were venturing into a landscape not even many adults venture into any more, (though in the old days a few might seek native trout in the swampy thickets.) It is a flat area filled in by glacial sand that around nine little brooks brought down steep slopes from a small mountain, in an area where all nine brooks come together like the fingers of a nine-fingered hand. Beavers then built a most amazing series of curving and branching dams, in an attempt to control nine brooks, and dug canals to connect the brooks, and, over the ten-thousand or so year since the glaciers retreated, they collected a deep layer of mud behind their dams. Occasionally the beavers had to leave, after they ate every tree in sight, but the first trees that grew back were the birch and alder and aspen they like, so they’d move back and rebuild their dams.  Currently the area is largely abandoned, with only a couple beavers around, and the water level is lower in most places and trees are starting to grow back. Even though the dams are rotting away they still form walkways through the canals and areas of mire, and the kids had a fine time exploring deeper and deeper into the swamp….

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….but then the rain started to get heavier, and one girl didn’t like it. The other four didn’t mind the rain, but commiserated with their friend, and all turned on me with accusing eyes. “This is all your fault!” they stated.

“My fault!?” I exclaimed. “I wanted to go back! You were the ones who wanted to go out into this quagmire!”

“Yes, but we are young and irresponsible. You are suppose to know better!”

“Ok! Ok! We’ll head back.”

“Then why are we heading forward?”

“Because forward is the shortest way back.”

“But we want to go backwards! Backwards the way back!”

“No, forward is the way back”

“You are talking nonsense! You are trying to drown us all!”

“Look, you are going to have to trust me on this. You just said that you are young and irresponsible, and I know better.”

“Well obviously we were wrong! Help! Mr Shaw is trying to drown us all!”

“Stop yelling! Unless you want to be rescued by a helicopter.”

“Ooooh! That would be fun! Let’s keep yelling! Help! Help!”

I was starting to feel a little embarrassed, imagining what a person outside the swamp might think, hearing the girls scream. Four of the girls were joking, but I was a bit worried about the one who didn’t look like she was joking. Meanwhile the three boys were completely indifferent, and deaf to the girls, seemingly adopting insensitivity as the best policy for dealing with the opposite sex.

The path got tricky towards the edge of the swamp, as the spring floods had washed away most of the old dams. I had to pick my way carefully to find a path that kept water from getting over the tops of their boots. Two boys helped me by plunging ahead and finding the deep places, but they didn’t mind the water in their boots. The smallest boy, aged five, followed me and carefully put his feet where I said, and crossed with his feet dry. All five girls failed to follow instructions, and when water poured into their boots they seemed to have a very good time screaming, and right up until we were three feet from the dry land kept shrieking it was better to head back. (I am convinced some girls simply like to scream for the joy of it.)

Then we had a brief contest, emptying water from boots and declaring the winner of the most-water-in-a-boot contest. Then we left the woods and took a safe road back to the Childcare, with me glancing anxiously at houses abutting the swamp, to see if faces scowled out windows at me. Even now I’m a little amazed no one overheard, and no one dialed 911.

Later parents told me they heard from their children they had been on a wonderful adventure. So it looks like I won’t be reported for child abuse. My retirement is delayed. But not denied. One of these days I’ll get reported, and then, “Free at last! Free at Last! Great God Almighty! Free at last!”

Spring also cannot be denied. During the dark, dank, drizzly spell the woods refused to pause like blooms in a florist’s refrigerator, and a haze of yellow sugar maple blooms spread through the twigs.

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Slowly the grip of cold, dank mist weakened,
And though low cloud oppressed, just as dark,
It was as if a lightness was wakened
or a bright spirit indented its mark,
Not on couch cushions like a creepy ghost,
But in every heart, as a sense of ease.

Light airs swung south, as, from some southern coast,
Kind angels came cruising on a merciful breeze
And every heart lifted, without sun to see,
And clenched buds loosened lacy greenery
Despite dark skies. Smiling invisibly
Fortune changed, and was so kind to me
I laughed aloud, and raised up my eyes
And felt warm glances pierce the cloudy skies.

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LOCAL VIEW –Some Pity, Please–

I didn’t heed financial advisers
So what I now own is my own fault.
I find I envy lonely old misers
Clinking their coins in a lonely old vault.
It’s not their coins I desire, but their quiet.

Quiet’s so rare I cannot conceive it.
In my house women rampage and riot.
Four generations! Can you believe it?

My friends who loved money gained fat pensions
And were without wives. All their cares were shed;
They should have known joy, without tensions.
Instead loneliness swiftly struck them dead.

Me? Don’t ask. I’ve no time to reflect.
I get no quiet. I get no respect.

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One interesting aspect of Rodney Dangerfield’s humor is that it is an appeal for pity, but rather than pity it earns laughter. (“I know I’m ugly. I’ve always been ugly. When I was born the doctor slapped my mother.”)

Within the laughter is a joy that laughs at our sorrows. It is a recognition that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, it is good to be alive. It sees the glimmer of God even in a devil of a day.

All the same, I wouldn’t mind some pity, at times. (Preferably cash.) However I have a bad habit of always comparing my lot to people who are worse off, and that spoils my ability to play the violins. I start out with the violins, and then have this strange urge to insert a tuba.

For example, as a writer I prefer quiet, but despite the fact all my children are grown I never seem to experience the so-called “empty nest.” I have taken to getting up in the middle of the night to write, for that is the only time it is really quiet. Consequently I often lack sleep, (even though I go back to bed, and get to sleep twice a night, whereas others only get to sleep once). When I get up to go to work I feel like death warmed over, and want some pity.

Then I compare myself to a person who actually was the most unfortunate person in the world, for a day. I’m referring to myself 33 years ago. I was spurned and broke and living in a desert campground, and wrote this unhappy song:

I think I am going to die soon.
I see a skull’s face in the full moon
And high in the sky hear a mad loon
Luting a lonely and sad tune.

Why am I staying here grieving?
Who do I think I’m deceiving?
Why am I staying here groaning?
Life’s just a way of postponing.

Some body some body
Ask me to stay.

All I need to do is remember the horrible loneliness of that mournful twilight and all the noise I experience now doesn’t seem so bad. However I figure that shouldn’t disqualify me from pity. Maybe I don’t deserve a whole concerto of violins, but a lone fiddle might be nice, once in a while.

Recently my mother-in-law deserved the pity because she couldn’t go to her warm place in Florida because she was recovering from an operation. I agreed that the sooner she went to Florida the happier everyone would be. Finally she was able to go, provided someone went along to help her open up her house. I was willing to sacrifice the beauty of snow for a bit, however I was too indispensable to my workplace to go. In the end my daughter took on the task, but that meant my wife and I had to watch our granddaughter, who is three.

My sleep was even more disrupted, for the small child had the habit of crawling into bed with my wife and I at all hours of the night. It was cute, the first time, but the little girl kicks a lot in her sleep. Also sometimes she’d wake before me, and seemingly decided my upturned face was a good road to drive her toy cars over. It was a strange thing to wake up to.

However it was a perfect thing, when it came to getting me some pity. When people asked me, “How’s it going?” I didn’t need to respond, “Fine, and you?” Instead I could answer, “Things are not good.”

This forces people to raise a sympathetic eyebrow, and ask “Oh?”

Then I could say, “I’m terribly run down. This morning I was run over by a cement truck.”

I would then look at them and wait for them to correct me, saying something like, “You mean you felt like you were run over by a cement truck,” but no one ever took the bait. Maybe they know me too well. Instead they tended to look curious, and wait.

So I’d add, “Can you believe it? An actual cement truck ran me over. I took a picture of it with my cell phone, and can prove it to you.  Here. Take a look:”

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ARCTIC SEA ICE –Chit Chat–

I have never been good at chit-chat, as my family had the good sense to be dysfunctional, and we skipped all the humdrum banality of yawningly dull niceties, such as Christmas cards, gossip, and staying-in-touch. My brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews find sea-ice pretty boring,  and I don’t blame them. (Heck if I can explain why I myself find it so engrossing). The last thing I would want to do is belabor the subject, at a reunion, if we ever bothered to have such a thing as reunions. Nor would they be so rude as to belabor me with the idiotic stuff they are interested in. That is the whole thing about being dysfunctional. I get to focus on sea-ice, and they get to focus on their stuff, and we don’t get in each others way.

My wife’s family is totally different. They are functional.  Oh lord, are they ever functional! I groan, when I hear I must attend some barbecue. Sometimes I need a chart,  just to know who half the people are. And very seldom is even a single person interested in sea-ice.

When I bring up the subject of sea-ice at such a barbecue I feel like the guy in the movie “The Graduate” who says what is important is plastics.

Therefore I tend to zip my lip, and let the other person be the fool. My wife doesn’t approve of this. She feels I should be more outgoing.

It is the most amazing thing to watch my wife at a family barbecue. She will walk up to a total stranger, and inquire, “What brings you to this party? What is your connection?” Rather than feeling she is nosy, people love her. It often turns out the person she is cross-examining is the girlfriend of an in-law’s in-law, and was feeling completely miserable and wondering why she came, when suddenly she meets my wife, who is truly interested in her. So the newcomer spills her guts. It can be interesting, but it is seldom about sea-ice.

This has been going on for more than a quarter century now, and, because I hang around in the background as my wife interviews people, I have learned an extraordinary amount about stuff that doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

I have learned that some people who are not interested in sea-ice turn out to be interesting people, but also have learned that other people who are not interested in sea-ice remain boring as can be, no matter how many years pass.  Oddly, even they have become interesting to me, because I am curious about what their next inanity will be. Maybe it will not be, “One word, ‘plastics'”, but it will be some profundity such as, “Who doesn’t like chocolate?”

Anyway, it is hard enough to focus on sea-ice on an ordinary summer, with so many barbecues to attend, but this August my middle son is getting married. I figured this wouldn’t involve me, as the ceremony is the bride’s father’s business, and I thought I could get down to being dysfunctional and focusing on sea-ice, but it isn’t working out that way. My wife has built up a head of steam, and the wedding is to be on the farm where I run my Childcare, and not only do I have to move some perfectly good dysfunctional tractors I have sitting about, but I have to keep the garden weeded. Finding time to focus on sea-ice is looking unlikely.

Therefore I may not post much in the next 40 days. I ask the few, the brave, the proud, who do care about sea-ice, to forgive me. After all, you are the people I enjoy, and you talk about stuff I care about. If I was truly dysfunctional, I’d tell my family where they could go, and then hang out with the people I find delightful. However my wife is determined to make a functional man out of me, (and is delightful in her own way), and she is leading me astray.

When I do post about sea-ice it will, I fear, lack the depth I like to achieve. I’ll post in a breathless hurry, and it will seem like mere chit-chat. My hope is that the people who comment will do what they have done in the past, and add depth to my superficiality. Look to the comments, for depth, until after August 6.

I myself am only finding the time to barely glance over data, without digging. I will say it is looking like there is a chance the Pole will start hoarding its cold, with a more zonal flow, even though polar outbreaks are still bringing refreshing coolness to places ordinarily hot in late June, such as Indiana in the USA. We will have to see if this “zonal” scenario actually happens, but there are a few hints the cold will be restrained to the north, for the Pole is unexpectedly below normal. (It is unexpected because last winter’s El Nino would have one expect above-normal warmth at the Pole).

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My sea-ice curiosity is wondering what the heck could make it cooler than normal when it should be warmer. What could counter the El Nino? But I have a wedding to attend to, so I just breeze over it and say it must have something to do with the “Quiet Sun”, and make cryptic references to someone called “Svenmark”. However other people, who don’t have weddings to attend to, have the time to come up with fascinating postulates.

To even suggest the sun has an effect often gets you scorned at Alarmist sites, as they obsess on CO2. But people with broader minds allow more variables, and do consider that the sun might have something to do with heat in the summer. Some interesting ideas were brought to my attention by the blogger “ren”, (see past posts), and make me wish I could do justice to the topic. In reality I’d get in trouble if I spent time researching cosmic rays when I’m suppose to be getting ready for a wedding.

Therefore you must do it. Some solar waves should reach the Pole in the next few days. Because solar stuff is not included in the weather models, the forecasts of models should be wrong. After June 30, watch for the models being very wrong at the Pole.

