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October 14, 2009

First Frost
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 01:29 PM *

The first frost, whitening the grass today,
Surprised the summer’s final cloverheads
And scattered them with diamonds as they lay
Like amethysts beside the cattail beds.
The mist moves like the Lord upon the face
Of silver waters ruffled by the wake
That trails an onyx grebe. The pearly lace
Of clouds drops sunbeams on the waiting lake.
But still the rows of indecisive trees
Stand dithering between the green and gold,
As if they’ve months to go before the freeze.
So, muddy-leafed, they watch the fall unfold
And wear this day the way that little girls
Play dress-up in their mother’s finest pearls.


So. Um. Yeah. How’s the weather with you?

Comments on First Frost:
#1 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:39 PM:

Yesterday's snow is mostly melted, but they're threatening an inch of slush tonight. The fountain in the lake at work is still on. I haven't cleaned out the garage enough to put the new car in it yet.

#2 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:43 PM:

Unseasonably warm. We usually have 5 or so inches of snow by now, instead it's been close to 50 F for days. Strange for October.

#3 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:46 PM:

First frost like thing killed the squash plants a couple days ago. The rains came last night. I'm glad I have the winter wood under cover now.

#4 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:49 PM:

Spending a week in the Bay Area has deacclimatized me for Houston: temperatures in the 80s feel warm again.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Warm enough here, even though one mile about sea level, that I haven't started wearing a sweatshirt when I wait for the bus early in the morning.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:53 PM:

Today was the first day I found myself wishing, as I cycled in, that I was wearing gloves. I'm going to go shop for some later on.

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 01:54 PM:

Portland has entered the Soggy Season.

We'll get frost eventually.

#8 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:00 PM:

It's been in the upper 50s/low 60s(F) in the daytime and (mostly) sunny--my favorite kind of weather. Today is colder, with rain expected over the next several days. I'm glad my landlord finally turned the heat on Monday evening; my apartment was getting chilly.

This weekend, I'm driving up to the Berkshires (western Massachusetts). The forecast is for possible snow several of those nights; I hope the roads are clear.

#9 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:03 PM:

Los Angeles is wet. (Yesterday was merely damp.)

#10 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:04 PM:

It's been unseasonably chilly and damp here in Oklahoma. I've already brought the houseplants in, and usually they're out for a few more weeks. Catching the bus instead of diving straight from the house into the car, I'm noticing how penetrating misty rain can be. An umbrella does no good. But the dampness does seem to be bringing out the leaf colors -- the Virginia Creeper covering the north side of the library is glowing, if only I could get just enough sun to get a nice photograph. (Lovely poem, abi!)

#11 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:17 PM:

October Harvest

I do not like this weather,
It's freezing up my ass.
It's only mid-October,
And this weather it lacks class.

Outside of course the heather
Which is in my yard is tough,
Unlike the tender annuals,
The cold is treating rough.

I have not found a feather
Midst the nuts dropp'd overnight,
Do not walk 'neath the chestnut tree
Shoeless or you'll take fright.

You see that without leather
Or manmade soles on your feet,
The burrs the hold the chestnuts
Will draw blood with much repeat.

The walnut tree no tether
Needs as by the tens nuts drop,
The husks are burrless but take heed
They stain one's hands nonstop.

And outside go together
Fall the pears to ground from tree,
And fighting off the ravening ants
Few pears get left for me!

#12 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:18 PM:

I cannot find my long blue scarf, so I guess this is the push I needed to actually knit one. Lots of moss (seed?) stitch, here I come.

#13 ::: Bether ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:21 PM:

In my (unusually for Portland) well insulated house, we haven't turned the heat on yet -- although we've gotten close, and we have started looking for excuses to use the oven. We winterized the garden on Monday and now have a bucket full of green tomatoes, waiting to be fried or pickled or turned into relish.

#14 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:32 PM:

The weather is lovely -- right now 11 degrees C and overcast --but my boss is claiming that all hell is breaking loose, which is code for "things aren't happening the way I like them to happen". Mountains and molehills, tempests and teapots.

#15 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Rainy, but otherwise mild (my weather widget sez 49°F). Some of the foliage is turning -- more up in the mountains, and more falling leaves there too. (central Virginia)

#16 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Last night in Ottawa, we had our second frost of the season, following several weeks of mostly-rainy weather. The weather for the rest of the week is also forecast to be cold. This is unseasonably cold and wet.

I just heard a pattering from outside, through a window, and looked out to see a sudden flurry of snow pellets. Feh. The temperature is a few degrees above freezing, so it should melt immediately, but still. Feh.

#17 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:43 PM:

It's actually a bit overcast and damp around here for once. Thankfully I don't have to drive right now, otherwise I'd be dealing with Southern Californians who don't remember what rain is.

#18 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:45 PM:

PNH @6:

I dug out the gloves for myself (you know the ones) and the kids this last weekend. They're just knit ones, and only for the commute; later come the ski gloves for me and the mittens on elastics through the sleeves for the kids.

