Thursday, January 28, 2010

It snows in Jersey too.

1-28-10 SHORT HILLS: Our January warm spell seems to be over. We got about a inch of wet snow this morning clinging to all the branches in the yard and snarling traffic on the roads.

We’re a month and a week past the winter solstice, and the sun has begun its climb up from the southern tropics back to the equator. By February 21 the sun will be halfway back. I recently tried to explain this in an email and will quote myself:

“The sun's geographic position [that spot on the earth directly below the sun] follows a sine wave pattern above and below the equator over the course of the year. From Dec 21 [or so] to Mar 21 the upward movement of the sun is from 23° below the equator to the equator. The first 1/6 of the upward travel is from Dec-Jan, the next 1/3 of the distance from Jan-Feb, and the last 1/2 from Feb-Mar and similarly around the year above and below the equator. If you mentally picture a sine wave, Nov to Jan and May to Jul are the flatish parts near the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and Feb to Apr and Aug to Oct are the parts with nearly vertical movement at the equator [equinoxes]. The northern and southern hemisphere's temp averages also follow a sine wave pattern, but lag behind the sun's position.”

There, all clear?

Evergreen Hollies, Rhodos, Hemlocks and Yews [from L to R] bend and may break under the weight of the snow.

Deciduous trees are better equipped to deal with snow burden.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Potpourri.

1-24-10 VERMONT: Wow! Over two weeks without an entry. I’m getting as bad as Valerie. You can tell, I guess, it’s winter and not much is happening in the garden.

First things first, the cold spell ended after two weeks. People were saying how cold and harsh it was. I usually replied, “Who would ever have expected that in January?”

Since then it’s been moderate and seasonal, even here in Vermont. We came up a few days ago for a long weekend and had dinner with a certain student and her boyfriend and saw a bunch of other folks. It’s clouding up today, but the last three days have been clear with bluebird skies and starry nights. I have been skiing around the pasture with the dogs every day, and Judy was out on snowshoes once. I tried telemarking down a steep part of the pasture. It felt a bit awkward, to put a charitable face on the performance, but the snow was wet and gummy.

All those storms in California producing beach erosion, mudslides and collapsing houses made me think of El Nino. Check out the website below and see that it has been on for several months and fairly strong. For us it means a warm, short winter, so who cares if California slides into the Pacific.
Will global warming make El Nino more intense? Stay tuned.

As if winter wasn’t depressing enough, Massachusetts sent a GOP porn star to the Senate in EMK’s seat. Talk about rolling over in your grave. I suppose it can be blamed on the economy, the bankers, the terrorists, the health care bill, which nobody likes, the Coakley apathy and the Obama passivity. Wake up, Barack, you’re late for school.

As for the health care bill, when the Massachusetts election results were in, the health care stocks soared. If Wall Street thinks the HMO’s and insurance companies would be hurt by the bill, it must be a good thing. And nothing better is likely to come along any time soon.

Queen of the Snow.

If you throw it, they will go.

Doesn't this one make you think of Rothko?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Star Is Born!

1-9-10 SHORT HILLS: We saw the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players production of ‘The Mikado’ at City Center last night. It was a breath-taking evening. It was the Broadway debut of a new star of musical comedy! Lucy Rosenberg! She was magnificent. We laughed, we cried, etc. Notables in the audience included: Mary, Alison, Valerie, Maggie. Also, it seemed to me, the horn playing from the orchestra pit was unusually distinct and clear.

More exclusive Pix on the link to the right!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cold Turkey.

1-5-10 SHORT HILLS: We came south to NJ on the second, driving in snow and slush that dried up as we got into CT. The weather here has been almost as forbidding as VT, cold and windy with an inch or so of crusty snow cover.

We saw the turkey flock again as we were leaving. I am guessing they’re still all there, about fifteen birds.

The pocketful of live oak acorns I brought back from CA has surprised us. I threw them in a flower pot after the November visit to San José, watered them weekly and, four of them, so far, have germinated. The leaves have thorny points like holly tree leaves, but the leaf shape is more like a deciduous red oak. A quick visit to Wikipedia shows that there are 400 or so species in the oak tree genus, Quercus, and dozens that are evergreen [live] oaks. I think this one is California [or Coast] live oak, Quercus agrifolia. Can it over-winter in NJ, zone 6, but becoming zone 7? If the seedlings survive, I’ll move one or two outside in the fall and keep the others in the pot for another year.