First Day of Spring

 

 

This  Anna’s hummingbird was photographed feeding on a red flowering current bush this morning.  Spring will arrive at 9:15 AM today. We know the earth is tilted 23.4 degrees and that is the cause of the seasons.  The change at our latitude, about half way between the equator and the north pole, is dramatic.  The grasses are turning green and growing.  Trees are blooming and beginning to turn green, and insects are beginning to appear.  Flowering plants are emerging,  people are mowing their lawns, and thinking about planting gardens.

So, what would our world be like if the earth was not tilted?  It would mean the sun would be over the equator, like today, everyday of the year. There would only be one season everywhere. The equatorial zone would be extremely hot  and stormy and only gradually cooling away from the equator. No seasons would mean no timing for plant growth or dormancy. It would be a world much different from this one.  It’s hard to imagine no seasons.

What if our world was tilted  90 degrees instead of just 23 degrees?  It would mean spring and fall would be much like ours, but it would mean that on the first day of summer the sun would be right over the north pole and would stay there for some time. No night or day just extreme sunshine. Six months later our North pole would be in a deep freeze. It would be a hellish planet switching with violent extremes of freezing to baking.  What kind of life would even exist on such a world?

But here we are with our spring and the earth’s gentle tilt and the transition from spring to summer will be just a little bit more  each day.  Although it can be a bit too cold in the winter and too hot at times in the summer, the changes in the seasons are better than the alternatives.

 

 

 

Coho Eggs Hatching

The Incubator on Riemann Road is in it’s third year. This year we were given 60,000 eggs, the most we’ve been given.  So the incubator is pretty crowded.  The photo was taken March 3rd and by today they were mostly hatched.  They will stay in the incubator for several weeks.  They look like little fish glued to orange jellybeans.  They won’t eat as they are sustained by the yolk sac.  They decide when to leave the incubator by swimming out the overflow.  Conditions on Gee Creek are very good right now and we are getting past the point of having big winter storms.  If things go well there should be thousands of fry distributed from Pioneer Street into the refuge.  There were some problems with erosion control failures on Gee Creek in October of 2016 and September of 2017 that had a bad impact on Gee Creek.  Part of the solution is making sure that going into the fall,  areas of disturbed ground  have good erosion control measures in place.

Les Greear was a teacher at Ridgefield High several decades ago.  He said  that students took the netting from the baseball field and used it to catch Coho.   According to a state fisheries biologist, there are still a few spawning adults in Gee Creek.  It is unlikely the large runs of Coho, cutthroat trout, and steelhead will ever  be anything  like they were in the past.  However, if some improvements can be made,   we can increase the populations of Coho and cutthroat trout. Two improvements that need to be made by the city  are better erosion control measures and building treatment facilities for  untreated storm water.  Trout and salmon are fish that require cold clean streams.  As such, they are indicators of the condition of the water shed.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

If you are concerned about the bill exempting legislators from the state’s Public Records Act, here are the numbers to call to register a protest

Governor Jay Inslee  360-902-4111

Senator Ann Rivers: 360-786-7634

Representative: Brandon Vick: 360-786-7850

Representative Liz Pike: 360-786-7812

You might also want to give a ‘shout out’ of praise to Rep. Vicki Kraft, (360-786-7994) who was the only legislator to vote against the bill.

These people work for us  – let them know how you feel. For more information, read the editorial on the front page of yesterday’s Columbian. You can get it at the library if you don’t subscribe, or go on-line.

R-Biz Canceled

Tonight’s R-Biz Networking event at Three Brothers has been cancelled due to weather.  See you in March!

r-Biz canceled

stream bank erosion control project begun

 

 

 

The city has obtained an emergency hydraulic permit for the stream bank erosion problem on the new section of the Gee Creek Trail between Division Street and Heron Ridge Drive. Several large root wads have been placed beside the trail. Later, these root wads will be placed in the stream along the badly eroded sections. People in the area should be careful to stay behind the yellow caution tape and not go near the edge of the crumbling stream bank

Toastmasters

Ridgefield Toastmasters Meeting: 6:30-7:30PM each Tuesday in the Ridgefield Community United Methodist Church at 1410 South Hillhurst Road in Ridgefield. Have fun becoming the speaker and leader you want to be. We provide a safe, friendly and supportive environment. The first three weekly meetings are free, with a small membership fee if you wish to continue and become a member of Toastmasters International. You may call Gene McCann at 802 989-0624 for more information.

CHRISTMAS EVE SNOW

It is  rare to have a white Christmas in Ridgefield.  Even rarer, when it is not expected.  Early this morning, it was just above freezing and there was some light rain.  Then, a bit of freezing rain followed by sleet, then finally snow.  The temperature dropped  below freezing by several degrees at sunset with a little freezing rain.  The National Weather Service states it may be tomorrow before it gets above freezing.

The Ridgefield Curves on Pioneer Street  climbing up from Gee Creek are always problematic.  The police were warning vehicles of the hazards of driving east on Pioneer and trying to control the traffic  Some four wheel drive vehicles were good Samaritans, hooking up straps and cables, and pulling vehicles up the slope.  Some  drivers were trying to turn around.  Public Works crews were out plowing the streets and spreading rock.

Pioneer Street going west into town wasn’t much better with traffic crawling.  A few cars were stranded and at least one driver was chaining up.  Because snow and ice is rare here,  many drivers were  not prepared.  Some people standing outside their cars were clearly frustrated and not at all happy with the situation.

 

Taking another photo of the sculpture in Overlook Park with snow was irresistible.  Although the snow is beautiful it could not have come at a worst time for many people. It means a hazardous journey for many and others have decided to stay put.

