• Tag Archives rain
  • Rainfall as Destiny

    Spring                                                       Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

    Let the rainy season begin.  Thunder in the forecast for tomorrow.  That means Rigel slinking around, barking at the sky, and, with Sollie and Gertie here, amping up the possible opportunities for red in tooth and claw encounters.  Temperate climates change the game every three months or so, just to see if we’re still alert.

    There is an argument in the Star-Tribune today that correlates 50-100 mm of rain a year with democracy.  This is a new version of an old staple, geographical determinism, now sometimes called environmental determinism.  In essence geographical determinists equate a particular land form or climate with political destiny. An explanation from about.com is below.

    “The main argument of environmental determinism states that an area’s physical characteristics like climate have a strong impact on the psychological outlook of its inhabitants. These varied outlooks then spread throughout a population and help define the overall behavior and culture of a society. For instance it was said that areas in the tropics were less developed than higher latitudes because the continuously warm weather there made it easier to survive and thus, people living there did not work as hard to ensure their survival…

    By the 1950s, (my emphasis, note that this perspective held sway in geography until recently, and, in fact re-emerges now and then.  See today’s star-trib.) environmental determinism was almost entirely replaced in geography by environmental possibilism, effectively ending its prominence as the central theory in the discipline. Regardless of its decline however, environmental determinism was an important component of geographic history as it initially represented an attempt by early geographers to explain the patterns they saw developing across the globe.”

    The main problem with this line of thought is that it confuses correlation with causation.  In other words it is deductive rather than inductive.  In its earliest and grossest form it posited, for example, that equatorial regions produced lazy, shiftless people because food was so readily available.  A later version of the same argument claims to correlate 70% of a nations or regions economic production by its distance from the equator.  The reasoning though is backward.

    Take the article claiming the causal link between rainfall and democracy in the paper this morning.  It looks at democracies, notes that most fall in temperate regions and asks the question, why is that?  In answering this question they come to a conclusion that moderate rainfall has a goldilocks effect producing an ideal agricultural environment with an environment conducive to food storage (cold winters).  This leads to individual property and strength of individuals who can then join together in democratic government.

    Well.  Here’s the way it would have to go if the theory were to actually work.  First, you would have to take a geographic or climactic feature, let’s say rainfall, then look at what rainfall produces and then predict what cultural and political configurations were likely.  At that point you could take your theory out into the wide world and see if it matched up.  If it did, then you might, note might, have a law.  The might, even in this method, is that even with prediction, correlation is not always causation.  That’s why scientific theories have to be tested and verified by others, others who don’t have your assumptions.

    Both culture and political configurations are far too many variables removed from climate and geography to demonstrate causation rather than correlation.  That is, the human mind and the creativity of the group, can overcome, in fact, has a long track record of overcoming geographic and climactic variations.  Overcoming, not being overcome by.  We may argue whether that’s good or not, but it is a fact.

    And, oh, by the way, this article doesn’t account for China, the world’s largest autocratic state with quite a bit of temperate climate.

  • In Spring A Man’s Heart Turns to…Yard Work

    Spring                                                             Waxing Bee Hive Moon

    The weather has turned gray, inclement, wet.  The snow continues to melt, but not wholly disappear, as if it has gotten used to the yard and wants to stay as long as possible.  Where the snow has melted, there is mud.  Mud that tracks it on little dog’s feet.  And big one’s, too.  The spring cleaning season has begun.

    This morning I look outside and see only work:  the trees to repair, various objects that need to get picked up and burned or trashed, the bee hives I need to move, old plastic that has to come so we can plant underneath it.  This last is a method for killing weeds without herbicides.  Leave the plastic in place for a couple of years and seeds germinate but die for lack of sun.  Works pretty well.

    Of course, there’s the garden that will need planting, too.  Perennials left in for winter interest must come out now to make for their 2011 versions.

    Tomorrow I plan to have a meal of greens from the hydroponics and next Monday I’ll use the basil grown there for a caprese salad for an afternoon meal with my docent friends.

    Mark, my brother, e-mailed me and says his flight comes in on Saturday at 1 pm.  I’ll be there.

    Have to practice my Tai Chi.

  • Weather Complaint

    Spring(?)                                                    Waning Bloodroot Moon

    Well.  About a foot of new snow.  A foot.  Heavy, heart attack snow, too.  It’s hard to imagine a less welcome weather pattern at this time, with the exception of a hard rain.  Oh, yeah, we had a hard rain most of yesterday.  Both of them up the ante for the flooding season and seem to put the growing season still further and further away.  These kind of complaints often come in Minnesota about this time, stimulated not so much by the fact of snow or the extension of winter weather, but from a calendar encouraged yearning for a new season, a different form of weather.  We temperate folks like our weather, all four seasons of it, but we want all four seasons.  You know, a cool clear fall, a cold snowy winter, a bright colorful spring and a hot productive summer.  If it appears the weather gods have forgotten a season and just might skip one, we can get cranky.

    Kate came into my study this morning and said, with some surprise, “You’re putting something together!”  And she was right.  I ordered another editor’s desk from Levenger’s so I now have a continuous run of inclined desk space about three feet long.  When juggling books, note pads and more books, these inclined desks make work a lot easier.  Now I have enough space at the same height.

    More Latin, translating the Metamorphoses, and later, the legcom call for the Sierra Club.

  • Route 66

    Summer                                           Waning Strawberry Moon

    Rain beats down and Rigel whines.  We’ve had a couple of dogs with phobias about thunder.  Tira was the most problematic.  She preferred to climb through open car windows in the garage for some reason.  I still have claw marks on the Celica’s leather interior and the Tundra has scratch marks from a frenzied Tira trying to climb the gate closing off the back from the garage and getting hung up, her paws scraping on the hood and her teeth gripping the license plates.  Rigel is not that bad.  Thank god.

    Kate’s tired tonight, her muscles aching from a lot of walking and standing.  She’s pushing it, but it’s good.  The doc said no limits, so the more she works it, the faster her muscle tone will firm up and her stamina increase.  Having the hip replaced takes general anesthetic, deep tissue and bone bruising and swelling, so painful  trauma occurs from a bodily point of view, but from a psychic perspective she can tell already that it feels better, way better.

    We had our money meeting, discussing the coming of the kids and grandkids next week.  Makes me think of the trips my family used to take from Alexandria, Indiana to Oklahoma City.  Route 66 covered most of the territory, taking us, I remember, right through downtown St. Louis, a bit fearsome for small town folks.  Mom would go in to the motels, inspect their rooms and give them a passing grade or tell us to get back in the car.

    Along the way the barns had signs for Meramec Caverns.  Don’t believe I ever saw them.  Sort of the Wall Drug equivalent on Route 66.

    There were games involving license plates, 20 questions, word finds and generally gazing out the window as the Illinois, then Missouri landscape rolled by.  I still enjoy that part of traveling, sitting by the window, watching the scenery.  One of the reason I like train travel.

  • Here Comes The Sun

    Summer                                       Waning Strawberry Moon

    After weeding Kate and I took off for lunch–at Benihanas, not nearly as good as our own, much closer, Osaka–and a visit to Lights on Broadway.  A bit of dithering about where the order was, where the paperwork was, who was on third and who was on second I picked up the track lighting fixtures that had fritzed out on us.  Nice to have light the full length of the kitchen table now.

    Then, a nap.  A long nap.  Two hours.  I got up earlier than I wanted to this morning thanks to dogs barking.  Even earlier tomorrow.

    After so many days of rain, a very soggy June, we have a run of yellow suns on all the weather forecast sites through Sunday.  Tonight the temperature should hit 46.  Good.

    Kate has no anxiety about the procedure tomorrow.  She does, she says, “surgery well.”  I’d have to agree.  The back surgery was in January and that’s been behind us for several months.  I still want her out of the hospital as fast as possible since hospitals have a lot of iatrogenic disease and a lot of it is very intractable, super bugs, all studied up on the antibiotic armamentarium.

    The perennial beds now look like a gardener lives here.  That feels better.

    Spoke with a woman about a spirituality in art tour for July 8th.  It’ll be my first tour in a while.  Looking forward to it.

  • Rain

    Beltane                                                  Waning Planting Moon

    Today I looked up at the sky while weeding.  Gray clouds covered it all and rain drops had begun to splash on the brim of my hat.  The sky and I, it felt, were sad and crying, both of us, on this June summer morning.

    It was an odd sensation that did not last.  As the day has gone on, I’ve had a nap and feel refreshed, but  the rain continues.  A soaking rain, a kind we’ve had too little of of late.  Now we often get thunder, lightning and torrents, often producing more erosion than watering.

