OK, I think it is time for me to eat a little crow.
A couple of days ago, I was lamenting about the weather forecasters and their description of snow in the forecast of being 1 inch to 1 foot of accumulation on the Valley floor (meaning Portland). To me that was not much of a forecast, it would be as if I made a broad statement such as ,”we may have a calf born this year, or maybe 12 calves, we will just wait and see.” I don’t think it would go over well with our cattle buyers.
This forecast did not go over well with me. Usually we listen to the news for the Portland area, then adjust for the cooler 1000′ feet of difference and the wetter difference of being closer to the Pacific Ocean. From the news on Saturday, I had no way of telling what we would be in for.
It started raining in Portland in the middle of the night as well as here on the farm. But before daybreak, it turned to a wet, sloppy snow as Portland continued with downpour rain.
By 8 a.m. the driveway and county road looked like a winter postcard. The ground was warm enough thaw much of the snow as it landed, but it was coming down so quickly that it could not melt fast enough to keep it from piling up.
Looking back over the weather forecast that had me in such a tiff, I have to admit the guessers were right. Portland ended up with over an inch of rain on this day. We had over a foot that had not melted.
Even though the winter weather has warmed and the deep freeze has moved on, we still see small snow patches lingering in the shady spots around the farm.
In the foreground, the water is running freely through the pasture. Beyond the treeline where the river flows, is located on the shady dark side of the hill and still has a covering of snow.
Once we got past the first blast of warm, tropical air that carried with it many inches of rain, the moderation of temp and moisture allowed for these small snowfields to melt slowly. The slow melt adds much needed fluid to the dry ground and it soaks in deep so it will sustain the vegetation for a long time.
Living on a rural county road, I can usually tell what day of the week it is by the traffic that goes by.
I see loggers go by early weekday mornings headed for the logging site. Log trucks can start as early as 3am during the summer and 5am during the winter to get the first load headed for the mill. Familiar rigs go by that carry neighbors to work, and kids to school travel past around 6 or 7. Weekends have jeeps and refurbished 4 x4s that head out to the woods for 4-wheeling adventures. Bicycles by the bunches and motorcycles go past on the loop that takes them to Vernonia for a stop before turning and heading back to the cities. Continue reading
SNOW-GEDDON, APOCALYPTIC STORM, ALERTS, WARNINGS, the news stations were filled with dire warnings for several days.
The weather guessers could not get a solid read on the change that was coming. They were predicting anywhere from a 1/4 inch to a foot of snow to dump on the Coast Range of Oregon and Washington. That wasn’t just the wide sweep of predictions from all the weather forecasters, each guesser was saying that we could get any amount. All the fancy computer models were widely different.
Here on the farm, it was business as usual. The winter didn’t seem to harsh for the cows. Each morning they were at the outside feeders ready for breakfast before strolling to the hillside to graze under the tall fir trees until dinner time.
The morning of the predicted storm the roads were dry and clear. It had been freezing temps for several days. Schools were in session, businesses all running, it was a regular morning commute for those who had to go into Portland. At 2pm reports of itty-bitty snowflakes began all across the area.
Schools let out early, drivers packed up and headed for home. The streets clogged with traffic and the roads that were clear just an hour before had turned into snowy skating rinks. Roads were blocked with abandoned cars, school buses that could still maneuver took loads of kids back to school to wait out the storm.
By 7pm, Portland had made news across the country and the flakes were still flying.
At midnight the official snow total for the Portland area was flashed on the news. All this hype and disaster for a total of 1 1/4 inches of snow. I bet the East Coast had a good laugh over that one…
A friend sent me a text asking if I was ready for some winter weather. I said YES! I need some colder weather to control some of the flying bugs we have around here. A cold winter kills off many of the bugs which leaves the summer months much more comfortable. It has been a couple of years since we have had any really good cold snaps.
It was a wonderful sight to wake up to a light blanket of snow, although this is not the cold snap that we need for insect control, this is a nice treat to the relentless rain that October and November shared with us.
This week is expecting cooler temps for the area and chances of snow on and off throughout the coming days. I’ve got my long-johns ready as well as my flap-hat (think Elmer Fudd hunting cap) and my insulated Muck boots. I’m ready for this.
Meteorologists around the world set themselves up for disappointment with their daily forecasts.
However this time, they hit the schedule right on the mark. Last week, after all the backsliding over the 10 day forecast that called for 90+ degree days for the foreseeable future, our reliable/unreliable local weathermen said that clouds would build and we would get rain Wednesday evening.
During the day on Wednesday, it was muggy and high clouds scudded across the sky, but by mid-afternoon, the sky seemed to calm. The clouds looked less ominous for rain.
I looked out just before going to bed and nothing seemed to be happening, but an hour later I heard the lovely sound of raindrops on the large leaf maple tree outside my bedroom window.
Now if the weatherguessers are right again, we will be back to hay season in a couple of days. Being right 2 times in a row is not too much to ask, is it?
The forecasts call for the hottest day of the year (we usually don’t get into the 90’s until after mid-June). We prep for days that are extra wet, windy, stormy or hot, basically anything that is out of the ordinary. If we know about it ahead of time, we try to be ready to ensure that the herd is as comfy and safe as possible. Continue reading