It has been one of the wettest autumns I have ever seen anywhere. I think. These days my memory seems to play tricks on me, so perhaps I’m just not remembering a wetter October and November in any of the places I have lived, in several places on this planet, during my lifetime.
The other morning the weatherman on the regional CBC morning radio told his listeners that there was “a chance of showers for all areas”. I was looking out the living room window at the time, watching a veritable wall of water descend from the heavens above as a solid stream of water poured from the broken gutter onto the ground below. “You don’t say?”
Climate change? Global warming? What you believe is neither here nor there and has nothing to do with the facts. Warmer global temperatures are causing polar ice caps to melt. Warmer temperatures are also causing more evaporation which results in more water in the planet’s precipitation cycle. You don’t have to be a scientist to see that it makes sense. I can see what is happening by looking out my window. Living close to nature and by the sea, one is forced to pay close attention to the weather. I don’t need the weatherman to tell me there is a chance of showers when I can see the rain pouring down outside.
There has been a series of mild, wet weather systems, rampaging across the region, one after another, for weeks on end. Relatively warm temperatures, combined with strong wind events tromping past, one after another, have all made me step out of my normal autumnal mode causing me to do unseasonable things.
It was so mild a couple of weeks ago that I decided to plant some seeds in the small cold frame in the back garden. I thought I would take a chance with some lettuce, spinach, beet, cilantro, parsley, radish and scallion seeds. If I can keep the mice from stealing them, these seeds might germinate before the weather grows colder. Alternatively, if I can keep them dry enough they should sprout when the weather warms up in the spring. Since I planted them, the lettuce, chard and spinach seed have germinated and the tiny seedlings are still there, safe from the thieving mice, under an old salad bowl and some plastic punnets within the cold frame.
Another day it was so windy, warm and sunny that I decided to get a couple of loads of laundry done. Those clothes were washed, hung on the line and dried before the weather changed yet again and the rain returned at the end of the day. Not bad for a November day on the wet west coast! I pity the people who live in places where local by-laws prevent them from hanging their wet laundry on outdoor clotheslines to dry as nature intended; a ridiculous waste of green, clean and free energy if ever there was one.
The following morning the weather had changed completely once again. That was when the weatherman made his assertion concerning the showers. I had to run down in the skiff to the end of the road on the next island to pick up F. Our youngest daughter was coming home for a couple of days in order to butcher the deer she had got while out hunting with C. the previous week. C. had already been away for several days and I was looking forward to her company.
I bundled up in the usual cold weather layers; tee-shirt and trousers, wool cardigan, down jacket, all inside heavy fisherman’s waterproof overalls. Next, a heavy duty fisherman’s raincoat to keep me dry. Over all that, my red floater coat, my life jacket for boat travel, with a hand held VHF radio in the pocket. On my head, a baseball cap (the peaked cap helps protect my eyes from the driving rain), then a knitted wool hat, the raincoat hood, and a pair of ear muffs to protect my hearing from the high pitched outboard engine noise. On my feet, two pairs of thick wool socks and a pair of fisherman’s rubber boots.
The rain continued to pour down. Looking and feeling like the Michelin Man, I could hardly move in my outfit as I set off down the channel in the open, welded aluminum skiff to meet my girl. It was cold as I sped along at 25 miles an hour, down the channel, needles of rain pinging against my face. Halfway to the end of the road, I knew that winter had arrived when I felt granules of ice melting against my lips!
There was a momentary pause in the rainfall as I walked up the hill to meet F. but the creek at the end of that road, rushing out of the forest, was the colour of chocolate milk, spewing eroded earth out into the bay. A layer of white icy slush lined the edges of the road. F. appeared over the crest of the hill, having parked her little car at the top, and we walked back down to the skiff. Once she was bundled up for the ride, we headed for home.
The torrential rains continued for the rest of the day. The creek that runs past our house overflowed its banks, flooding the grassy area on either side, pouring over the little bridge that crosses it. The rushing creek on its way to the beach spilled forth over the rocky shore in a roaring cacophony.
I had to pick my way over that flooded bridge in order to get up to the garden to harvest the last of the spiky, pale green Italian cauliflowers that I was planning to have with supper that evening.
A gloomy day at best, darkness came early at about half past four in the afternoon. Still the rain came down, no longer the Pineapple Express, but an icy downpour that has hardly stopped since. Good weather for indoor activities such as butchering venison.