Saturday 9-30-17

Sep 30, 2017

Greetings and welcome!

I have an update that I have been writing for almost the whole month of September. I will get started on it and the phone will ring or some distraction will come along. I am going to start with that and get to some red meat afterward…

Greetings friends!

It is a tradition to update Big Snow Page on the hottest day of the year. I didn’t expect the first 90 degree day to be in the end of September, but here we are.

Last year was terrible for a snowmobiler, and especially for me between work and the three miles of roads to the trails melting down every time that they got good. It was a tough year.

This summer has been very unusual. We had something on the order of 9-10 inches of rain in June, and the rain kept falling all summer. Doing the pictures at Kosir’s again I am acutely aware of rainfall. I haven’t seen anything like it in my whatever.. 27 years on the Peshtigo River. The river hasn’t hit its normal summer flow yet this year. [Chris says that it happened in about 2011. Does anyone remember what kind of snow year that we had that year?]
So how does that translate into a winter forecast? In summer I had low expectations. My predisposition is that a wet summer doesn’t mean a wet winter, and probably the opposite. I have mellowed on that a little as I see the rains that keep coming, an active hurricane season, and neutral heading for La Nina (Cold Phase) El Nino Southern Oscillation conditions.
It happens where ENSO neutral years work out very well for us as snowmobilers. As we have seen in the recent past, that isn’t always the case.
Right now my takeaway is that it is a very unusual year in weather. I’m a little scared. Is it an unusual year that will be 70 in February, or an unusual year where I need a giant front end loader to clear my driveway? Right now I am leaning toward the latter.

Personal side..
Four years ago I had to go get a job. A variety of things added up to what I would phrase gently as a financial crash & burn. I worked at Carquest in Wausaukee as a parts guy for 3 ½ years. I really liked that job and loved the people that I worked with. I helped a lot of people and made some great friends.

In spring of this year I quit that job and went back on my own. My websites were in need of work, and Kosir’s needed a photographer. The flashlight business brought in a little, and I fixed some GM & Ford dashboard instrument clusters for friends. It all added up to an expensive but very fun summer.

Right now my focus is on outside work like firewood, fixing the plow truck, the snow blowers, and the snowmobiles, but eventually I will have to go back into the workforce. If I had my way it would be part time over the winter, enough to pay the bills with some time left for snowmobiling. If the right offer comes along I will go back to full time.
So.. In the end I have no idea what the future holds.

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Alright.. That was like letting out a sneeze.

Anyway.. don’t expect a lot of updates here in the short term, but I will try to be on updates of important stuff. My real focus is on getting outside work done before it gets cold out. I have been hammering away at it, and especially firewood. There is a lot to do, and by my reckoning I have about two weeks to get it done over 50 degrees.

Last week we had had hot and humid weather that got close to 90 degrees. Last night we had our first frost. The TV says that Wabeno got down to 32, and Athelstane Weather marked 30.2ºF. There was frost on the car, the hill back by the creek, and the neighbor’s roof this morning.

Yesterday I was doing my NorthernDestinations page update and I looked at the 16 day GFS forecast model. About the middle of the month it had a big storm followed by a lot of cold air. It caught my eye because if some of that cold air caught up to the moisture we could see our first snow. Once the cold pushes in upper air temps suggested that it would be cold enough to snow as far south as Chicago if there was moisture. That scenario is gone on today’s model run, but it was an attention getter..

October is a big change month. Daylight hours change a lot. Today’s sunrise/sunset times in Green Bay are 6:48 & 6:36, just under 12 hours of daylight. Oct 30 they are 7:29 & 5:42. That is a big change. I didn’t write it down but I think that we loose almost 20 degrees from today’s normal high temp of 68 in October too.

So.. red meat.. I was talking to some bee keepers the other night. They said that the hives have already kicked out the drones, which is much earlier than normal. That is supposed to be a sign of an early winter.

They also said that the propolis in the hives was way more than normal. That is a glue like tree resin & wax substance that they use to seal cracks and protect the hive. According to the old school folks a heavy propolus in the hives means batten down the hatches for winter. They said that every nook & cranny was filled tight and it was really hard to open the hives because there was so much propolis along every crack between boxes.

As far as the paper wasps go, where are they? I have had reports of them way up in the trees. Around here the usual hive in the wood shed just isn’t there at all. The usual spot in the work shed is also missing its typical volleyball sized hive and nothing more that a golf ball sized wax ‘flower’ is there. I have never seen that happen. Killing the big nests is an annual ritual since the John Deere incident where I was trapped in the work shed hiding behind a tractor for 45 minutes as two big wasp nests had the ultimate air battle between me and the door. That had to be 10 years ago or more.

The fall colors have been very unusual this year too. The maples had leaves that were kind of curled up and never really put on their typical magnificent color show. It was a little disappointing, and very unusual. The middle and late show leaves are just starting to turn and it is the last day of September.

Then there is the personal instinct thing. I am not sure if I have talked myself into something with all of my little indicators or if it is instinct, but I am getting ready for a big winter. I will be out cutting wood and be pretty beat at the end of the day and my little voice pops up and says keep going, yer going to need it.

In the end it has been a really unusual summer and now an unusual fall season. I am expecting an unusual winter now too. Will I be cooking on the grill at 70 degrees in January unusual, don’t see a high of 5 degrees for 6 weeks unusual, or snow to my chin by January 15th unusual? That I don’t know, but I am getting ready for the latter ones.

Best wishes and thank you for visiting!

RJB

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