Thursday, March 20, 2014

Welcome, Sun!

The snow flurries are flying and there are ice-fishermen on the lake... but today at 11:57 am local time, the sun will be directly over the equator, and then... we welcome the sun back to the northern hemisphere!  Or more accurately, we celebrate the fact that our northern hemisphere is, once again, tilted toward the sun (because if course, the sun didn't change anything...)

Equinoxes and solstices have been celebrated in cultures throughout the world since ancient times; we join in a long human tradition as we recognize this day!

Other things to note (besides the snow flurries)... I wish I had more to report on this first official day of spring! 
Silver maple flower buds are very swollen. 
RWBBs are all over!
In my yard, bulb plants (daffodils, crocuses) have emerged from the soil... 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Almost Spring?

I wrote this March 18, but never published it:

Ah, it has been a long time since I've written on here... But the winter of 2013-14 has been phenologically significant (to the point where phenological occurrences are a topic of everyday conversation among everyone, not just the nature nerds out there).

It has been, and still is, a particularly brutal winter.  The month of January brought more snow than our annual average.  We cancelled school four times -- not due to snow, but due to the extreme cold temperatures brought on by the "Polar Vortex."  I don't have data for this, but it seems like we have had more extremely windy days than usual.

And it's been long.  Apparently the average temperatures for early March in this area are in the low 50's.  We have hit the low 50's once or twice, and had a handful of days in the forties.  But those are still rare treats, between days like yesterday, which stayed in the 20's, and today, which might hit freezing.  Might. So those of you mathematically inclined readers out there will see that we're not average.  We haven't gone above the low 50's at all -- which we'd certainly need to do to average out there...

It's hard to believe that the equinox is this week.  And spring break is next week.

We are still waiting for the first crocus to penetrate the frozen (and partly snow-covered) ground.
We are still waiting for the vernal witch hazel to flower.
We are still waiting for catkins to swell, and water to open, and sun to feel warm on our faces.
Please come, spring!

Monday, March 17, 2014

There Are Signs!

A few updates:
1.  Sandhill Cranes are flying north... This afternoon I heard their unmistakable, primitive call, and felt a shadow as they flew between me and the sun.  I looked up to see a "v" of about 40 of them.
2.  I heard a red-wing black-bird, but I couldn't for the life of me find it.  (By the next day -- Mar 18 -- they were all over!)
3.  Plants are starting to do things, too... slowly, to be sure, but there are some aspen catkins emerging.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

That's right...

Amid a snowy and icy world... this: