Old man winter

Old man winter has actually come. The other day we got a cold front, temperatures down to freezing. They had expected a drop in temperature but when the forecast is off five-ish degrees, it means that 35 suddenly ends up being 30. In this case we off a bit over 5 degrees. Today for example it should have been above freezing. Instead it hovered between 29-30. And it only hit 30 briefly. Now, our evening temperature is 27. We’ve had freezing rain, some ice and cold, cold weather.

My dog got a short walk, all of about 10 minutes. I didn’t see many people out walking their dogs, but I did see one other. I tried putting my dog in the back yard for potty breaks but we ran into other problems. Because the back deck is raised, and even though it is covered, any moisture on it has turned to ice. To give an idea of what’s happening, my down had to go down stairs to get to the lawn. He made it down with no real problem. But the stairs were so icy he couldn’t make it back up easily. I actually had to find a blanket, I found a fuzzy sherpa type, and holding a corner threw it down so my dog could use it to make his way back up. He did his best to grip the blanket and I helped pull him up. It was an interesting partnership. But he did make it back up and made a beeline to the back door, and into the house.

As for my plants, I expect a few more will die. Today we’ve had enough freeze and thaw cycles for icicles to form on eaves. The weather forecasters have said we should expect more freezing rain, and some ice tomorrow. They are still saying Thursday the weather will begin warming up to high 40’s, almost 50 degrees. This weekend will be in the mid to high 60’s. So what ice we have, will melt and the roads will be in much better shape.

I did watch the news today. They mentioned there were a number of accidents. One included a big rig that jack knifed and an entire road had to be close because it was blocked by the big rig. The accidents today included at least one fatality. One problem that was happening was people would get in a fender bender, then they would step out of their vehicle. The problem with that was that cars were sliding because of the ice and people were getting hit by the skidding vehicles. And of course because of the ice emergency vehicles were going slower. There were a number of accidents, and at least one fire due to weather.

And we’re expecting tomorrow to be worse.

Stay posted for more info.

Change of plans

Well, they got the temperature forecast off by a few degrees. Instead of a low last night of about 35 I woke up to 30 degrees by 9AM today.

The new weather forecast includes just below freezing weather, 29/30 degrees, rain, freezing rain, and possible ice. And the weather forecast is saying possible snow somewhere, probably north of me.

At 10AM (just after) its 30 degrees with 99% humidity. Its like a very cold mist outside, and cold.

UPDATE: its late, 11:15pm and it has dropped to 28 outside. still 99% humidity. Cars and my deck are lightly covered in ice. My dog was even sliding on it a bit. I did take my dog for a walk earlier, it was 30 at the time and I will tell you it was cold. As the day has gone on I’ve gotten notices for possible power outages. So far so good, we haven’t had any, but they could happen still. I’ve put an extra blanket on my bed just in case. But so far the plants on the patio, up close to the house are doing okay. Hopefully they will all survive.

Some of the schools have decided on early dismissal (think let students out early), and will be totally closed. Some will close for Tuesday, some for Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m sure parents are loving that. We’ll see how bad this storm gets.

New week begins

Last week saw light sprinklings, but not much in the way of a good rain. By a sprinkling we got in the hundreths of inches. Barely measurable rain. It was just enough to get things wet, but not enough to give us a good watering. I’m not even sure if other areas got much more than we did.

For example today I walked my dog and got caught in a short shower. It wasn’t much. It got the ground wet, wet my dog, but it wasn’t enough to measure.Today did get 0.05 inch and that was before 7AM. So we really haven’t gotten much rain.

But it looks like we are in for a change of weather.

Tonight we are expected to get down to 35. Tomorrow, Monday we are looking for 39 and 32 with some afternoon/evening rain. Tuesday will be similar, including evening showers. Wednesday we will warm a bit and get rain. Thursday and Friday are warmer days, and again cold possibly freezing nights. By Friday we should get sun. Next weekend we will warm back up.

Hopefully we will actually get rain, measurable. We need it. This area is still in drought conditions. Some rain would be well appreciated.

One interesting thing about our crazy weather is that my pak choi is sprouting as are carrots, some lettuce and even some swiss chard. Not only that my pomegranate tree has some fresh green baby leaves on it. And that rose I put in a pot has lots of green leaves too. We’ll see how they take this new cold snap we have coming.

Let’s see what Mother Nature brings us.

UPDATE: the cold front is on its way. it’s 11:15PM and we’ve dropped to 38 degrees already. It will be a cold night.

