May 8th, 2014



WWMT-DT 3.1 in Kalamazoo says that tomorrow's high will be 82°F. The last time we had 80s in West Michigan was 2 October 2013 -- 218 days ago. The heat wave is short-lived. The highs for the next week are all in the low 70s and high 60s. Pleasant. Springlike. But not excessive.

We've had a few days of heavy rain, but nothing like last year. Still, farmers are beginning to worry about planting. The ground may still be too cold for some crops. So the tilling if the soil has begun, but later than usual. I'm sure the seed salesmen are scrambling to arrange for different inventory.

My father used to plant sweet corn in North Carolina. If I remember, Silver Queen was the best, but it was a 120-day corn. Some of the field corns suitable for silage were 84, maybe even 74-day corn. You could squeeze two crops in one year in some fields in the South.

While there's heat waves elsewhere in the country -- I seem to recall people on Facebook reporting 80°F in Denver a month ago and 90-100° in Oklahoma this past week. What's different here is partly due to the Great Lakes.

Last week it was reported that the ice still covered 26% of the Great Lakes. I expect shallow Erie to be fairly clear, while Superior is still largely frozen. The Coast Guard is struggling to keep the channels open where Huron meets the St. Mary's River. It's the cold sink of the Great Lakes which is likely to depress temperatures where it can well into the summer.

Considering how baked the rest of the country was last year and the energy expenditure it takes to move me around outside, I'll take a cooler summer this year.

Whether the farmers are as happy we'll have to see.

Dr. Phil


One day of summer?

It's 84°F in Allendale at just before 5pm. Sunny. Hazy. A bit humid. And the last temp in the 80s for at least a week.

Shot a couple pictures on the way home from PT this afternoon. All the shots with the Nikon D100 and the 80-200mm f4.5-5.6D AF-NIKKOR. This isn't the legendary 80-200mm f4.5 Zoom-NIKKOR, but a lightweight, compact, modern auto focus cousin. Not as robust as the Iron Lady of zooms, but optically its equal. With the flyweight 28-80mm f3.3-5.6G AF-NIKKOR and the plastic bodied D100, it makes for a light camera bag. Good for carrying when you have two canes.

The best part -- the camera and short zoom were a Christmas present (eversomuch thanks, Joe!) and the long zoom cost about $18 on eBay. All are in perfect operating condition. I love eBay.

The flowering trees between the PT clinic and Burger King in Allendale are about to erupt, but for now they're just the promise of flowers. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Fence line between fields on the west side of 84th Avenue -- it always amuses me to have streets and avenues in farm country. Where I first grew up they were called Roads in the rural county. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Angled or head on view? You choose. The focus point on this shot is not the fence post, but the tumble of bramble same as the previous shot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

This forsythia bush... it was planted the first spring we were here, almost twenty years ago. Hole. Peat moss. Stick of a bush. Water -- once or twice. It almost died a few years ago -- ten? -- then came back more lush. And the last five or so covered in brilliant yellow flowers. We keep thinking the crocuses planted around had died, but every now and then in early spring we'll see them. So much for neglect. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The daffodils have even a harder and shorter history than the forsythia -- there used to be tulips and crocuses in this little bed, too. But the last few years only the daffodils have come up. These guys got pounded by heavy rain the other night but have perked up. I guess getting run over by the front tires of UPS trucks all winter is good for them. It's not like we do any work on them. Or even water them. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

More spring pictures from last week to come -- including cows!

Dr. Phil