I'm also into my bright cashmere pashminas, though we're still a week or two from scarves and hats for the children. But it's coming.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:51 PM:

Tania@... Don't lie down too long under the Midnight Sun otherwise you'll get sunburned.

#20 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:52 PM:

Still sunny and mild in Reading (UK), but I've been staying indoors trying to write a story. I remember when I wrote stories quite often, but the long grind of nonfiction work has made it rare. (But kept me solvent.)

#21 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Today (Penninsula, SF Bay, between the Santa Cruz Moutains and the Bay), broken clouds and sunshine on leaves and grass. The rain (and some wind) blew through yesterday: the wind blustering, and the rain gentle on the face of the world.

Today is warmer than I expected, and it's about as lovely a fall day (with the overbright, and slightly yellow light of the cloudscatter, and the leaves in colored scatter on the green grass) as one might hope for.

I love the rain. I've become completey acclimated in my mind to a land of drought and dearth, that even when I am in a place where the water fall from the sky in abundance, I sit content and happy to hear the rattle of drops on the roof, and the smell of wet wool from my hat, as it drips an overburden of water before my face.

#22 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:57 PM:

We're having one of the hottest Octobers on record, with at least 3 record-high low temperatures in the last week. Currently 87F, with 92 predicted for tomorrow. I am Not Happy. This is not what autumn (my favorite time of year!) is supposed to feel like.

David, #4: My sympathies. That happens to me every time I take a trip north in the fall. It takes about a day to reset my default climate expectations, then I'm perfectly comfortable for the rest of the trip, and then I spend the next week and a half complaining bitterly about the heat when we get back.

An amusing bit of conversation that happened last year as I was preparing for ICC, which was going to be in Detroit over Halloween weekend:

Me: OMG, it's gonna be OCTOBER up there!
R: It's going to be October here, too.
Me: Yeah, but up there it means something. Down here, October is still summer.
R: It's not summer here.
Me: I'm still running errands in T-shirts and shorts. It's summer.
R: You're willing to leave the house voluntarily. It's not summer.

Busted! :-)

#23 ::: Lars ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:57 PM:

About 10 cm of snow on the ground - it's been here for the past couple of days, and there's still the odd flake coming down. Temperature's been below zero for at least the past week. The week before we had 30C weather.

#24 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Paula Lieberman: #11: Thanks, that got me giggling.

#25 ::: Elizabeth Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Here in the northwest corner of the Northwest, the wind is blowing red and gold leaves in swirls down the street. The sky is bright, but it's raining just enough to remind you summer's over.

#26 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:10 PM:

No snow here (in NJ) but fall has hit rather abruptly. It's a bit chilly out and windy as well. I was wondering if we'd have a fall this year. I love a good fall.

#27 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:24 PM:

Chiming in from LA again; it's lovely, wet, grey, misty, chilly soup weather. It's my dog's least favorite, as she has to go out in a rain coat. And it's supposed to be back in the mid-to-upper 80's this weekend. Sad.

#28 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:34 PM:

Oh, wait - I was supposed to answer this in verse. I have no gift for poetry, but I can hack out a haiku:

Wet bellied, dry backed
corgi hates yellow raincoat -
chagrined banana.

#29 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:37 PM:

nerdycellist @28:

You know, if I could figure out what kind of a prize would be appropriate, I'd award you it for "chagrined banana". Failing that, have 16 kudos.

#30 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:43 PM:

So. Um. Yeah. How’s the weather with you?

Cold, damp, and not nearly as elegantly worded.
But a sonnet makes the early frost almost worth enduring . . .

#31 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:50 PM:

Serge - we're down to under 12 hours of daylight here, and it would be a little chilly, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Normally we have a Hallowe'en ski races, with a fairly decent base. I'm thinking that's not happening this year. Heck, usually we've got the Olympic XC ski team in town about now getting in training runs. Nope. No snow and the temp is supposed to be in the mid 40s again today. Oh well.

#32 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 03:56 PM:

I'm in South Florida. It's still very hot after a few weeks of constant rain that tricked my peacock orchids into thinking it was time to bloom. I'm planning the November vegetable beds and setting out seedlings this coming weekend.

And I miss winter something fierce.

#34 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 04:06 PM:

It's not cold here, but it's raining AGAIN. Flood warnings (still). Dammit, enough already!

#35 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 04:08 PM:

Tania: How strange, we have fewer than 12 hours of daylight too. :)

#36 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 04:11 PM:

We are two weeks overdue for first frost here in central MD, with none expected until next week (though it's going to come close). This is just about the first really cool day. OTOH this has given time for my peppers to ripen.

#37 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Why thank you, Abi. I will have to take a picture of the chagrined banana in question before I take her on this evening's walk. I had to coax her down the steps one by one this morning. Whether her reticence was due to the OH NOES! WATER!! or her shame at having to wear a bright yellow rain slicker I have yet to determine. Maybe I'll cook an extra chicken breast and bribe her.

#38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Would a chagrined banana cheered up by bell peals?

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Terry Karney @ 35... But, where Tania lives, the day lasts 6 months.

