Category Archives: Weather

Gathering for Winter

Today’s post comes from littlejailbird.

Fifty years ago, an author/illustrator named Leo Lionni had a picture book published, titled Frederick. A field mouse,  Frederick is part of a family who is preparing for winter. Everyone gathers corn and nuts and wheat and straw – that is, everyone except Frederick. Frederick prepares for winter in a different way. He gathers three things for winter: sun rays, words, and colors.

I live on a city street that seems especially bleak in the winter. Most of the houses are shades of tan,beige, or gray. Snow is pretty, but a few days after it falls, it is an ugly gray, getting darker as the winter wears on, until it is charcoal-colored. Most of the boulevard trees are oak trees and the leaves that cling to the branches are a dull brown.

It is then that I wish for the third thing that Frederick gathered for winter: Color.

While the other mice are working at storing up food for the winter, Frederick stares at the meadow. When the other mice inquire what he is doing, he replies that he is gathering colors because winter is gray.

One day last November, I was already feeling the lack of color. It was a gray day after many gray days and I went in search of color and patterns outside. I found what I was looking for and I am trying to keep those colors stored up inside me for when I especially need them.

Do you do anything to make winter a happy season?

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night…

This post is from littlejailbird.

The city of Minneapolis has a wonderful thing going where you can get a free tree for your boulevard. You just have to make a request before November and the following spring you will have a tree planted in front of your house, no money or labor from you required.

Many years ago, I requested one of these trees and subsequently had a pin oak tree planted on my boulevard. I don’t know if the city still does this, but back then it took care of watering the tree for the first summer. They must have had a schedule where the watering truck would go around and water the new trees.

They were very good at following the schedule and didn’t let pesky things like bad weather interfere. They could have taken the motto often associated with the U.S. Post Office and tweaked it to reflect their dedication to the tree-watering schedule: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays theses tree waterers from the swift completion of their rounds.”

I know this because one day there was quite the deluge outside. It was pouring so hard that a person would have been totally soaked in approximately 2 seconds. I was nice and dry indoors and while I watched the rain pouring down, a truck pulled up in front of my house. Soon the tree-waterer had the hose out and was diligently watering the boulevard tree. I was impressed with his dedication…and amazed at a system which would send someone out to water trees when it seemed the tree was already getting plenty of moisture by natural means. I’m sure the tree-waterer felt his job was redundant that day.

Tell us about something you’ve done or witnessed that turned out to be totally unnecessary.

Toes `til it Snows

Today’s post comes from Verily Sherrilee

Last week I decided to go to the gym on my way to work. To save time I threw on shorts and a t-shirt and packed my work clothes into my gym bag, slipped on my Birkenstock sandals and headed out. I needed to do a quick stop at the library to return a book before it went overdue; luckily the library is right on my way.

As I walked from the car to the library drop box, another woman pulled up behind me and got out to return her book. She had on a hat, jacket, gloves, long pants, shoes and socks. And there I was in my shorts, t-shirt and sandals. That’s when I realized that I have Minnesota’s weather in my blood.

I did chose Minneapolis based partly on the weather here. As a child, my family spent some of each summer and winter vacation in northern Wisconsin. Winter up here compared to winter in my home town is like those proverbial apples and oranges; I knew even as a 10-year old that I preferred cold and snow to mostly cold and mostly rainy. At the end of high school, I only looked at colleges in Wisconsin and Minnesota and after my wasband finished graduate school, we headed straight for Minneapolis without looking back.

I’ve been here ever since.

This year we’ve had such a nice protracted autumn that I still haven’t put away my summer clothing or brought out any of my long-sleeved items. I’m still wearing my Birkenstocks every day. A couple of days ago a friend of mind looked at my feet and said “Toes `til it snows?” My official new motto.

How to YOU prepare for the winter?

Fall Gardening – A Love/Hate Relationship

Today’s post comes from Verily Sherrilee

As most of you already know, I love my yard and my gardens. My long-range plan (no grass, all flowers) is coming to fruition in the front and in the back I’m enjoying planting in my bales and along edges until I’m out of dogs.

fallgarden1But as much as I love gardening in the spring and throughout the summer, I just run out of gardening steam in the fall. Right about the time the grass stops growing is when I quit wanting to garden. I always say I’m going to plant some more bulbs or move this patch of lilies to another spot or some other fall garden activity, but it never happens.  I only go out and finally bring in the hoses and do some yard clean up when the weather gets below freezing at night on a regular basis.  I even outsource the leaf raking to the Young Adult (for dog-sitting time).

fallgarden3Occasionally I’ll be forced into action. Last year before tim moved I ended up with about 18 big hostas from his yard. When I got home from his place, I took my gloves and shovel out immediately without even going in the house.  Got everything transplanted within a half hour because I was worried that if I went in the house and sat down I might not go back out. Same with items I got from Edith a couple of weeks ago.  But that’s the limit of my fall gardening energy.

So my autumn yard looks like a brown and rust version of my summer garden and my bales are breaking down. Every year I try to lengthen my “caring season” but so far I haven’t found a motivation that keeps me really engaged past the middle of September!

What makes you drag your feet?

Rumble, Grumble, Mumble, Tumble, Jumble, Swumble, Crumble

Today’s post comes from Clyde of Mankato

A thunderstorm comes through rumbling and grumbling, trailing a fug of humidity.

Thunderstorms come through rumbling and grumbling. One after another. Humidity blankets us. The weather pattern of August, 2016. Except for that one loud clap, hitting the tall trees outside our apartment no doubt, which knocked a picture off a wall, we like thunderstorms, although enough is now enough. Rain falling off the roof outside our windows makes white noise for sleeping. Humidity we hate. We wilt.