To be honest, if I had the time to research, I’m not sure I’d be as forward-looking as “ren”, for I am backward-looking and like to study history. Alarmists like to begin sea-ice history in 1979, and are accused of wanting to “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, but I’m curious about a far more recent “warm period” which involves World War Two.

(Why?  I suppose it is because my mother’s first boyfriend was a British sailor who likely died bringing Stalin supplies. His letters abruptly ceased around the time an arctic convoy got destroyed by Hitler’s navy. A tender part of my mother also got destroyed, which made me curious about the details, which involves sea-ice, and where it was during World War Two, which happens to be a time people were far too busy staying alive to care much about something as remote as arctic sea-ice, unless it involved a convoy in Barents Sea.)

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Alarmists seem as eager to “erase the 1930’s warm period” as they are to “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, because they like everything simple, and want temperatures to slowly rise and never fall. However disturbing charts keep appearing.

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You can see from the above graph why Alarmists chose 1979 as a starting point. (I sometimes wonder why they didn’t chose 1961.) But you can also see there was a warm period, even warmer than the current warm period, peaking in the Dust Bowl times of the Great Depression.  There was a cold spell at the start of World War Two, but also a warm spike in the heart of that war.

These are but cold facts to many, but to me they have a warmth, for they involve a person without whom I would not exist: Mom. These cold graphs, charts and statistics involved something called “reality” to her. She knew the poverty of the Great Depression and the death of World War Two. She didn’t want to talk about it, because she believed in the goodness of being dysfunctional, but I was a brat, and pestered, and learned the Truth.

The short version is this:  It was far safer to send convoys to Russia during the winter, when darkness hid the ships, but that was not enough. Stalin was desperate and needed more supplies. Therefore convoys had to be attempted during the summer, during the glaring light of a midnight sun which allowed the Nazis to see, and the first attempt at a summer convoy was a nightmarish fiasco. Lots and lots of good men died because a bad man called Hitler was at war with a bad man called Stalin.  Even though the USA was not at war at first, my mother’s heart was with England, and then it got shattered.

How might a teenager feel when the guy she adores abruptly stops writing letters? Not that the press was allowed to tell the whole truth during the war, but the press could hint at the truth when a British convoy got creamed. My mother was no dunce, and she could figure out why the letters stopped. No happy-ever-after for her. And did that effect her attitudes? And, a decade later, did that effect me?

The answer is, “Yes.” But Alarmists don’t care about what really effects people and what really matters. The subtle heartaches that rule our lives (unless we bring loving understanding to bear) mean nothing, for Alarmists are too determined to be simpletons, and to insist CO2 matters more than history, even to the degree where they ignore history.

Let me be blunt. Alarmists may clasp their hands and exclaim that they care, but caring involves more than saying you care. It involves understanding, and searching, and study, and if you can’t be bothered with that,  then you don’t care. The truth is Alarmists can’t be bothered to care. I don’t see why they can’t be honest about it, the way I’m honest about family barbecues. But Alarmists seem beyond being dysfunctional, like me.  They are dsy-dysfunctional. They don’t want to be functional like my wife, who wants to know your history, or dysfunctional like me, who wants to study other history.  To put it mildly and avoid bad words, they are flipping, hopping, complete crackpots who want to blame a trace gas like CO2 for problems, and have no use for history at all.

If you want to determine if a person is truly an Alarmist, bring up the history of sea-ice before 1979. You will swiftly see they do not want to hear. They call me a denier, but they deny the past. It is too respectful and flattering to call them by a word as accurate as “Alarmist.”  It likely will not catch on, but they deserve to be called by a word I have made up, “Dysdys.” They are a bunch of Dysdyses.

I need a break from these idiots. It probably is a blessing I’m going to be too busy with my son’s wedding to focus much on sea-ice. To deal with a Dysdys is often an exercise in infuriating futility. “They have eyes but cannot see; they have ears but cannot hear.”

If I get time, I’ll add some maps tomorrow. But that will look like I am trying to persuade the Dysdys with actual evidence.  After a decade of trying, I have doubts they are anything other than impervious to evidence.

You know what the Dysdys need? They need chit chat. They need to be sitting at a barbecue where they know absolutely no one, with a sneering nose wrinkled disdainfully, and face the ultimate challenge:  My wife walking up, and hitting them full blast with her caring chit chat.

Unfortunately for them, she’s mine.  I’m not sharing.

*******

As promised, here are the recent maps. “Ralph” has been reinforced by blurbs of low pressure swinging around from West Siberia.

The midnight sun really cooks the Tundra now, and any land breeze will bring heat north a ways over the sea-ice. The mosquitoes are murder, which is why polar bears stay out on the ice. In fact a little-known  theory states the only reason polar bears evolved was to avoid mosquitoes. (It is little known because I just made it up.) By the way, the heated Tundra is known as “baked Alaska”. It shows as red in the temperature maps along the coasts.

The ice extent is declining in its ordinary manner, so, to liven things up, DMI decided to meddle with how they do their extent graph. (Expect an uproar.)

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Here is their explanation:

New graphs

We have improved the algorithms calculating sea ice concentration and extent. Consequently, on June 28, 2016, we updated the graphs of ice extent with new data of higher quality. In particular, calculation of ice concentration in coastal zones have been improved, but also calculation of ice concentration in the Arctic ocean is improved with this new setup.

The sea ice extent data from 1979 till today is composed by a Climate Data Record (CDR, OSI-409a), an Interim CDR providing updates with one month delay to the CDR (ICDR, OSI-430) and an operational setup that calculates sea ice extent for the period between the ICDR and today. Further, the algorithms behing these three products are now more consistent than the previous processing chain.

This switch to new algorithms has led to small changes in the trends of sea ice extent since the first year of the data set, but it has not changed the general picture of ice extent decline.

You can read technical and validation reports of the products here.

Compared to last year, there is less ice northeast of Alaska but the ice is much slower to thin towards East Siberia. (2015 to left;2016 to right)

It does rain at the Pole during the thaw, and I think O-buoy 14 saw some, mixed with wet snow. It has seen little sun, but a swift increase of slush.

