Thursday, June 11, 2009

Enough soup already!

The soupy weather is back. Today’s photo was taken in my driveway the morning. My area had some very severe weather yesterday, though fortunately none of it was directly over my cabin. Today, more severe weather is forecast. I hope my luck holds, and the worst of it misses me again.

The forest is starting to creep over the driveway, looming over it a little further all the time, inch by inch. Leaves flutter along the edge of the car as I drive in or out. The jungle is trying to take back the man-made driveway, but until the weather dries a bit I won’t be able to battle back.

The western and southern U.S. both have temperate rainforests, and given how my area looks right now, it got me to wondering just how close my own area might be to qualifying for that status. And wouldn’t you know, even the definitions don’t agree. For example, Australia defines a temperate rainforest as one where the closed canopy of trees excludes at least 70% of the sky. Trust me, I pass this one. Also, the forest must be composed of mainly of tree species that can regenerate under shade and natural openings. I have that one too. However, I don’t live in Australia.

Here in North America, a temperate rain forest is defined as one where the mean annual temperature is between 39 and 54 degrees F. Mean temperature in my area is 53 degrees in Harrisburg, so I qualify for that one. Here on the mountain the mean temperatures is several degrees cooler, and the area around the cabin falls around the 49-50 degree mark

In North America a temperate rainforest is also supposed to get 1400 mm of rain per year. This amounts to about 55 inches. That’s where I miss the mark in most years. I get something over 40 inches on average, usually around 45 inches. Using this criteria a few very small areas of PA would still qualify as temperate rainforests. A bit of Monroe County and somewhere around the border of Westmoreland and Somerset counties fit that restriction. The rest of the state does not. I never hear of those areas being called temperate rainforests, so perhaps they’re ashamed.

I suppose I could just declare myself a protectorate or a territory of Australia, but there’s probably paperwork involved with that, so I don’t think I’ll bother. And frankly, as rainy as May and June have been, I’m kind of glad I don’t qualify as a temperate rain forest. I don’t want to think about what another 10 inches of rain would mean around here.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rain here today, too, and last night. So it's really looking awfully green and lush and rainforesty out there, along the river. And up the drive. And in the side yard. And…and…and…

We are those same folks who regularly bemoaned the lack of green in February and March, right? So are we now complaining? Well-l-l-l…no, of course not. We're just getting a bit claustrophobic under this thick green canopy, temperate or otherwise. At least you don't have grass to mow! (Or give a few more growing days—like two or three!—and take in as hay.)

Spring will pass. Summer will come. A bumper crop of mosquitoes will fill your woods, even though it will be sweltering and almost dusty. The little seasonal creeks will look like rocky paths.

And seeing as how I REALLY don't like hot weather, I expect you to give me a reciprocal chain-yanking when I start whining about no energy, too much sweating, and the distinct probability that I'll soon melt into nothing more than a greasy puddle. Okay?

Right—now forget about seceding from the Union and go looking for mushrooms.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I'm not a summer person either, so I'm sure I'm the right person to yank your chain when you start whining about it. I'll probably starting whining about it, too!

Carolyn H.