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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Natures Notes - Looking at the climate where I live through the seasons with photos from 2009

On my other blog, I participate in a phototheme called That's My World. I took a look at 2009 with a photo from each month for the last post of this year for that theme. I thought I'd do something similar for nature notes although I'll be using a few more photos and I won't be doing one a month as much as looking at seasonal changes and mix ups. All the shots in this post were taken in 2009

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In January of 2009, we had our first decent snow in years. Not a big snow by northern standards but it was around five inches and since we hadn't had any real snow accumulation in years it was an event.

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The average snow accumulation per winter where I live is 7 inches. In 2000 we had our single largest snow at one time which was 20.3 inches (52 cm) and for several years we had a fair amount of snow for us. Then virtually nothing (only very light snow with little or no accumulation for four or more years).

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I was ready for some snow this year but it was very mixed up weather. The first shot was January, the next two were in February when a very mild month got the early spring flowers blooming prematurely. Then bam, a March snow and quite cold beginning to that month zapped the early flowers.

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I was particularly sad about the tulip tree which was so lovely with its premature blooms in February but after the snow and cold weather for early March the blooms didn't really materialize.

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The record low in Raleigh, NC where I live is -9°F (-22°C) which was set in 1985. I remember that extra cold winter well since it was the year my daughter was born. We occasionally have single digit farenheit temperatures a night or two in the winter but almost never below that. In the winter months the average highs are in the 40s to low 50s and the average lows are in the high 20s to low 30s.

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For this post I looked up mean, average, and record temperatures to give you an idea of the climate but I'll spare you the ton of statistics I found. As to 2009 and snow, we got some snow which I wanted (accumulation in January, coating in February, accumulation in March, light coating on my deck in December but didn't stick in the yard). The shot above is from April and we did have a nice spring in spite of losing some of the early flowers both in the ground and on trees.

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The shot above is also April and the roses in front of my greenhouse and storeage building are always a month or two ahead of my other roses. We have had record lows in the 20s (F) in April before but we got a break this year and in spite of losing some March flowers, nothing like that happened in April. Below is a shot of a robin feasting in my mullberry tree in May.

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The record highs where I live are pretty amazing. I knew there are often a few warm days in the winter months but I was amazed that the record was as high as 84 F one February. Considering that is 30 degrees higher than the average high it's pretty impressive. We can have a frew weeks in the winter where it doesn't get above freezing at all and occasionally snow will stick around a few weeks. However, in general we go back and forth between above and below freezing in the winter.

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I'm skipping ahead with an August photo above. I had to completely erase my hard drive this summer and lost almost all of my photographs from June and July, excepting ones I'd put on my blog already. Unfortunately I had only backed up through the end of May. I'll never go that long again. Our record high in August is 105 F with the average high of 87.2. The average low in August is 67.2. I get very tired of the heat by August but the pecan tree above not only drops pecans on my deck it provides nice shade.

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I think I've given a fair idea of our climate so I'll skip the factoids, but I do like the fact that we have 4 distinct seasons. It's usually warm to cool in the spring, hot in the summer, warm to cooler in the fall and cool to cold in the winter. However, we also have odd ball days in all seasons which are radically different from the day before. The shot above is of one of my grasses in September with a green visitor and the shot below is also September.

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One thing I really like about 2009 is that we had plenty of rain. After a dry 2007/2008, I was ready for a wet year and I love the look of mushrooms in the grass. The shot below is from October. Our average first frost is in October but this year I don't think we had any frost in October.

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Overall, we had a very mild fall but lots of good color in the trees. Below is my oak from November. The oaks are always among the last to change colors. We had a lot of good October fall foliage too but I've posted so many of those trees in October, I'll skip them.

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Also this post is getting crazy long so I'll zip along. The shot below was a November sunset and the trees had lost enough leaves to give me a better view of the sky.

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The rest of the post will be December of 2009. I don't remember the ivy changing to burgandy in the winter. Usually they die back some but I really enjoy the color I'm getting this year.

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I'm also enjoying all the moss which the rain is encouraging. My front stairs are covered in moss in between the bricks and I like that.

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For my final nature notes photo of 2009, I'll leave you with this noisy bird. Can you hear it?