More wild weather

After more warm weather, we had another sudden change. After warm night and warm days, we did another sudden drop. Today was a fairly cool/cold day, complete with rain. Here at the house we got just over 3/4 inch of rain. The gauge says we got 0.78 inches of rain. Most of that came in light to moderate rain fall, starting before 8AM and finishing around 2-3PM. We did have some breaks in there with no rain, but most of those breaks were rather brief. Right now, at 10PM we’ve dropped down to 42, going for a low of probably 34 degrees tonight. And the next few days are expected to be similar, with cool/cold days probably around mid to low 50 for the day and near freezing at night.

And so central Texas makes its way through winter. And the 10 day forecast stays pretty similar to what we now have. Its not the worse weather, and actually so far its been okay. We did have some cold days, but we haven’t had terrible weather. Though parts of Texas, outside Houston, saw tornadoes today. We have seen wind today, so….

This is why plants here need to be strong and yet flexible. They never know what mother nature is going to send there way.

Warm winter

After our significant cold snap, we’ve managed to warm ourselves up to the low 80’s. Talk about being unsure of how to garden! Will we get another cold snap? Should we just plant cold weather seeds regardless of the outside temperature? Who know!

I recently went over to my closest big box garden store and did a bit of shopping. I happened to arrive as new bulbs and bare root plants were being put out. I took the opportunity to pick up a few items. I’d been wanting to replace a grape, a Flame seedless. Unfortunately I didn’t see one of those, but I did pick up a Reliance red grape, it was listed as a table grape. And that is what I want, table grapes. I already have a Thompson seedless, even if it hasn’t yet bore any fruit. It is growing well.

I also picked up some potting mix, 6 bags worth. It seems to me that some of the pots I’ve been growing in could use some refresh. So I figured I would mix some new soil in some pots. It couldn’t hurt.

In addition to the grapes, I picked up some asparagus crowns. I’ve grown asparagus before, at a previous house. There, I seemed to have the correct conditions and often gave my excess asparagus away. I’m hoping that they will like the new garden.

I also picked up a peony, Sarah Burnhardt. I haven’t had the best luck with peonies, but I’m determined to try again. Another flowering plant I picked up was a rose Mr. Lincoln. Last year I noticed one of my roses is not doing well – it looks dead. It a red, heritage, old fashioned rose. I don’t remember its name. But it was a deep red/magenta color, with a strong fragrance. Since I don’t recall what it is, I figured a Mr. Lincoln would be a good option.

I’ve working on a new gardening bed this year. Its a wood raised, waist height bed. Rather than just put soil in it, I’ve put those grow bags in it. I managed to fit 8 bags in the bed. This should allow me to grow less, yet more. Each bag will have some seed separate from the next. Right now I have lettuce, pak choi, swiss chard, and carrots. So I still have 4 bags that have soil but no seed.

In addition, the above ground beds, the ones I took the sides off, still have soil on the ground. That means I can put seed in there and attempt to grow something. I did sprinkle some old lettuce seed on it and we will see if anything grows.

New year, new garden. Hopefully we have a successful yet.

Good bye cold

Weather here in central Texas is and can be so variable. We made it through about 4 days of cold. And it was bitter cold for this area. One day we didn’t eve make it above freezing. One friend of mine that lives nearby had pipes freeze. They finally defrosted when we got above freezing.

On a previous post I posted an image of our drop when the cold front arrived. We dropped 20 degrees in a matter of hours. For this area, that was dramatic. The cold front arrived on Thursday 12/22 with that dramatic drop in temperature. By that evening, it was 15 degrees here at the house. At 2:30 AM we had hit a low of 13 (I had to let my dog out for a potty break so I checked). By Friday it was cold, not getting above freezing all day. Saturday (Christmas Eve) we got above freezing, up to 45 degrees. The nights were still cold, well below freezing, in the 20’s. Sunday, Christmas Day it was warming, but the night time temperatures were still below freezing.

This week, Monday we hit 63 here, and were on our way out of the cold. Today is Friday and our days and nights are safely out of the cold. But other areas will be digging out for longer. Some areas, NY for example, saw travel bans because of the storm. One area, Buffalo NY saw winds of 79 mph and got 22 inches of snow in one day. That meant with snow, cold and wind you have white out conditions, you were in a blizzard. In addition, lake effects brought their own issues. Some homes on Lake Erie saw the fronts covered in ice. Per CNN, “Tupling told CTV that the ice that accumulated on the Crystal Beach homes was at least a foot thick, and residents were concerned about damage due to the weight of the ice.” The pictures of it are pretty dramatic. When that melts it will bring new problems.

Some areas saw power outages, even here in Texas we had a few, though not many. But nationwide, there were about 2 million people dealing with outages. It takes times to get all that fixed.

