Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I just noticed that yesterday's high temperature of 50 degrees tied Hood River's "lowest high" temperature for the date (April 29), set in 1972.

Just another confirmation that this has been one cold Spring.

Last year, we were setting records for the opposite situation (highest low temperature). What a difference a year makes.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

There's A Pattern Here

And the pattern is: a very cold Spring, with a warm weekend two weeks ago, snow last weekend, and a warm weekend currently. Not that great of a pattern, but at least the few warm spells have been on weekends.

It hasn't been a good Spring for vegetable gardens. I planted radishes and peas March 1st, and they are at least 3 weeks behind normal growth. The cucumber seeds planted April 12 have yet to emerge, and at this point most likely won't. I probably should have put Walls-O-Water or something similiar over them.

May 1st marks the usual time to plant tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, basil, and other warmth-loving veges at our Hood River city location (500 ft elevation). I may hold off a week or so this year, as cold wet weather is forecast to return tomorrow thru next week.

Here's how part of the vege garden looks currently. From front to back: garlic, lettuce, snow peas, last year's overwintered celery, onion starts, overwintered cilantro, perennial artichoke bed, new celery starts, and sugar snap peas. Not shown is the newly planted asparagus bed, which is a long-term investment, taking a couple of years before it can be harvested to any extent.

Speaking of vegetables (and locally grown stuff), Gorge Grown Food Network has an interesting survey on their web site, part of their ongoing efforts to bring together local food growers and local food consumers.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Just A Taste

Of Spring: Warm, sunny weather made a welcome (but too brief) visit this weekend. Friday's high at our weather station was 70, while yesterday's high hit 77. Today looks to be somewhere around 70 to 75, as cooler and wetter air returns tonight through next week.

This week's Hood River Weather poll question is specifically designed to make you crazy or at least irritated. Given the federal government's seeming inability to contain spending, is it better to match income to outgo (tax and spend), or to borrow against the national debt and let future generations deal with it (borrow and spend).

I deliberately left out more reasonable choices (like maybe control spending better?), since I just don't see the feds wanting or being able to do that any time soon.

I waver between the two bad choices, but lean more towards tax and spend. It seems a little more honest, at least as long as the level of taxing does not unduly strain people's and company's budgets. As a percentage of GDP (which is how deficit defenders typically justify national debt), total taxation in the US is way down on the list, 34th lowest out of 36 major countries.

On the other hand, I think most people prefer tax cuts and especially "free" rebates from the feds. There is something to be said for Keynesian economic theory that it is rightfully the government's job to stimulate the economy through deficit spending in times of economic slowdowns.

Unfortunately, the flip side of Keynesian theory is that the government should run a balanced budget or surplus the rest of the time. But that involves responsible balancing of taxing and spending and is no fun at all for politicians or their constituents (us).

The last time we even came close to having a balanced budget was during the Clinton presidency, where gridlock between the Democratic president and Republican congress helped keep the government from adding and expanding spending programs.

So maybe gridlock is the economic model we should be striving for? And what does that mean for the choices in the upcoming presidential election?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

March Revisited

Compared to historical averages, March in Hood River was much cooler, a little windier, and drier.

So much for global warming. For now. Stay tuned...

The average temperature was 2.6 degrees cooler than long term averages, and a chilly 4.8 degrees below 2000-2007 averages. There was an unusually late snowfall event of 2 inches at the city elevation March 28th. Wind speeds were above average, with WSW winds predominate.

There were no local records set in March.

High Low Average Historical Average Variance
Temperature (F) 64.3
Wind (mph) 31

Rainfall (in) 0.42

2.58 (total)