Friday, 4 November 2011

Life Goes On... Despite Winter's First Visit

And what can that mean, you ask?

On Saturday, 29 October, the Snow Fairy stopped in early to give us a visit. And she didn't stop by, ring the bell and find us not home, and head out on her way. She dropped off a bombshell. It was rain in the early morning. Then around 1030 it became a mix of rain and snow. By 1100 it was huge, wet, heavy flakes that began coating the branches almost immediately. The ground was much too warm to hold the snow until later on but the trees, heavy with leaves in their array of lovely autumn colours, were building up snow too quickly.

It was not long before it was eerily quiet as fewer and fewer people were out and about. And then we could hear it: creaking, bumping noises and finally pops and reports (that last was the horrific sounds of branches breaking). When I looked out the windows around 1430, there were a lot of really big branches on the ground, littering the backyard with leaves and debris. But those leaves weigh a lot more than most people realise.

As it happens, I knew the leaves added a lot of weight, but how much I did not. On the news, my father heard that the comparison of the leaved branch to the naked branch (which also has no chlorophyll production, so it doesn't have the same amount of - for lack of a better, more accurate term - blood flow). Trees in winter withhold their... uh... you know, I should know what this is called but it has been so long since I've learned about trees and how their inner workings are set up, I've forgotten most of it. (That's sad. I should find a book or better yet, talk to someone who knows trees well.) At any rate, the normal vascular system in trees that "hibernate" or appear to die in winter, slows down and really shuts the limbs down. That's why one never trims tree branches or bushes in the cold. They cannot handle the temperature change with no limb vascular activity going on to cauterize the wound.

Well. I have to say I cannot recall anytime in my life when it snowed in October. This would be very memorable.

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