Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It’s been raining since spring

I was cleaning drawers a year or so ago (and not since!) and found a Vermont Weather Stick I hadn’t given away or put up.  I took it to work and gave it to the road guys.  The road super was skeptical, the assistant cynical.  “When it rains, the stick is wet.  When the sun shines, the stick is dry.  Ha Ha.  We get it.”  I had to nag them to hang it up, but eventually the super went out the door, around the corner, and nailed it to the window frame.

The weather stick is real science, but you have to take your choice among several theories.  My favorite is the balsam fir adapts to climate, drawing in when conditions are dry and reaching out for moisture when it’s wet, producing a layer of cells that do just that.  The best part of this theory is we hang them upside down so the stick points up in dry weather and curls down in wet.

I looked out the road garage window this morning at the stick, drooping, drips falling from its tip.  Drip.  Drip.  Drip.  “Poor thing,” I said.  “It’s hung down for weeks.”  “Actually,” said the super, “It’s been raining since spring.”

And it has.  I drive by a loop of the Cuyahoga River going to work every day.  It’s not a violent river down in the meadows, plenty of flood plane for the water.  One peninsula near the road provides good shelter at the tip and unless the water is out of control I often see ducks breasting the current, looking quite content.  Today the water is over the banks, spreading out in the meadow.  The mallards don’t have to hop to the top of the bank, they just  stand up. And, as someone else observed today, it could have been a foot of snow.


  1. We call those a Newfie weasther station here in Ontario.... I gave my Dad one as a Christmas joke one year.
    by the way, its bloody pouring over here right now

  2. That is fascinating. I have never heard of a weather stick before.

    We Brits love talking about weather ... so I think this would be an amazing conversation-piece, a 'conversational ice-breaker'!

  3. Hmmmm . . . I guess I don't need one -- I can just check your blog!!! That said, isn't weird weather we're having? By now we have usually had a few inches of 'partly cloud' (read: snow)! :)

  4. So very dry here in Alberta. Do you suppose a weather stick would attract wet weather? Just wondering . . .