October 16th Coyotes howling at the full moon

Good morning everyone! It is a warm 47°F outside and currently dry. We had a beautiful shot at the full moon and the stars this morning during our morning walk. Thanks to the glorious light of the moon, which was bright enough to makes us feel like we had a powerful flashlight on us at all times (and even cast shadows!), it felt safe to walk around outside after what we had heard all night.

Yes, you guessed right – we heard coyotes the night before! At first, when my human woke up at 2 a.m., she thought it was us, because all she heard was whines, yips and squeals. She checked to make sure we were inside and healthy – she even poked my belly since I was dead asleep on the couch and not making a peep. Going back upstairs, she realized that it was a band of coyotes making that chorus outside the bedroom window! Winston and I couldn’t be too concerned, however, since we had more important things to do at 2 a.n. – namely, sleep.

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Today at 5:45 a.m. the sky was starry and the air was so dry, we needed a humidifier at night. However, that is not going to be the case for the rest of the day, as we are expecting a massive storm, an infamous Nor’easter. This one is supposed to dump over 2 inches of rain on us today, which is an amazing feat for upstate New York. The eye of this storm is supposed to have an extremely low pressure and undergo a phenomenon that they are calling “bombogenesis”, when a low-pressure system in the mid-latitudes (us) drops 24 mb in 24 hours. Our barometer is currently reading 1008, which is already lower than 1 atm, and falling. We are excited to read it again tonight and see by how much the pressure has dropped.

This Nor’Easter is part of a weather pattern that explains why we aren’t getting snow yet on the East Coast – there is too much warmth and moisture coming up from the South still this time of year. Yet, if this pattern continues, this will translate into snow, as the temperature will drop eventually below freezing and this warmth and moisture will then become wet and heavy snow.

As we are snow-lovers, we are excited about this possibility and preparing ourselves for our favorite winter activities such as the popular sport of driving on the snow (snow tires), keeping warm during the snow (igloos for me and Winston, warm shoes for humans), having fun in the snow (coats for us, season passes for humans), and talking about the snow (snow-day attire, snow festival decorations, and snow-day plans). Here in upstate NY, we embrace hygge like it’s our job. Time to break out the fuzzy socks!

Have a great Wednesday everyone and remember that cold planet is a healthy planet. We have gone through five ice ages and survived, after all! (I’m talking about canines, that is. Not sure what you fur-less humans were up to).

Love,

Mack

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October 13th Fall Records

Good morning everyone! Today we woke up to an outdoor temperature of 34°F and an indoor temperature of 68°F. We managed to maintain a very high indoor temperature because yesterday, my humans kept adding to the fire to keep it going and accidentally brought up the inside temperature to 81°F! Winston and I weren’t complaining, though – we had our faces pressed against the stone in front of the fire, pretending it was summer again.

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This morning we got the same recipe that we’ve been getting the last week: chilly night temperature that gets down to dew point, fog, and daytime temperature expecting to rise to 60°F. The only notable difference will be mid-week next week when a cold front should bring colder temperatures and a bit of rain from Wednesday to Thursday, but definitely no snow yet.

This is different from last year. We checked our own records yesterday (my human had been keeping a paper record) and on October 17th of last year, 2018, it had already snowed and even left an accumulation on the morning of October 18th on our deck. However, we never got a frost that year – it went straight from raining to snowing. It was a very wet fall and the leaves weren’t as pretty as they were this year. We also barely got any apples last year.

The previous owners of the house reminded us that in 1987, they were getting 20 inches of snow on October 5th! Snow is definitely not unheard of this time of year.

This year, we’ve had a dry autumn filled with very seasonably acceptable temperatures. We’ve had three definite frosts (and a maybe baby frost) so far and our temperatures are regularly meeting dew point at night, so every time we have a dew point below zero, we get frost. The sunny warm daytime temperatures and chilly but not freezing nighttime temperatures mean that the fall foliage is popping this year. Snow is not in the forecast – yet.

This weekend we are going to be enjoying the fall weather some more and indulging in our favorite fall activities, such as chasing squirrels, running through piles of leaves, laying by the fire with our belly up, and sleeping in our humans’ laps.