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The open water along the horizon has closed up, but I expect it will open again soon. This camera should be bobbing in open water before September, as it is much further south than our old North Pole Camera used to be.

Now I have to go make a scruffy farm look presentable.

 

LOCAL VIEW –Reptiles Rule, Almost–

Every spring is different, and what has made this one unique has been the after-effects of a warm spell at the end of March followed by a deep freeze the first week of April. Certain flowering shrubs and trees, such as forsythia and black cherry, were right on the verge of blooming, and then seemed to put on the brakes. When the cold passed I waited for them to resume their budding and blooming, but the buds were blasted. The leaves came out, but there were simply no flowers this year.

I can’t tell you how much I missed the forsythia. It is such a happy bloom. It’s suppose to look like this amidst the late winter gray.Forsythia x intermedia Lynwood

Instead of that happy splash of color there were just stark stems, gradually leafing out with green. The cherry trees also just gradually leafed out. You could kiss your haiku sayonara.

Ordinarily the blooms, and especially the yellows, of spring evoke a sort of rollicking response in me. When I was a teenager, (after a winter that seemed particularly tragic to me, because a certain girl refused to smile),  even the yellowing of the branches of weeping willows defeated depression and prompted this joy:

Is that there a willow tree
In the winter’s gray?
Clowning yellows happily
And laughing in its play:
“Spring will come some day!”

Can it be a hidden grin
Is bursting out aloud?
A boatless sailors porpoise fin?
I see you’re in
Beneath your shroud.

But that was yesterday, and yesterdays’s gone.

Actually those two fellows are far too happy, singing that song. They fail to be morose in the proper manner. (Perhaps I should have linked to them singing, “Willow weep for me”.)

To live through a spring without the initial blooms is a sobering experience. After all, black cherries feed a lot of birds and critters, and it looks like there won’t be any, this year. Birds will be forced to seek alternative sources of nourishment, such as my vegetable garden.

The weather has gradually warmed in a desultory sort of way, and even the cold-blooded reptiles are stirring. Of course, snapping turtles are not welcome at my Farm-childcare, as their bite can take a child’s finger off. Yet one made an appearance today, though it was camera shy:

Snapping turtle IMG_2938

The males never leave the water, and tend to be draped by festoons of slimy algae, but the females can lumber quite amazing distances from their ponds to lay their eggs. Sometimes they travel five miles.  I think they don’t much want to share their ponds with their own children, or perhaps they don’t want the tiny offspring to be lunch for the grouchy fathers. The children are about the size of the lens in an average pair of spectacles, while the female in the above picture had a shell 18 inches (46 cm) from front to back. You shouldn’t be fooled by their lovely, friendly faces

Snapping turtle snapperhead

Photo credit http://mentalfloss.com/article/68505/10-biting-facts-about-snapping-turtles

Because they have very long necks

Snapping 3 common-snapping-turtle-breathing-at-surface-of-the-water (1)

Photo Credit  http://www.arkive.org/common-snapping-turtle/chelydra-serpentina/image-G136674.html

And they can bite you when you think you are at a safe distance.

Lastly, small children at a Childcare are not known for following orders. In some ways a farm is a good way to teach children to listen to elders; especially the older boys who are more rebellious. I once derived a certain smug and silent satisfaction when I witnessed a young know-it-all fleeing the rooster, setting a record for the hundred yard dash across the pasture, with the rooster a close second. I had repetitively warned the lad, “Stay away from that rooster”, but he wouldn’t listen. After the dash I didn’t have to say a word; the rooster had done the teaching.

On another occasion, after repeatedly telling a nine-year-old boy not to tease a particular goat we called “The Mean Queen”, I watched as that goat singled him out and, ignoring all the other children, stalked him like a cat does an unwary mouse, and gave him a good clout, pinning him against a tree. (The goat was hornless). The boy shot me a startled glace as he wriggled away from the goat, but I only shrugged and spread my palms in a way that was sign language for, “I told you so, but you didn’t listen, did you?”

However having a child lose a finger seems like going a wee bit too far, in my policy of letting children learn, from mistakes, that elders are doing more than ruining the fun, when they give orders.

We get many small children who arrive at our Childcare without any self discipline; wee tots turned into tyrants by permissive parents; and it takes me a while to teach them I am a fierce old grouch, a force to be reckoned with, as my “no” means “no” even if they tantrum until they are blue in the face.  (I might get faster results if corporal punishment was allowed, but it isn’t.) Progress is very slow in some cases, and I can’t take chances with a four-year-old “testing his boundaries” when I tell him to avoid a snapping turtle. Therefore I tend to get rid of snapping turtles at our Farm-childcare, when I can.

There shouldn’t be any uproar about turtle-removal, for snapping turtles are not endangered species in these parts, and about the only good they do is reduce the population of invasive Canada Geese by nabbing the cute goslings as they swim behind their parents. (Every golf course should import snapping turtles into their water hazards, to rid the fairways of Canada Geese.) Therefore there should be no uproar if we get rid of a turtle in the most natural and efficient way, which is to eat them.

We did eat a big old male, once, (and I have never chewed a tougher and more rubbery meat; I must have prepared it incorrectly.  I stewed it, and no amount of boiling would soften the meat.) However I have since learned modern mothers have soft hearts about most everything.  They are very spiritual, believe the lion should lay down with the lamb, and likely have never seen five cute goslings swimming behind a mother goose abruptly become four cute goslings behind a mother goose.  If they saw that their opinions might change, but as it is they are so softhearted they can make me feel guilty about putting a worm on a fishhook. The long version of this education involved a time I showed the kids how to make woodchuck stew, and if you have the time you can read about my education here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/groundhog-stew/

The short version is that I’ve learned it is safest to either make sure parents sign a permission slip, or look over both shoulders surreptitiously, before I so much as bait a hook.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate being educated by mothers younger than my daughters, and I may become a Buddhist yet, as I contemplate the feelings of worms as I hook them. (If not a Buddhist, I may become a fly fisherman). However it does seem odd young mothers want to control me, when they can’t control their darling toddler Adolf.

In any case, a snapping turtle on the Childcare property does present me with a bit of a problem.

