Falling into Place

Summer is fading fast, or at least what was left of the summer that was not much of one. I see that the farmers’ almanac (or the other one – do you know there are two, they have a similar but different names and they are fierce competitors for the “farmers almanac” niche?  http://www.almanac.com/ http://www.farmersalmanac.com/ ) had predicted it will be a cold winter this year in my neck of the country. I think if this proves to be true it will seem even colder. So I will be craving spring even more than usual in 2010.

On a more positive fall is arriving note, I am looking forward to the leaves changing. Every year is different but I think most plants had a great year. Lots of water, not to brutely hot. My unscientific observation is that the better the growing season the better the leaves changing show ends up being.

We will see.

Spring Itch

Spring has arrived. At least on the calendar. Spring has not so much arrived outside. I spent most of today walking around in the city. The wind was blowing off the water, it was not to warm to begin with and I was cold! So I get a little cranky about the weather at this time of the year. Last year I escaped to Australia for almost two months in Nov/Dec so early spring was not so bad. This year I’m ready for warmth. And I only get more inclined to want it to be warmer when I talk to my southern relatives.

Lot’s of flowers are out, in fact they have been out for about a month already.

I have already started planning and doing some planting in the garden.

If I don’t get those plants taken care of soon, it is going to be to late to get them going this spring.

(can you tell my Mom is a gardener?). Here in New England we have one little tiny flower that is out in the front yard. Obviously the plants are a lot slower here than they are down south.

The other thing that happens in spring for me, a lot of years, is the need to get away from home. For many reasons I just can’t get away as much this time of the year. I want to, I try to and just can’t or don’t. So by the time spring rolls around I start reading about things like the best tropical islands and it makes me a little bonkers. How much would I enjoy lounging on the beach at this time of year, especially in the tropics somewhere! Heck, at this time of the year, I would even be willing to go back to Dallas (despite how much I disliked my time there a few years ago). I could get my buddy to launch his boat in Joe Pool Lake and I could just lay around soaking in the warmth! I looked and it was in the mid seventies there today.

O well. Another month will go by and I will have no need to be bitchin any more. I might even get a chance to go on a road trip next week, which of course would help tremendously with the early spring blues I’m feeling.

Australia’s Kwongan Heathland

I was trying to find some information today about a place I worked in southwestern Australia. I stayed in Western Flora Caravan Park, just north of Eneabba, and did my work in the native Kwongan heathland found there. The park is on the other side of the earth and far from habitats and parks that I am used to – places like the forests of New England or Island Beach New Jersey.

Some random facts:

The area is a biodiversity hotspot with a large diversity of flowering plants.

The Geraldton Sandplains are an ancient and very deep geological formation.

The soils are nutrient poor and the climate is tough. It is not quite a desert but it can seem like one at certain times of the year.

Bird diversity – relatively low
Reptile diversity – very high. Australia is generally know as the most diverse regions in the world for reptiles
Temperatures – often the hottest temps for the local region are recorded here. High 40’s in the middle of the summer (Jan and Feb) are not unusual.

Some links and other info:

The point of my searching around today was to find this factoid….. the rush like plants that are common in the Kwongan heathland are in the family Restionaceae (this may seem strange to most folks but I needed to know this for some writing I am doing).

Some interesting pictures around Eneabba.

One of the better introductions to the natural areas in the Southwestern Australia Biodiversity Hotspot.

And that is it for my little research notes.

Be well.

Fall is Here

Little news to report on the travel front.

While it has been fall for awhile, it seems the cool weather and more winter-drabness-like days are beginning to stick. There had been plenty of warmish, bright, and generally cheery fall days that hint more at summer past than winter approaching. Not so anymore. Many leaves have also fallen from the trees. It is interesting to see my neighborhood, stripped of its cloak. The bright colors have been shed revealing the dirt and grime of the tightly packed homes. Most are not new, and could use a coat of paint to cover their city-dirt covered look.

I do like the hunkering down of winter. Warming up with a nice cup of tea. Cuddling under the covers with my wife. Passing from the cold outdoors into a heated building. And the best winter prize of all – a nice new covering of snow that softens the edges and brightens up the world.

Gas and movement

Just a small musing today…..

I am so fortunate to not need to use my car very much. So in some sense I have been more insulated from the gas price “crisis” in my personal driving. Still it is interesting to think about how high gas prices are already causing problems and, it would seem, will drive some bring changes in our lives if things continue on the track they are on.

My guess is we will return to the way things were 30 years ago in regards to commerce. Less Wal-Mart like behavior and more local made in the USA goods. Also local stores will do better as it increasingly costs the bigger companies more to keep their globally integrated behemoths pumping along. I think this is a better way to go but getting back to it will be quite painful for so many of us.

Just my two cents worth.