But here a week later, central Texas is back to mild weather. Actually its seems a bit warm weather for this time of year – 60’s-70’s. But here I’ve lost a lot of plants. My arugula, bok choy, and peppers froze. My roses look like they area damaged, but my rosemary is probably dead. I haven’t yet uncovered the plants on the patio, that is today’s job. But I won’t be surprised if they are all a loss.

My concern is what is the new normal here in Texas. Is it these kinds of severe cold fronts? Will we have more come February? We’ll wait and see.

Still cold

Just a fun update. Last night my little four legged love needed a potty break – at 2:20am. I checked the temperature just for grins. It read 13 degrees.

Today, the high we made was 32 – whoopppiiieee we made it up to freezing.

It is now past 11:30pm and we have dropped to 23. The forecast says we will drop to 18 and I believe it. We might drop lower than that, but we’ll wait and see.

The only good thing – no precipitation. So at least the roads are dry. The wind on the other hand makes it bitter out there. And of course the air is bone dry.

The funny part is that by Monday we will be back up to 60 degrees. By Thursday, we should reach the 70’s. Welcome to December in central Texas.

The cold cometh

When I got up this morning, it was a balmy 54, and warmed up to 57. It was warm enough to walk my dog wearing a light polar fleece jacket. We did a good walk, saw other dogs and walkers out there.

Now, about 3 hours later, we’ve dropped to 40, and it was 42 just a few minutes ago. The cold has hit.

Just for reference, here in central Texas the things I’ve done to get ready for the cold.

  • Outside faucets are covered, and hoses have been disconnected and the water drained as best as I can.
  • In ground plants I care about (lemon tree, etc.) have been covered.
  • Potted plants have been moved up to the house (up against it on the patio) and covered.
  • I will start an indoor water dripping shortly (before we hit freezing).
  • Wood is piled on the patio (I have a holder for it there) so I can build a fire in the fireplace.
  • I have candles set out in the kitchen (that’s the main area next to the living area).
  • I have gotten extra blankets out on the bed.
  • I even have a spare battery pack charged for my cell phone.
  • I have a small heater by the one water line that froze last time in the garage (it was by the water softener).
  • I have spare water, a case of bottled water.

As a single person in a house I am the only one here to take care of these things. And so I will.

The last time this area got a swath of cold like this we had power outages. So this time I am doing all I can just in case that happens again. I hope we don’t have that, but I’d rather be prepared than not. At least this time we are not expecting any rain, snow, freezing rain, etc. The roads are dry, though it is cloudy, they are not predicting any precipitation. We are expecting to hit a low of about 17 degrees tonight.

Let’s hope I’m prepared.

**UPDATE**: It is now 9pm and it is 16 outside.

12-22-2022 cold front

They are now saying 14 for a low, but I won’t be surprised if we dip below that. There have been some power outages. Luckily we still have power. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Sorry, it’s been a while

I know its been a while since my last post. But we’re almost to the end of the year and we have serious weather conditions on the way. We’ve had some fair weather, its been kind of usual. We had some cool weather, even had a short freeze, but nothing unusual.

Until now.

Today is Wednesday Dec 21, 2022. Today we’ve had a high of 48, and the other day we had a high of maybe 54 with a low of about 48. Tomorrow, Thursday we should, so they say, hit 54 then drop down to a low of 14. We have a record freeze coming in over the next few days. Friday we are looking at a high of 31 and a low of 19. Saturday, Christmas Eve will be 38 and 21. And Christmas day should be 46 and 29. It isn’t until Tuesday that we get out of freezing temperatures. Luckily we don’t expect any rain, so it should just be cold not icy, and not snowy.

But other areas, Denver for example are already in the cold, with nights in the minus temperatures. Seattle has had snow. They are calling it Winter Storm Elliot and saying it could be a “bomb cyclone”. I’m not quite sure what that is. But it is expected to bring cold weather to a wide swath of area.

As expected I’ve turned off water, covered outside faucets, drained water lines, moved and covered plants. I’ve put firewood up on the deck and in the holder on the deck, and I’ve even put a heater in the garage to help keep the water softener line from freezing (that happened before).

It feel awkward having this happen just before Christmas, but I think I have most everything I can think of under control. It makes me glad I’m not going anywhere for Christmas.

Sorry weather

You would think its October, the weather is cooling down, it should be lovely. Well – only sorta. Yes we’ve cooled down, but considering our summer heat cool is the 80’s (yes, in October). Today we had a nice 82 here at the house, with a light sprinkle early. This evening we have a cold front and have dropped down to 59 degrees. We did actually get just over half an inch of rain, 0.57 inches by my gauge. And with it a tornado watch on until midnight. Such in October 2022 in central Texas.

First frost is usually Nov 10, and at this rate I’m not sure if it will be on time. But I’m betting it might be a bit late. Though, who knows, it might happen. but we’ll see.