29 October 2007

Still thinking about the bear...

I'm still thinking about the bear - that was really cool...

Incredibly, it snowed a few times during the day on Sunday.

We finally had a frost cold enough to kill the tomatoes. It was -1 Celsius on Monday morning - the first sub-zero weather of the season. It was the latest first frost ever recorded in our community, beating 2005 by one day.

From the last hard frost of spring (2007 May 14) to the first hard frost on Monday, we had 167 consecutive frost-free days. That's 16 more than 2006, despite the fact that this year's last spring frost occurred a week later than last year's!

Autumn 2007's weather statistics are as follows:

First light frost: 2007 September 17
First hard frost: 2007 October 29
First snow: 2007 October 28
First snow accumulation: ????

2007 growing season: 167 consecutive frost-free days.

2006's information:

First light frost: 2006 September 29
First hard frost: 2006 October 06
First snow: 2006 October 29
First snow accumulation: 2006 November 02

2006 growing season: 151 consecutive frost-free days.

2005's information:

First light frost: 2005 October 20
First hard frost: 2005 Octoboer 28
First snow: 2005 October 25
First snow accumulation: 2005 November ??

26 October 2007

Quick Weather Update

We had another light frost on A.D. 2007 October 25, Thursday. It was about 2 degrees Celsius when I checked the thermometer at 06:00 - tied for the second coldest morning this autumn. I was surprised to see that my windshield was covered in frost, because it hadn't iced over on either of the other two mornings that it was near freezing.

Though it was warmer than "normal" the past week, it was much cooler than it had been. Highs averaged 2 to 5 degrees Celsius above normal instead of 5 to 10.

We're (finally!) supposed to get a hard frost (0 degrees C.) next Monday morning. Right now, the weathermen are forecasting lows around 0. On our farm, the standard deviation is to subtract another 2 degrees from the forecast temperature. With that said, I'm hoping that I awake to a world of white on Monday!

If we don't get a hard frost before Monday, it will be the latest first frost ever recorded, "beating" A.D. 2005 by a day.

A BEAR!!!!

I saw a bear today!!!! It was the first time that I have ever seen a bear outside of a campground at a national park! (and those don't count, they're half-domesticated!) It was one the coolest things that I have ever seen.

I was driving home from work when I looked up at the fields on the north side of Interstate-86. I immediately noticed something out of place. Whatever it was, it was big and black. Still, I couldn't think of what it could be. Then, all of a sudden, it moved. At that moment, I realized that it could be a bear. Excited, I continued to stare at the object until it turned broadside and started walking. Euphoric and stunned, I watched the bear until I had driven far enough past that I could no longer see it. I couldn't believe it. Though there are a lot of bears around here, they're not something that people usually see. To be honest, I had never considered that I would ever see one here in New York. ...but today, this glorious day, I not only saw a bear, I got a GREAT look at a bear. To say that I am excited (still now, 8 hours later!) would be an understatement. I called my wife, my father-in-law, and my dad to tell them. Even they couldn't believe my dumb luck. Whatever kind of luck it was, it was a minute of my life that I will never forget...I saw a bear!!!!

19 October 2007

Quick Post

Another week flies by.

The weather has been awfully warm around here. The past few days have been between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. The weathermen tell us that it will be cooler next week, and I hope they're right. We haven't been below 7 or 8 degrees since we had that light frost last weekend. The next sub-5 degree weather is forecast to arrive sometime in the middle of next week. We continue to inch closer to that "latest ever first frost (0 degrees)" date of October 28. I think 2007 will give it a run for its money.

In other news, the autumn foliage of New York's Southern Tier exploded in the past two days. It was amazing, because the trees were only about 40 percent turned on Wednesday. What's more interesting is that the colors seemed muted mid-week, but, this afternoon, I saw hillsides as bright and colorful as I have ever seen anywhere.

The foliage in the Finger Lakes is still unimpressive. I'm not sure if it will pan out this year, because most of the trees that are changing are turning a burnt orange or brown. The next week should show whether we'll continue to underachieve or put on our own display.

14 October 2007

Oh, what a beautiful morning...

We had our coldest morning of the season on October 13. I got up at the crack of dawn to see if we had received a good frost. Though it had been right at 1º C. (34º F.) the previous evening, it was a little warmer than that by morning (35º F.). Consequently, we avoided a hard frost, but we did have our second light frost of the season (almost a month apart!).

