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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

How did you get here so quickly? And where did all the daffodils and flowering plum trees and quince bushes you brought with you come from? Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, since Winter never really showed up here in the first place. But for this New Englander, Spring always comes eerily early in Northern California. Isn’t the landscape supposed to be dreary and barren until the ground thaws out in May?

My seasonal confusion probably hasn’t been helped by the fact that B and I just spent 2 weeks in Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, where the temperature hovers around H-O-T °F and the humidity seems to be about 99.9% (literally, my skin was moist to the touch at all times). We were there for my sister-in-law’s wedding, a beautiful mix of French, Ivoirian, and Congolese (my new brother-in-law–exciting for this only child!–is from Kinshasa) traditions. It seems our family has taken a liking to February nuptials. Amélie and Julien were married one week to the day before B’s and my one year anniversary. And Mamie Jo and Papi René (B’s paternal grandparents) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary just last week.

Maybe February wedding celebrations are the best way to break out of the winter doldrums? They’ve certainly been a great excuse for travel for our family in France!

Since I never posted them last year, here are a few pics* from our Boston wedding.

Happy…dare I say it too soon?…Spring! Okay, not quite, but we’re almost there…

*All pics courtesy of our wonderful and talented wedding photographer, Joyelle West.

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We knew it was coming. We didn’t know when or how, but it was really only a matter of time. We were briefed by locals and given apocolyptic warnings, “You’re gonna die, man, you’re gonna die!”, and others simply gasped when they heard where we were living. “Hot country.” So we knew it would be bad. But just how bad? I’ll take dry heat any day over the oppressive humidity that (electric)blankets the East Coast every summer. Well, turns out 102º is pretty dern (yes, dern) hot. Little could prepare us for it, really, and it’s not the kind of heat you can escape from.

Though we did try!

We walked out to Dry Creek, wary of rattlesnakes and clandestine gold panners, for a picnic lunch on Saturday. We saw a few of the latter (yes, they’re still out there), but mainly our company was a band of dragonflies, a butterfly or two, a red tailed hawk overhead, and a toad. We amused ourselves with the laziest of summer day activities, skipping stones along the creek and seeing who could spit the cherry pits the farthest (I won’t tell you who won that contest). Here’s a pic of Bastien shading himself from the midday sun:

Sunday seemed even hotter. I’m not sure it actually was, but that kind of heat seems to build up steam to wear you down. So we headed for higher ground–a hike in Desolation Wilderness just south of Lake Tahoe.

The heat followed us all the way up to elevation, and Desolation Wilderness is not known for its shade (rather the desolate landscape created by a lack of trees), but there was some relief to be had in the snow pack (which remains unmelted due to late snows this year) and the rushing snow-melt waters that cascaded down the mountain, nearly blocking our path altogether at several junctions. At one point we encountered a lovely trail of cut stones, but they were nearly all under water. In that heat, though, we were happy to get our boots wet!

Our final destination, Twin Lake, was still filled with ice blocks and surrounded by a cirque of snow-capped peaks. All I wanted to do was jump in for a swim to cool off! Too cold, though. Instead, we stuck our water bottles in the icy waters to cool them down. Better than a Frigidaire!

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I am just starting to emerge from the fog of congestion and, so too it seems, is the weather. It has been downright chilly around here, and yesterday a thunderstorm dropped a shower of hail on us. Hopefully the tomato plants survived, but we’ve been hiding under the covers from the cold, too afraid to look. Yesterday’s storm brought with it an apricot-colored cat, who has taken refuge on our porch and has been meowing at the door on occasion when he’s not off wandering the fields for mice. Perhaps we have a new friend?

Today we’ve had sun, and the temperature has finally climbed up to 70 degrees, promising to jump another 10 for the weekend. Somehow I feel as though we’ve reversed weather patterns with the East Coast, which must be nice for those of you enjoying the sun and warmth of a rare real Spring. Actually, we’ve had touches of Spring, but after a few weeks of damp cold it feels like March was warmer than May! Here are a few images from a March outing to Daffodil Hill, a private ranch east of Fiddletown where 300,000 daffodil bulbs bloom every year. To think I was in short sleeves that day and am in a fleece jacket and slippers as I write now from the kitchen table!

Daffodil Hill

A March afternoon on Daffodil Hill

Daffodils

Early Spring Blooms

With 80° temperatures on the way for the weekend–just in time for our next house guests!–perhaps we’re turning a corner. But the stove is still going on tonight to warm up the kitchen and, of course, to experiment with a few new recipes. Here’s what’s cooking:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Loaf

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Cake

Strawberry Coulis (for the Brownie Cake)

Tamari Roasted Almonds

Recipes to follow. In the meantime, happy Memorial Day and bon appétit!

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It’s awfully strange to live in a place where, with nearly 100% certitude, one can declare the last rainfall of the season. Having grown up in New England, I’m so used to the unnerving uncertainty of the forecast and to the possibility of soggy Junes or warm Decembers. But here in sunny California, it seems the sky has shed its last drop of precipitation for the next six months and that we are headed for the long dry spell of summer.

California has been in a state of drought for nearly four years now (according to the CA Department of Water Resources, though many will tell you it has been going on for much longer). But despite the data declaring insufficient rainfall, we’ve had plenty of precipitation in our neck of the woods. Here we thought we were escaping extreme weather patterns by moving to California, but you name it and we’ve had it: rain, snow, hail et al. Here are a few photos Bastien took to document these kooky climes…

We arrived in Fiddletown on Valentine’s Day. Boston was still in the depths of winter, so we thought we had landed in paradise when our entire first week out west was filled with glorious, sunny, 65 degree days. Seven days of sunshine must have been too much of a good thing, though, as the climate quickly shifted to cold rain. So much rain, in fact, that the creeks swelled and the old country roads were washed out:

When it rains in the Foothills, it snows in the Sierras, and this year was apparently a great one for the skiers. I nearly drove off the road one day when I heard on the radio that one ski resort would be open until July! By the time April rolls around, it is supposed to be fairly mild here, so you can imagine B’s surprise when he arrived to a thick coating of snow in the vineyard (elevation ~1650 feet) on March 31st. Not good for the budding vines…or for the sore hands of the weary pruners!

Perhaps the strangest day of all, though, was just last week when when a patch of black storm clouds swept through the hills, bringing a rotating mix of thunder, lightning, rain, hail, and sun. Here’s a shot from our porch of the sky after the storm (the old horse shelter in the field will hopefully soon be a chicken coop):

And now for some good old blistering heat because that’s apparently what we’re in for. Hot, hot heat. Even my dad, who loves a proper sweat while mowing the lawn on Sundays in summer, said he wouldn’t come for an August visit. “You want me to come to Sacramento in August?” he asked, the answer clear in the question, as if he knew something we didn’t (and probably does). And then, “You’ve got to be kidding. We’ll all be wearing togas and sweating bullets morning, noon, and night!” Guess we better embrace the idea, or we’ll never make it through. When in Rome…turn on the air conditioning! Except for the fact that I hate air conditioning, and it’s a major energy suck, which is only contributing to these weird weather patterns. Maybe I should start filling the freezer with ice cubes now…

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