Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

A beautiful day yesterday, now only in memory as the summertime starts up with humidity hitting the airwaves.  I’ve learned the trick of adjusting (somewhat) to the DC metro area. Make sure to spend a bit of time in the humidity and not just hide behind an AC somewhere. The more time you can spend outside, the more your body becomes adjusted and the next summer you find you can last a little longer before the “enough already” sets in and you run into the nearest building. If you are a tourist fortunately there are plenty of museums, free ones at that, which offer coolness and even refreshments to help you cool down.

But then there are those nights that you want to brave the humidity and get caught up in fun and rhythm and music to keep your toes tapping or even dancing. Not too far from DC, on the Maryland side is a town called Silver Spring that offers great music for free from June through August. A few examples of the types of live music being showcased this summer include: rock & roll, oldies – 50’s and 60’s, Celtic, jazz, blues from Spain, salsa, reggae, pop, funk, soul, bluegrass, West African, rock and zydeco. Phew, I am mopping my brow with a smile on my face already.

In addition to the wonderful music, the offerings include SilverDocs, “an eight day internationally recognized film festival that celebrates independent thinking and generates global media attention.”  The other thing about the SilverDocs movies (over 100) – you are inside in the cool AC, so if the heat or humidity is too high, and you want to see the unusual, this event is for you.

Downtown Silver Spring has a bunch of other activities, from books to booze (there is a relationship in there somewhere). I know most folks spend the majority of their time going to the beaches, driving hours in congested traffic, waiting in airports, in hotel lines, or even on the spare couch cushion at your cousins. But if you are in the DC Metro area or are just visiting, get away from the usual “spots” and go visit a fun place that’s only minutes away.  I know I will.


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I grew up with mom spending lots of time in the various gardens she created in whatever house we were living in at the time, Army family that we were. I remember lovely smells, bright colors and her pride. I also remember weeding in the hot sun and pushing an un-motorized contraption called a lawn mower, mainly because my dad and sister had allergies and my other, older siblings were never home.

Many years have passed since those days and living in apartments or city houses, I had the luxury of either watching others do the work or didn’t have the need except to trim the occasional hedge. Now that I’m a home owner watching my third summer looming, I suspect that “gardening” is not really a term for “being one with nature”, but rather a description nurtured by companies who cultivated suburbia long ago, ensuring homeowners give up the good fight and contract with a weekly service.

I had this lightbulb “conspiracy theory” moment as I waited in an incredibly long HomeDepot line this weekend, cart filled with a small amount  (if the loads being pushed by others were any indication) of top soil, weed and feed and  two types of seeds (shade and direct sun). Getting home, I needed to recover from the shopping, so it was late morning by the time I got to the yard.

My plan? To churn up the three feet of soil around my dogwood tree in the front yard as it usually becomes mostly dirt patches with a few green weeds as the season progresses. I tried organic last year, leaving nature to do it’s work… and the only thing that I saw happen was a takeover by the few weeds, not in the dirt patches but throughout the rest of the yard. Churn I did, the goal – once around to break up the soil, once around again to mix in new top soil, seeds, another thin layer of top soil, water and be back inside to be ready for my House Manager role at the one o’clock performance of the SkyDancer Sunday matinee performance.

Well, half way round the first circle of the tree, the rake broke, the prong part just coming right off. I looked at it, at the handle in my hand, sighed, but popped it back on and went back to work. Three passes later, the rake popped off again. So every fourth action, I had to stop, put the rake back on and continue at an odd angle for maximun usage before pop-off again. At one point, I event tried one of those three-prong things you use in your hand – however even broken, the rake worked better.

Sweat pouring down, 3/4’s done, a friend came by, took pity and helped me finish. Of course, I had also miscalculated the amount of top soil needed (no wonder those folks used pallets back at HD) and “spread thinly” became about as sparse as those chocolate chips found in today’s cookies. I finally ran inside, covered in dirt, with only minutes to spare to help set folks up for the show (more on that later).

Later that afternoon, I returned to the task master called lawn, struggled with the bag of weed and seed and poured an undetermined amount into the green thing that spreads it around as you wheel it about. Of course there is some algebraic formula you are supposed to use to calculate how much gets spread at a time. I tried, but of course the bag I got didn’t match the name-brand of the spreader so, no hope. I simply guessed, started pushing and off I went. We won’t talk ab0ut that one corner I took too fast and dumped a whole pile of the stuff…

All of this effort to grow some decent grass. I don’t even need it even like the commercials, I just want it green and somewhat plentiful. Barely able to move my arms or back today, I look anxiously at the sky and hope for that rain they promised us. Another task now added. Flowers you ask? To be continued….

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The temperature in and around Washington this morning is a crisp 35 degrees, colder than usual for this time of year. We had a late snow not too long ago and clouds have hidden the sun for most of the days recently.

And yet, and yet! Spring has managed to find it’s way to our shores and I could feel the smile on my face even as I could see my breath.  On the way to work, I exchanged an unexpected smile with another driver as we waited for the light to change and both of us were looking at a few early tulips in bloom. Exchange a smile with another commuter on a Monday morning? A miracle indeed.

Here’s  what made us smile – as taken with a cell phone, leaning out of my car window:

Spring Tulips

Spring Tulips

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When I got up to go to work this morning, here in the Washington D.C. metro area, the temperature was a cold 17 degrees, but was -5 if you took wind chill into account. My mind on the weather, I thought to write a post on global warming, not only to remind us to be careful, but to be totally honest, I felt the need to focus on spring !

When I checked into WordPress to write, I took a quick look at sites that are receiving high “hits”, as in number of visitors checking them out. One of the most consistantly popular is Anthony Watts, Watts up with that?, where he provides “commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology and recent news.” 

Now, I have followed Al Gore with the  whole global warming trend movement, have practiced energy conservation from a pedestrian level (aware but not as vigilant as I should be) and have tried to be conscious about taking personal action whenever I can. So here I’m reading Watts and immediately discover a post by guest author, Stephen Goddard that points to an actual cooling trend!

A key statement in the post, “It appears that global cooling recognition may be starting to make headway in the scientific community. ” If you scroll down you will see a variety of posts, some more in “science speak” than others, but all of interest and with such a different image of the weather than portrayed in the regular news.

Hmmm. What to believe? As a” non-scientific, trying to practice good conservation” environmentalist, it seems to me that there is truth in both viewpoints, and that there is a lot of scientific “proof” that may not be yet understood. Is mankind impacting the environment with poor practices of high carbon emissions, chemicals in the ground and water, waste of natural resources? You bet and we as a community of global peoples need to step up doing something about it.

Do we see everything melting in fewer years than previous history? Maybe not, according to the posts on Watts. Maybe that can give us hope that we haven’t destroyed everything as much as we think it has – but hopefully not lull us into a sense of “well, we can fix it tomorrow”.

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