Monday, October 19, 2009

First Freezing Night

Sunday morning (10/18) and we've dipped to 26 degrees and ended our growing season. The grass isn't just spotty with frost but fully white in places. I'm glad I got the back and side yards mowed. We're down to the raking of leaves and then the fall season's work will be officially ended for us.

This picture (above) is a close-up of the edge of our burn barrel, a 55 gallon metal drum which resides at the perimeter of our garden. It was feathery with frost before the sun rose and melted it in a sudden blast of light (though hardly, it seems, heat). Why does the frost form thicker crystals on the edge?

Here, then, is a wider look at the top of the barrel. The flat rusty top, which one would expect to collect the most frost, is barely white, while the curled lip of the lid is festooned with feathers of ice. There's a scientific principle at work here but I don't know what it is. It is enough to enjoy the effect, I suppose.

In the back yard, not fifteen feet away from the barrel, are red and orange maple leaves from the tree by the barn. They are also edged in frost and so the principal carries across materials. Look at the grass - and a few henbit leaves - on the ground beside the leaf, also coated in white.
This is a gorgeous season even if we've had to have the furnace early this year. Our goal is to wait until November, or as close as we can come, before adding heat to the house. But not so this year! We've added heat for the last week and a half.
What does this say about the coming winter?
My electric throw has been added to the bed and I've been content with the the lowest setting for the first week. But Saturday night I moved the dial up a notch and it felt wonderful.
So winter - almost - is upon us. Indian Summer first, of course, and we'll enjoy the warmer days ahead as we would enjoy a break during a race. The sprint has begun.