#40 ::: Pat Kight ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Rainy, mild, then not-so-rainy and mild, then rainy and a little chilly. In other words, utterly typical Western Oregon weather for, oh, the next 7-8 months. I quite like it; the rain was a couple of weeks late getting started, and I found myself thinking "wtf is up with all this *sunshine*?"

#41 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:22 PM:

After the typhoon's end blew through yesterday, we're seeing evidence of storm cleanup. Fallen palm fronds and pine branches get raked up together, ad the sun is occasionally peeking through the clouds. It will be several days at least before we can fix the fence, though, because the ground is soaked. And I evidently missed some spots when I was cleaning out the gutters— hardly surprising, as it appears they haven't been cleared in years. The stuff on the bottom was peat.

Other than that, waiting until about a week before Halloween to put up the more fragile decorations, because that way I can make sure the weather will be good. If the nice autumn chill continues, I may even be able to carve the pumpkin a day or two in advance instead of waiting until the morning of.

#42 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:27 PM:

The Earth calls the wind
gathering her cloak of leaves,
awaiting rebirth.

#43 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Here on the eastern edge of Kansas, it's been cold, damp and gray. Our average temp for the first two weeks in Oct is generally between 71-75F. This year, it was 57F. Today, the high seems to be 46. We haven't seen a killing frost, so the ragweed is still doing its thing. But there are rumors of sunshine and highs in the 60s by Sunday.

Lovely poem, abi.

#44 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:39 PM:

bothered by creaky old joints
curse darkening skies

#45 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:47 PM:

A chagrined banana is much cuter than a chagrined sable German Shepherd (white, black and brown, so she can contrast with everything), who gets really outraged when we fail to control the weather to her liking. Apparently it's in her contract, just after her right to chase thrown balls without ever being required to return them.

#46 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:50 PM:

The first gray drizzles
Refresh the fainting souls of

(Does haiku really work with five-syllable words?)

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 05:56 PM:

The winds of Fall are slowly tap'ring off;
the Top-Left Coast this year won't fly away.
But that just means the rains are here to stay;
they'll give us reason now to sneeze and cough.
Oh yes, the sun sets earlier each day.
We'll soon be deep into the time of SAD.
The lack of light will drive some of us mad,
and some will use blue lights to chase the gray.
This time of year is when we read long books,
and flock to hear the symphony's reportoire.
We crave the things that entertain inside.
Brave souls who walk outside in rain get looks
from people who will only go by car,
but we won't melt and neither will we hide.

#48 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:23 PM:

Ambar @45 -

She's a corgi mix, also with a sable coat. It's impossible to determine whether she hates the coat more than getting wet. Because she's not so good on cause-and-effect, the crappy weather means she's even more pokey on her walk, so then we're all cranky.

We only dress her like a banana because she would overwhelm the apartment with eau-de-wet-dog. And also, because we enjoy laughing at her.

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Tony, I dunno. When I say it, 'California' has only four syllables: kæ li FOR ña, like that. Is it more common in California to say kæ li FOR niy a? When I try to say it that way, I sound like the Gubernator.

#50 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:38 PM:

This is not the brilliant fall day
found on cards for posting by mail
or captured in photos for posting by blog.
Gray skies weeping gray mists and sobbing gray rain
have muted the atumnal fires of maples, pears, and oaks into sodden embers.
Leaves spackle the landscape, their scurrying laughter silenced.
The breezes wind their damp noses and clammy fingers
into every gap
and down every neck.

The only sharing done is an exchange of miserable looks
as hunched people stride with added purpose to their portals.
Cars wave intermittently to each other in odd, syncopated beats as they hush by each other.
The birds are not flying.
The beasts are not browsing.
All are snuggled in nest and den.

This is the weather where people chant mantras
(coffee, cocoa, mocha
tea, tisane, chai
cider hot, cider spiced

and wail at the coming cold
(Gimme soup! Hot! Hot!
Gimme bread! Fresh baked!
Gimme food! Fill up!)

knowing there is no hibernation
other than what we find under the covers.

#51 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:46 PM:


According to my Japanese friend, English words and syllables aren't very compatible with the Haiku form. Tongue twisters, however, mostly translate intact. At least as far as we could tell.

#52 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 06:59 PM:

My dog has no problem with wet weather. Extreme pouring rain, maybe, but cool and damp just seems to encourage her to take longer walks.

#53 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Around 80° with intermittent radio pledge drives.

#54 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 08:07 PM:

In NoVA, it was 70 on Monday, mid-60s on Tuesday, high 51 today, and we expect mid-40s for the next four or so days. I wore a heavy sweater today, but will have to wear my winter coat for the next days.

#55 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 08:09 PM:

You know? The weather has turned downright chilly (40s and 50s Fahrenheit), grey, and rainy and drizzly, and I am loving every minute of it. It's probably the novelty, or the sense that this is absolutely right for October. But I'm breaking out the long socks, the sweaters and sweatshirts, and loving how the world looks in the grey light.

I'm hoping for a chilly, creepy Halloween. I'm co-throwing a party and I've got all manner of creepy decorations.