Merry Christmas to One and All

Winter Solstice

The winter Solstice occurs today(Thursday) at 8:35 AM.   Sunrise will be at 7:49 AM and Sunset will be at 4:30 PM today making it the shortest day of the year.  For those of us who like days that are longer, brighter, and warmer, it means the worst is over and days will began to get longer.  Since the sun is low just after 4 PM these days, it lights up the new Wings sculpture in Overlook Park nicely.

 

 

Mural at Ridgefield Floral

Ridgefield Floral has a new mural that really brightens up the entrance into town.  The artist is Kassi Summers and she is also a designer at the shop. Isn’t it great when shop owners decide to make our town more beautiful?

USPS CELEBRATING POLLINATORS

 

This sheet of postage stamps was recently released by the USPS.  If celebrates the beauty of both flowers and their insect pollinators. The twenty sheet stamp has Monarch butterflies on 12 stamps and honey bees on the other 8.  The choice of these two insects is appropriate because both insects are in decline.  Many other insect populations are in decline also.  Because of the lack of insects some bird populations, which are dependent on insects, are down too . Each stamp states:  “protect pollinators”    Providing forage for pollinating insects free of pesticides can  help.  In the past two years I’ve given away a few hundred seed packets and plants of narrow leafed milkweed.  These milkweeds provide food for Monarch caterpillars and the flowers of milkweeds are great for many pollinating insects.  Next spring I should have another batch of plants to give away.  People with milkweed plants that grew and flowered should find they will  do even  better next year.  The Ridgefield Post Office is sold out of these pretty stamps but have more ordered.

 

How to Bury a Walnut

Find a good place

Dig a hole

Put in the walnut

Backfill the hole

Carefully arrange the sod to hide the nut.

Last:  Remember where it is buried

 

 

Some Information about Climate Change

The climate changes we are experiencing are serious and need action to be done soon, even yesterday.  This posting  is a follow up to the post done a few days ago.  The next post will discuss some of the changes that are  likely already happening in Ridgefield and what is likely to happen in the future—Paul Snoey

 

First: The site below is an ingenious animation of  the history of the levels of carbon dioxide on our planet for the last 800,000 years.   It plots carbon dioxide levels at points from the South Pole on the left of the screen to the North Pole on the Right of the screen,  There is a great deal of information in this animation.  Please don’t hesitate to pause or watch it again.

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html

Second:  “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative information on the some of the questions that continue to be asked.”  From this site you can watch on-line or download.  It’s interesting that this was published in 2014.  It’s 2017 and some things are already different.  For example, C02 has increased a bit.

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/18730/climate-change-evidence-and-causes

Third:  A discussion from Wikipedia about the global warming controversy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

Fourth:  The last site is given with  reluctance.   It is not good news.  It says that the changes we have set in motion are going to persist for a very long time, even if  all  climate changing emissions are immediately stopped.  As bad as that is, it will be much worse if nothing is done at all.

http://theconversation.com/what-would-happen-to-the-climate-if-we-stopped-emitting-greenhouse-gases-today-35011

 

 

 

 

Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide

Mauna Loa CO2

Measurement of Atmospheric CO2 at the Summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii since 1957

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the level of global carbon dioxide has increased  40%.  It is increasing at more than 5% a decade, and  in spite of a lot of discussion and proposed actions, the increase is unabated.  It is higher than it has been in more than eight hundred thousand years.  As a result of the increase the worlds ocean  temperatures has risen  on average 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit and the land   temperature has risen an average of  1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  Much of the increase has occurred since 1970.  There is really little  debate in the scientific communities worldwide that the cause of the increase is mostly due to the increase in carbon dioxide.

Three Hurricanes in the Atlantic this year were categories 4 or 5.  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were very destructive.  All formed over waters that  were warmer than average.  Hurricanes and typhoons get their energy by removing heat from ocean water.  With higher sea surface temperatures these storms can rapidly intensify.  If the water is warmer at higher latitudes they can stay stronger.  Hurricane Ophelia became a category 3 hurricane in the northeast Atlantic and did great damage to Ireland.  It was the strongest hurricane  ever to form in the northeast Atlantic.

On land,  many areas are having record heat and drought.  In our area, the years 2009 , 2015, and 2017 had the highest numbers of days with temperatures over 90 degrees.  The extended summer drought  and heat in the Columbia River Gorge set the stage for a fire that began on September 2nd and burned an area almost 50,000 acres.  The fires in Northern and Southern California burned thousands of homes and killed dozens of people.  Like here,  California experienced an extremely hot summer.  Portugal and Spain have had terrible wildfires that have killed  well over 100 people.  In the rest of the European Union,  the number of fires has doubled over the past few years.  The fire season is starting earlier and lasts longer.

There is an intense debate about climate change in the US.  Our president has placed many agencies in the hands of climate change deniers with ties to oil and coal.  Their claim is that the science is flawed and that there really is not a scientific consensus about climate change or even its causes.

The goal of the Paris accords, from  which Donald Trump has removed the United States, was to curb emissions world wide to prevent an increase of global temperatures of over 2 degrees Centigrade.   The scientific community argues that if emissions are not cut, our world could see a  temperature increase of 5 degrees Centigrade or more by 2100.

So, who to believe?  It may help to look at the evidence  and how it was obtained.  If it is so very important for the future of our planet, then it is worth taking time to consider it.  In the next post there will be some references to help with that.

 

Dedication this Morning

This morning at 10 am members of the Ridgefield Garden Club will dedicate the new monument in Davis Park, honoring our founding members. You are invited to attend and lean a little more about the history of the park and the Garden Club.

Light refreshments will be served.