This snapper would not even give me a decent picture. (That is why I had to use the pictures of others, and supply photo credits). I like taking my own pictures, but this female only poked her long neck up like a periscope once, and then, seeing I hadn’t left (and before I could aim my camera), ducked back down. She nestled more deeply into the leaves , and occasionally heaved a sigh, but didn’t poke her head up a second time, (which would have made a great picture.)

I waited and waited. I was so silent I could hear the grass grow, which reminded me of the job I was doing, when I first saw her, (mowing the grass.) Grass sometimes seems it is the only thing that is growing, this stunted spring. It’s a blasted nuisance. I’d rather watch a turtle than make a racket with a mower. But sometimes a man’s just got to do what a man’s got to do.

I use up lots of gas. It’s how I earn my pay:
Cutting lots of grass but never making hay.
Hay could feed some sheep which could feed and cloth the poor.
It makes me want to weep. Just who am I mowing for?

I’m a lawn-mowing man! I make the noise pollution!
I just do what I can, and await a revolution.

I kept checking on the turtle as I mowed, but she just stayed there, until I decided she must be laying eggs. This got me thinking. Turtle eggs make good eating, though they have some odd qualities. The whites never turn white, even if you boil them an hour, and therefore you need to fry them, or get over your dislike of uncooked whites. In either case, cooking turtle eggs would be yet another activity that makes my Childcare different from other Childcares.  At the very least, thinking about it kept mowing-the-grass from boring me to death.

It takes longer, but one thing I insist upon as I mow is bagging all the clippings and using them to mulch the garden. It cuts back on weeding, (which I like only slightly more than mowing), and also it makes mowing seem less pointless and useless. I mean, if people are going to worry about Global Warming, and yet use up umpteen gallons of fossil fuel cutting grass, and never use the grass for anything useful, then they will never dare criticize me, for I actually utilize what I cut. Right?

Wrong. I’ll save the details for some other night, but there are some folk who just hate farmers. No matter what you do they see it as some sort of rape of the environment.

It all seemed to conspire in a way that soured my sense of spring. Just as the forsythia has no happy yellow blooms, the next generation sometimes seems like a bunch of soured mothers with soured children. Grumph. Grumph. Grumph. And just then the next reptile gave me a shock, as I brought grass clippings to the garden.

Snake 1 FullSizeRender

It was a harmless and common garter snake, but snakes always make me jump at first. This one slithered into weeds and was being as uncooperative as the snapping turtle, when it came to being photogenic. However I was sick and tired of being patient with others when others are not always patient with me, so I poked it and forced it out into the sun.

Even the above photo seemed pretty dull, and unlikely to attract people to my website, and the snake wouldn’t sit still and be photogenic, and therefore, to make this post more interesting, I stepped on the end of the snake’s tail.

Snake 2 IMG_2965

Much more photogenic! What’s more, I noticed the snake’s tongue darted in and out much more often, when it was trapped. The tongues of snakes dart so quickly I’ve never gotten a good picture of one with its tongue out, but this seemed my chance.  I nearly exhausted my cell phone, but finally\ managed to catch this shot.

Snake 3 FullSizeRender

I was so pleased with the picture that I smugly decided there was a slight likelihood that the photo could go viral, and appear all over the web as an illustration for various blogs. But was the snake grateful for the possibility of fame?

Snake 4 FullSizeRender

Talk about unappreciative! But that’s how things have been going, this spring. You get no flowers. But I decided that, if the stupid snake didn’t want to be famous, he could go crawl about on his belly for all I cared. I would go see if the snapping turtle was more interested.

The snapping turtle had vanished. Furthermore, she left me no eggs. Apparently she only hunkered down in the leaves because she doesn’t like pictures, and deemed me the paparazzi. The nerve! Who does she think she is? Some Hollywood star?

As I rolled my eyes to heaven I noticed something. A branch of high-bush blueberry was loaded with blooms. Rather than finishing the lawn I investigated further into the brush. It was amazing, for every blueberry bush was covered with more blooms than I’d ever seen before.

Blueberries 1 IMG_2981

So maybe I did get some flowers after all. I just had to look for them.

Not that I expect any berries. This is likely just the Creator’s way of making up for the fact there will be few black cherries this year. Once birds realize there are few cherries, every bird in town will be chowing down in by blueberry patch.

My brief elation over blooms gave way to a gloom over an imagined lack of berries, and I trudged back to finish mowing the lawn.

That might make a good end to this post, but there was more, for the wind was picking up, purple clouds came hurrying over, and by the time I finished the lawn the gusts were chilly, and a driving mist was hinting at April. I rushed home to check the weather radar on my computer, and could see a cold front was ramming through, and that May snows were falling back in the Great Lakes, behind the front.

The way this spring has been going, the blueberry blooms will also get burned by frost, and they’ll wind up being worse than “for the birds”. They will be blasted, and there will be no berries for the birds. It will be, in the end, a sullen spring, a spring without flowers.

As I sat slumped at the computer, thinking how sad it is this spring gives me no bouquets, my wife, (who does not like it when I hurry to the computer to hunch over a radar screen without even saying “hello”), asked me if I’d completed a particular chore. Fortunately I had actually done it, though how I found the time only God knows. After all, as my faithful readers know, when I mow a lawn it involves a lot more than cutting the grass. It involves turtles. It involves snakes. It involves mulching the garden. It involves the blueberry crop, and the well-being of birds. It involves scanning the sky for frost in May. It involves important stuff, significant stuff,  like Global Warming. It involves the price of eggs in Africa.

Some days I envy robots. When they mow the grass, that is all they do. Some days I take my gloom a step farther, and think my wife would be happier with a robot. My daughters are not. They insist on bringing boys home that make even me look sensible. These young men do know about snapping turtles, but only because apparently there is a snapping turtle in some video game. Many do not know how to mow a non-virtual lawn.

The last video game I played was called “centipede”, a quarter century ago. Since then I’ve been too busy in the non-virtual reality to even watch ordinary TV shows. The only reason I go on-line is to study meteorology. The only reason I am involved in politics is because “Global Warming” dragged me into it, when all I originally wanted to do was avoid talking about unsafe stuff like religion and politics, and talk about “safe” stuff like the weather.

