Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oh Snow!

Last week, when it was sunny and clear and autumnal, the little voice in my head said I should not go birding but stay home and attend to the last of the pre-winter chores.

Cutting back the overgrown rose of sharons. Pulling in the pots of cannas. Mowing the lawn. Weeding.

I don't usually listen to that voice but this time I did. Considering the snow that is falling at a December-like pace, I am glad I did.

The only problem was, I hadn't pulled in the pots of vegetables. I had hoped the remaining tomatoes and peppers, including some very small ones fooled into growing by the milder September weather, would redden - in particular the peppers, which get sweeter that way.

So I left the pots where they were, figuring I had time. Besides, by the time I finished the other chores I was sore and couldn't lift a thing, including my spirits.

Then came the weather report about today, Saturday, Oct. 29. Significant snow in Morris County before Halloween?

Out I went in the pre-dawn on Friday before work to pull in the tomato pots, beheading the plants and hanging them, fruit attached, in the basement. Out I went in the post-dusk after I got home to tear apart the cage I constructed to keep out the deer and squirrels and chipmunks and anything else, then take the huge pepper pots. Everything is now on my enclosed porch. The plants are not warm but they are dry and I can take the time to work on creating order from the resulting chaos, only a hint of which you see in this photo.

This year we have had the hottest month on record and the wettest month on record. We also had the most powerful Category 1 hurricane - Irene - to hit this area.

Now we have had the worst pre-November snow since the early 1950s. We got the power failure I feared from the snow weighing down the trees - which this morning were so colorful with the autumn leaves - and hitting the power lines.

(I was able to update this blog because we got the power back, at 2:45 a.m., after 12 1/2 hours.)

To all who don't believe in climate change I say there is something very, very wrong in our atmosphere to create abnormal weather like this. New Jersey is in the process of deciding whether to join a major lawsuit with other eastern states to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency against challenges from coal producers, whose pollution blows east over us.

That our pro-business governor has to think about whether New Jersey should be involved shows just how much of phony he is when it comes to the environment.

We were lucky to get the power, and the heat, back. For now at least, it is literally cold comfort.

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