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  • July | 2014 | Slow Water Movement
    found a little red eft Not sure where it came from Perhaps the creek down the street but these creatures generally need a pond to complete their life cycle Maybe the creek is sufficient I hope this little eft eventually finds its way to a spot where it can continue its life and transform to an adult eastern newt The fireflies have been spectacular in our field I tried out the LongExpo app and created these time lapse photos They don t do it justice of course but do give you an idea My mother brother and sister in law had never seen fireflies before coming to Vermont for our wedding they aren t present in California at least not that I ve ever seen Sharing our firefly hill was one of the little surprising highlights of our time with family It s hard to say if more native creatures are using this land than before as we ve only been here for about a year But considering the fact that we ve converted lots of lawn areas to field and planted lots of native plants it seems a distinct possibility Part of what makes home for us is watching these changes over time The weather has mostly been mild with a few downpours thunderstorms and one heat wave thrown in lightning photos also using LongExpo Our period of calm appears to be ending at least briefly As I type we are under a severe thunderstorm watch A line of storms is raging in from New York State and should be here within the hour The air is hot humid and restless and with the darkening sky I expect more lightning will be visible soon Our silver maple lost a limb in a relatively mild thunderstorm last week and I m hoping this storm spares our trees This entry was posted in Uncategorized on July 8 2014 by slowwatermovement Search for Recent Posts California note 1 Sunk Into The Land Ripping Up Sod Weather Videos What If On Nostalgia and Giant Snowflakes Recent Comments evening on Sunk Into The Land Ripping Up Sod Corner Garden Sue on Sunk Into The Land Ripping Up Sod Nate on Ridiculously Resilient Ridge Possibly Dismal Climate Scenario for California and Beyond Rick on Destroying a Place Does Not Create a Desert slowwatermovement on Will Lake Champlain Close On The Coyot es Network Some reasons I have been called a radical environmentalist Coyote Crossing Published on September 19 2015 by Chris Clarke On Forgetting My Field Guide Birds and Words Published on September 16 2015 by Julia Zarankin My Hit Single Are Warblers Less Important Than Tigers Reconciliation Ecology Published on September 12 2015 by Madhusudan Katti Making Friends With Crows The Corvid Blog Published on August 2 2015 by The Corvid Blog The Heart of Freedom Cecil the Lion Wild Within Published on July 29 2015 by Jennifer Molidor There s Gold in Them Hills Dispersal Range Published on June 28 2015 by Meera

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2014/07/ (2015-09-25)
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  • May | 2014 | Slow Water Movement
    and blew down trees The National Weather Service did another survey and did not find any evidence a tornado touched down but there was evidence of winds up to 85 miles per hour Perhaps a microburst or some other sort of thunderstorm wind but whatever it was it was enough to do a lot of damage It s possible a tornado touched down in a farm field or remote forest where it wasn t detected but we will never know for sure Tornados may be rare in this region but even if these storms didn t create one a storm near Albany just across the border in New York did probably have a tornado and it destroyed a home This storm also had a very impressive hook echo and the tornado that was near the Denver Airport recently created an even more impressive signature on radar as it moved straight for the radar tower The Denver airport seems to be a magnet for tornadoes microbursts and other severe weather Apparently whoever chose the site wasn t familiar with the local climate unless of course the climate has changed since they built the airport in a way that is making more storms hit the area I m not sure which is more likely Our location did not have any severe weather and in fact not even much in the way of thunder We did have some dramatic cloud formations move through however The sky always looks so much more impressive in person than on photos so I ve experimented with upping the contrast and vibrancy of these photos Some of them ended up with weird color artifacts and one with reflections from a window but they give you an idea about what late spring in Vermont can look like Severe weather season is just starting here so it s likely there will be more thunderstorms over the first part of summer This entry was posted in Uncategorized on May 28 2014 by slowwatermovement Buried in Spring by slowwatermovement Leave a reply I haven t posted anything here in a while because well we ve been buried After a long hard winter spring means suddenly being busy especially when settling into a new place Over the last month we ve planted five fruit trees seven berry bushes a bunch of native plants and some onions set up a plastic greenhouse we obtained planted some things in there I also added a third tier to the rain garden since the first two occasionally fill up and overflow Below the rain garden overflows with an incomplete third layer after a night of heavy spring rain In addition I created a wetland garden in an area of the yard that is always wet due to being in seepy soil Here it is in progress without much in it yet The field season hasn t really started at work yet but I did get out to check some vernal pools I ve also been active on

