Friday: 23 September 2011
This has been a unique summer, within the last 60 years at least, and maybe the last 90. So we’ve been enjoying the last couple of weeks, when things have rather dramatically returned to normal for the first time since May.
I’ve been playing around with ways of visualizing our temperatures this summer, dropping details for clarity over long periods. We had only one, arguably two, periods of more than one day when high temperatures did not go over 90 degF this summer. Our average high of 94.6 for the entire sumer was the highest since 1920, and that includes the dust bowl years. We didn’t have many record setting highs - we just had relentless unusual highs day after day.
It’s very unusual, unprecedented really, to see high temperatures achieved day after day with virtually no interruption for months. So feast your eyes on our last two weeks. Although dry until the last couple of days, the temperatures have been very pleasant and their plots most esthetic:
A quick look back at the last four years: the high average has been above normal for all, but 2009 was the coolest. In contrast to one or two short periods with highs below 90F for this summer, 1/3 to 1/2 the summer did not exceed 90F. Last year, which I declared unusually hot still had five “cooler” periods. 2008 showed about 1/3 the summer with highs below 90F. A normal summer has its hot periods, but they’re periodically punctuated with several days, even a week or two, of cooler weather. Not this year.
More about this later, but there was nothing about this unique to us this year. Summer highs persisted well above average from day to day for pretty much the entire southeast, ramping up alarmingly in the south central section of the country. Relentless heat for literally months. They *did* set records on a daily basis in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and other states in the surround.
Mushrooms have taken advantage of the last couple of weeks of relatively cool days, and the light rain since Wednesday has improved their lot in life. I’ve seen Pleurotus covering fallen trees in the last few days, and that’s what these large emergences probably are. It’s that “probably” that urges me to just enjoy their presence, and not give in to an impulse for a bon appetite moment.
With mushrooms come box turtles, and yesterday I discovered Ivan for the third time. I first found him April 2006 and was struck by his high density patterning of very distinct small spots. I found him next, within 100 yards of the first discovery, end of August 2008. And then within that same area yesterday, more than five years after our first introduction.
When I came upon him yesterday, I looked at that dense pattern of spots and thought - looks like Ivan! And it was - good ol' turtle.
It seems that it’s been about this time of year that I’ve seen box turtles cavorting and chasing after each other. Might keep an eye out for that.