Monday, April 16, 2007

Northeaster Paints the Forests White

Yesterday brought us one hell of a storm in Philadelphia which continues to bellow this afternoon with wind, thunder, and lightning. Classified as a Northeaster (or “Nor’easter” as they say), this storm brings cold air from the northeast, and is a typical winter system in these parts. Power outages have been persistent. The rain has been awesome!

Our spring Nor’easter managed to paint the world white overnight, and saturate the earth with the waters that make this area one of the most fertile, non-irrigated farming regions in the world. This morning all the fields are covered in about 3-5 inches of free standing snow, water, and ice. When we pulled an aluminum stake out of the ground, the soil actually made a pop-sucking sound, and water flowed out!

As you can see in some of these images, the reason that the trunks shine so white is because anything with a surface was painted white from the direction of the prevailing wind. Here at the farm, that appears to be West-Northwest. (I believe this is the result of the rotation of this weather system). Don't you just love the blush of red blossoms and green sprouts on the tree branches and rose canes?

Considering what the rain, snow, and ice did to my daily trail (what looks like a river in the above image), I can only imagine what some of the flooding is like around the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Today everything is wet, squishy, and cold, and absolutely beautiful. I’m glad we got to see one more snow – Pennsylvania is absolutely at her best when dressed in snow.

For those of you who have lived in both evergreen and deciduous forests, have you noticed how the hardwoods' voices have a deeper, lower rumble in the wind (especially in winter), while the softwoods' voices have more clatter and roar in the windstorms? Tropical forests have different voices too - it's a wider, longer sound with an echo to it (if that makes any sense whatsoever).


  1. Yes!If you are listening, you can even get to where you unconciously aware by sound if you are under, say, a tulip poplar vs. a maple (tulip poplars have a more hollow, mellow sound, maples more slappy-if that makes sense ;0 ) One of the disturbing things about our spring freeze-out of all the tree leaves is the sound. The leaves are hanging all dry and rasping in the wind and it doesn't fit into what you have come to expect of the spring landscape so your mind immediately notices "something sounds funny here". The hickory and maples make the dryest, loudest sound, because of the shape their leaves took on in the freeze-dried state, I guess.
    I enjoyed your white painted pictures!

  2. Cady May, greetings, and welcome! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and observations - I am pleased (if not surprised) to know that others listen to their forests' voices as well. Indeed - I can hear when the voice of the wind doesn't quite fit with the season. Thank you again, come back any time!


  3. Finely I found a very nice and educational blog about trees. I thought my climate was tough! I live outside Stockholm in the archepelago and the northerly wind from the sea can be quite strong. Not very good for the garden. My philosofy with trees is, you plant a tree fot the comming generations. I plant at least one tree each year and if you cut one down you have to replace it with a new tree. / Tyra


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