I’m getting tired of this cold weather.
Oh, wait a minute, I said that last week, too. In any event, I meant it both weeks. I really am tired of unseasonably cold weather. It’s getting to be time to plant some hardy plant seeds in the garden. It’s time for some bug hatches on the rivers.
In fact, I did plant a row of peas in my garden on April 15. Peas are really hardy so if they emerge in cold weather, they’re up to the challenge. I scattered spinach seeds in a little garden patch last fall, before freeze-up. They were up in early April, though mostly hunkered down during the cold weather we’ve had. They weren’t hunkering down enough, however. I checked them a few days ago and those little green spinach shoots were neatly clipped off just above the ground. I didn’t have to look too far for suspects. Cottontail rabbits live in the neighborhood and those little bunnies know where to go for choice fresh greens.
Happily, we did have a couple days of nice weather on that middle weekend of April, before another round of wintry weather hit us again.
Along with many others, I headed for the Big Hole River, and lots of people had the same idea. It was fun to see people floating the river, wading the shorelines, having picnics, or just sitting on lawn chairs and watching the river flow by. For those of us who get to live in this part of Montana, the Big Hole River, and the tributaries that feed the river, is one of the best parts of our backyard. It’s an internationally known river, but it’s our home waters.
While cold weather put a damper on spring runoff, it took just a day or so of halfway decent weather to get runoff going again. A surge of meltwater stirred up sediments, so the river was rather murky.
I threw out some San Juan Worms and large nymphs into the current in a couple different spots. I managed to hook some rocks or driftwood and lost a couple flies before I decided that the fish weren’t in a feeding mood if, in fact, they were even aware of my flies. Kiri, our Labrador retriever and my steadfast hunting and fishing partner, and I shared a sandwich, then packed up and went home, getting back in time for an hour of tennis, as it worked out.
We’re now almost at the end of April and, hopefully, we will start having some seasonable weather, including some spring rains to revive our grasslands and woodlands. And, as it works out, these last few days of April will be the warmest of the year, so far.
While I might complain about April’s chilly weather, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with that, it would be incorrect to say that April’s weather disproves climate warming, or climate change, to be more correct.
This past week there was a “super” typhoon in the west Pacific Ocean that barely missed the Philippines. It was a Category 5 storm, with 190 mph winds. The storm intensified from a Category 1 typhoon, with 90 mph winds to Category 5 in just 36 hours. It’s considered the most intense typhoon ever for the month of April, and stronger than a 2015 typhoon that created widespread devastation in the Philippines. Scientists believe warming seas are responsible for the intense storm systems.
At the same time, scientists are predicting another active hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, likely as severe or more severe than in 2020, when we ran out of alphabetical names for the tropical storms that repeatedly battered the southeastern states and Caribbean. Current forecasts are for a 70 percent chance of a major hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland this year. In normal years, there’s a 50-50 chance of a major hurricane to hit the U.S.
If there’s a bright side to all this, January, world-wide, was a bit cooler than expected, so 2021 is not expected to be the hottest year on record, though it will no doubt be among the top 10 hottest years.
Paul Vang’s new book, “Golden Years, Golden Hours,” is available at How Novel, The Second Edition, Isle of Books & Books, or online at http://writingoutdoors.com.