Friday, January 31, 2014

Where'd You Go, Snow?

1-31-14 SHORT HILLS: It continues to be cold, perhaps a little warmer today, with occasional snow—a flurry today, a dusting a few days ago. This snow cover is slowly disappearing even though the temperature is below the freezing point. The snow seems to evaporate, but the correct term for the phase change of solid ice or snow directly to gaseous water vapor, skipping the liquid water phase is Sublimation.

Another example of sublimation that we have all seen is the change of dry ice, frozen carbon dioxide, to that thick, white gas often used in theaters or movies for its eerie, spooky, foggy effect.

Water vapor is colorless and invisible, but sometimes we can see snow melting in a warmish rain forming a fog, a visible fog of water particles in the air. That’s melting of snow and evaporation of the melt water and condensation of the water vapor to liquid water droplets. We may see that tomorrow.

In three weeks the sun will be half way back to the Equator from its southern-most excursion, and four weeks after that, the sun will be on the Equator at the Vernal Equinox.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two Nights Out.

1-26-14 SHORT HILLS: We’re back in NJ, two snowstorms later with more bone-chilling, arctic cold. I’m starting to re-think what I said about loving the snow.

We had a nice weekend. Friday we had dinner with Ellen and Bruce and Bette and Lonnie at Ursino’s in Union on the campus of Kean University. The restaurant is definitely worth a re-visit. We all hashed, chopped and grilled NJ state politics.

Saturday was an early morning visit to Bridgewater, NJ for Ethan’s bar mitzvah, and then a trip to NYC, through the snow, for our annual family outing for the winter birthdays of Howie, Valerie, Steve and Dan who were joined by Judy, Alison, Anna and Lucy for dinner at db Bistro Moderne, excellent, one block east of the beautiful Belasco Theatre. [How’s that for one long sentence?]

We saw “Shakespeare’s Globe” production of Twelfe Night, or What You Will featuring Mark Rylance. Shakespeare done by the competent hands of British companies comes alive. The set is a reproduction of the Globe Theatre. The actors, all male as in the day, are dressed by the dressers on the set before the show. The musicians, using period instruments, play on stage during the prep. The costumes are period appropriate and use no modern materials. We haven’t seen this play done as well since the Thetford Academy production a few years ago.

Bally shows the falling snow flakes.

Mr. Junco is finding the seeds.

Snowy Holly tree.

Judy and I got into the city so quickly that we were too early for dinner and walked around the neighborhood. We warmed up at Grand Central Station, main concourse. The arched ceiling depicts the winter night sky, some of the constellations of the zodiac and other constellations.

The ceiling showing part of Cancer at the top, then Gemini, Orion and the Milky Way, Taurus, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries and Pegasus.

Diners at db Bistro Moderne on 44th St.

Belasco Theatre stage before the performance. The dressers are dressing the actors and the musicians are warming up on the set.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Snow.

1-19-14 VERMONT: We got about two inches last night and did the shoveling this morning. It was in the thirties, so I was also able to get a lot of the ice off the deck. The deck not only gets snowed on but also gets the snow that slides off the metal roof of the house and falls two stories landing with a resounding thud on the deck. That fall compacts the snow turning it to ice. The weight of a big accumulation of ice threatens the structural integrity of the deck so we try to keep clear.

Next week’s temps will be back in the single digits, and more snow is on the way. The January thaw seems to be over. The snow requires a lot of plowing and shoveling, of course, but I still love the look of the new snow falling, swirling in the wind, the white out and the coating on the trees and shrubs.

New snow.

New snow.

The apple tree will be even whiter in May.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hangin' Out.

1-18-13 VERMONT: We came up a few days ago. It’s much milder than last trip. The afternoon temps are in the thirties, and they dip below freezing at night. There have been a few flurries, but the snow cover is light and less every day. We might get some snow tonight. The small pond in the pasture has open water, but the big pond is frozen.

The dogs are enjoying the freedom to run the pasture, and I enjoy not having them on leads.

Snow cover in the pasture is disappearing.

Bally found more snow by the house because that area gets less sun.

The deer are using the snow-free space under the trees.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

An Arty Weekend.

1-12-13 SHORT HILLS: Friday we had a few inches of snow that turned to a freezing rain and made the driveway very slippery. The next day there was a warm rain with 61° that turned the ice and snow to fog.

By the time we headed to NYC for dinner at Café Fiorello with Ina and Marcel the fog had cleared as most of the snow was gone. We went on to the opera after the dinner.

We heard Verdi’s Falstaff, his final work and only major comic opera. Falstaff, the character, was created by Shakespeare in Henry IV and Henry V and reappeared in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Queen Elizabeth’s request. Falstaff, the man, is an aging knight with no knightly instincts except a sense of entitlement. He is an obese, vain, venal, misogynistic, boastful, cowardly, dissolute, gluttonous, self-indulgent thief but amusing and witty. His comeuppance is well earned and much deserved but, at the same time, sad. Baritone Ambrogio Maestri is maestriful in the role of Falstaff.

Us New Jersey residents don’t have to look far for a modern reincarnation of Sir John, no further than Sir Chris of the Bridge.

Working backwards, the previous night we heard the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Newark at NJPAC. It was an all Beethoven program, starting with The Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus. Pinchas Zukerman conducted and was the soloist for the Violin Concerto. The Fifth Symphony completed the program.

After a few inches of snow the day before, we have a warm rain that turns the snow into fog.

Bally says, "How come I see the air?"

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

High Temp, Low Temp.

1-7-14 SHORT HILLS: It was 1° here this morning, yesterday morning it was nearly 60° in a warm rain. The air felt like spring. It was balmy and foggy, and the snow was melting. Eight inches of snow yesterday were reduced to a patchy frozen crust today. The roof was festooned with icicles hanging from frozen gutters, but is now clear of snow and ice.

Yesterday’s temperatures could have set both a record high and a record low in one twenty-four hour period.

The birds are back at the reloaded feeders.

Cardinal, male.

White breasted nuthatch, female.

White breasted nuthatch, male, has the dark head.

House sparrow.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Now It's Getting Cold.

1-2-14 VERMONT: Yesterday was pretty nice, it started in the minus degrees but warmed up to about 12° F. by afternoon, so we snowshoed around the pasture in full winter ware. The outing got the dogs tired out for a few minutes—they don’t have snowshoes and run/jump through the deep stuff. We did have a couple extra inches that fell on New Year’s Eve.

Thanks to Cousins Debbie and John for the NYE party and Happy New Year to those there assembled and to everyone else also.

Today started at minus 12° F., that’s twenty-four degrees colder than yesterday afternoon. We’ve had seven inches of new snow, very dry and powdery, since this morning. It was so light that I used the leaf blower to clear the deck and entryways. It’s supposed to be really cold tonight.

Yesterday was cold but sunny. Snow Queen on snowshoes.

Bally is almost invisible.

Maizie is my dance partner.

Today is colder with more snow.

White out.

Nobody sits on that bench but Mr. Snow.