My son and his then wife moved an adopted street dog from San Diego, land of very few thunderstorms, to Seattle, land of, well, need I explain? Oh, how that dog went wild over thunder! Rain confused him. He is safely back in San Diego. Our son loves the Seattle weather and his wife fell in love with it as well. Not the poor dog.


Three years ago the weather pattern day after day was brilliant sunsets. Often with lightening in them. Not one good sunset this year, that I have noticed.

Assuming you have the wherewithal to live in two places, what two places in what part of the year would you choose for the weather?

Sam McGee, Weather Denier

Header Photo “Snowman on frozen lake” by Petritap – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Of course there are noisy climate change deniers who refuse to accept scientific research because it conflicts with their closely held political beliefs.

That’s almost understandable.

But what I can’t comprehend is the much more commonplace lunacy of daily weather denial.

A good winter storm reveals it, especially in more tightly packed urban locations. Some people downtown believe they don’t have to put on anything special to be outside because they’re only going to be exposed for a short time.

And besides, heavy clothes worn in layers just don’t look that nice. But I think inadequately dressed office workers look silly shivering as they wait to cross the street.

When I mentioned this pet peeve of mine to Trail Baboon’s sing-song poet laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler, he said he also has a certain peeve that pesters him – presumptuous people who rip off the work of other poets merely to get a laugh.

And right after saying that, he presented me with his latest opus, which included an insincere note of apology to Robert W. Service and The Cremation of Sam McGee.

There are fashions worn in a winter storm
that would otherwise seem gauche.
Everybody knows layering your clothes
is a common sense approach.
Even dilletantes in fine restaurants
will adjust to a degree.
For a little while they’ll abandon style
if their name’s not Sam McGee.

All Sam’s garb was sheer and he wouldn’t hear
of a parka or a fleece.
If a shirt or gown had an ounce of down
his frustration would increase.
“It feels very wrong and takes far too long
to suit up for cold or sleet.”
“And besides,” he’d wink, “there’s no risk, I think.”
“I’m just gonna cross the street.”

Right across the way sat a mad buffet
called “The Sacrificial Goat.”
It was hip and loud and it drew a crowd
that opposed the winter coat.
They disdained its buik and they’d tend to sulk
if harsh weather was foretold.
Putting on their things, they’d assume it’s Spring.
‘Cause it’s cool to not seem cold.

So off Sam would skirt in a polo shirt
with Bermuda shorts below
Into two degrees with his naked knees
and flip-flops, to face the snow.
“Winter air feels fresh on my naked flesh!”
he declared. “It’s strength of will.”
“And what’s more,” he spat, “I don’t need a hat,”
as he stepped into the chill.

Quite against Sam’s plan the snowflakes began
to collect between his toes.
And those flopping flips, ‘midst their many slips
became rigid when they froze.
Trying to be brave, Sam’s blue eyes turned grave.
As streetward, on he pressed.
At the crosswalk light, his mouth thin and tight
He tried not to seem distressed.

In the urban grind one will often find
that delay is the routine.
And slow went the time at that corner sign
with Sam blocked by traffic’s stream.
Then a passing truck’s plume of slushy muck
sealed the frosty fate Sam faced.
For his flops got iced and nothing sufficed
to dislodge a man encased.

With each frigid blast nature built a cast
that enveloped Sam, complete.
It was clear and slick and six inches thick
from his head down to his feet.
Looking through the shell one could clearly tell
that his face showed some regret.
A wardrobe reform could have kept him warm.
but he’s not been thawed out yet.

In December’s pale, teachers tell the tale
of the legend Sam became
Heading off to play on a chilly day
All the children learn his name.
Don’t go out of doors with just summer drawers
against winter’s nasty breeze.
you could be marooned in a white cocoon
like the ice man, Sam Mcgee.

Are you (or have you ever been) a weather denier?


Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale
(Written 9/28/15, in the hills of Berkeley, CA)

When I first looked out here, I could see only the house across the street. Now I can see some rooftops, but beyond that is Fog, just a blur as the houses across the street seem to drop away down the hill.  I am house-sitting in the Berkeley hills for a friend of my sister while I visit Sue in the East Bay near San Francisco. It’s a chilly morning so I’m seated with a cup of tea, inside the sliding glass door. I hear crows and traffic, so I know there is life beyond what I can see. I hope I can find my camera.

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Ah, now I can make out several large pine trees farther down the hill. I know that behind them are more houses and more trees, then smaller and smaller houses as the hills level off to the “Berkeley flats”, the franchise strips like San Pablo Ave, the freeways, and finally the Berkeley Marina and San Francisco Bay. Last night it seemed that millions of lights dotted this view – this morning, Fog.

I try and remember the Carl Sandburg poem we memorized in 8th grade:

“The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.”

My memory takes me back to another time: In the early 1970s I spent two years living in El Granada, a tiny coastal community 45 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1. I’d already spent two years in S.F., so I knew a bit about Fog. When I (and my dad) bought my VW, I made sure it was the new bright yellow that would show up in the Fog. Living on that coast, I would wake up many mornings to the foghorn – that low, haunting vibration that makes you want to burrow back under the covers. But the Fog would usually “burn off” by noon, often revealing a crisp sunny day.

When I moved back to the Midwest, I seldom encountered Fog. When I did it was usually an anxious time, me creeping along in the car because I couldn’t see what was ahead of me. I realized I missed the kind of Fog that comes in morning, then bows out and lets the sun through – missed the foghorn.

I suppose we could move to Duluth.

When have you had an encounter with Fog?