It's the time of year when I start feeling a deep pull towards holiday rituals. Halloween is the first. It should be dark and chilly and just a bit scary, and smelling of greasepaint and colored hairspray and pumpkin guts.

#56 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 08:42 PM:

I'm not that far from Laina. It's a crappy evening, matching my mood. The gloom and rain is oppressive.

And last weekend was teh suck, I'm out at a Renaissance Festival, it's a three day weekend because of Columbus Day, and it was freaking freezing cold. At least we have a wall between us and the north wind. This next weekend is our last one, and it looks like the temps may be raising. And we might see that bright yellow thing in the sky instead of clouds.

#57 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:11 PM:

It looks like the rainy season started yesterday in Seattle. But it's a dry rain.

#58 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:28 PM:

I am sitting outside by the first fire of the season. It was about eighty-five degrees today, and about seventy now. Not really fire weather, but the ambiance of the flames is helpful when I'm trying to write.

One of the nice things about living in the country is that you can sit by a fire in your front yard.

One of the nice things about living in the 21st century is laptop batteries.

Desert flats of Arizona. I'll be doing this from now until April-ish.

Though, I think I need bug spray. *swats*

#59 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:29 PM:

Ginger@14: 11 degrees and overcast? That's about as far from my idea of "lovely" as I can imagine. (More extreme weather can at least be bitched about.) Takes all kinds, I guess.

Xopher@49: Your pronunciation is exactly the same as mine, and I lived in the state for four decades.

#60 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:44 PM:

On the way home we watch for flooded roads,
announcers say Lanier is at full pool
and temperatures heading down to cool;
we listen for the sounds of frogs and toads
as Mother Nature adds to their abodes.
While children hope for one less day of school
their parents sigh. There is no better tool
than patience and a knowledge of the codes
that flash across the screen in urgent red.
We have been warned, but hope the message lies
and warmth and sunlight wait for us again.
The morning paper with its count of dead,
a dreary landscape waiting for our eyes,
and coming on the slow and steady rain.

#61 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 09:58 PM:

David Goldfarb @59: But wait! It gets better! Yes, the cold rain followed; I don't mind the weather, but I do hate the traffic snarls that come with this.

I like cold rainy weather. There's no dangerous sun, and no more oppressive heat, so I finally like being outside again.

Two years in the near-tropics plus three years in south Louisiana equals "done with heat and humidity". Our yearly struggle through the DC summers is enough reminder.

#62 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:11 PM:

It's getting somewhat chilly at night here in Philadelphia (down to the 40s F) (4 or so C), but it's still mild during the day. The trees are starting to turn and coleus (a common ornamental that I'm very fond of) is wilting.

#63 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:23 PM:

Thomas, I have a friend who lives in Antelope Valley. Her comment about 'but it's a DRY heat:" is unprintable.

#64 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:44 PM:

The weather here is horribly non-tropical as we batten down for our first winter in three years. We're living in the carriage house apartment, all windows now replaced but one, and baseboard heat installed. Draft-free!

But downstairs, the carriage house still betrays its essentially utilitarian design; I'm working hard to plug up gaps before we engage the downstairs furnace, but there's a long way to go yet.

So far, though, I've hardly checked Puerto Rican real estate listings at all!

#65 ::: doug k ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:58 PM:

in Denver we had sub-freezing on Saturday. The dog happily chased ducks up and down the barely liquid river. Today it was nearly 70 so I biked out on the riverside trail at lunchtime. Drifts of cottonwood leaves plastered the trail, making the corners a tad slithery. Implausible flocks of pelicans cruised on the lake. winter, winter on the way..

#66 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 10:58 PM:

thomas @57: It looks like the rainy season started yesterday in Seattle. But it's a dry rain.

I am so stealing "it's a dry rain."

#68 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:43 PM:

Rainy and a bit chilly, with nice morning fog over the pumpkin patches. I'm enjoying the Pacific Northwest far more than soggy, moist Georgia.

#69 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Here it is chilly and rainy and fall has definitely arrived - I could tell last weekend because I suddenly had squirrels living in my eaves. My cats have determined that mom is warm, and mom is not going to complain.

Though the news on Saturday that Minneapolis had snow and I was going to see 56 and sun stopped all questioning of my move. I hate cold. Can we get back to summer now?

First frost is followed
shortly by freezing rain
people who drive as if
they have forgotten the rules
signs of fall
leaves, rain, chill
lead into winter's grasp
as they do every year
For this, God gave man brains
Man thought up cocoa
and down comforters

#70 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:51 PM:

Fall's faint breath teases this seaside village,
Then retreats, blown back by the dank swamp air;
Mosquitoes arise, swarm, conquer, pillage,
Renewed by moist, supple skin, still laid bare.

#71 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2009, 11:57 PM:

Tuesday the first Big Rain: today, sun and sweet smells everywhere.

On the tree, one persimmon
glows stubbornly
Through the tangle of wet leaves.