Be that as it may, I am now neck deep in serious stuff, significant stuff,  involving the hot topic of Global Warming. So far there is no reward. It is the epitome of a spring without flowers. In fact it is proof gloom is wise. To delve into the internet in this respect makes me live in a sort of basement.

Gloom IMG_2909

There is no forsythia in the above picture.  No happy spring. I can search the web all I want and my wisdom just gets darker. The politics of Global Warming isn’t warm, and proves cold-blooded reptiles rule, almost.

Almost, but not quite, due to an occupational hazard you face, if you run a Childcare. When you deal with children you may be older and wiser, and understand the logic of reptiles, but children know something reptiles don’t, and can be forsythia even when forsythia can’t.Gloom 2 IMG_2920

You can have been working a solid week to nurse a good gloom into life, but then a child will ruin it in five seconds. So I guess I’ll be gloomy about that.

I am bemused by my self, and conclude
I was made on a day the Creator
Mixed up pots of stuff that held nothing rude
And made good men, but when done, still had more.
In the artist pot, there was not enough
To make one; in the engineer pot,
Not enough; and so on, but such stuff
Should not be wasted, and so He took the lot
And mixed all together, curious
About what the mix might turn out to be.
I think that I ought to be furious
For the mix that he made turned out to be me.
I’m a Jack-of-all-trades who can do nothing well,
But if you make the Lord smile, you won’t go to hell.

JULY SNOW IN HAWAII AND AFRICA

There are shenanigans going on at NOAA, concerning adjustments made to the temperature record, which make recent years look warmer than they actually are, when compared to past years. Some suggest  this has been done for purely political reasons, because of growing disbelief in “Global Warming”,  and because of a political need to be able to claim things such as “Last May was the warmest ever.”  Rather than properly scrutinizing such claims, the mainstream media seems to merely take what it is told and to run with it.  Rather than report they regurgitate.

The scrutinizing is left to others, who find it quite easy to cast considerable doubt on NOAA’s new, adjusted way of measuring temperatures. I myself wrote a post the day after they came out with the scheme, pointing out it made little sense to take temperature readings from the sun-baked, mosquito-infested arctic tundra, where temperatures can easily top 90° F, and to use those land-based readings to guess what temperatures might be out over the ice-choked waters of the Arctic Sea, where temperatures seldom get up to 40° F.  Such “homogenization” makes no  sense, yet NOAA’s “new way” did it.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/arctic-sea-ice-refutes-global-warming-karl-et-al-report/

Another way of scrutinizing the “new way of measuring temperatures” is to compare it with the temperatures NOAA actually uses, when making forecasts. NOAA doesn’t want to use “adjusted” or “homoginized” temperatures, when  it runs its GISS model. It wants to use “real” temperatures, and to make sure they are as accurate as possible, because even a slight variance in the data put into the forecasting tool can make a big difference, with the difference getting larger and and larger as the model forecasts farther and farther into  the future.  (It is sometimes suggested that even a butterfly flapping its wing can make a difference, ten days down the road.) Therefore, over at the Weatherbell site, Dr, Ryan Maue simply made a graph of the “real” temperatures, used for real forecasts, and rather than the past  May being the warmest ever, it appears to be the “eighth warmest since 1978”.

Of course at times one gets fed up with pointing things out, and being utterly ignored. Rather than  reporting, the media goes right on regurgitating, seeking out hot places to report upon, and utterly ignoring the cold places. At this point I’m afraid I resort to less than level headed and spiritual behavior. Even though I’ve just come from church, and know I should be gentle when I point out errors, and only remonstrate in a  fatherly manner when I see a lack of truthfulness in others, I resort to sarcastic potshots. I’m not sure the Bible actually states, “Thou shalt not resort to sarcastic potshots”, but I think it is implied.

One of the best sinful potshots, which I confess I’ve succumbed to employing, is to simply counter the media’s silly reporting of every heatwave they can find with reports of snowfalls. The media avoids reporting snowfalls in their silly  focus on heat, and it throws a wrench in their works to even mention the white stuff.  For example, you can post pictures of a July snowfall atop Mauna Kea Volcano on Hawaii.

Silly Snow 1 2015-07-17snow04Silly Snow 2 ScreenHunter_2562-Jul.-17-18.37Now, if you were a good reporter you might mention that the observatory up there is at an altitude of 13,796 feet, and up that high, while July snow is unusual,  it isn’t unheard of. However that  would be mature behavior, and, because we have been reduced to playing tit-for-tat with an immature media, you don’t mention that. Instead you sensationalize, and report the National Park is closed, and the rangers have posted:

“The road to the summit of Maunakea is closed to the public at the Visitors Information Station due to icy road conditions at the summit. After road inspection this morning, the ranger reports ice on the upper summit ridge and switchback, the east/ west summit ridge, and the UKIRT-IRTF roads. He also reported mixed rain and snow, fog, there is an inch and a half of frozen snow on the summit and moderate winds. This message will be updated accordingly as conditions change. (Mauna Kea Rangers on July 17, 2015 at 5:55 a.m.)”

In this manner, rather than educating the public, you can take advantage of the fact the general public assumes Hawaii is warm, and create an impression. After all, the mainstream media is more interested in impressions than in reality, isn’t it?

In the same way, the general public assumes Africa is a hot place. There is no need to mention South Africa is far south of the equator, and has passes up at higher altitudes, or even that it is winter down there. Simply mention the words “Africa” and “Snow”, and beat the media at its own silly game by posting pictures like this:

Silly Snow 3 snow1Silly snow 4 snow3-henn-417x313OK. Now, to see if you have been listening, I am going to show you a picture of a snow-covered farm in southern Chile, in South America, where they had up to 80 cm of snow.   You have to invent headlines and a brief article. (The only stipulation is that you are absolutely forbidden from saying, “It’s chilly in Chile”.)

Silly Snow 6 20150714183254No! No! No! That was utterly wrong! First, you mentioned that it was winter in the southern hemisphere. That is utterly unnecessary. Then you pointed out southern Chilie includes Cape Horn and juts down towards Antarctica. That utterly spoils the effect. The only reason I’m not flunking you is because you did mention there was “up to 80 cm of snow” even though there is not that much snow in the picture.

