Was it Dennis Miller on Saturday Night Live who started the whole rant thing? Lewis Black does great rants on The Daily Show. And in Canada, Rick Mercer does excellent political rants on his show.
Well I’m going to rant about the weather … and what I believe is its rapid change because of too much carbon in the atmosphere. Everyone complains about the weather, right? (I know some of my readers like rants, and some don’t. If you fall into the latter category, feel free to skip this post. I promise to write something positive next time!)
I remember the concept of “spring” from my childhood. This was a time of cool temperatures, and lots of rain. It was a time when trees gradually broke bud and became green. It was a time when tulips and daffodils emerged slowly and provided color in otherwise empty gardens. I used to start planting my garden in the spring. It would often be chilly. My hands would get cold working in the soil.
We don’t seem to experience spring anymore. We have winter, we have summer, with a few days in between. We had ice pellets the 3rd week of April. And then in early May we had a spell of summer-like weather. The temperature was about 26° or 27° C (80°C) each day. We had no precipitation and my sandy soil was drying out already. This usually happens partway through June or in July. Not this year. The drought started in April when “April showers” are supposed to bring May flowers. But our weather this May has been all over the place. In fact on Mother’s Day (May 12) the weather had turned cold again and at one point as I tried to work outside the skies opened up and little white chunks of snow/hail fell. It didn’t last long and didn’t make a dent in the dry conditions. Climatologists are warning that last summer’s record drought isn’t over for much of North America. Today it’s 22°C but feels like 28°C with the humidity. Thankfully we also received some rain in the last day or two.
I used to love spring. I could accomplish so much because it was cool. I could work all day. And I didn’t have to start first thing in the morning. I could ramp up after breakfast and then go all day. I can’t work as well in the heat, and our early taste of summer was too hot for this frost-bitten Canadian boy. So I started getting up at 5:30, doing some stretching to try and get my old body moving, and then heading out to try and beat the heat. In April!
But this is where it gets scary. I can’t really beat the heat, because it wasn’t cooling off at night. In my growing zone early in May I should expect it to really cool off at night. If I have seedlings outside in the sun during the day I have to remember to bring them inside at night. But not this year. Nope, during our little heat wave it just stayed warm at night. So that by the time I come in for breakfast at 9 am I’m already really sweaty. In May? Really? Yup. It sucks.
I watch the weather forecasts at night and you can tell that most weather forecasters don’t grow their own food, because they think early hot weather is awesome. “Get out on the patios and enjoy this heat,” they say. After 3 weeks without rain they might eventually say, “We could use some rain … for the lawns … and flowers …” Really? Where do you think the food comes from that you’re eating on the patio? Don’t you think the food crops could use a little rain? It’s kind of a big deal you know.
So we had a couple of weeks of summer heat, and then we had ice pellets and brutally cold temperatures. We even got a killing frost. The peas and onions and spinach could handle it, but I lost a field of buckwheat. After all of the heat we had experienced I was thinking I was safe to get this green manure planted, but I was wrong.
I realize the weather changes. Temperatures go up. Temperatures come down. But the wonky stuff that’s going on now does not bode well for farmers.
And then Michelle pointed out a news report that the earth hit 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere. It didn’t seem to receive the amount of media coverage that something like this should warrant.
There are many scientists who feel that we need to throttle it back to 350 ppm to avoid some pretty nasty effects. I’m on their side. I’m starting to think I notice these changes more than most people because I’m trying to grow food on a larger scale. I consider myself a “Cam-ary in a coal mine” and I’m sending out the “Mayday! Mayday!” warning. Of course with what just hit Oklahoma, I guess I can’t complain about a bit of wonky weather!
Meanwhile maybe I should head off to a patio restaurant to watch sports on a bigscreen TV and learn to enjoy the endless days of sunshine and heat. Let someone else worry about growing food in this changing climate!
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Michelle’s Addition: On a more positive note, it’s been a great year for both daffodils and lilacs. Enjoy! I just wish we had “smell-o-vision” so you could also appreciate the amazing aroma!