#72 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 12:01 AM:

It was a wettish rain here. (Here = northern panhandle of West Virginia, about 35 miles west of Pittsburgh.) Showers & drizzle for a good part of the day, and the temperature in the 40s Fahrenheit (high single digits Celsius), which the TV weatherguy said was 25 degrees (F; that seems to translate to about 13 degrees C) cooler than normal for mid-October. I dug out my winter jacket to wear to work, but the rain was so mild I didn't bother using the hood on it, or the umbrella I also took.

But the leaves are getting near the peak of color, and I mean all colors in the range of still-green to yellow to orange to a pinkish-red-orange (I believe those are maples) to red to almost purple.

#73 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 12:20 AM:

Linkmeister @ 53:
with intermittent radio pledge drives

Lucky you. Ours seem to have become continuous. Or maybe that's just the pain speaking.

#74 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:17 AM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @47:
I'm sitting in front of my light box right this minute. I'm trying getting up early to do it in the morning this year, but I'm still working on the need to go to bed early to make that work.

This is probably going to be the Year of Trying Out The Blue Lights. My current light box predates that bit of research, and we did set money aside for lots of lighting when we bought this place. I aim to tap into some of that.

Cygnet @58:
We've had fires in the woodstove in the living room (and popcorn, their natural complement) for a week or so.

The two cubic meters of firewood are scheduled for delivery Tuesday, to the front of the house. We need to get it all through the bike shed and under the eaves of the garden shed ourselves. (I have an Exceedingly Clever Idea involving two pairs of panniers and a bike, because wheels weren't invented just to look pretty.)

nerdycellist @67:
Aww, she's cute! Particularly in the side view shot, where you can't see her "I know where you sleep" look isn't visible.

#75 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:20 AM:

This could probably go into Tay Bridge thread as an example of plodding prose-turned poetry. But my one epic work was done in limerick format, so this has a certain sentimental charm for me (and might for anyone else who went on that SGAP trip through Victoria in the 1980s(?)).

I love the transitional seasons
In Sydney — the Autumn and Spring.
    More variable than
    The two other ones,
But not humid and heat level's nice.
Temperatures for this week achieved or expected are 21–27°C (70-80oF), humidity ~25%, notalotta clouds, 13 hours daylight, heading for 14.5 hours. (Bureau of Meteorology) See also Steve Taylor's day length comforter

After the Great Sydney Dustout, we had a cold snap for about a week or 10 days: maxima 15–20°C, overcast, rain from drizzle to medium-heavy (what winter often was in earlier years). But it's back to glorious Spring, washed clean, with the scent of flowers creeping into the atmosphere, foliage still green and fresh, not yet parched and exhausted by summer

#76 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:53 AM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) @ #73, they're semi-annual here. 8 or 9 of the last 10 have ended early because they've hit their goal ahead of schedule. This time around the goal is 763K, a little higher than last spring's.

A peculiarity of public radio funding is that as you expand your audience for NPR's programming the fees for those programs rise. I presume it's the same for American Public Media. HPR's audience has been steadily expanding, particularly as they've finally gotten a transmitter up which gives them reach over most of the heavily populated islands.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 02:31 AM:

If people are going to start showing cute pet pictures... Here are the Blondsters, with Agatha the Cat Genius. Here, one of the Blondsters is keeping an eye on Cosmos.

#78 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 05:07 AM:

More pet pictures:

Fahfrd & the Grey Mouser

Mouser and Sunfall
This is my best picture of Sunfall. It's really hard to take good photos of black cats!

#79 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 05:18 AM:

Mez @75 beat me to the obligatory Southern Hemisphere observations. Definitely Spring in Sydney -- I am too chilly when going out in the morning, and too warm coming home in the evening. But oh, the bliss of daylight saving, and being able to say hello to my chooks in the light when I get home. I love that feeling of the days getting longer when you can feel the southern hemisphere tilting towards the sun. The jacarandas are just coming into flower -- I walked over the first purple blooms in Town Hall square this morning.

#80 ::: elisa ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 06:40 AM:

First frost. Sunny, dry weather. Makes the woods around here very suitable for an evening walk (or more likely, a jog)
Autumn has arrived, and it's pretty!

...for the moment, since autumns in Belgium are usually also very wet.

#81 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:41 AM:

No pet pictures handy, but the Blondsters is a great name. I live with the Tortie conspiracy.

#82 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 08:03 AM:

What? Ok, it's chilly here, but that's (I think) all so far. Mix of sunny, dry chill and occassional rainstorms. Oh well, I guess if you've got frost, we can't be far behind.

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 08:30 AM:

Nancy Lebovirz @ 81... The Tortie Conspiracy? It sounds like a very slooowwwwwwwwww spy thriller.

#84 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 08:31 AM:

We're having November a month early in Pittsburgh. We were supposed to have frost the night before last; it didn't happen in the city, but some outlying areas got hit. Makes me wonder whether December will be a month early too, or if we'll just have two Novembers (ugh).

Today it's supposed to be about 40F all day, and it's drizzling.

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 10:17 AM:

Serge @ 83... It's Lebovitz, you clumsy-knuckled clown!

#86 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 10:54 AM:

cold wind whistles
through the house
shut the goddamn window!

