Monday, April 14, 2008

Frosty weather predicted? Our neighborhood jinxed this valley...

As we post the warnings of frost for southern Oregon this week, and more frost and snow for the Pacific Northwest for early next week, I believe I know what triggered this bad weather. My neighbors and I jinxed everyone.

It started a couple weeks ago when we had water problems in our neighborhood — enough to be local front page news — and the city offered some of the homes free water for a few days as the contractor tries to figure out how to fix a mysterious quality issue in our new water lines. How bad was the water? As our neighbor across the street described it, the water was oily to touch, had the odor of turpentine, and when she got water test results it appeared she and others had several petroleum-type substances in the water that no one can figure out their source.

But getting back to the weather…

The two dozen or so homes that were affected were reconnected to old water lines until the problem can be resolved with the new lines. The residents were told they wouldn’t be charged for water use for a few days, even with the better quality water that is coming out of our old rusty pipes.

So — on Saturday, as the temperature soared to 80 F, every neighbor on the block was outside washing as many of their cars as they could, power washing their houses and driveways, and doing anything else that involved large amounts of water.

Might as well call it an urban rain dance.

As if that wasn’t enough to tempt fate, I decided to do a chore long overdue. I spent hours pruning roses and other plants, shrubs and anything else for the shear delight of it all. The roses had reached 10 or 12 feet high, so I thought they could use a trim. But maybe I was too hasty… I think I’ll let the ones in the back of the house reach 15 feet.

Within 24 hours of our hard work on Saturday, dark clouds began to roll in, temperatures began to dip, the wind began to whirl, and what was left of our plum tree petals has been deposited all over our vehicles. Geese began to migrate south again.

So am I surprised that we’re being warned winter might not be done with us yet?

No, not really.

Because even though I realize these temperatures are a serious concern to our crops and plants out here, we in the West — especially on this side of the Cascade mountains — know a cool spring day here is still a heck of a lot warmer than the Plains and MidWest at this point.

As we tiptoe through tulip fields here, we sympathize with people who are putting down snow shovels only long enough to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And to prove that we DO see occasional snowflakes here, I include a picture from March 29 ... the last time we had snow on that day was 70 years before, I think I heard. Definitely worthy of taking a photo... And remind me that perhaps I have a few more days to finish that pruning.

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