27 December 2006


New York Christmas #3 is past, and for the third year in a row it was a brown Christmas.

The weather was in the upper 30s and it rained all day. It was more of the same yesterday, though we did get a light dusting of snow last night (26 December). It will be gone by the afternoon, and, if the weather men are right, it will be the last snow we get for at least another ten days.

This has been one of the warmest late autumn/early winters on record. (surprise, surprise...)

Here are the weather statistics for December (including the forecast temperatures for the next four days):

1 day with a normal high temperature
3 days with high temperatures below normal
27 days with high temperatures above normal (22 of these were at least 5 degrees above normal)

2 days with low temperatures below normal
29 days with low temperatures above normal

17 days with high temperatures in the 40s (13 of these after 8 December)
7 days with high temperatures in the 50s
5 days with high temperatures in the 30s
1 day with high temperatures in the 20s
1 day with high temperatures in the 60s

Our average low on 1 December is 24 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, it is much lower on 31 December (15 degrees Fahrenheit). Incredibly, we experienced temperatures below 24 only four times during the entire month. The point is that this month has been ridiculous. What's scarier is that it was like this in 2004, six weeks were like this in mid-winter last year, and, so far, we have had eight weeks of this weather in the winter of 2006-2007.

I am angry, scared, and depressed about global warming. I have felt its effects in both Texas and New York. The freaky weather of years like 2004, 2005, and 2006 is no longer "unseasonable." The fact is that this is our new "normal" weather.

I like cold weather. I like snow. I don't like excessive heat and drought. However, I think that my home is becoming more like north-western Virginia than central New York. I think that northern New England is becoming more like central New York. The scariest thing is that the changes are not stopping. In 50 years, my area could be like Raleigh, North Carolina. ...but what about 50 years after that?

I don't know what is going to happen to the world, but I know that something is going to have to give.

18 December 2006

It took me long enough...

A month later than planned, I finally planted the remainder of my flower bulbs. The last to go in were some 'Dutch Master' Narcissi. My only concern is that I didn't plant them deep enough. (too many rocks) The recommended depth was eight inches, but I only put them down five or six. I guess time will tell whether they'll endure!

15 December 2006

Reforestation Project

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was looking at a website linked to ThatRoundhouse.info. Interestingly, the website (http://www.konsk.co.uk/) discussed a small reforestation project.

Currently, I am in the process of reforesting between 2 and 2.5 acres (around 1 hectare) of land. This spring, I will be planting trees ordered from the Saratoga Tree Nursery and our local Soil and Water Conservation District. Though I haven't finalized my decision, I'm planning on planting:

250 Eastern White Pines (native to our farm)
250 Norway Spruces (native to Europe, but very well adapted)
100 Concolor Firs (native to Southwestern North America)

I'm also considering Blue and White Spruces (Picea pungens and glauca, respectively). Both of these species are native to North America, the latter being found in our area.

There are a number of challenges to selecting species. First and foremost is global warming. Our climate has become increasingly warmer. Currently, we are in the American Horticultural Society's Heat Zone 4. I think it is likely that we will be in Heat Zone 6 before the end of my lifetime. That is too warm for some of the species that are currently in the area, but at the extreme southern end of their range. These include Tamarack (Larix laricina), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), and the aforementioned White Spruce.

There are additional considerations including site and soil characteristics. While I would like to (re)establish a mixed hard- and softwood forest, it is extremely difficult to establish hardwoods. After extensive research and speaking with area foresters, I came to the conclusion that planting colonizer species is a better strategy. In 30 to 50 years, forest hardwoods will begin to establish themselves. For now, I will transplant Quaking Aspens (Populus tremuloides) and native Cherries (Prunus spp.) to the areas between the conifer plantings.

Before I can plant trees in the reforestation area, I have to clear the old vineyard. This involves removing wires, posts, and vines. I began this task in November, worked hard around Thanksgiving, and have continued on the weekends. It will be complete by the end of the year...

In the end, I am hoping to establish a forest that will serve as wildlife habitat, a shady retreat, and a place to commune with nature. While we have access to (and will someday inherit) 20 acres of forest up the hill, it is too far from the house to reach quickly (about a 15 minute walk if the ground is dry). For this reason, I look forward to establishing a small wooded area near the house.


I was looking at some web pages linked to That Roundhouse when I came across the concept of "permaculture." Apparently, it's the idea of "permanent agriculture." It is a reaction against industrial agriculture and the loss of the notion of "community." Permaculture attempts to replicate natural plant systems, though some use these simply as a starting point. I think it is a good idea, and am interested in learning more. It is much less intensive (so its proponents claim) than "traditional" agriculture. I don't know if I agree but I'd like to try it to find out.

13 December 2006

The forecast high temperatures for the next two weeks are in the 40s and 50s, ten to twenty degrees warmer than the 30-year average. So far, we have received 2 inches of snow this year.

It's like I'm back in Georgia.

08 December 2006

Last post of the night...

Okay, last post of the night.

For quite some time, I've wanted to build a small structure as a "get-away." My plan is to build it on the farm and make it into my office/personal space. The kicker is that I want it to be a yurt...

Well, maybe not a yurt...but something like one. I have a thing for round structures. I've been researching them for years, and want to build one out of masonry materials. Over time, I've come up with a design that combines a Diné hooghan, a Mongolian ger (yurt), and an Algonquian wikwam. I'm not sure that it would be practical to build, but I really want to! We'll see if it ever comes to fruition...

07 December 2006

Adirondack 46'ers

This summer, a man I work with told me about the Adirondack 46'ers. He explained that it's a club of people who have climbed New York's highest peaks.

After a lengthy procrastination, I finally got around to researching the club on the web. It was interesting to read about the group's history. In fact, the idea that there are 46 peaks higher than 4,000 feet is incorrect. Actually there are 45. Forty-three of these are Adirondack peaks. Historical intricacies aside, it was very interesting reading. I encourage you to visit their website.

Blizzard? What blizzard?

7 December A.D. 2006 - 08:30: As expected, zero inches of snow accumulated last night. The predicted storm totals have been lowered from 5 to 11 inches down to 4 to 8 inches. As was the case last night, I will be surprised if we recieve half of that amount...

7 December A.D. 2006 - 23:30: Accumulation thus far: 1 inch. Despite the fact that the weathermen are STILL forecasting another 3 to 6 inches, it is extremely clear outside. I just took a walk with the pups, and it was wonderful. The current temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and the moon is nearly full. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a full moon on a clear, cold night.

06 December 2006

A Touch of Winter

Yesterday (Tuesday, 5 December) we awoke to a light dusting of snow for the second consecutive morning. This makes four dustings that we have received this year. Historically, our location averaged about 8 inches of snow in the month of November. This year (and the two previous years) we received very little. However, it appears that winter is on its way (for a little while). Forecasters are predicting that 5 to 11 inches of snow will accumulate over tonight, tomorrow, and tomorrow night. I would guess that they're exaggerating, and expect to receive no more than 3 inches. In fact, I won't be surprised if we get less than two. Nonetheless, I am excited and can't wait to go walking in the white stuff!

P.S. I'm am going to attempt to take pictures of the snow with my mother-in-law's digital camera. If successful, I can finally get some pictures up on the site!

03 December 2006