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2014/05/ (2015-09-25)
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  • April | 2014 | Slow Water Movement
    bugs I plan to add a lot more more species more invasives more thing the rabbit can do different islands you name it If you have ideas let me know Try the new buckthorn bash demo at https github com naturalistcharlie BuckthornBash releases There are PC and Mac versions scroll down to see the Mac version Let me know if you play it and like it or don t like it because I ll probably be doing more with this soon you can t get to this island right now This entry was posted in Uncategorized on April 24 2014 by slowwatermovement Try My Trees of Vermont Field Guide by slowwatermovement 1 Reply It s been a long winter The January March period in Montpelier was the second coldest since records began being recorded in the 1940s and March was the coldest March on record Many other places in Vermont with records that go back further also had record or near record cold especially in March The winter was so long that I ve run out of things to say about winter It s cold We ve been boiling maple sap a fun time consuming but very straightforward process that results in delicious maple syrup Mostly over the last few weeks I ve been anticipating spring Spring is finally here The trees won t leaf out for another month or so but the snow in the forests is thinning the air is getting warmer and it s becoming easier to roam the woods For those reasons I wanted to announce one of my projects from last Fall and Winter a field guide to all tree species known to occur in Vermont s natural areas The tree guide which was created using the Guides feature on iNaturalist includes all native tree species that are known or believed to occur in the state as well as non native species that are able to survive and reproduce on their own in forests Each tree has several associations tagged to it including its temperature and moisture preference and the types of leaves it has for the latter you will need to wait for May except for conifers By using these tags to filter the tree types you can easily get photos of a few trees to choose from It should be a pretty effective guide The online version is here You can also put the guide on your smartphone Just download the iNaturalist iPhone app I think it works on the iNaturalist android app also but I m not sure and go to guides You can download the guide to your phone so it still works when you are out of cell phone service If you want to add observations to iNaturalist you can do so directly from the guide I wrote Vermont specific descriptions for some of the species but others have generic descriptions from Wikipedia If people decide they like this guide and would like me to write more Vermont specific descriptions

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2014/04/ (2015-09-25)
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  • March | 2014 | Slow Water Movement
    least four feet of snow fell in parts of the Sierras There has been nearly no snow before this point and those mountains often have 10 15 or even 20 feet of snow in early March so the drought is not over But four feet of snow is a heck of a lot better than four inches which is about what we were working with before Meanwhile the sometimes incredible Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve picked up almost four inches of rain Desert flowers like those that occur on this edge of the Mojave Desert are experts at taking advantage of sporadic extreme rainfall events so there may be a poppy display this year after all It probably won t be a banner year but may be worth seeing A full poppy bloom is one of the most vibrant plant displays I have ever seen its only rival I know of is Vermont s maple forest in a good fall foliage year Of course in the long run one storm doesn t end a drought Especially one storm with torrential rains much of the water probably rushed down creeks into the ocean or worse into gutters and thus into the ocean along with oil anyod garbage If you have a rainwater collection system set up even a massive cistern would now be full but otherwise much of the water has returned to the sea It s still not a small thing Despite the drought for at least a few days the canyons will sing with the roar of creeks and seasonal arroyos filled to the brim Life moves on with what it is given to work with So why are the rivers of Vermont mostly silent Has the drought spread across the continent Nope but the cold of winter has settled in to March with no sign of leaving A bit over a week ago there was a brief thaw and it rained on our copious snowpack This did not melt all the snow but mashed it down to a crusty foot or so Then the weather got cold The forecast is for around 15 here tonight The March sun has been working on evaporating way some of the snow on steep south facing slopes but most of the snow is hanging tight or even deepening with a few quick snow showers Most of the big storms on the news are missing us to the south since we are firmly on the cold side of the jet stream Lake Champlain is frozen across from shore to shore which means any other lake in Vermont is frozen also Nearly all of the rivers are frozen over or close to it The North Branch in Montpelier at the little mill dam is about as frozen as it can get Of course areas of fast moving water are still open or at least some of them I saw one river in Barre where one of the thaws had lifted up the ice on a

