Sunday, April 25, 2010

April Showers

April showers bring May Flowers.

That’s how the old saying goes. We need the moisture of the rain to nurture the beauty of nature. Too little and plant life will wither and die. Too much and they will rot and mold. Either way there is a problem for all who rely on plant life for day to day life. In other words – all living creatures from the smallest of insects to the largest of animals and of course us humans.

We rely on Mother Nature to provide the right balance of sunlight and moisture to help us in our day to day life. Sure there is a lot that science can do to help things along but we can’t survive indefinitely without the assistance of Mother Nature.

The winter here was cold and not nearly as much snow as usual. I wore my duck boots most of the winter and only pulled out my heavy winter boots for about six weeks – from early January to mid February – and that was more to keep my feet warm than for the depth of snow!

Spring came unusually early here in The ‘Peg. It was actually showing signs of spring by mid March. Sure we got a smattering of snow after that and some more cold weather, but it was bound and determined to come earlier than usual to this neck of the woods.

A couple of local golf courses were open by the last weekend in March. Granted the “greens” weren’t really that green yet and you had to wear a jacket but they were open and the diehard golfers were lining up to get in the first game of the season.

The Canada Geese have been heard flying north for a few weeks already. Other birds are also arriving from the south. The Pussy Willows and Crocus’s are out.

Some farmers are well into seeding. That is at least a full two weeks earlier than usual. Seeding this early is always a risk though, as you can’t rule out a killer frost for a few more weeks yet. Grain crops can go in much earlier than produce and flowers. The general rule of thumb for produce and flowers is waiting till the Victoria Day long weekend in May before planting those with reasonable safety.

The weather this month has been sunny and for the most part, above normal temperatures. Our April showers have been almost nonexistent. We got a bit of snowfall on Friday and Saturday of the Easter weekend – about 18mm of precipitation in all. Since then there has been only a trace of moisture from the skies – less than a mm.

The lack of normal winter snowfall and minimal spring rainfall isn’t all bad. At least there was minimal flooding this spring. Only a few low lying areas were affected but no major damage was reported.

The biggest downside to the lack of moisture is that there have been a higher number of grass fires in the last few weeks. There is even a “no burn” order in effect until conditions improve.

The grass really isn’t turning green yet – unless of course property owners are using their sprinkler systems. The trees are starting to bud though. I may be legally blind, but even I have noticed this bit of Mother Nature’s artistic paint brush at work.

The historical weather data on the Environment Canada web site shows that on average, the month of April should get about 31.9mm of precipitation. About a third of that amount is usually from snowfall and the other two thirds is from rain.

There is a slight chance of rain today and Monday, but at this point our best chance of showers may be later in the week – the last two days of April no less!

That really is cutting it a bit close for April Showers isn’t it? Of course, that chance of showers is subject to change. It is hard to predict weather accurately that far ahead. Environment Canada has already changed their minds - and subsequentily the forecast - on chances of rain a couple of times for the coming week. Don’t get me wrong the above normal temps of late have been a nice change and I know a lot of people have really been enjoying the weather, but we really do need some moisture in the parched soil.

I’m just thinking out loud here but maybe Mother Nature was getting some maintenance done on her version of the sprinkler system. Maybe that is why it hasn’t rained more than a few drops since the beginning of the month. Or, maybe she has also been hit by the downturn in the economy and is behind on her payments to the water company. Oh wait – she owns the company. Scratch that last idea.

Okay, it is probably maintenance or repairs. If that is the case then I hope that when the system is fixed, that we get a nice gentle soaker rainfall. The kind that slowly penetrates the earth and helps provide the growth for farmer’s crops, gardener’s plants, trees and other plant life that makes this such a beautiful place to live. The kind of rainfall that can make you want to go for a walk in the rain or make you want to take a nap or curl up with a good book.

Note to Mother Nature: Last year, many of us complained about a long, cool and wet spring. Sorry about that. We know that we have to take the good and the bad. It is just that we do like our nice weather. We are loving this spring and are trying not to complain - but we also need a bit of rain to freshen things up. We need the rain to help things along and settle the dust.

I know that you will do as you see fit, BUT when you do turn on the taps again, please don’t forget to turn them off from time to time. We don’t want a drought – but we also don’t want too much. We want to enjoy the beauty that you create not build an ark.


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