Friday, April 09, 2010

The season begins

Ah, Spring! The Forsythia are in bloom, cherry trees are blossoming, the birds are singing, Bradford Pears are filling the air with their delightful stench of dead fish, tree pollen is coating everything, temperatures are soaring up into the 80's*, and the tranquility of any day is being shattered by the sound of gas-powered lawn mowers .**

Today was my first day off since Sunday. Fortunately our heat wave broke last night, an event which - as expected - was accompanied by an electrical storm and heavy downpour. Temperatures have dropped down to the more-seasonable 60's, but fortunately the grass was dry enough to mow.

I shuffled around items in the garage, pulling out the once-used snowblower so I could access the Scotts Classic 20" reel mower tucked behind it. I tested out the mower, attached the grass catcher, and pushed the snowblower back into storage until (maybe) next Winter. I was ready to mow.

Mowing was a breeze, of course, with no heavy engine to push around, and the mower made its whirrrrrrr-clickclickclick sound as I strolled behind it, occasionally pausing to curse at the small twigs and branches that litter the ground under the Oak tree and can stop the mower dead in its tracks. I piled the grass clippings on top of the leaves with which I mulched the blueberry bushes last Fall. In one more mowing I'll be ready to take away the nets that are currently holding the leaves in place.

I noticed something odd that I really should have expected. Our lawn is divided into warm-season and cold-season zones. The grass will grow rapidly in some parts of the lawn only when temperatures are cool, while the growth of other parts of the lawn is slowed; in warmer weather, this growth is reversed. Most grass seed mixes contain seeds for warm and cool seasons, wet and dry conditions, and so on, and over the years the types of grass better adapted to any part of the yard outcompete the less well suited varieties, creating a patchwork of grass varieties customized to your conditions.

The odd thing was this: every year at the first mowing it is the cool-season grasses that have shown the most growth, which is to be expected, since Spring temperatures are generally cool during the early part of the season before the lawn gets its first mowing. But this year it was the warm-season grass that had done the most growing. Which only makes sense, considering the higher-than-normal temperatures Northeastern Pennsylvania has experienced this Spring.

Now: weather is not climate. One warm Spring in Northeastern Pennsylvania no more proves that Global Warming is true any more than snow in Philadelphia in February proves that Global Warming is a hoax and Al Gore is a fraud.*** Maybe this Spring is a fluke, an anomaly, an El Niño or La Niña thing. Maybe this Summer will be temperate, instead of insanely hot or (like last year) insanely wet. We'll just have to wait and see.

*That's the high 20's for all you Celsiusophiles, a good deal warmer than normal.
**Seriously. Our chronic jerk neighbor decided nothing could improve a beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon like the sound of his pollution-spewing monster mower.
***Considering how many people were making these declarations just a few weeks ago, I have to wonder how many folks are currently standing in the town square in sackcloth and ashes, ringing bells, and declaring themselves idiots for having made such asinine statements.

And, Deniers, before you start talking out your asses again, please ask yourselves: if Climate Change is a hoax, why are Russia and China currently working on establishing shipping routes through previous-frozen Arctic regions? And please pause to take a breath before switching from the "Climate Change is a hoax" argument to the contradictory "Climate Change is a good thing" argument.

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