Tag: Climate Change

Notes on the Weather: Two Weeks of Travel

Driving Cross-country

Snow on a back patio
October Snow

Two weeks of travel allows one to make notes on the weather from varying climates. The trip began in the Colorado mountains. A week of almost daily snow falling from the sky along with snow cannons is creating a base for the ski runs. A check of open resorts can be gleamed by clicking here.

Descending down the mountains, cold air gave way to warm. The High Plains were still dry, but if moisture came it would be in the form of rain. Instead, Halloween was a beautiful fall day as I crossed Kansas into Missouri. If better notes on the weather were taken, exact temperatures could be shared. But highs in the 70s (Fahrenheit) and lows in the 50s (F°) were the rule for the first few days of November.

Kentucky Visit

A crowd forms around the paddock at Keeneland Race Track
Trees dropping their leaves at Keeneland Racetrack.

A full week spent in the Bluegrass State proved weather can be variable. Kentucky showed signs of a lack of moisture. But not the drought conditions of more western states. (Missouri appeared to be the worst.) The temperature swings from the upper sixties to upper seventies in the afternoons with lows ranging from 42 F° to 60 F° at night.

Dry conditions were underscored by an extremely windy day on Saturday of Breeder’s Cup races followed by just a sprinkle of rain. Then, the fall weather returned full force. Hopefully the next big front to blow through will have less wind and more rain.

Notes on the Weather: Last Minute Change

My two weeks of travel itinerary changed due to the approach of Hurricane Nicole. The side trip from Cincinnati to Columbus, Ohio was cancelled. Perhaps next summer will afford me some time to visit the area.

Light winds accompanied me through the Appalachians as I drove southeast from Kentucky through Tennessee into Georgia. Glorious orange, red and yellow fall colors returning the further south I drove. The only negative was the heavy traffic on Interstate 75 as I neared Atlanta, Georgia. An alternate route would be preferable if time was not of the essence.

One hate’s driving toward a hurricane, but it is preferable (in my mind) to driving IN a hurricane. I am sure storm chasers would disagree. Fortunately, Nicole stayed offshore as Americans voted.

Notes on the Weather: Hurricane Nicole

Bucket crane trimming broken branches from Hurricane NicoleMy arrival in Central Florida preceded Nicole’s by about eighteen hours. The winds became stronger as we both approached the area. Since, this was a Category 1 storm the wind gusts were on par to those I experience frequently living on the High Plains. I have always wondered why the Weather Channel does not send Jim Cantore and his co-hosts out to my part of the country on a more regular basis. Perhaps, it is the lack of storm surge. More likely blowing dust is not as easy to film as crashing waves.

We battened down the hatches and stayed inside as the storm rolled through. “Minimal” rain of just 2.3 inches accompanied the strong winds. Some small branches came down, including one that pierced the pool screen. A few neighbors lost bigger branches, but no trees toppled in this neighborhood.

The rain amounts varied. Since both of my Central Florida family members take notes on the weather, I can report 5 miles to the Northeast the rainfall was 4 inches. Such a difference is normal in this part of the world.

Small branch piercing top of pool screen
Limited Damage

Political Observations

Driving cross-country allows me to personally observe what is going on in the United States. In the days before the mid-term elections, campaign signs proliferated. In the absence of a presidential election, most of the candidates were unknown to me.

A few key notes. The many, very conservative areas of the country on my route have taken down the signs supporting former President Trump. Dozens of signs remained long past the 2020 election. Numerous ones as late as July 2021 promoting a Trump 2024 run. All of these are gone. I found this very interesting.

Second, the Commonwealth of Kentucky elects their judges. This differs from where I live. We just vote to retain judges after they have been appointed. So, Kentucky has a plethora of campaign signs each election. This has always gladdened my heart-democracy in action. But do large contributors to a judge’s campaign create a “Get Out of Jail Free” situation? Something to ponder.

Finally, radio coverage of the mid-term elections is excellent. I was impressed as I traversed southward listening to the various local stations. More facts and less hype were the norm.

Economic Observations

My economic observations are related to notes on the weather. In Missouri, which is experiencing drought I noted cranes along some riverbeds. Perhaps for dredging. And some stream beds were bone dry. I lived in this state during my high school years and never witnessed this before.

The first new construction I encountered was a three-sided hay barn in Southern Indiana. So, no evidence of building in the first four states I drove through. Then I arrived in Kentucky. From anecdotal appearance, the economic slowdown is not stopping construction in the Bluegrass state.

New houses, additions to houses and commercial businesses were all observed in various stages of development. As long as each is completed, the area may escape the downturn. States to the south of Kentucky did not have as much activity. But more than those previously encountered to the west.

