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It's About Time - December 2015

American Wigeon, Anas Americana
American Wigeon, Anas Americana

Early morning sun comes through a south window these days, blinding me when I read the paper. In summer the blinding morning sun shines through a window about ten feet north. The two windows create a seasonal sundial. Sunny mornings are pretty scarce this time of the year, even when days end up sunny. By sunset the the air is filled with moisture. Cool nights and a chilly dawn turns moist air into dense fog in the valley floor. Only after the sun warms the fog banks late in the morning does a sunny day show its predicted blue skies. Clear days and clear nights are likely to lead to frozen pipes.

Thanksgiving brought us our first hard freeze of the season. Floriferous to the end, the nasturtiums went limp overnight. With all its cells burst by freezing, they released a cloud of nasturtium fragrance the next morning. Nasturtiums provided a beautiful ground cover under my cucumbers and, for the second year in a row, the aphids did not attack them.

Also the second year in a row, the eastside Delta Ponds have a covering of Azolla, the purple mosquito fern. Azolla usually shows up only sporadically, absent from prominence for several years before displaying another dramatic flush of growth. Azolla flourishes in winter while ordinary duckweed overcomes the mosquito fern in the summer. This summer Azolla did not disappear. It will make the winter migratory residents happy because it is high in nutrient content, better than ordinary duckweed.