29 June 2007

Tryon County Bookshop

A plug for threecollie's dad's bookshop. If it's half as great as it looks, it's the coolest bookstore I've ever seen.


28 June 2007

It's official

With no rain forecast for the remainder of the month, our rainfall statistics for May and June are as follows:

Average precipitation: 2.88 inches (73 millimeters)
2007: 0.4 inches (10 millimeters)
Departure from the historical average: -86%

Average precipitation: 3.45 inches (88 millimeters)
2007: 1.6 inches (41 millimeters) of precipitation
Departure from the historical average: -53%

Two-month total: 2.0 inches (51 millimeters)
Departure from the historical average: -71%

I know I'm whining, but, at this point, I've got to do something to stay sane.

26 June 2007

Light Pollution

Really interesting information about light pollution.

Now that's thinking outside of the box...

What a creative mother!

25 June 2007

China #1 in greenhouse gas emissions

These links will get you to the same story - choose your source:


Fox News

22 June 2007

Very Cool


Nice website for Rosa fans


Adios, Señor Sol

Yesterday was a good day.

The weather was nice.
I handed in my last assignment for graduate school.
The sun started its march back to the southern hemisphere.

As some of you may know, I'm no great fan of summer. Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons, followed by spring. Summer is the season of lawn care, heat, and a million chores.

So yesterday, when the sun apexed for the year, I celebrated the coming of autumn. The weather even cooperated and gave us an autumn-like day. Though we still have 6 weeks of increasingly warm weather, the days are now shortening and summer's engine is beginning to idle down.

20 June 2007

A little more rain

We received just under a half an inch (12 millimeters) of rain yesterday. That puts our May/June total up to about 2.0 inches (50 millimeters). Average for that time period is 6.33 inches (161 millimeters); we've got a lot of catching up to do in the next 10 days!

14 June 2007


This is heartbreaking, and happening all over the world.


I just looked at the extended forecast from intellicast.com. It appears that our dry weather will continue for the foreseeable future. Precipitation on June 03, 04, and 08 amounted to a total of 1.1 inches (28 millimeters), which was great at the time. Unfortunately, we've still only had 1.5 inches (38 millimeters) of rain since April 29. That's a severe drought for our area. Normally we would have received about 4.5 inches (115 millimeters) during that time period.

This extremely dry weather comes during the year that I planted a bunch of conifers. What luck, huh?

Living in South Texas led me to cherish rain. When I moved up here, I decided that I wanted to live in an area of high rainfall. Ironically, my new "wet place" was one of the driest areas in New York. In four years, I've experienced both Texas- and Scotland-like weather. 2004 was an extremely wet year. 2005 was one of the five driest years ever recorded. 2006 was another extremely wet year, and 2007 is shaping up to be drier than 2005.

It's impossible to know which of these patterns will become standard. It's entirely possible that the pattern of extremes will continue. I hope that's not the case, because it puts a lot of stress on the plants and animals, and it makes it extremely difficult to plan for tree plantings and forage production.

Whatever happens, I'll continue to roll with the punches.

13 June 2007

In the woods...

Here's the second set of pictures from my walk to the woods the other day...

The view through the pines as I entered the forest.

Upon entering the hardwoods, the understory becomes much more open.

Looking west at the edge of the woods.

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple) is a very common plant in our forest.
I thought that the shadows on this Fagus grandifolia (American Beech) were breathtaking.

As I returned to the farm, I walked down this unmowed path. The grass was chest high and I was flanked by Hawthorns (Crataegus spp.), Apples (Malus spp.), Damson Plums (Prunus domestica var. insititia), European Buckthorns (Rhamnus cathartica), and Amur Honeysuckles (Lonicera maackii). I couldn't help feeling like I was in Tolkien's "Shire."

It was a very pleasant couple of hours.

12 June 2007

To the woods...

Last Sunday, I took a couple of hours and walked up to the woods with one of the pups. The following pictures were taken on my way to the woods.

My home is surrounded by old vineyard, and right now it's covered with blooming Rosa multiflora. (I know it's pretty now, but you don't want it. Trust me.)

Here's a Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen) that I planted in my "reforestation area."

An Acer platanoides (Norway Maple); one of the banes of my existence.

There is a small area of our farm that has apparently never been plowed. It is less than an acre in size, and has been spared because of its rockiness and situation between two streambeds. Incredibly, this small area is one of the most biologically diverse places on our family's land. It has a number of plants that we've seen nowhere else.

There is a very small Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) growing there. We were thrilled when we found it a couple of years ago.

The leaves from below:

Here's a fern that's growing in that same area. It's the only place on our farm that ferns can be found.

Another exciting find was this Ribes cynosbati (Prickly Gooseberry). If you click on the picture, you can see the spines on the fruit.

The last picture from that area of the farm: looking up from the creek bed.

The rest of the way to the woods is through fields. This cornfield is at the eastern edge of the woods. Quite the view, huh? You're actually looking across Seneca Lake. The ridge in the distance divides it from Cayuga Lake to the east.

In a little while I'll post the rest of the pictures from my walk.

04 June 2007

Rain! Glorious Rain!

We've finally gotten some real rain. Yesterday we got about a half an inch (13 millimeters). It sounds crazy (and it was), but it was the first time that we've had a rain event greater than a millimeter in three and a half weeks.

This morning, the world was green again. It's amazing how quickly nature responds. ...and to top it off, it's supposed to rain all day today and into tomorrow!