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Spring Close Up April 15 2020

Spring April 3 2020

Another week has passed, and even though we’ve had night-time temperatures as low as -6C, daytime temperatures in the single digits C, April showers, and … yes, even some snow yesterday! … spring is still springing. A week ago I took some plants from indoors to the greenhouse, thinking night-time freezes were finished. Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Despite that, the plants are doing well–and the temperature in the greenhouse today got up to 30C (check out that thermometer!) though it was only 7C outside. The smell in the greenhouse was lovely … warm, moist soil and fresh new plants. The garden plants are doing well, too–wild strawberries, chives, green onions, rhubarb, and more. Flowers and bushes … and early fruit blossoms … are in bloom around our complex, too!

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Then off for another solitary walk through the neighbourhood oxbows. As usual, I didn’t meet a soul during my trek … at least not humans … but lots of flying creatures (check out the ducks taking off from the pond and the robin looking for worms), beautiful skyscapes (including the man in the moon peering down), and, of course, plants springing forth to welcome the spring!  When I was just about home, a man came out of his house and demanded, in a cranky voice, what I was taking pictures of. “Spring!” I announced joyfully … and a smile broke out on his face. “Yes, it is!” he agreed.

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Spring Break March 27 2020

Is Spring springing? Well, take a look at these photos, and tell me what you think!

The last set of photos I posted were taken March 15–the beginning of Spring Break here in Penticton. Since then we had a lot of beautiful sunny days, clear blue skies, daytime temperatures around 7 or 8 C. and night time as low as -6 C. In the past few days the clouds have moved in … and temperatures have risen as high as 14 C in the daytime and usually – 1 or -2 C at night — except for last night when the temperature only dropped to +3 C! That must mean spring is springing, right? So how does that explain the weather predictions for tonight for heavy snow in all the highway passes (but rain here in the valley)? Oh right, it still is March for a few more days … and you know what they say about March weather: “Comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” … Hmm… A bit more “lamb” would be nice, don’t you think?

The photos in this slide show have been taken over the past few days, and it does look kind of hopeful that spring is springing 🙂 Check them out 🙂

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Spring Break March 15 2020

It’s been a long while since I’ve walked around my neighbourhood and our Okanagan River Oxbows to snap some Penticton Pedestrian photos. But it’s the beginning of Spring Break, the sun is shining gloriously, it’s warmed up to 3 C (that’s 37 F for you folks south of the border), and despite Covid19 social distancing, it’s still okay to get out and enjoy nature. Lots of snow still up on the hilltops and a forecast of -7 C (19 F) tonight–but still, plenty of signs of spring popping up here and there 🙂

Spring or a Long April Fool’s Day?

Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day happened to land on the same date this year–and I’m thinking that momentous event totally messed up Spring! How else could it be that here in Penticton in the sunny South Okanagan, four days later, the weather forecast reads “rain showers or wet flurries.” Come on! It’s April! Easter has come and gone! This isn’t Alberta, after all 🙂 Check it out:

 

Well, at least the ice has melted off the oxbows … and the turtles have come out of hibernation and are hopefully trying to catch a few rays….

The urban deer are looking chipper, too — and I see they’re mighty pleased to be able to nibble at the fresh green tulips … and have even left a few buds behind to let us humans enjoy the flowers when they finally get around to blooming!

A few brave souls figure that if they get outside and pretend it’s Spring, the weatherman might take the hint and send some truly Spring-like weather along.

Oh! Check it out! Lots of flowers! It must be spring after all! Or is it?

 

But wait! Maybe spring is springing after all! Looks like Mother Nature isn’t going to let Mr. April Fool get away with his tricks altogether …

Yes! Spring has sprung!

 

Update on the Brandon Street Oxbow

In the past, I have posted photos and commentary on the Okanagan River oxbow at the foot of Brandon Avenue. Much of the oxbow was extremely overgrown with bulrushes, and filled with silt from street runoff. Fortunately, the City of Penticton, working with the Friends of the Oxbows society and other concerned citizen groups, has placed a filter in the run-off collector at the foot of Brandon, to prevent more silt buildup. Once that was done, this oxbow underwent a major reconstruction, bringing it back to much the way the Okanagan River oxbows must have looked prior to being cut off when the “channel parkway” was put through from Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake, with the highway running along beside it.

As Friends of the Oxbows member, Randy Manuel, explains: The City of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band cooperated in the removal of 360+ cubic meters of debris, sand from street runoff, and overgrown bulrushes. Now we have a very vibrant oxbow at the foot of Brandon Avenue, with nature returning. Where machines had to access the oxbow from the west (reserve) side, their intrusion has been replanted with riparian plants.

I took a walk down to this oxbow today and took some snapshots. In the following photos, you will see the amazing difference from just 7 months ago, with before (April 2016) and after (November 2016) photos! (You can see other posts about this oxbow at “Perfect Time to See the Oxbows,” “Oxbows or Progress?” and “Penticton Oxbows Tour“). To get a really clear view of the photos, click on the first one, and then you can click through them with larger and brighter views. You will also notice that in the “barren” area where the machinery had to come in, there are wire containers, each of which has a riparian plant native to this area. The final photo shows a view of the new container growth from above.

Green Okanagan Summer

This summer of 2016 is the greenest Okanagan summer I have ever seen … and I’ve lived in the Okanagan, or visited it in the summer, for most of my 61 years. The weather has been pleasant, but it hasn’t had the usual Okanagan heat. Oh yes, it did start off with a hot spell, mid to high 30s Celcius, in early May, and folks were predicting a long dry summer, drought, and probably wildfires.

But ever since then, we’ve had mostly pleasant mid-20s days, with summer showers often enough to keep the hillsides green–hillsides that are normally brown by early June. Now we are into August and they are just starting to brown. Every so often we have a few days in the low 30s, but even then, they’ve often been accompanied by thunderstorms with downpours just strong enough to prevent any major fires from lightning strikes. Most summers here in Penticton we’re under strict water regulations by early July, but this summer we’ve hardly needed to water our lawns and gardens.

What’s really amazing is the changes in the natural vegetation. Trees and bushes have sprung up. creating green oases where normally one night find thin, scraggly vegetation. The oxbows are coated in thick algae in any places–so thick that the usual ducks, turtles, and other wildlife have moved away. Even in more open water in the oxbows, there is far more floating vegetation than usual, and the bulrushes are tall and thick. The branches of berry bushes are hanging low, with heavy and very early crops such as I’ve not seen here before. The deer and bears are going to be plenty fat before winter comes.Even tree trunks have unusual growth of moss.

Gardens are amazing, too. Everywhere you look, there are amazing tall, thick-stemmed sunflowers. The fruit crops gave been thick and heavy-laden–and far earlier than usual. Despite very little watering, compared to normal summers, strawberries and vegetables are amazing. Along fence lines, flowers and crops are escaping their bounds.

What do you think? Is this just an unusual summer, or is this part of climate change? The thing is, the past few summers have been drier and drier, and the Okanagan has experienced some pretty devastating wildfires … yet now we’ve had a summer that, while pleasant, has definitely not reflected our semi-desert reputation!