#87 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 10:55 AM:

Odd mix of warmish and coolish days here in Prescott AZ, with more warmish to come. Not a proper haiku (and it includes non-native plantings in the yard outside this window), but here's a bit of poem:

Cottonwoods green-gold
Pampas spears erect
Snow on the distant peaks
Come and gone

#88 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:03 AM:

abi @ 74, re: moving firewood -- If a lot of the logs have at least one flat surface, and the people doing the work are reasonably strong and coordinated, I've found that laying logs across a pair of 2x4s and carrying them stretcher-style is fairly fast and efficient. Something like a wheelbarrow would be even better if the route doesn't have obstacles.

Environment Canada has a prominent note on their page for Ottawa: FROST WARNING ENDED. Unfortunately, what this means is merely that they don't issue frost warnings for this area later than October 15th, not that the weather will be warmer -- it won't, for a couple more days. (I suppose that frosts after this date aren't unexpected, so there's no need to warn people about them.) The big silver maple in front of my house has had most of its leaves turn light yellow over the last couple of nights, and at the moment they're dropping at a rate of 1 or 2 per second. After tonight (forecast: -5 C), they'll be falling much more quickly.

#89 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:07 AM:

Look out Western Pennsylvania -- NWS is calling for up to a FOOT of SNOW in the next 48 hours for you!

Central Ohio is experiencing cold rain -- penetrates everything and leaves you feeling cold and damp. With any luck it won't be raining when I leave work...

#90 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:25 AM:

Houston will likely hit 92 today, but we're supposed to get a cold front late today that will actually make the weekend tolerable. Hurry up! It's been a beastly summer.

#91 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 11:46 AM:

nerdycellist (67): I love the picture linked from 'banana'!

Lois Fundis (72): No, 25F is below freezing, so about -4C (I think).

#92 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:14 PM:

More rain here, and for the next couple of days. It might cancel my hike this week. :-(

#93 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:23 PM:

I love google:
2 (cubic meters) = 0.551791668 cords

I'd use (in order of preference and depending on the route) one pickup truck load, a bunch of wheelbarrow loads, or barring that, flinging or carrying in a sling. (My wife made a little sling that holds about a cubic foot of wood, leather handles and a rough fabric. Perfect for a fire load.) Or, just 6 pieces at a time in a hand, but that's more for the last bits.

(I'm done stacking the wood for this year. I'm on to the remains that didn't make it into the woodshed that will just have to be outside till next year. I think it's about 5 1/2 cords in the shed and one more on the ground. Last year I did about 2 1/2 cords, and it petered out in March. Not. happening. this. year.)

#94 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:41 PM:

October skies, little haze
Eighty-eight degrees
Front forty miles north of here

#95 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:45 PM:

Mona the part-Norwegian Forest Fur Factory

For proper effect, I should have included some pictures of giant drifts of creamy-white fur from her ample undercarriage, as they float about the house.

#96 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Well, the wood I'm burning is from a former chicken coop. It was the chicken coop's time to die. The chickens are now in a new enclosure, and I have a large stack of splintery 2X4's that I'll be cutting up this weekend.

Redneck, I am.

#97 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 02:06 PM:

... and it's warming up already. I'm bummed. I have several cold weather recipes ready to go. On the plus side, I don't have to worry about my sadly depleted winter wardrobe quite yet. On the minus side, that's one more pedicure I need this year.

#98 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 02:27 PM:

How's the weather here?

    When water is life,
even the nose acclimates:
    in the pale pre-dawn,
for the first time in six months,
air holds the scent of dew.

(I'm writing a one-a-day poem cycle about the seasons of the Arizona desert. That was yesterday's.)


#99 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 02:42 PM:

Snow in New Jersey, cold and rain at home in NYC and thunderstorms and 80's in New Orleans + Visit From POTUS.

Love, C.

#100 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Isn't it reassuring in some basic human way that we all still enthusiastically interested in the weather? And talk about it with each other?

Love, C.

#101 ::: Schizohedron ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:12 PM:

It's raining right now in northern NJ, and has been for some hours. I don't believe we've had frost yet. When I headed outside earlier, however, I did see my breath for the first time this autumn. I also smelled the smoke from some unseen neighbor's fireplace, which never fails to lift my spirits. I rent my housing now, but a fireplace is part of my dream house.

#102 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:13 PM:

I had a brief delusion that the sun was coming out as I came back from the post office, but it went away. Pout.

#103 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:43 PM:

eric @93:

We don't have access to a pickup truck, and the delivery vehicle's hydraulic trolley won't cross the two meters of soft ground between the road and our back garden. So they're delivering it to the front, which means it has to get through a bike shed (doors front and back) to get to the garden shed.

We don't have a wheelbarrow, nor much use for one, and don't know of any we can borrow. But we do have bikes, with capacitous panniers.

Since we don't use the woodstove for a primary heat source, I suspect that 2 cubic meters will do us for the winter. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying it by the bag in the hardware store.

The canvas log carrier is in the planning stages, awaiting the next iteration of sewing. Which, with the weather changing, is coming right up.