I’ll  give you one more chance. Here is a picture from a railway station, yesterday in Australia:Silly Snow 5 466912-5e729cba-2c1a-11e5-aa8f-85f55b955825 What do you mean, “At what altitude was this picture taken?” Just who do you think you are? An honest reporter of the old school? Modern reporters never ask questions like that. Please remember, “regurgitate, regurgitate, regurgitate”.

If you are an alarmist, you might try suggesting this snow is actually warmer than snow used to be. There are some who will believe you.

Silly Snow 7 2A9B8C0400000578-3164774-Queenslander_Billy_Brislane_pictured_running_through_a_snow_clad-a-119_1437112686604However if you are a Skeptic, you must post all the pictures you can find of snow in July. It is actually a refreshing job, when it is hot and muggy outside. Here is a great resource, for finding all the cold, frosty, snowy news items the mainstream media always neglects to report:

http://iceagenow.info/

LOCAL VIEW —Drought-buster—

I seldom root against my favorite weathermen. Their job is rough enough as it is, and has enough humbling involved for ten men.

Weathermen also have to deal with a fair number of twerps who remind me of myself when I was thirteen, though they are old enough to know better.

These twerps like to portray themselves as being able to out-forecast the weathermen, and then to have what is tantamount to a ticker-tape parade for themselves, as they sneer at the weathermen for being wrong. Of course, if the twerp was honest he would see he is very seldom as adept as the weatherman, however he is very quiet about all the times he is wrong, and sweeps scores of botched forecasts under the rug, and conveniently forgets them. It is only on those rare occasions when the twerp is right that he becomes insufferably vain, and insufferably condescending towards weathermen.

I suppose we all were a bit like that when we were thirteen. It is the beginnings of the competitive instinct which can take a complete twerp and turn him into a splendid forecaster, if he is lucky enough to be guided by wise mentors. And I also suppose that is why splendid weathermen do not shoot the twerps who assail them. They see a bit of themselves in the obnoxious little egotists.

If course, you do not want to look in the mirror at age sixty-two, as I am, and see an obnoxious little egotist. Unfortunately, (speaking for all when I probably should speak only for myself), there seems to be a bit of the obnoxious little twerp in every man. It is a part of us that refuses to die, no matter how hard we strive to be perfect. Only God is perfect, and  the sooner we recognize this fact the sooner we develop the ability to accept our own humanity, and the humanity of others, which seems essential, if joy is to enter our lives. The alternative is to be pissed off all the time about failures.

In any case, one reason I like following the world of weather and weather forecasts is because there are few things quite so humbling as trying to forecast the chaos we call our weather. The only other occupation which attempts such difficult forecasting of chaotic systems is psychiatry, but psychiatrists can blame their patients when they are wrong. It is very hard for meteorologists to blame the sky.

And so it is that, because weathermen are taking on such a insurmountable challenge, I tend to root for them. I want them to experience those shining moments when they are correct. Even if they were merely gamblers, I’d want them to appreciate those lucky times when a gambler is “on a roll”, however I know enough about forecasting to see when a lot more is involved than sheer luck. (Not that luck isn’t involved, to some degree, at times.)

I only hope weathermen are wrong when we are on the verge of setting a local record, but some forecast weather event is going to spoil it for us. For example, New Hampshire has been amazingly dry, this spring. I personally have never seen a spring quite so dry, but it looks like it will not quite fit into the somewhat arbitrary 31-day time-period called, “The Month Of May.”

I don’t see what is so good about 31-days. After all, February has 28 days. Or why does the period have to begin on May first? Why couldn’t it begin on April 27?  But no one asked me, when they wrote the rules, and so it is a couple of lousy showers at the very end of May will keep this May out of the record books. It will not be remembered. Only guys like me, who were out there in the weather, will know how amazing it was.

Not that the land isn’t crying out for rain. I just feel that, having had to deal with the nuisance of dryness for so long, putting up with a couple more days of it would be worth it, for then we’d get some credit. As it is, no one will remember we tough outdoors-men, who weathered the weather.

A heat wave this week made the dryness parch with extra power. A polar high sank south and merged with the extension of the Azores High we call, “The Bermuda High,” and warm air surged north on the west side, but did so without a warm front. Or, a warm front was visible, if you looked for high clouds, but not if you looked for rain. The rain was back west, towards the Great lakes, and then, as the warm front developed more, the rain extended east, but by then the frontal boundary was north of us, and the rain fell up by the Canadian border. Our only hope of rain was from a following cold front, well to our west:

20150527 satsfc

20150527 rad_ec_640x480 I was fairly certain this front would drench us, because my wife had scheduled an event at our Childcare involving lots of parents, and held outside. It has been my experience that, if she scheduled such an event in the Sahara Desert, the desert would bloom.

I myself tend to grumble when my wife holds these events, for three main reasons.

First, she expects me to make the farm look more groomed than any hardscrabble farm has any right to look. Even when I explain daisies and buttercups make a beautiful playground, she wants it mowed like a golf course. That means I have to mow in clouds of dust and 90 degree heat, so of course I grumble a bit.

Second, I can’t help but cringe at the expenses, especially as they are business expenses. I have my doubts that the IRS will approve of strawberries and whipped cream as a business expense, but my wife wants the parents treated like royalty. So I grumble about that as well.

Lastly, the idea of a graduation ceremony for preschoolers seems completely absurd to me. It is so absurd I can’t grumble.  Instead I stand back and watch, often in admiration and amazement, as she and members of the staff organize children too young to organize, and have them enchanting parents with song and dance routines. The fact this usually is occurring in a driving rain with lightning flashing and thunder crashing doesn’t seem to bother the doting parents a bit. They always fill Facebook with flattering comments, and pictures of drenched people smiling, and the event is always a wonderful success, which defies all logic, (and I do grumble a bit about that.)

I was slightly annoyed she was holding the event a little early this year, as it promised to ruin our chances for the driest May ever, with the typical deluge. You could see the big storms developing out in upper New York State, and moving towards us, but it seemed my wife got the timing wrong, as her event was scheduled for six o’clock and the storms weren’t expected to hit until seven-thirty, when the event would be ending.

