Saturday, October 8, 2016

First frost? #phenology

Did you get hit with frost last night? Had you covered the plants you wanted to protect? About 4:30 this morning, when I was walking SiSi, the field grasses sparkled with scattered frost crystals, although the temperature was reported to be about 35 F [explanation here]. Now, at midafternoon, the sun is shining but the temperature has only climbed to the mid-40's. No sign yet of ice on the bird bath, that's probably due late next week, if last year was an indication. We'll watch for it.

October 18, 2015 iced bird bath
October 18, 2015 iced bird bath
Photo by J. Harrington
Speaking of watching for something, we haven't seen any more wooly bear caterpillars, but we are happy to see the front porch flowers, the asters and the chrysanthemums seem to have survived last night's cold spell. I'm speculating here but think that the microclimate temperature differences due to greater radiant cooling in the open fields compared to the cover provided by the remaining tree leaves over the driveway may explain why the driveway plants look lots healthier this morning than the last primrose in the open field.

The Exam


By Joyce Sutphen


It is mid-October. The trees are in
their autumnal glory (red, yellow-green,

orange) outside the classroom where students
take the mid-term, sniffling softly as if

identifying lines from Blake or Keats
was such sweet sorrow, summoned up in words

they never saw before. I am thinking
of my parents, of the six decades they’ve

been together, of the thirty thousand
meals they’ve eaten in the kitchen, of the

more than twenty thousand nights they’ve slept
under the same roof. I am wondering

who could have fashioned the test that would have
predicted this success? Who could have known?


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