[NAFEX] late freeze

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Fri May 25 09:02:07 EDT 2007

"Last year we had a frost on June 8 of 23 F."

    What the hell could crop in those conditions???  Oh, I see, nothing did 
that year.  But what does grow and crop where you are in the wild? 
Blackberries I guess.  What else?  You might want to take a hint from nature 
re your local conditions.  I've been forced to do that, investing my 
energies in tame versions of our local flora:  blackberries, blueberries, 
chestnuts, strawberries. plums, cherries, black walnuts, hickories.  Of 
course, most of these got wiped out too in the extreme freeze, all but the 
strawberries and blackberries.
    I'm sure sorry to hear that you too have had a late freeze.  We had some 
nice cool nights here in the early half of May and I kept expecting to hear 
how everyone north of us had lost their blossoms too but I guess it wasn't 
too bad.  We are in such a terrible climate here in Tenn for spring frosts 
that it makes me sick sometimes.  Especially when I meet northerners who 
move down from Michigan and talk about the cherries and the apples and how 
much they miss them and how the produce here just doesn't have much flavor.
    Having spent a year or so on the High Plains of NM, I tend to think of 
you all in the SW as having the low chill hours that allow you to grow 
apricots and peaches.  But those are always high risk crops that do great 
one year and bust the next.  I remember being there in a drought year with 
no fruit.  A friend told me that the next year there were so many apricots 
they picked and dried apricots till they didn't know where to put them all. 
(My husband and I suspect we are jinxes who bring drought wherever we move 
to. )
    One thing I have noted is that historically bad freezes and droughts go 
hand in hand.  I think of the 30's and a bad winter of 33-34 (don't know how 
far it extended, maybe only in the NE?), the cold wave in 1985 followed by 4 
years of drought in the SE and 2 in the midwest.  The bad freeze this spring 
amid the bad drought in the SE.  But another peice of evidence I have comes 
from a book called Arctic Ireland.  In the late 1600's they had a really 
cold winter that froze the potatoes in the barns and in the fields (some 
people just dug as they needed them).  Then they had a terrible hot dry 
summer with no grass for the cattle and crop failures, followed by another 
very cold winter.  Then the weather returned to it's normal pattern.  This 
business of the weather leaving it's usual pattern makes me think it's the 
jet stream going from it's usual pattern of ups and downs to some other 
pattern.   When I moved to England in 1977, they had just been through a 
terrible drought, but I got there in time for the constant rain that 
followed.  The sun came out 2 weeks that summer.  I read that the jet stream 
normally makes a 4 pointed star when seen from above the north pole.  They 
said that it switched to a 5 pointed star the year of the drought.  You can 
imagine that this would make warm air blow up and cold air blow down in 
different places from usual.  And that moist air and dry air would wind up 
in different places from usual.  I have never been able to find anything 
about this notion of the usual jet stream pattern since.  I know they talk 
about it's usual pattern in the US in summer and winter, but no global 
discussion.  Anyway, I think the weather patterns have changed from what 
they were, so hold on to your hats!      Donna 

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