Natural History Notes

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day in the morning...

The three ships would have to be pretty close to be seen this morning. It's 8 am and DARK, thunderstorms since 2am and continuing. And RAIN, hallelujah.

Yesterday evening they had taken the snow out of the forecast. but it's back in now; just have to wait and see.

At any rate, the more rain the better. Then after it goes down to maybe 19° tonight, I will just stay in, thank you.

So Merry Christmas! Now I have to get up and go make apple streusel.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

cold wind

It's now 3:30 am and the temp has dropped 35° since 9:30. Can't really call it a norther since the wind is from juts north of west, whipping along at 26mph. About the closest I have heard to Laura Ingalls' description of the continuous howl of the  blizzard in The Long Winter. On the wind map, the black hole of low pressure is rapidly approaching Chicago.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So last week we went from near 80° on Sunday to 18° on Tuesday morning. Gradually it warmed up until yesterday and today were absolutely balmy again. Today at DFW, according to the weather service:

... Record high temperature set at Dallas Fort Worth today...

A record high temperature of 78 degrees was set at Dallas Fort Worth
today. This breaks the old record of 73 set in 2008 and 1978.

So here is the next front. 73° now at 9:30 pm, forecast 34° in the morning, and 21° Friday morning.

I hung out a load of sheets this afternoon, after ascertaining that rain was not in the forecast. Oops. About an hour ago I heard what I first assumed to be leaves being blown down as the wind changed. Then as it got louder, I changed my mind.

Earlier in the fall this happened, and I thought about teetering out to the deck on my uncertain ankle, and just let the clothes get an extra rinse. But this time I figured I could handle it, and I did get them in all right. My hair was kind of drippy, and the last sheet was pretty soppy. Of course it stopped almost as soon as I got in. Just a very narrow band. The drought continues.

About 9pm the wind got really loud for a bit, but it has scaled back now. The map looks like all the air in the south central plains is getting sucked down a hole between Topeka and Tulsa.

Winter comes back for at least a quick visit. And the forecast for Christmas is low fifties, and another couple freezing nights. More winter than last year, anyway.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

vultures are back!

Went out in the living room this morning and saw two huge black birds again! One on the railing by the rain barrel, and one perched on the little end of the vertical 4x4 where the falling oak broke the rail.

That one flew as soon as I appeared -- it was only about 4 feet from the window. The other waited until I was almost ready to take the picture, of course, then decamped.

(Couldn't locate the Olympus on short notice, and the phone's exposure meter has gone totally wonky, but here's documentation, anyway. Better pictures from August are on Flickr.)

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Friday, December 14, 2012

bee banquet and a bit of rain

Monday was the CCHBA Christmas banquet. Mucho good food as usual. Kay and I shared a table with about half of the Pettibon family -- 11 kids. My good gracious!!

Turned out that my close-up from the inspection of the new hive on May 20 produced not only the October calendar picture, of bees on an almost-completely-capped frame, but also #3 in the photo contest. And even some money, Tom Siep says, but he forgot the awards, so I'll find out what in January.

I used my new frame grip to lift and hold the frames with just the left hand, so I could snap a close-up with the right. (No glove, but that worked OK, the bees weren't buzzy - hard not to get sticky on the camera though.) The back-lit appearance is genuine -- I was facing south from behind the hive, so the sun was behind the frame, lighting up the honey.

There is another spatter of rain that I hear as I write, at ten pm. We have had light rain for much of the day. First rain in weeks.

Tomorrow, or maybe later because Stephen forgot and double-scheduled himself, he and I will get out to the Ridge. I think he will start by sanding the closet floor and painting the closet, so I can get the Elfa shelves and the clothes into the closet and then see how much material I can fit into the craft room. Aiming to have him do about 6-8 days work, and get myself moved back in January! Much longer, and I will grow root here. It's been seven months.

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