Notes on the Weather

A country as vast as the United States has many climate zones. November ushers in snow and cold in many parts. Thus, construction is seasonal in these areas. And is grinding to a halt.

States such as Florida are warm year-round but do have a wet season to contend with-along with hurricane season. I will be in Central Florida for a few weeks and will watch the overdue change to the anticipated dry season. Nicole was not the first November hurricane to reach the state. An unusual but not unprecedented storm. Notes on the weather will continue as I pay more attention to climate.

The Displacements Book Review

Another Hit from Bruce Holsinger

The Displacements by Bruce Holsinger weaves a story of climate change, angry white males and family unity in the face of adversity into a page-turning tale of evacuation, displacement, and FEMA camp living. I first reviewed Holsinger after the release of The Gifted School. Click here to read the review.

The Displacements is even more thought provoking than The Gifted School. And, in my opinion a more important read. Hurricanes are becoming more powerful, coastal cities more crowded and reliance on government agencies such as FEMA definitely more complicated.

Plot of The Displacements

The first ever Category 6 Hurricane knocks out South Florida. Daphne Larson-Hall evacuates north with her three kids: Gavin, Mia and Oliver. Unbeknownst to Daphne, her purse is left-intentionally-on the driveway. Her surgeon husband needs to spearhead a hospital evacuation and must join later. But he never does.

So, the upper-middle class family, penniless, finds themselves on a bus being evacuated to a large FEMA tent-city in rural Oklahoma. Circumstances dictate the family remain in the displacement camp for three months. Then, they must evacuate once again due to another natural disaster.

Thought-provoking FEMA Camp

Life inside the tent-city under the leadership of former Army veteran turned FEMA disaster assistant, Lorraine “Rain” Holton, is a reflection of society. Even though tents are randomly assigned, tents are traded, and communities centered on heritage spring up; Cubans, Haitians, Guatemalans, and…Crackerland. Holsinger takes a hard look at the segregation. And the underlying cultural divide.

But an equally compelling thread involves drugs-users and dealers. The lives of the Larson-Hall family are touched on so many levels. Fortunately, the family comes through stronger, with less naïveté and quite possibly a bit more happiness.

Bruce Holsinger

Holsinger is masterful at utilizing fiction to bring attention to major societal problems. In The Displacements, the author gives hope that change can come about. But it may occur one person at a time.

The growth of Daphne Larson-Hall is particularly uplifting. Many women in America fit her description. Unaware of personal or family finances. And too trusting. Yet, in the face of adversity she re-groups and finds herself. Not a perfect mom, but she has the strength of love for her family. The interactions with her stepson towards the end of the story are powerful. Strength comes from within-as does happiness.

If you have not read any of Holsinger’s work, I encourage you to add him to your list of authors to look for. His stand-alone books make you think. They truly are a reflection of society.

The Displacements book cover with swimming pool overlooking the Atlantic

Upgrade Book Review

Upgrade by Blake Crouch is a 2022 release that is part futuristic, part action, part dystopian and totally page turning. But the most compelling part of the story is the humanity demonstrated by the hero, Logan Ramsey. A man no longer a “normal” human. But one genetically altered.

Plot Twists and Turns

Simplistically, the plot is of one man racing to save the world from destruction. But Upgrade is so much more. Ramsey works for the GPA-Gene Protection Agency. His job is to track down rogue geneticists. Only he is caught in a spiderweb of familial deceit.

Crouch utilizes a number of plot twists to keep the reader on the edge. The bad guy switches from one person to another as a poorly conceived attempt to save the world spirals out of control. Throughout, the genetically altered Logan Ramsey is determined to stop the plan to create a world of superhumans, at the cost of the essence of humanity.

Upgrade and Current Events

The underlying theme to Upgrade is the current state of affairs on Earth. Mankind is at a crossroads with respect to human and artificial intelligence, exploding expansion in technology of all kinds including biological and a growing climate crisis. All of the above plays heavily into the story.

Yet, the author provides a balance to the racing technology. Most of the insight comes from the journal entries of Ramsey. But not all. A recorded video of his mom before her death also casts a light on the importance of seizing a moment. Furthermore, many passages remind the reader of just what is crucial to human life. Kudos to the author for these reminders.

Memorable Character

Logan Ramsey is one of those characters that will stay in your memory. Repenting of his past, protective of his family and honor bound to do what is right. Even in the face of betrayal. The reader easily connects with Ramsey and agonizes alongside him. Each step of the way as he fights to keep the human race from being genetically altered-as he was.

And then Blake Crouch throws in one final twist.