20150527B satsfc

20150527B rad_ne_640x480

Looking at the above radar map. you can see the big storms entering western Massachusetts and crossing from Vermont to New Hampshire, but you can also see the storms have a sort of waistline, right on the Massachusetts border. This often happens. Storms, when they come from the west, pass north of us and south of us.

Also the storms died down swiftly as the heat of the day faded. Looking at the above radar shot you’d doubt the line of showers could pass and give us only 0.07 inches of rain, but that is what happened.

We had traditions to keep, and they were kept. At the end of our event the small children took their parents out to see various parts of the woods behind the Farm-childcare. Small children like being able to be guides, and show their parents places with names like, “The Cliffs”, “Lightning Rock”, “Reptilian Grove”, and “Checkerberry Woods”.  They all vanished into the trees in a leisurely, ambling manner. Then there was a single, loud boom of thunder. It was wonderful how swiftly everyone reappeared.

But amazingly that single boom was the only boom we got.

It didn’t take long for the sun to dry everything, the next morning. After all, in late May the sun is as high as it is in hot July.

Yesterday morning was what may turn out to be the peak of our dry spell. Lawns were starting to have brown patches, as if it was August. Even the trees, with deep roots that go down to where the water-table remembers February’s deep snows, were showing a slow-down I never recall seeing before. For example, now is when the leader shoots of pines, (and every other plant as well), grows with their most frantic speed, to climb above the competition, but the leader shoots seemed short. Without brains, the vegetables were reassessing their profits and liabilities.

Once again, in the afternoon, a line of thunderstorms developed, but this time it was not so fat and impressive.

20150528B satsfc

20150528B rad_ne_640x480_10

If you look at the above radar shot, understanding red represents heavy rains, you will notice it is red in Maine, and red in Massachusetts, but only green in New Hampshire. Yes, it happened again. Big storms passed to our north, and to our south. However this time we got the skirts of both storms, complete with wonderfully cooling downbursts and tumbling lines of purple clouds, so this time we got 0.35 inches of rain.

And today it is bone dry again, with the closest rain well to our west.

20150529 satsfc

20150529 rad_nat_640x480 However it is too late. That 0.35 inches of rain spoiled our chance to set a record. Therefore we might as well hope my favorite forecasters are correct. At his site at Weatherbell, Joseph D’Aleo is using Dr. Ryan Maue’s marvelous maps to suggest we will move from being the driest part of the USA:

Droughtbuster 1 cpc_anom_60_usa_1(4)

To Boston being hit by five inches of rain, from next Sunday to next Wednesday.

Droughtbuster 2 ecmwf_tprecip_boston_41

Boston is five inches below normal, so five inches would be a real drought-buster for them. But if you look at that same map, you will notice a bulge of lighter red, indicating around two inches of rain, poking down from New Hampshire to central Massachusetts. And yes, that is us again. We do seem to miss out on the deluges, this year.

Not that 0.35 inches hasn’t made an enormous difference. It was amazing how much greener our landscape was this morning. And all the weeds in my garden have doubled in size. Therefore, if I do not post this weekend, you will understand why, and what I am doing. (Weeding.)

LOCAL VIEW —A Whole Pnu Season—

Bah!  I always seem to get clobbered by a cold when the seasons change. Maybe some pollen gets blown up from the south, or maybe the temperature yo-yoing between 10° and 50° (-12° and +10° Celsius),  gets to me.  It starts out with sniffles and then I just get tireder and tireder until I stop being productive, unless you count phloem.  My brain gets especially dull, and nothing inspires me except my pillow.

I usually push myself to keep going, as there is a voice in my head which is quite good at calling me a weenie and a quitter if I don’t, but a slight fever tends to stop me. I’ve had walking pneumonia enough in my life to know that, unlike a cold, it is usually not a thing you can just work through.  My body agrees, and the negative word “loaf” turns into the beautiful word “rest”.

In any case, that is why I’m not posting much. I’ve been lucky, as the last storm blew up just far enough out to sea to give us howling winds and temperatures down around 10° three nights in a row, but no snow. Meanwhile just across the Gulf of Maine in Nova Scotia they got two feet.

20150319 satsfc 20150317 rad_ne_640x480

I was taking a deep breath, in a hacking and sniffling sort of way, getting ready for the next storm, gathering moisture to our south.

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Fortunately it looks like most of the snow will be shunted south of here. Not that I’d bother much with the clean up. Around this time of year there is always a remarkable amount of slacking off, in terms of after-storm clean-up, because people know the darn stuff will melt in the bright sun, if you ignore it. (You don’t dare adopt that attitude in December.)

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That sure is a wintry looking map, and I ought get out and load the porch with firewood, but I’m fairly sure the exercise wouldn’t be good for me. No one seems as interested in the fire, as long as the bright March sunshine is out, and it actually went out for the first time since October. No one stirred to stir up the fire, until I came blearily indoors yesterday and noticed everyone looked more hunched up and cold in the evening.  I checked the stove, and saw not even a spark among the ashes. I tried to think of some sort of biting sarcasm, but my mind also feels like ashes without even a spark.

I can’t do any real intellectual work, and instead zone out on the computer. I call it mental wandering, as opposed to wondering, and I’m sure it serves some sort of function. However it feels like you are merely idle. Occasionally I chance on some new idea, so if I am ever forced to justify zoning out I call it “research”, however it tends to wander away from what I should be researching to obscure topics that are as far away from work as possible.

One topic I always enjoy is the Greenland Vikings. It’s been a while since I checked to see if there were any recent discoveries,  My listless mind did stir towards wakefulness when I saw that a Viking trading vessel had been discovered in the muddy riverbank in Memphis, Tennessee.  http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/usa-viking-ship-discovered-near-mississipi-river/

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But that sword looked familiar to me

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And it didn’t take me long to find an amazingly similar sword at a Viking site in Scotland.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-15333852

Yes, I’d been tricked. It’s not a very kind thing to do to a poor old fellow like me, especially when I’m suffering from a cold.  However we’d better be on guard, with April Fool’s Day coming up.