Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weather is So Very Local

The Baron is always wistfully hoping to see a tornado...preferably not here in the garden, but say, following one of those in the Midwest, the ones that turn the sky green and suck up all the air, plus anything else in their way. In fact, he likes them so much he watches that tornado channel whenever he's in the proximity of a TV and has any control over the remote.

So imagine his chagrin on finding out at church today that the clamor and banging that gave us six tenths of an inch of rain the other night was at the same time busy dumping six inches on a nearby area. The place is about three or four miles away, as the crow flies. In addition to the deluge, they also had a TORNADO!

So near and yet so far. That's the problem (if one is hunting them) with tornadoes in the southeatern part of the United States. They often come at night. In addition, if they occur in the Piedmont areas, they don't get far before bumping into an obstructive land mass, say a hill, or a mountain. I don't think "Tornado Alley" in the Midwest has any hills to speak of, thus they can go further and do more damage.

There is a higher mortality in the Southeast, though. For one thing, tornadoes don't have a "season" here; they can occur any time of year. For another, they are frequently at night so there's no way to send out the kinds of warnings that they do in the Midwest. And due to the milder weather here, there are more trailer parks to demolish. Trailers, or mobile homes, are essentially tin held together with staples. There is insulation between the outside tin and the inside fiberboard walls, but they're fragile things. That's why poor people like them: cheap housing.

Many counties, wealthier than we are, don't permit new trailers. They don't meet the building codes and rich folks don't like them cluttering up their pretty scenery. With Obama's new energy attack no doubt they'll eventually be outlawed, even those that were grandfathered in to the updated building codes. In other words, poor people will have fewer places to live, but everything will be pretty...and energy efficient. No more dangerous kerosene stoves. The Salvation Army better start some kind of building program or they're going to be turning away lots of folks.

Rain gaugeThis rain gauge is just like the one our car mechanic has. That's where the Baron got the idea for one of our own. He put it up so that I can see it from my desk. Not only is that an improvement over the glass and plastic ones we've had before, but I don't have to get up from my desk to see the water level. I believe this is a year 'round model, so we'll be able to count the inches of snow when the time comes.

Meanwhile, with all this great rain, it has been interesting watching the inches climb this June. We've probably had close to 4 inches this month, if not more. The only downside is that the slugs, snails, and pill bugs like the damp and have been increasing in whatever they have to do to make more of themselves. It doesn't bear thinking about, but meanwhile, these parents and their increase have taken to munching on my plants.

Tomorrow I am going to get some Sluggo and spread it around the susceptible spots. Sluggo is just iron phosphate in pellet form. Won't hurt the plants (though they already get a lot of iron from our orange clay soil), but it will send the offending creatures elsewhere.

By the way, the bush in the back of the picture is a lilac. In looking at the photo, I just noticed the mildew. Shoot, and I thought the bush had escaped this year. The black strap hanging to the left of the gauge is a left-over from when we had our roof replaced. After more than a year, our roofer hasn't finished, though he did clamp on rubber sheeting after the leaks appeared.

Don't get me wrong, this man was a very good roofer. He's been in business since 1953. But ours turned out to be a roof too far and he's not been back to fix it properly. Plus he and his Mexican workers banged nails through the eaves. It looks like we may be headed to court...bummer.


At 12:34 PM, Blogger ML said...

Welcome back! I love reading about your Neighborhood.

At 3:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post. I loved reading it. Keep writing!!

This is Nancy from Israeli Uncensored News

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Hate to be a nitpicker,
(not that that stops me from doing a lot of it) but...
The funnel on the top of the gauge really should be above the top of the stake.
...drops bouncing off the stake into the gauge.
Semi-sideways drops blocked from entry to the funnel by the stake.
Oh, the Humanity!

Tornados are amazing and beautiful.

Glad I don't lie awake at night worrying I might die like the Wicked Witch, however!


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