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


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


Unknown said...

That's a wonderful idea!
Thanks for that lovely tour through your seasonal world!
Sorry about your HD and your pics!
That more than sucks :(

Leora said...

This is lovely! I am putting together some links from 2009 of other people's Nature Notes, and this is the perfect link to include.

Premature blooms are kind of sad. You want to tell them to go "back to sleep."

I try to make backups of my backups when it comes to favorite photos! Speaking of which, I should really do one later today.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

awww i love the little pink fuzz poking up. I stopped once, twice, three times to look at it. Like a little pink bird erupting in the world.

Unknown said...

What a lovely year you had, Carver!

I wish you all the best in 2010!

Anonymous said...

Loved the look back at 2009! It made me think it wasn't such a bad year after all! Thanks for that.

I think I recognized the daffodils as Ice Follies, a particular favorite of mine.

Incidentally, Gail Godwin has published another novel that takes place in NC....Unfinished Desires. It's already on my "hold" list at my local library!

Warmest wishes for a good New Year.


ramblingwoods said...

This really is a great idea Carver... I enjoyed learning more about the climate where you live as it is different from here in WNY. I guess that this is a true nature journal and is why I started my blog, but I got caught up in memes more. I really like what you did a lot...Thank for posting to Nature Notes..I got here before you linked... Michelle

eileeninmd said...

What a nice post onyour seasons and with your photos. Our weather seemed to be unpredictable this past year.

Maria Berg said...

One year that quick, sometime life feel so to,
have a wonderful 2010,
Maria Berg

eastcoastlife said...

Wish we have the 4 seasons here. :)

My wishes for you,
Great start for Jan,
Love for Feb,
Peace for March,
No worries for April,
Fun for May,
Joy for June to Nov,
Happiness for Dec,
Have a lucky and wonderful 2010, Carver!

Jeanne said...

Carver--these are beautiful photos. Thanks for the tour.