Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer in the cold

July had some unseasonably cool temperatures.We saw summer arrive late in the month of June with some temps in the mid-90's (Fahrenheit). Those temps have disappeared.

When my boys started the morning with their last day of swimming lessons for the year, it was nippy! It felt more like Halloween time than it did time for taking a dip into the water.

We had lunch and decided to go for a hike at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. It was chilly, but we were okay. We tried to do the GPS geocaching-really the childhood game of searching for pirate's treasure gone high tech. We have enjoyed doing it, but we also find it frustrating. The ranger suggested trying to use the unit with a traditional compass. I think we will do that next time. We did find some blackberries and raspberries in the park and stopped periodically to pick some for a great snack. It was great ! When we were driving home, I noticed that the car told me it was 59 degrees at 3:00 in the afternoon.

The boys had a softball game with their 4-H group at 7:00 in the evening. I am happy the boys have been able to play with 4-H. We aren't sports fans around here. I have to tolerate a football game every now and then in the fall, but that is pretty much it. It was a nice pace for the boys--the parents don't get silly with their obsessive behavior. If more sports were like this, I might be more inclined to do them. They are really looking forward to next year!

There were blankets, jackets and a baby even had a stocking cap on. After sitting on the ground an hour, we were ready to get home. We actually turned the heat on it the car...can you believe it? JULY and we turned the heat on? Minnesota is considerably warmer in the bottom half of the state. The warmest recorded temperature was in Moorhead (on the border with Fargo, North Dakota) on July 6, 1932, with 114 degrees. I learned that and thought of my grandmother, pregnant with my father--she would have to wait two more weeks before delivering in that heat wave. UFF DA!!!

The coldest temperature in Minnesota was recorded in Embarass, Minnesota (far north) on February 6, 1996 with a low of -60 (Fahrenheit). This was actual temperature and did not include windchills. For a few years, I lived in Fargo and remember it getting -40 below and speaking to a person from California and she was utterly amazed. I remember her asking how we lived like that. In northern Minnesota engine block warmers for the car are essential. However, the record colds set this month aren't that dire.

June brought highs in the mid-90's in Southern Minnesota (usually warmer) to the low of 23 degrees in Tower. Tower and Embarrass are close to each other and are routinely the coldest place in America and frequently have colder temps than many parts of Alaska even. Northern Minnesota has a lot of mining. Can you imagine working in winter temperatures like that? My husband is a mechanic for agricultural equipment, that can double for snow removal in winter, and I know how cold he gets. Today he went to work on a piece outside and had to return to the shop for a jacket. For all the people who have been shocked by the temperatures, there has been an upside to all of this. Last night was only the second time I have killed a mosquito this entire season. Minnesota, like so many other places, like to think of the pest as a state bird of sorts. Such a strange year. I think I should fix my back door so it is more energy efficient--I thought it was going to be a bad winter a while ago. I am getting concerned over heating costs this year--never know, maybe it will surprise us and be a nice mild winter to match the mild summer.

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