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Happy New Year and you can find other nature enthusiasts at the home of Nature Notes.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today's Flowers: Winter flowers - Dried and frozen

I put dried flowers in front of the fireplace but decided they might get too dry so didn't leave them there long after I lit the fire.

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The camellia blossom was frozen one night and soon dropped off but I was taken by how the center retained its color.

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Wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year to come! Home of Today's Flower link.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Photohunters: Twelve

I am setting up my photohunters post for auto publish so if I'm late visiting I'll see you soon. I almost skipped this week's theme but decided in honor of Christmas I'd set it up as a Christmas theme to go along with the prompt this week which is twelve.

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Above are twelve red berries making the number twelve on the ice I dumped out of the bird bath.

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Twelve ornaments are weighing down the miniature table tree in my cluttered living room. Twelve ornaments are hanging on the rod over my deck door by my den.

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Twelve skaters are skating on the miniature rink I put up at Christmas. It looks like two of them are going to run into each other but somehow they never do as they go around the rink when I plug it in.
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Merry Christmas and may the year's end and beginning be joyful whatever you celebrate. Participants post beginning on Saturday at the home of the hunt.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nature Notes: Jack Frost nipping at the leaves

Winter is officially here according to the calendar and the morning leaves confirm it. My nature notes this week will be even earlier than usual but since I'm scheduling my photo themes in advance I figured I'd spread them out a little.

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It is funny to me how both of my blogs have become almost exclusively photographic theme oriented but I enjoy participating in the various themes. Nature Notes is one of my favorites because I enjoy observing the changes and nuances in the natural world.

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I love the way Jack Frost sugar coats the leaves. The first and third leaves stayed green much later than usual on vines which adds to their beauty when sugar coated with frost. Probably by this time next week they'll join the rest in brown drops on the ground. The nandina bush above keeps it's leaves but the berries will drop.

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The shot below was one I took in January of 2009. We won't be getting any snow for Christmas (almost never do) so I'm cheating and creating a White Christmas below from last winter's photos.

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The last shot is from March 2009 when we had a late snow for us. We do have odd weather some years. I remember one Easter when we had some snow and that Christmas was like springtime. As the saying goes around these parts, if you don't like the weather hang around a day and it will change.

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The home of Nature Notes and Signs of the Seasons can be found at Rambing Woods. Wishing those of you who celebrate Christmas a happy one, and wishing everyone a joyful end of 2009 whatever you may celebrate.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today's Flowers: Then and Now

I thought I'd take a look through the seasons of flowers. The first shot is of the tulip tree which bloomed early only to be hit with an early March snow.

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The shot below is of my gerber daisies in July with their summer face on.

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I had one last black eyed susan (below) which bloomed this fall on my deck after the rest had gone to seed.

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I took the shot below this Friday after winter had left the flower pots on my deck empty of flowers. The tiny bit of snow was here and gone quickly but at least we got a little before Christmas.

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For other participants, please visit the home of Today's Flowers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photohunters: Fast

The photohunters theme this week is fast. I fear that I will be rather cliché but I thought I'd do a photographic look at the old saying that children grow up so fast.

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It seems like yesterday, in some ways, when my daughter was a little girl. The shots above and below were taken during the Christmas of 1986. At least I think I have the year right based on my recollection of what my daughter looked like when she was that age.

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In the shot above my daughter is playing with her grandmother (my mother) and with her father (Bill) on Christmas morning.

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I'm guessing the shot above was one I took of my daughter around 1989 under our Christmas tree. Time kept moving so fast that before I knew it, my daughter was coming home from college for Christmas. There she is under our Christmas tree below in 2003.

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Time has continued to move fast and my daughter graduated from law school this year. I took the shot below last weekend when she was home for an early Christmas visit.

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For other photohunters, please visit the home of the hunt where participants post beginning on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nature Notes: Winter Silhouette

I think I'll let the photograph below suffice for this week's nature note.

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Please visit the home of Nature Notes for other participants.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Photohunters: Undesirable


The photohunters theme this week is undesirable. I find going to the dentist's office to be undesirable. I took the shot below outside of the dentist's office as I delayed going inside.

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Rush hour traffic is undesirable. I took the shot below while stuck at a stop light in rush hour traffic.

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The shot below is one I took out my car window while stuck at a stop light. Sometimes an undesirable long stop light can turn into a photo op.

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Please visit the home of photohunters, starting Saturday, for other participants.