A cold front, according to our local weather guy, occurs when the temperatures dips into the 80s. Once again the 90+ degree weather has returned. Will this summer never end? Not likely. We never had winter last year, and that should have been a little clue.
As part of my literary rotation, I spent this morning reading another chapter in Chris Stringer’s new book, Lone Survivors: How We Came to be the Only Humans on Earth. This morning, he described spelunkers investigating caves in Europe and finding the remains of our Homo Sapiens ancestors. The submerged caves were above sea level millenia ago before the Ice Age ended, and melted water flooded land areas along the continental shelves. That may have been when the Atlantic Ocean broke the limestone barrier at Gibraltar and flooded the inland area that became the Mediterranean.
Ten years ago, I read Noah’s Flood, in which two scientists explored the floor of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean searching for signs of lost civilization. William Ryan and Walther Pitman describe floods that took place about 25-40 thousand years ago.
Floods, ice ages and even human evolution is “theory. However, having spent many summer months in Wisconsin visiting kettles and moraines, said to be the result of expanding and retreating ice sheets, I think there is a great deal of evidence the earth has had wild weather in the past. Are we mere mortals in for more? Does the sun rise in the East?
While David walked the dogs, I braved the heat and watered pots. Most of my potted plants have survived and some even thrived. I have discovered which plants do well in our erratic temperatures and intermittent rain storms, and which do not. Mostly, I stick to the what works. This means I no longer plant anything that dislikes heat, such as peonies. (I have not dug up my existing peonies, though some have died.)
Aunt Bernie, lived in Milwaukee most of her adult life and had peonies in her back yard. She said living in the South I would never be able to grow them, and I wanted to prove her wrong. For a couple of years, I succeeded, but lately, all but the white Peonies have been a bust.
This reminds me of a story one of David’s friends told:
Fired from his railroad job as a switchman thanks to the new automated systems, he was told, “With the new switchers, you cannot make a mistake and get train A and train B on the same track at the same time.”
(Both trains made daily runs. Train A was carrying fruits and vegetables from California and headed East. Train B was hauling corn for livestock and headed toward California.)
Our friend said the new switcher managed to get both trains on the same track at the same time and the result was a tossed salad over the Sierra Nevada. After this, he managed the train schedules. Is this a true story? Did he cause the wreck? Did he get his job back? We decided the guy was an alcoholic and the tale was probably tall.
However, when either David or I try to do something we have been told we cannot do, we always say, “You cannot get two trains on the same track at the same time” and laugh. We do it anyway, and sometimes it works, other times not. (Below, how a peony shrub should look)