Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer's End

The end of July – Gorffennaf, or Summer’s End, in Welsh – was hot. A long, record-breaking string of days with highs in the low to middle 90's (low 30's C), with little rain, and not as much overnight cooling as one would wish, culminated in three days in the low 100’s on Lammas weekend. Nothing like the brutal string of 100+ F days we had two summers ago, but still above the seasonal average. This is the time in Denver when the peak of the summer heat has usually passed, and heavy afternoon thunderstorms begin to give us some welcome moisture – but not this year.

Last weekend my neighborhood finally got lucky in the thunderstorm department, with a heavy downpour on Friday night which had the streets here running full and negated the need to water for a while. The cooler weather persuaded the squash to start setting again – they had stopped for a while in the peak of the heat – and now we have squash and tomatoes in abundance. The late-summer Farmer’s Market has corn – mine won’t be ready for a couple of weeks yet – and the early peaches and plums from the Western Slope are in. Melons from the Rocky Ford district – locally famous for them – and all the other vegetables and fruit you could want, harvest time in abundance.

This weekend the weather is strange. It’s been raining on and off since Thursday night, and cold – not over 50 here yesterday! There are thunderstorms embedded in it, rumbling around from time to time with heavier downpours, but on the whole the pattern is more like a winter storm, the kind that dumps a foot or two of snow on us. This wouldn’t be so remarkable in early September, but it doesn’t belong in August. Summer’s end indeed!

New stuff on the sidebar: an update on the Ash Spear – I’ve finally got a little more written; a Middle Welsh translation site just starting up; and two or three new blog links, including two sites that blog in Welsh here and here.

I’m off to the Farmer’s Market now as soon as the cats come in, and then back to writing.

Later update: the Farmer's Market was wet - many of the usual vendors didn't come, and some were packing up early. And I now have over 3 inches of water in my improvised rain gauge - in 36 hours! But I bought Montana cherrries at the market, and am presently going to warm up the kitchen by making jam.


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