Backyardsafari's Blog

Environmental Inspiration in Your Own Backyard

Spring Rain April 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — backyardsafari @ 9:39 am
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There was light outside, but those particles never seemed to make it into the room. Everything was dark–not even a color, just shadowy and dull. The couch squeaked and creased underneath me. The padding between my limbs and the bar in the arm rest is wearing thin, surely a sign of too much use.  It was drizzling outside, but for a short time the rain out the window slowed… slowed… and stopped.  The sky cleared a bit leaving a beautiful pre-thunderstorm mottled gray, and the cars going by made tschh tschhh sounds through the puddles.

I sprang up, ready at last. I changed into soft clothes and pulled on my sneakers–the new blue and yellow ones that make me feel like I am a gazelle, a panther, that I could leap forever, although I can tell you now this is far from true. I put in some head phones, tripped down the stairs, and opened the door into fresh spring air.

I ran and walked in intervals–each cycle of running pushing me to the edge of my ability, each cycle of walking just long enough to convince my lungs everything was fine before starting again. I moved past the road and down a bike path, tucked snugly against a line of trees. It felt good to power myself, to ponder my skeleton and its coverings as I pushed my legs across the arc of the earth. While I ran I noticed only the pain in my lungs, but while I walked I saw leaves beginning to unfurl, the dappled sky.

Shortly after I returned home, the sky kept its promise and a dark storm unfurled. The gray darkened to black and low thunder rumbled in the distance. A bowling lane. A truck going by. A boulder rolling. A waterfall.  I nestled in and listened to it surround the house–deliciously plump drops of rain coating everything. As the thunder called out I thought of how much I love feeling safe in the middle of a storm and of all the other people through history who have felt the same way.  Archaic humans hearing water drip from the branches of their brush huts. Ancient pueblo people looking out from stone caves, tucked away from lightning and flash floods. Colonial settlers hearing the rain tap the logs of their newly finished cabin. Maybe even my neighbor, who has a different wreath made out of candy for every holiday, sitting in her room listening just like me.

When I went to sleep that night the rain was still there. A spring rain. A rain full of promise. A rain tapping out a message on every roof and window: “We are the same, we are the same, we are the same.”

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Winter Windows January 24, 2011

Proof that nature really is everywhere! While we should all try to get outside, there are definitely exciting things you can see while sipping cocoa wrapped in a warm blanket! Here is what I woke up to this morning:

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“For frost to form on the windowpanes as well as on trees and grass certain conditions are necessary. Frost is made up of tiny crystals of frozen water. It forms when air that has a lot of moisture in it is cooled below the freezing temperature of water. This temperature, which we call “the freezing point,” is 32 degrees Fahrenheit and zero degrees centigrade, at sea level. When air becomes cooler, it cannot hold as much water as before. The excess water condenses on such objects as the windowpane. Now, if the temperature falls below 0 degrees centigrade, this water becomes crystallized. In other words, it freezes into a coating of interlocked crystals of water. What causes the patterns to appear in the frost on the windowpanes? For one thing, the tiny crystals have a certain structure which gives them a pattern. In addition, there may be tiny scratches in the glass, dust particles, air currents all of which help create the designs that “Jack Frost” makes on your windows.” Source

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For more information on why frost occurs, you can go here. This site also includes info on how to “grow your own frost,” although I’m not sure how safe it is!  I was going to tell you to find frost pictures by just google image searching for it, but when I did a bunch of pictures of women getting.. intimate.. with snowmen showed up as well. Who knew! This might be a better option.

Do any of you have frost on your windows? What kind of patterns does it form? According to the same source listed above, frost covered windows used to be more common when most windows used to be a single pane of glass. Now most windows are made of 2 panes, and are more insulated than before, and thus get less frost. If you do have frost, though, I would love to see a picture! You can always send photos, questions, or ideas in to askbackyardsafari@gmail.com.

If you don’t have frost growing on your windows, try watching the water coming down your window panes the next time it rains! Are running droplets attracted together? Do they follow the same paths or make a new one? Do they splash, splatter, bounce, trickle?

There is always something new to notice, in every place and every season!