I decided to take a walk up the hill to search for patches of white. At the same time, I wanted to get some pictures of the sunrise across Seneca Lake. On cold mornings in autumn and early winter, the warm lake water produces a bank of clouds overnight. It's a beautiful sight, but one that I had never photographed!

Here's a view looking east across Seneca Lake. I'm standing at the edge of the woods and a large wheat field.

After taking a few pictures of the sunrise, I found a decent patch of frost in a small hayfield near the highest elevation on the farm.

As I returned to the farmhouse, I took a few more pictures of the lake clouds, with my pup in the foreground!

10 October 2007

Finally...a change!

In the past 23 days, we've had...

2 days where the high temp. was 2 degrees (Fahrenheit) below the historical average
2 days where the high temp. met the historical average
19 days where the high temp. was at least 10 degrees above the historical average.

During that time, we've set more than 10 record highs. Many of those beat previous records by 3+ degrees.

For someone who loves Autumn and cool weather, it was horrible.

The good news is that a change is in store...

Tomorrow is supposed to mark the start of at least a week of temperatures near normal. In fact, we might even begin having light frosts in the morning - about that, my father-in-law says that, prior to 2005, he can't remember not having a hard frost by October 10. At this point, it looks like we'll be without one until at least October 20.

In any case, thank God that the weather is improving. There is only so much 80+ degree weather a person can take in late September and October. I continue to try to convince my wife that it's time to move north, but she continues to tell me I'm crazy! :-)

07 October 2007



New blogs...

There are a couple of new blogs that I've been reading (when I've had the chance). The first is written by members of the U.K.'s 2007 Antarctic Conservation Summer Team. It chronicles life in Antarctica and, being the nerd that I am, I have really enjoyed looking at the old posts.

The second blog I came across is Kate Smudges in Earth, Paint, and Life. I really enjoyed reading her posts, and I think it will become one of those to which I keep going back...

02 October 2007

Into the clouds...

Note: I wanted to post three more pictures, but, for some reason, I've been unable to upload them for days! I hope you enjoy those that are here.

On A.D. 2007 September 28, I hiked up Mount Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont. It rained at times, which made for a unique hike into the clouds. I believe that it was the fourth time I have hiked to the top of the state. Mount Mansfield reaches an elevation of 1,339 meters (4,393 feet).

I was surprised to see this Grey Squirrel at the very peak of the mountain, some dozens of meters above the treeline!

The peak of Mount Mansfield supports about 100 hectares of alpine tundra.

This is the view looking back toward the summit as we descended.

Lowbush Blueberries were abundant at and above the treeline.

As we descended the mountain, we left the clouds and were blessed with a gorgeous view across Smugglers' Notch.

I wanted to take a picture of Mount Mansfield from a distance. This one was taken on route 104A between Georgia and Fairfax, Vermont. The highest point of Mount Mansfield is the section of mountain brushed with clouds.


I went to Vermont this past weekend, and there are three things that I want to talk about:

1. Rosie's Vermont Beef Jerky
2. Second Vermont Republic
3. Rampant Development

Rosie's Vermont Beef Jerky is the second-best jerky that I have ever had. (Garven Store has the best jerky in the world, period.) I always buy some of Rosie's jerky when I go to Vermont. The stuff is simply great. I highly recommend it to all conoisseurs of fine jerky.

The Second Vermont Republic is my kind of political movement. It is paired with Vermont Commons to peacefully advocate for seccession from the United States of America and the establishment of an independent republic. The Middlebury Institute is another fine organization.

Vermont is a really funny place. On one hand, it is populated by proponents of rural living that include New England farmers, hippies, "progressives," and regular-old middle class folks. This is juxtaposed with yuppies and urbanites who have flocked to the state to escape the city. In doing so, they have not only brought high taxes and land prices, they have brought the city as well. I was amazed at how much development is occurring in north-central and north-western Vermont. Three-thousand square foot houses are being built on old farms and formerly wild hillsides. In my opinion, it is killing the character of a truly unique state. If such movements as the Second Vermont Republic are ever to succeed, they need to halt the influx of foreigners as quickly as possible.

a whirlwind week...

Is that how you spell whirlwind? It looks funny to me...

Well, a lot has been going on since I last posted:

The weather has been consistently warm - near record warmth almost every day for three weeks. It's still pretty dry, but not as bad as it was. We made it up to 31 days at or above 30 degrees Celsius.

My Buffalo Bills won a game! Trent Edwards is awesome! (at least he was last week!) My poor in-laws have had to deal with two straight Penn State losses...

Hockey season starts this week - go Sabres!!!!