#104 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:51 PM:

Constance @100:
If I have no other excuse to talk about the weather, I tell everyone that I do it because I'm culturally British.

(Srsly, I finally took my Dutch colleagues aside and told them that they must make a comment about the weather when chatting to British customers.)

It's like breaking bread together.

#105 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 03:54 PM:

Raining off and on, in Prague. Unfortunately the "off" parts are snow.

#106 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 04:11 PM:

Abi - I figured that a pickup truck was a little impractical. I still think it odd that my response to many transportation problems is to drive the truck into the back yard.

#107 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 04:17 PM:

eric @106:

Oh, we drive vans into our back yard when it's useful to do so. The one we're renting on Wednesday for the Ikea blitz (kids' rooms) will get unloaded from the back garden. We have a nice open space just inside the back doors, in the "library", which we used as a staging area when we moved in.

I guess we could toss the wood into the van when we have it, then drive it around. We'll consider it when we're looking at the woodpile.

#108 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 05:28 PM:

Sun! There is sun! When I get home I'm putting on the walking shoes!

#109 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 06:24 PM:

The rain here in central CT is threatening occasionally to turn to sleet. My housemate says she saw snow while driving.

But the leaves are multicolored and very pretty.

#110 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 06:34 PM:

Mary Aileen @91, slightly confusing sentence: "the temperature in the 40s Fahrenheit (high single digits Celsius), which the TV weatherguy said was 25 degrees (F; that seems to translate to about 13 degrees C) cooler than normal for mid-October" – Lois Fundis @72

My conversion: Actual 45F = 7C. Usually 25F higher, i.e., 70F = 21C. So 25F difference translates to 14C difference. All rounded, approximate. 21C is nice 'n' comfy. 7C is winter overnight here.

#111 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 06:36 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 91: 25 F is about -4 C, but "25 F colder" translates to "14 C colder" -- the latter needs to allow for the difference in degree sizes but not the scale offset of the real temperatures.

#112 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:26 PM:

Dumping detritus from under chestnut tree--nasty prickly drying chestnut burrs, fallen twigs, dropped dead branches, shells that pollination didn;t occur inside to make nuts with--onto Steve from #90....

I dump fall trash upon your head
Who gloats that you are warm!
I dump the burrs and leaves and twigs
And pears for ants to swarm!

New England falls get cold at night
And even cold by day,
And when you gloat about the heat,
I'm cross at what you say!

#113 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:32 PM:

abi #74:

This is probably going to be the Year of Trying Out The Blue Lights.

Danger, Abi Sutherland, Danger!   Do not use the blue lights anywhere that you might see yourself in a mirror. Blue is what dermatologists use to see every tiny flaw in the skin. One glance in the mirror will completely erase any advantage gained.

The two cubic meters of firewood are scheduled for delivery Tuesday, to the front of the house. We need to get it all through the bike shed and under the eaves of the garden shed ourselves. (I have an Exceedingly Clever Idea involving two pairs of panniers and a bike, because wheels weren't invented just to look pretty.)

Two bicycles, tarp or old blanket wrapped around top tubes as a sling.

#114 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Cambridge forecast snow
Head of the Charles Regatta
Burr, frozen rowers

I'm so glad my First Aid station is on shore with a warm building accessible, and not on a safety launch. Cold and wet doesn't bother me as long as I can move around. I'll still need to dress for possible water entry. There are always rowers that dump, but hopefully not an eight of Mandarin speakers like a few years ago.

#115 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 07:53 PM:

Epacris (110)/Joel Polowin (111): Thank you both. I obviously misread Lois. (I seem to have parsed that bit as "25 degrees, which is cooler than normal for mid-October.) Sorry, Lois.

#116 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 08:55 PM:

Epacris and Joel Polowin at 110 and 111: thanks for clarifying my statement about temperature. Google says 57 degrees F, i.e. 25 degrees above freezing, equals 13.888889 degrees Celsius, so yes, 14 is probably a better equivalent than 13, which is what I said.

And I may also have been wrong when I guessed which kind of tree is producing that gorgeous pinkish-red-orange leaf color. I noticed that color today on one of the *oak* trees in front of our public library. (Sorry, I'm not sure exactly which species of oak.) So it may not be maples, or at least not just maples. But it sure is pretty.

#117 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 09:06 PM:

It's raining in Baltimore (if you will pardon the reference) and mid-40s. I am hoping that this will interrupt our tree-to-door walnut delivery service. (We had one placed carefully onto the front of one of the bicycles on our front porch, too, but I didn't get a picture before someone took it away again.)

#118 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2009, 09:53 PM:

I picked 124 walnuts up from under the bearing (or rather, walnut-dropping) tree today, up from two or three dozen collected yesterday. The count for chestnuts was 43, but that also counted a few that I persuaded the tree to let go of... yesterday's chestnut haul including ones pulled from or knocked off the tree, was 145 I think, up from 109 or so the previous day.
Two pears were down yesterday, none today. There are seven still on the tree. I don't know how many chestnuts are still on the tree, even if there weren't all those leaves still on the tree, it's impossible to tell if there is one, two, three, or no nuts in a burr. There are more than 100 I think walnuts still on the black walnut tree. There were a lot more nuts on it than there looked to be, before the leaves started coming down.