November 2021 Wrap-Up

A Quick Reflection

The November 2021 Wrap-Up marks another month off the calendar. A new variant of Covid-19 is in the news. So is climate change. Fall is winding down, albeit slowly. The holiday season has begun. What started as a slow month of productivity has morphed into one of busy-ness. Thus, time to reflect.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Only one month to go and we have the second year of the pandemic behind us. History alone will give us a clear picture of the depth of Covid-19. Accurate reporting is a challenge for nations trying for validity. Then there are many countries unwilling or unable to report cases and deaths with any precision.

November 2021- A Glimpse of Climate Change

No precipitation, rain or snow, fell on my part of the world in November 2021. Thus, the drought returns. September 20th is the last recorded rainfall in my gauge. Unfortunately, the forecast is calling for more of the same. High temperatures are running fifteen to twenty degrees above average. This would have been a good year to grow crops under a hoop.

The frosty night temperatures do create a problem with irrigation. Hoses need to be disconnected almost every night since few nights remain above 32°F. But watering of certain plants is critical because they have not entered their normal dormancy. It is a tough time to be a gardener.

Thanksgiving 2021

This Thanksgiving was quite enjoyable. We gathered as safely as possible. The age range included one just under a year to the oldest soon to be a nonagenarian. A new recipe developed for a youngster restricted to a vegan diet for health reasons was enjoyed by all. I will share the recipe for Nolan’s Vegan Holiday Rolls next week. These rolls are adapted from the Soft Gluten Free Dinner Roll recipe.

I married into a big family. We cannot fit everyone around one table and meals are always buffet style. This took some getting used too since my family gatherings growing up topped out at eleven. Cousins and all. A tight fit around one table but doable-just not much elbow room. And Southern families tend to have all the dishes in the center of the table to be passed around. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons about each serving style.

In the Library- November 2021

My reading fell off again this month. But I am currently enthralled by Nell Painter’s Old in Art School. Hopefully, I will have a review to publish this Friday. One of my goals for 2022 is to re-establish my posting patterns-if possible. As usual, quite a few books have been bought for gift giving in December. In addition to my Econogal’s Annual Top Book Lists, I am contemplating adding a top gift list. Of course books would be a big part of that list as well.

Craft Time

I have spent many hours in my Hobby Room this month. A thorough re-organization was needed. The room is a good size. However, I need to find room for my paints-at least for the month of December. My painting nook upstairs is perched between a southeast and southwest window. This provides great light. But it is also where the Christmas tree goes.

The bulk of the Hobby Room is devoted to fabric. There is a good size cutting table. And a much smaller sewing table. Book cases hold quilting books and magazines. But they also hold gardening books. I still lack a greenhouse/ garden shed so my seed storage is also in my Hobby Room.

Finally, I have cabinets holding glue guns, glue, beads, pipettes, ribbon, crayons, pencils, papers and more. Photos and scrapbooking materials also have a home in the room. So, organization is key.Felt Stocking pattern

November 2021 Productivity

The month ended up being very productive. I have always found work, especially manual labor, a cure for what ails you. I am on track to finish a Bucilla stocking for the youngest as well as a new quilt. Staying busy in a constructive way is my way of combatting the Blahs.

Terminal Freeze Book Review

Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child reminds me of the Hollywood movies from way back when. Scientists make a once in a lifetime discovery of a frozen creature previously unknown to man. Unfortunately, funding for their work above the Arctic Circle complicates matters. Instead of leaving the specimen frozen in place, filmmakers demand the removal with plans to thaw out the block of ice on live television. Much like a B movie, havoc ensues.

Child does a nice job in his writing of foreshadowing events. The fast pace of the plot made the book a fun read. A perfect escape for a rainy spring day. The characters are believable, although one of the secondary characters in Terminal Freeze seemed to be a carryover from perhaps an earlier novel.

The creature itself is a bit of a mystery. It does not fit the profile of any known animals past or present. Thus a fear of the unknown adds to the suspense. The thawing of the flash frozen specimen does not go as planned. The creature disappears and so do some of the humans,

Global Warming

While Terminal Freeze is an action adventure at heart, the author does go beyond sheer entertainment. Child introduces the scientists as a group studying global warming and climate change. The ice above the Arctic Circle is melting. Child is very descriptive of the changing environment. Yet the writing is not preachy. Instead, the facts of the changing climate in the Arctic Circle are straightforward and convincing.

The author also does a nice job in portraying a wide arrange of personalities. If this were a movie, (and it could be) there would be an ensemble cast. Human foibles are explored. Outcomes are not happy for all involved. Additionally, Child introduces a concept of a spiritual world that some may miss (or not buy into.)

I want to thank Moe for suggesting this book. This author was unknown to me. I read Terminal Freeze in an afternoon. It was a very enjoyable book, and I have another “new to me” author to watch for new releases. You might like Lincoln Child’s books too.