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2014/03/ (2015-09-25)
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  • February | 2014 | Slow Water Movement
    lot of open water It is a popular place to look for birds or get away from the summer heat At the moment though the scene is very different The lake was frozen as far as we could see what appeared at first to be wind blown open water was jagged sheets of ice The wind whipped at a predictably steady and cold clip A warm storm had come through bringing a bit of rain and wet snow and a brief thaw but the thaw had ended Temperatures were quickly dropping below freezing with light sleety snow The wind seemed strong because it was cold but really it was nothing unusual for this place the trees in their twisted shapes show that much stronger winds are not uncommon here From what I could tell the lake was frozen all the way across I later learned that there was still some open water around the Charlotte ferry I asked the National Weather Service Burlington office s facebook page about this and they told me that some of the lake was still open and the Charlotte ferry still operating but that they had gotten a satellite photo today that showed that most of the open water had a thin layer of ice you can see it if you look closely photo from NOAA The forecast calls for a snowstorm tomorrow and then more cold weather with another snowstorm possible on Sunday While wind from these storms may break up the ice some it seems likely that with more cold weather in the forecast the lake will freeze over completely When this happens they say the lake has closed Looking here you can see records of when the lake has closed that go back a long ways You ll quickly notice that it used to be quite unusual for the lake NOT to close Only the mildest of winters saw open water on the lake Lately the lake has closed only rarely with the most recent being 2007 with a relatively late closing of March 2 The ice cover must not have lasted long People like to attribute a lot of things to the warming climate Weird thaws blizzards Hurricane Irene thunderstorms heat waves arctic vortexes you name it While human caused climate change has certainly had effects on those weather events it s extremely difficult to say how much and in what way But a lake as big as Lake Champlain has a memory Water stores a tremendous amount of memory Whether the lake closes does not just depend on how cold one winter is and this one has been a pretty cold one at least by recent standards The lake s temperature is influenced by the previous summer and the winter before that and probably even the summer before that Maybe it goes back a decade The more the average temperature rises even if it is just a couple of degrees the harder it is for the lake to freeze in

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2014/02/ (2015-09-25)
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  • January | 2014 | Slow Water Movement
    other hand the fire season may be much longer which increases the chance of a bad fire so it could go either way It s OK to keep watering my lawn No Please don t You are taking water out of the reservoirs and aquifers and water isn t coming in to replace it Do the math Well LA IS a desert No it s not There s more ranting where this came from but this blog entry is already long enough so I m going to leave it at this the rains and snows could come and turn this into a minor drought rather than a major disaster Or they may not We may be entering one of those multi decade droughts We just don t know All we can do is to try not to be dumb and wasteful with our water Sadly for California even that may be too much to ask This entry was posted in Uncategorized on January 23 2014 by slowwatermovement A Year of Ice and Salt by slowwatermovement 1 Reply The sound of pattering rain is seeping through the windows rain from a several day January thaw The snow has shrank to a thin layer though it still covers more places than not The weather brings back memories of two winters ago when the cold almost completely failed to come and instead rainstorm after rainstorm moved through culminating in the sickly feverish heat of a freakish March heat wave the likes of which had not been seen in recorded memory The warm winter is of course nothing but a memory This thaw notwithstanding this winter has featured brutal cold Twice the temperature at our home has dropped below 20f and on many days it has dropped below zero On at least one day the temperature never ROSE above zero These coldest days tend to be clear and for those not accustomed to the weather of cold places glancing out the window would lead one to believe it is warm out It is not The eerie milky crisp clear skies mean deep cold The cold has not failed but the snow in part has The weather pattern has been so volatile that despite the cold most storms have brought warm air with them often enough to convert their precipitation to rain or even ice storms When the Arctic Vortex descended on much of the country a quick moving storm brought a bubble of warm air shooting north over Vermont Temperatures shot up and unexpectedly enough the sun popped out during a lull in the storm Between the cold air to the east and the cold air to the west a tiny window of warm opened up A rainbow cast across the sky the sound of babbling water echoed everywhere and an unmistakable smell filled the air wet soil It s impossible to realize how ubiquitous this smell is to the outdoors until it vanishes under snow and frozen ground Green became visible on the

