After a winter with record precipitation, June hasn’t been much different in Madison.
As you might have seen on the news over the past few weeks, the Midwest has gotten record rains over the last month. Madison has been no exception though we’ve been spared the devastating floods that plagued other communities. In a normal June we get 4 inches of rain; we’ve already gotten just short of 11 inches this month. Fourteen of the twenty-nine days this month have had measurable rain, and many of those days had thunderstorms. We’ve started to feel a bit out of sorts on those days when we don’t get heavy rains and some hail. During one rainstorm I took the picture below to document the river that our street became. Normally, it’s a four-lane street with a 12’ grassy median running down the center. As you can see in the photo below, all of that was under running water during one rainstorm. I felt like a real bumpkin when I was out taking pictures of the street until I saw our retired neighbor across the street doing the same. He’s lived in this neighborhood since it was built, so if he was out taking pictures it might truly have been unique event.
I was listening to our weather radio the other day when I heard the following after a tornado watch was canceled for a neighboring county: “Residents of Dodge County can still expect torrential rains, dangerous winds, and flash floods.” Well, gosh, that’s all? At least that pesky tornado watch was canceled.
All this rainy weather has had a detrimental effect on gardens and fields around us. Last July 4th our raspberry bushes were doing so well that we were able to harvest enough berries to make a batch of raspberry jam. This year, we’ll be lucky to harvest a single berry by July 4th. The raspberry bushes got a real late start due to the cold and wet spring. Some of the flowers in our flower garden are delayed in their blooming, likely due to the weather. Many area farmers have fields full of water and corn in the fields is much shorter than it should be for this time of year.
Sarah and I bought a half-share in a local CSA (community supported agriculture) this year, so we’ve been enjoying the fruits of that investment, even though it has also been affected by the weather. We’ve gotten two boxes of produce so far. The first was overflowing with spring greens and spinach, much of which was harvested after some heavy rains threatened to drown it. The second box had strawberries, swiss chard, garlic scapes, broccoli, and lettuce.
Even though we got strawberries in our CSA box yesterday, we dropped by a pick-your-own strawberry farm this morning so that we could make our annual batches of strawberry jam. The strawberry fields were in rougher shape than usual due to the weather (sense a theme here?), but we picked enough strawberries to make three batches of jam, put some in the freezer, and have a few leftover for morning cereal.
As a natural side-effect of all the rain, the mosquitoes have been worse than usual this year. All of the flood water has been a boon for the floodwater-species of mosquitoes which has made being out around dawn or dusk a bit inconvenient. It must be said, however, that even at its worst around our house, the mosquitoes aren’t anywhere near as bad as they were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Two weeks ago I was in San Francisco again for work. This time I spent the week downtown, just a couple of blocks from somewhere that I used to work. It was great to revisit some of my own haunts and eat some of the great food in that area. The flights there and back were predictable bummers, especially when the airline I was flying (American) decided that my luggage ought to travel on another airline (United). Two days later it finally caught up with me in San Francisco, but not until I’d already been authorized by American to purchase $100 of new clothing. So, even though I packed lightly for the trip, my suitcase was bulging on the trip home.
In other news, Sarah and I are expanding our family. She is pregnant and expecting a baby in January. Our families seem pleased; our local tax attorney seemed chagrined that it was unlikely we would have a child before 01 Jan 09. I’m sure we’ll manage, regardless.