Baby it’s cold outside

06/05/2010

We woke to our second frost in a row this morning.

We’d had reasonably warm weather after the last rain which was letting the grass grow.

But two frosts in a row is a warning that soil temperatures are dropping and with or without more rain we’re not likely to get much more pasture growth until spring.


A touch of frost

24/03/2009

The ute which had been left outside on Sunday night had ice on its windscreen when we got up yesterday and if the fog hadn’t rolled in it would have been cold enough for frost this morning too.

That is surely proof that daylight saving ought to have finished on Sunday as it used to, rather than continuing until the first Sunday in April.

Mutter, mumble.

Still, I suppose I should be grateful that the sheep and cows aren’t harmed by the frost, unlike grapes. The Central Otago harvest is still a couple of weeks away which means frost fighting takes priority over sleep when overnight temperatures drop.


A Blue Flower

07/11/2008

We woke to a light touch of white on the lawns and paddocks this morning and over in Central Otago up to 500 helicoptors may be called on tonight to help orchardists and viticulturists protect young fruit from the forecast frost.

That unseasonal weather prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem – A Blue Flower by Ruth Dallas from her Collected Poems, published by University of Otago Press.

           A Blue Flower

 

In the early morning we noticed

Jack Frost had whitewashed the golf-course.

 

We know who is always out there,

Waiting on the dark side of planets,

The mossed side of trees,

And the green side of apples-

Does he think we were born yesterday?

 

We lay low, like Brer Rabbit

When Mr Fox is around, laughing, because

We could see, over his white fields,

The flank of a hill, like a lion’s haunch,

Lit be his enemy, the sun.

 

                                         Another day,

This day, snatched from the hoard of the old miser,

To unfold and stretch itself like a blue flower.

 

Let us think no more of tomorrow,

Or what is gone, but live to outwit J. Fox,

Plucking each day singly, like ripe fruit.

 

                 – Ruth Dallas –


Can spring be far behind?

12/08/2008

The first blossom tree to bloom in our garden (I think it’s a prunus)  is covered in flowers and the daffodils though not yet in bud are well through the ground.

I’d hopes these were harbingers of spring, but winter has returned with a vengance.

There was fresh snow on the Kakanui mountains at the weekend and Sunday’s frost was still lying in the shade by late afternoon.

We woke to one of the hardest frosts of the year yesterday morning and ice on some puddles I tested on my morning walk was too thick for me to break (yes, I’m not yet old enough to resist the temptation of jumping on it).

Normally when we get a hard frost we also get a sunny day but by lunchtime clouds appeared so it wasn’t just cold it was dull and this morning we’ve got up to rain.

If I’m not enjoying it those who had to get up for milking at 5am and will be out working in the paddocks for msot of the day will be even less enthusiastic.


Orchardists on frost alert as buds move early

17/07/2008

Central Otago orchardists  are anxiously watching their trees and the weather because buds are starting to move early which puts them at risk of frost damage.  

McIntosh’s Orchard owner Wayne McIntosh said buds on his trees at Earnscleugh were starting to move, although he was not worried about his crop yet.

“The bud movement is about four or five weeks ahead of last year, but it depends on what the temperatures are like this month. No-one knows what will happen. It’s just part of the variation of growing fruit,” he said.

Mr McIntosh said if buds continued to move early, orchardists would have to be aware of the possible need for extensive frost-fighting.

“Our objective is to frost-fight as little as possible, but you have to take whatever measures are necessary. It is no cause for alarm just yet, but we are aware of the precautions we might need to take,” he said.

At Rob’s Rural Market in Earnscleugh, some of the orchard’s apricot buds have turned red.

Owner Harry Roberts said he had seen early bud-moving before, and the next three weeks would tell what was in store for the crop.

“Some of our buds are quite red, which means they have broken the bud and are showing the petal cover already. It could be a problem if we get a cold August, but it’s still early days,” he said.

Mr Roberts said this winter had been wetter than usual and ground moisture could aid the crop.

“It pushes up humidity, which lessens the severity of frosts.”

In parts of his orchard, apricot trees were developing at different paces due to their position on the block.

Trees higher up or next to geographical features which trapped warm air pockets were developing as they would in spring, while lower down, where cool air sat, trees presented typical winter growth.

Cold winters enhance the flavour of Central fruit, but frosts at the wrong time can decimate whole crops.


Winter’s white

01/07/2008

It’s been a long time coming but winter is finally here – we had a cold weekend and a hard frost yesterday. Although it was sunny all day the ground was still frozen in the shady areas by late afternoon.

We woke up to a starry sky this morning and we’ve got another good frost. However, touch wood, the water is still running in the house taps and again there’s not a cloud in the sky so it looks like we’re in for another sunny day.

In Uruguay winter doesn’t officially begin until the mid-June solstice. Seasons don’t fit neatly into a calendar – we can get warm days in winter and cold days in summer, but it’s not unusual for us to get our coldest temperatures from July – and of course there is almost always a storm in time for lambing and calving in August.


%d bloggers like this: