Fall

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The chilly mornings of November are here — the times of hot cocoa and soup at night, and that first steaming cup of coffee in the morning. I’ve always loved Fall. But then I love Winter, Spring, and Summer, too. Each season casts its spell on me. Each has its own brand of special.

Fall can bring crisp, cold mornings, and sunny, warm afternoons. The leaves are turning and falling. My blessed Valley Oaks (Qercus lobatas) begin their winter hibernation, opening up their canopies so that the sun seeks the ground. The sun is lower in the southern sky as we rapidly approach the shortest day of the year.

Between now and December 21, 2008, I watch the daylight hours become shorter, so that the day seems over before it has begun. I watch the dogs fluff out with their winter coats. I enjoy the snuggling in the warmth of my down comforter, recently revamped with a new duvet cover.

This Fall, I will be staying closer to the home front, and probably only seeing my North Coast friends at Thanksgiving. The highway is too “iffy” this year. I am used to rock slides, mud, and changing conditions on Highway One. But this year is different. Too many variables, and some of them not even that variable. 

We know the highway will close – probably several times in several places. I need to winterize my Jeep — you know, put a sleeping bag, a pillow, flashlight and emergency supplies in it. I need to be able to spend the night in it, if called upon to do so.

Fall: it is the time I finish my preparations for winter, and I have little time in which to complete them. Living close to nature like this is not like living in town. The seasons carry their messages much louder and clearer for us, here in the wilderness.

Yes, Fall. I am listening.

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Also, Charles Bell of the NWS in Monterey is asking for our participation in the  Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is now in California! This volunteer-driven program will allow people the chance to enter precipitation data on a daily basis and have the information immediately displayed on a web site (http://www.cocorahs.org/State.aspx?state=CA).

It requires a special 4″ rain gauge and training. The program is explained at the link above. Happy reporting, everyone!!