One of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain is “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” Well, for several months now there has been no need to do anything about the weather. It has been stupendous. Maybe too dry, but still stupendous.Richard G. Hendrickson has officially confirmed that observation. He recently shared his monthly report as a U.S. Cooperative Weather Observer, and he noted, as did we all, that October 2013 was not only storm free, it was, in fact, beautiful in many respects. Richard noted that it is hard to realize just how fortunate we have been. First, there were no heavy rains, therefore no flooded cellars, washouts or deep gullies in our large potato fields, and no damage to our roadways that interrupted our ability to get about town. Richard warns, however, that although our roads, walkways and cellars were all spared a flood last month, there are no guarantees for the months ahead of us.
Total precipitation for October, Richard reports, was 0.15 of an inch. Highest temperature for October was 79 degrees on the 4th. Lowest was 25 degrees on the 26th. Richard notes that November should give us cooler weather, heavier rainfall, cloudier days and stronger winds. As of this writing we’ve had some cooler temperatures and even some cloudy, windy days in November, but we’re way behind on measurable rain. I’m sure farmers and gardeners are all concerned about the lack of rainfall.
While we do need rain, most of us would prefer it didn’t rain on certain days. I would guess that the folks at SoFo (The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center) hope that it doesn’t rain on Friday, November 15, when they’re holding their “Owls by the Light of the Full Moon” event at 7 p.m.
According to their press release, the event is sponsored by SoFo for adults, and participants will have the chance to listen for the whinnying sound of the eastern screech owl or the seven-noted hoot of the great horned owl on this nighttime owl prowl. Leader Joe Giunta, an expert birder, will present a brief slide show and then take you into the field to call owls in for sightings. Bring binoculars and a flashlight. Enrollment is limited so you should register now by calling the museum at 631-537-9735. There is a $7 fee for participants who are not current SoFo members.
On the following Sunday, November 17, SoFo and Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt will be co-hosting a “Full Frost Moon Hike” from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. According to the sponsors, the Frost Moon or Full Beaver Moon was named by Native Americans since this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. This will be a leisurely paced one-hour hike in Vineyard Field, and afterward there will be an opportunity for some convivial conversation and refreshments in the moonshine. Meet at the SoFo Museum parking lot, 377 Bridgehampton Turnpike, 200 yards north of the RR tracks. To make a reservation for this program call the museum at (631) 537-9735, or on the night of the event call Jean Dodds at (631) 599-2391.
I’ve also heard from Ed Wesnosfske that after being apprised of faulty and broken lighting at the Founder’s Memorial at Monument Square in Bridgehampton, the town’s Parks and Recreation Department had fixed and replaced needed lighting elements within 24 hours. Ed said that they are to be commended for their efficiency and sensitivity to the approach of Veterans Day on November 11. I agree.
By the way, the monument, which sits at the intersection of Ocean Road, the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike and Montauk Highway, commemorates the history of Bridgehampton, and was unveiled on July 4, 1910, as part of our hamlet’s 250th anniversary celebration. The monument also honors the descendants of Bridgehampton residents who died in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the War of 1812. Later inscriptions were made denoting soldiers who served in the wartime periods of 1917-1919, 1941-45, 1950-53 and 1964-73.
Finally, I’ve been enjoying the honking geese as they gather into huge flocks. Years ago that meant that they were getting ready to fly south, but these days we have a large contingent of geese that winter over. I am reminded, though, of the old saying, “When the geese honk high, fair weather, but when the geese honk low, foul weather.” I wonder if Twain would have remarked that geese are just like people: they honk about the weather but do nothing about it.