#119 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 10:50 AM:

How I convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit:

30 degrees C/5 = 6
6 x 9 = 54
54 + 32 = 86 degrees Fahrenheit

to go from Fahrenheit to Celsius:

48 degrees Fahrenheit - 32 = 16
16/9 = 1.777...
1.777... x 5 = 8.885 degrees Celsius

A calculator is helpful, or at least a pencil and paper.

#120 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 11:03 AM:

fidelio @ 119 ...
If you're just looking for an approximation for Celsius to Fahrenheit, this tends to be close enough for the sorts of temperature ranges common to weather:

C*2 + 32

#121 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 11:52 AM:

But, xeger, that's simpler--what's the fun in that?!

#122 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 12:09 PM:

fidelio @ 121 ...
Errr ... Ah ... good question?

The proof is simple and is left to the reader?

That's an implementation detail?

[mumbles to self and wanders off]

#123 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 12:14 PM:

xeger, I'm sorry, I'm just being contrary. Your rule of thumb is much easier than my method.

#124 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 12:29 PM:

Actually, in the temperature ranges I'm most likely to encounter outside, an even better and simpler approximation is C*2 + 30. (C*2 is a little high.)

I also find it easier to, rather than multiplying by 5/9 or 9/5, add or subtract 10% and then multiply or divide by 2. E.g.: from 14 C, double to get 28; subtract 10%, about 25; add 32, about 57. From 85 F, subtract 32, 53; add 10%, about 58; divide by 2: 29.

#125 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 12:32 PM:

xeger, #120: Seebling! Except that I use F=2C+30, which applies a slight correction for the extra 1/5 in the multiplication. This is a very good quick approximation for the temperatures likely to be encountered anywhere in a temperate-zone climate.

There's also the useful bit of doggerel that goes:
30 is hot,
20 is nice,
10 is cold,
zero is ice.

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 12:51 PM:

xeger... Thanks for the formula.

#127 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 04:09 PM:

This Auckland spring morning is a cool 14C[*] (57F), with a predicted high of 20C (68F), 100% humidity, and though currently fine and sunny, rain[**] is on the way. The peach blossoms have been and gone and the days are getting steadily longer and warmer.

[*]Any chance you'll join the rest of us and adopt the metric system?
[**]The reason New Zealand looks so green is because we get a lot of rain.

#128 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 04:18 PM:

joann (#95): This morning I couldn't get through on your picture link -- my creaky old machine froze -- but now I've come back to enjoy it. No need to demonstrate tummy fluff to *me*! Our Emperor (AKA Tuxedo Cat, Noisebox, and Fluffball among other things) seems to be mostly Norwegian Forest Cat, and drifting white tummy fluff is oh so familiar, espec. when warm weather starts.

Cleaning up is worth it, though!

#129 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 06:38 PM:

Faren #128:

I'm wondering when summer quits, for a cat kept at an almost constant 77 or thereabouts in a ridiculously well-insulated new house. When/how does she decide that it's fall? I think her ear tufts are getting longer, but I may only be imagining it. (Oh, and do you have a hairball problem of occasionally appalling scope? And does it get better/worse in winter?)

#130 ::: AlyxL ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2009, 11:30 PM:

Coming in a bit late here, but in London we have had a couple of weeks of beautiful clear autumnal weather, not too cold ( deg C) and with hardly any rain. I’ve not been able to enjoy it much, since I’ve spent most of that time stuck at home with flu, but looking at the park across the road from where I live has reminded me of something I wondered about in previous years. Although we have had no frost yet, the leaves have begun to turn and fall, and here they mostly turn yellow and brown. The only trees with the sort of spectacularly bright colours seen in North American woodland are imports from there; one red oak and (I think) a green ash. Why is there such a difference in autumn colours between old and new world trees? Is it climatic? Does an early frost have something to do with it?

There are some nice pictures of the typical Southern England autumn colours here.

#131 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 11:36 AM:

joanna(#129): We don't use air conditioning much at all, and only turn the heat on when it gets consistently cold by my Bay Area standards (under 60 in the daytime), so our cat does experience seasons of sorts in this mile-high central AZ town. It drives him to spend summer days in my closet, colder nights on the bed with us, and he sheds more in warm weather. Hairballs are definitely a problem -- not sure they're worse at any particular time. But he certainly looks *made* for winter, with the hairy ears and extra-fuzzy paws!

#132 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2009, 06:06 PM:

In an Alpine mist

The chill bites the face, our ears
Feel the sting of the cold.
The air is dry, but tastes of
The acrid end of Autumn -

(Though it's hardly begun)
And we feel our fingers,
Taking off our gloves to feel
warm hot breath.

The mountains are already white
The trees sigh with impatience,
Not yet having had time to change
(Just like a man, isn't it?)

For Old Man Winter is leering at us
And Persephone hasn't even her modesty
To preserve.

Smaller type (our default)
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