    All the dogs have been subdued yesterday and today, adjusting to Emma’s absence.  Marking her passing.  Me, too.

  • Beesy Morning

    Spring                                         Awakening Moon

    Checked on the bees today.  They needed syrup so I put in two pitchers full.  They also needed another pollen patty. The colony looks healthy.  Lots of bees hard at work.  No stings.  I have a few things to check on in terms of what I need to do now.

    Got all the mechanical detritus out of the soon to be honey house.  Next is a good sweeping and a washing, then organizing a table and the rest of the equipment.

    (honey bee head under an electron microscope)

    General clean up.  Getting ready for spring, which has sprung on us with some surprise.  Bought the seeds for early stuff and I’ll plant the onions tomorrow morning after I plan the rest of the vegetable garden.

    We need rain.  If it fits in your faith tradition, please do a rain dance for us up here in Andover.

  • Hello Thunder, My Old Friend

    Imbolc                                 Waning Wild Moon

    While eating breakfast this morning a loud noise, like a souped up street cleaner, disturbed my cereal.  I asked Kate what it was.  She thought it was a souped up street cleaner, or some other machine outside.  I got up to look.  It was rain.  Pouring rain, buckets, pummeling the roof.  The old snow will take a beating today.

    Then, another noise.  Thunder.  An old friend from the warmer seasons.  On your marks, get set, grow.

    Kate and I began our 21st year last night at midnight.  Another growing season has begun to push its way toward us, too.  As we celebrate events this year, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, the growing season, each one gets punctuated with, When we (do this next), you’ll be retired.  This is Kate’s last year at Allina, and she will not be sad to let go.  Medicine has changed and not in a good way.

  • Let The Grass Green And The Plants Grow

    Spring          New Moon

    Lunch with Paul today at Origami.  When I lunch with friends, I find we often go back to the same place we first went, even after years and years.  I had lunch with an old friend last month and we returned to Gallery 8 at the Walker even though it had been seven or eight years since our last meal together.

    Today and tomorrow I have tours to prepare, and I’d best get to them.  Nuclear hearing tonight at 6:30.  Lots of stuff happening right now.  I’m feeling a bit distracted, maybe over stimulated, but it won’t last.

    I missed the thunder storm in this blog and the couple of days of rain, but when I woke up to snow this morning I had to get on and say, enough.  I mean, really.  OK, I know it’s not unusual, that March is a snowy month, that winter lingers, yes, but even so, enough.  Let the grass green and the plants grow.  Let some color appear.

    A friend has decided to head to the Smoky Mountains next week to hike and see some green. I get it.

    This is not cabin fever, I don’t have a longing to be somewhere else, somewhere warm; but, I do have a hankering for growth.

    There, that’s off my chest.  On another, similar note, my seedlings have gone from the sprouting stage to the small leafy stage.  This is onion, kale, chard, eggplant, huckleberry, leeks, broccoli and cauliflower.  On Monday I put them all in separate peat and coca pots, getting my hands in the potting soil.  That took care of some of my green desire.

  • Slicing and Dicing. Chopped. Simmered.

    46  br steady 29.67 2mph ESE dewpoint 44 Spring

                         New Moon (Growing)

    A light, but steady rain falls.  A cold rain.  The pre-emergent and the cygon I applied yesterday will get a chance to work themselves thoroughly into the soil and around the Iris rhizomes.  As the rain melts the remaining snow, I will have a few spots left to hit with the pre-emergent, but not many.  I’m ahead of the curve this year and hope to stay that way with regular, not too lengthy garden sessions.

    A full stomach is a great aid to grocery shopping.  The list and only the list, so help me Martha.  And so I did.

    Back home I made lunch, watched the first episode of Battlestar Galactica’s last season (I recorded it Friday night.  Love that DVR) and loaded the dishwasher.  After lunch I got out my Golden Plump chicken, read the directions for CNS on the back, and then began slicing and dicing carrots, celery, onions.  Saute the veggies.  Then 10 cups of water, Paul Prudhomme poultry seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour and a half.  Underway.

    While doing that, I also made a green salad since I had the carrots and celery and onions out already.  A few strawberries bought a week ago had that soon to rot look, so I chopped and diced them, too (I was in a rhythm.) and put them in plastic containers with a cutup orange each.  So there.  Domesticman to save the day!

    A nap  now.  Naps on rainy days, cool rainy days.  A wonderful thing.