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2014/01/ (2015-09-25)
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  • December | 2013 | Slow Water Movement
    double digits but that isn t saying much It was one of those days when the sun was shining incredibly bright turning the snow on the ground into glistening glitter On first glance it looks warm one would expect the jingle and smash of falling ice and rush of snowmelt that comes with a thaw But if you look closer you can tell There is a strange edge to the light that you can see even before you step outside Something about how the trees look against the sky about the way the branches move The branches don t flex the way they do when it s warm The steam and smoke from chimneys billows upwards vigorously or settles into valley bottom inversions There is an indescribable razor thin crispness to the world that oddly I ve only also observed during the hottest driest days in the desert Bundling up always makes me think of astronauts and space suits we really can t survive without our technology in this environment though in this case much of it is very old technology fire and clothing A walk through woods fields even suburban backyards with an inch of new snow on the ground reveals so many stories I had no idea just how often the deer cross our field or how they use the same path most of the time the way a neighbor s cat wanders through the rain garden on most mornings the number of turkeys using nearby woods Here in Vermont it has been unusually cold through November and much of December so far The cold isn t as extreme relative to average at least as much of the country though There has been sloppy slow in the Mid Atlantic a nasty ice storm in Texas brutal blasts of arctic air in the Midwest and Plains and unusual frost and low snow levels in lower elevations of California Unfortunately this cold pattern often coincides with dry weather in California and much of the state has been incredibly dry for the last year which now spans parts of two rainy seasons and beyond Many parts of the state may experience the driest calendar year on record True there are stories of two years in the late 1800s where the rains failed completely in parts of the state including a terrifying account I once saw of a year where Santa Barbara went through an entire winter without a single drop of rain The drought could be worse but it isn t good In any event it looks like most of the lower 48 may be heading for the harshest winter we ve seen in a while There s no guarantee the cold will last all winter for instance the coldest December on record in Vermont December 1989 was followed by the second warmest January on record for the state and a warm February as well Then again the winter of 1978 1979 started cold and kept getting colder with a downright

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2013/12/ (2015-09-25)
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  • November | 2013 | Slow Water Movement
    to see another drop soon after Where was this water coming from In fact it turned out it was coming from the maple tree at a place where i d sawed a small low hanging limb off the tree The sap was flowing I wondered at first if it was an odd effect of climate change or if something was wrong with the tree But in fact I learned from a bit of quick research that maple sap does indeed run in fall It would probably be a stress to the tree to tap it heavily before winter but since this was just one limb it hopefully won t harm the tree We put a container under the cut limb end The sap ran both days this weekend and both evenings we boiled a little pot of sap to get a few mouthfuls of syrup It was delicious and a bit different than the maple syrup you can buy each tree tastes different they say and although pure maple syrup is extremely delicious rarely do you get to taste the differences in individual trees This morning at 5 30 AM a blast of strong wind and heavy rain blew through the same storm system that brought those terrible tornadoes to the Midwest No severe weather here but I couldn t help but feel a bit of ominousness in the storm knowing what sort of destruction it had wrought the day before The storm blew on through but temperatures didn t drop too fast afterwards Tonight that may change and we could get another dusting of snow By the end of the weekend we could have several inches of snow and possibly even single digit temperatures Winter is about to kick in for real This entry was posted in Uncategorized on November 18 2013 by slowwatermovement The Speculative Fiction of Winter Outlooks by slowwatermovement 4 Replies Winter is coming While October dithered between relatively mild nights and warm sunny days November has meant business We ve had our warm days mostly associated with warm storms but we ve also had many cold nights At least twice it has been in the upper teens One day we had a light snow flurry and for a few days at the end of October there was snow in most of the mountain areas Early November is a time for not just preparation but speculation as well Since as early as late September there have been multiple winter outlooks published by different sources These forecasts many of which contradict each other are fun to watch but are often wrong Last year the forecasts for Vermont were especially vague The winter turned out slightly snowier and slightly warmer than average from what I recall The previous winter all of the forecasts busted They called for a cold and snowy winter and the winter was instead exceptionally warm and snowless So these forecasts should all be taken with a grain of salt Vermont forecast The winter will

    Original URL path: http://coyot.es/slowwatermovement/2013/11/ (2015-09-25)
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