Friday, October 7, 2016

Is a heating season furnace check #phenology?

Have you every lived in a place place where, when you're taking a hot shower, and someone else starts the dishwasher or washing machine or flushes a toilet, the hot water disappears, you're instantly freezing, so you turn the faucet for more hot water and then the other demand on the system stops and you get "scalded?" That's about the way Minnesota handles the transition from Summer to Winter and Winter to Summer. Autumn and Spring in Minnesota are often volatile, mercurial, bipolar, sometimes all at once.

This morning we had our annual heating season furnace check. Looks like it may have been just n time. If we consider humans to be part of nature, and I certainly do, then it seems many of our seasonal cultural activities, such as a recommended furnace check prior to heating season, should be considered as part of phenology, shouldn't they?

late season flowers surrounding pumpkins and gourds
late season flowers surrounding pumpkins and gourds
Photo by J. Harrington

Although Autumn leaf colors have developed a week or two behind a typical schedule this year, last night and this morning "Up North" got its first taste of seasonal snow. When the Better Half and I were there last week, daytime temperatures were in the mid-60s.  Even today, closer to "The Cities," where we live, we have the unusual sight of flowers blooming around our decorative pumpkins and gourds. We may see our first frost develop by early tomorrow morning, ending the flowering season, but then on Monday we're forecast to be back, briefly, into the 70s. Have you decided which of the Winter weather forecasts you're going to plan for? More or less snow? Colder or warmer than usual? La Nina or El Nino? Other? Farmer's Almanac: Freezing Cold and Average Snow; NOAA: Equal Chance for Normal, Above or Below Average Temperatures and Precipitation. I think I'll go with NOAA's, it fits the patterns I've noticed in Minnesota.

The Last Days of Summer Before the First Frost

By Tim Bowling

Here at the wolf’s throat, at the egress of the howl,
all along the avenue of deer-blink and salmon-kick
where the spider lets its microphone down
into the cave of the blackberry bush—earth echo,
absence of the human voice—wait here
with a bee on your wrist and a fly on your cheek,
the tiny sun and tiny eclipse.
It is time to be grateful for the breath
of what you could crush without thought,
a moth, a child’s love, your own life.
There might never be another chance.
How did you find me, the astonished mother says
to her four-year-old boy who’d disappeared
in the crowds at the music festival.
I followed my heart, he shrugs,
so matter-of-fact you might not see
behind his words
(o hover and feed, but not too long)

the bee trails turning to ice as they’re flown.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.