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Last night we got a beautiful family portrait in the mail from Canada! Can you see the likeness of our two humans and of ourselves?

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Enjoy the long weekend all! And remember – winter is coming!

Love,

Mack

 

 

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October 12th True Fall

Good morning everyone! We woke up to 40 degrees F today, but inside it was a toasty 70 degrees since we lit a fire in the wood stove. We took a nice walk as the sun was rising and got to play around in the leaves. By the way, it is Children’s Day in Brazil, so happy day to all those who are still children at heart!

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Our morning habits have changed considerably, which is why it has been difficult for me to write in the morning! Our usual morning walk takes place at 6 a.m. In October, it is now pitch black at 6 a.m. until the time my humans leave to go to school. This poses a serious conundrum given that we like to observe nature, take pictures, and give updates before my humans get any serious work done. Without light, that becomes very difficult. We have decided to remedy this by starting to take 3 o’clock walks. We could pretty much call this column “Afternoon Walks with Mack”  from October to May since sunlight is scarce in the winter during non-working hours!

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Our backyard sure is pretty in the afternoon sun. Take a look at all the gorgeous pictures we took yesterday! If you look closely you can see leaves falling like rain.

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Our humans have discovered a couple beautiful anomalies to take note of, one of which is also edible. We have just found out that our large apple tree gives green apples as well as red apples! To confirm this, we ate two very tasty (and surprisingly sweet) green apples. The other anomaly is that we consistently have fresh clay dug up beside our pond. Under close inspection, this revealed to be a sort of tunnel being dug from our pond. Could this be the work of muskrats?

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Another question that has come up lately is: All right, it is getting colder (the highs now are in the 50’s and 60’s) and the night temperature has been dipping into the 30’s and 40’s, but when is it going to snow?!

Our humble answer to that is that it depends on the jet stream. Right now, the jet stream has been trying to force itself South in the Midwest. That is why they are seeing snow, even very early in the season. Normally, this dip in the jet stream would meander our way since winds travel from West to East in the United States. However, there seem to be disturbances on the East Coast and to the South that are preventing a clean passage for the jet stream. The forecast doesn’t show it to be moving as quickly as normal, meaning it’s perhaps wedged between high pressure systems. That is also why the ten-day forecast right now looks very uniform, with practically the same chance of rain and the same temperature range. That doesn’t mean that we’re getting exactly the same weather the next ten days; but that the uncertainty to how this weather will play out is greater.

Unless the jet stream starts becoming more predictable, it is hard to determine when it will snow. Our bet that the first snow will happen in November, which is a bit later than last year.

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For now, we are enjoying the sun!

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Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Love,

Mack

 

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October 5th First Frost

Good morning everyone! We have an exciting announcement: our temperature has definitely dropped below dew point and below freezing, creating frost at the surface! Not only are there frozen ice crystals on the grass, but we can see ice on the aspen saplings, the dying ragweed, on the cattails that surround the pond, and – unfortunately – on our beautiful tomato plants. We snapped lots of pictures and saved as many tomatoes as we could!

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It is 29 degrees F outside and today, it won’t get any higher than 55 degrees F! We are expecting a nice sunny day with a fire roaring in the wood stove. Yesterday was the second day we lit a fire, and boy, was I happy warming my belly in front of it as I used to do last winter!

We also had happy visitors last night – the house’s first owners! They seemed to know Winston and I pretty well since they were calling us by name. I wonder if we are famous now?

I hope everyone stays warm and enjoys the sparkly ice crystals outside! I know we will be enjoying them from behind a window today!

Love,

Mack

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October 1st Winter is Coming

Good morning everyone! We know that we’re not even done appreciating fall, but we know that winter is just around the corner! In fact, we are due to receive a continental polar air mass that hit Montana with feets of snow, in just a few days. The temperature should even (briefly) drop below zero!

Today, however, that is not the case. We woke up to a perfectly normal 56°F, although it was pitch black outside. Our fall colors are still picking up. Some trees have now shed their leaves while others are just starting to turn hues of purple, red, or orange. Sometimes the wind scattering the leaves scare me and I attack them!

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We’ve been soaking up all the sun we can, because we have a feeling that this winter will be a harsh one!

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We’re almost done harvesting our tomatoes for the season – they probabl will not live much longer past Thursday, which is when temperatures will plummet to the 40’s and we will likely have to light a fire to keep us warm. We are starting to get winter-ready by thinking about snow tires, fireplace accessories, warm clothes for everyone in the household (especially me: I don’t have any fur on parts of my belly!!). Nevertheless, we are psyched because winter is another favorite season and we don’t stop playing outside just because it gets cold.

Have a great week everyone!

Love,

Mack

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September 24th Equinox colors

Good morning everyone! After spending a gorgeous 80°F weekend marveling at the sunny weather, we are back with seasonal temperatures in the 60’s with some rain. These fall colors just keep getting more vivid – check them out!

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Yes, we are surrounded by beauty. It’s a wonder we go back to sleep at all when my humans go to work.

The jet stream is meandering in a funny pattern this week, meaning we’re getting a slight dip in temperature today and then it’s encouraging more warm air coming from the South. It will take ten more days to get some chilly weather again, since that’s how far the next dip in the jet stream is. We are looking forward to it!

Enjoy those colors everyone and as of yesterday, happy Fall!

Love,

Mack

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Action #3: Staying local: The perspective from a wanderlust dog

Hi everyone! Winston here with another ecological action you can start doing in your life! This one isn’t so much as a single action as it is a lifestyle change!

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I guess I should introduce this by saying that my human loooooves to wander around. You know how humans descended from the trees in Ethiopia, crossed to Mediterranean to Europe, walked to India, crossed the Bering strait into the Americas and also colonized Oceania with primitive ships? Well, science says that all this exploring and wandering has to do with a gene that some humans carry that compel them to discover new places and take (un) necessary risks. This gene, DRD4-7R, may be present in 20% of the population and has been more observed in nomadic populations than in settled populations. While humans carrying this gene could be responsible for the re-discovery of the Americas, the discovery of radioactivity, or the discovery of a favorite new food, these special humans are also more likely to flit between jobs and places. However, individuals who display “wanderlust” seem to be beneficial to the human race as a whole as they push the boundaries of progress forward.

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In the case of my human, we’re not sure if it’s the way she was brought up or an inherent gene that made her constantly jump out of the house in search of a new area to explore – the famous nurture vs. nature debate. Her mother guided her towards spending 80% of her time outdoors (rain, sun, or snow) and her father took the family on trips every summer, so she was basically constantly exploring outdoors as she was growing up. But she is also the descendant of Brazilian immigrants, whose ancestors also immigrated to Brazil in the last two centuries, who then came from. . .all over Europe. So she is also party gypsy by nature.

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This love for exploration is problematic when we consider that we want to reduce our carbon footprint. After reading that a single passenger on an international plane trip is responsible for melting 3 square meters of ice, our human has almost sworn off plane travel. Instead, we are making very long road trips to see our family and friends who happen to be scattered across the continent. This makes for very interesting car trips that fully satiate wanderlust by generating more things to see, and slightly less carbon dioxide along the way.

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But, along with banishing plane travel, we are reducing our weekend travel, enjoying more sights at home. All of these pictures come from a walking distance from our house. We got to explore more simply by walking and enjoying that every day of the year brings us a different sight. This is partly why we live in New York State to begin with – it is much more than just having “4 seasons”. There are twelve seasons, one for each month, and every day within that month is different. You just can’t get bored.

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We are also exploring our “wanderlust” genes in new ways without traveling. Every time we try a new food, open our mind-doors to new ideas, or talk to a different person, we are opening ourselves to the possibility of exploration. We are trying shortcuts we were too afraid to try before, different shops where we haven’t gone into before, and escaping our routine and comfort-zone ever so slightly, every day.

All this is helping my human stay more at home and appreciate the value of being “settled” while having a gene that is telling her to “Go! Explore! See new things!”.

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Humans weren’t meant to be completely happy with where they are – there’s always something pushing them to try something new and be a little better every day. But us, dogs, we will follow you wherever you take us, because we love you!

Have a great weekend everyone and until next week.

Love,

Winston

 

 

 

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