Really, for the weather enthusiast (or obsessive, depending on your POV), we live in a pretty interesting place. Our part of middle TN has summers and winters slightly reminiscent of the midwest, but with pronounced springs and falls. We've had the full panoply: tornadoes, drought, all manner of winter precip, and thousand-year-floods. We're too far inland to be affected too badly by gulf-coast hurricanes, though we'll get the rain when they come ashore and deteriorate into tropical depressions
A couple of other late-summer signs: the large orb-weaver spiders are starting to show up. One of them spread an impressive web in the dead-center of our bedroom window. I've got my eyes peeled for Argiope aurantias, but haven't seen any yet. My long bike rides take me pretty far out into the surrounding countryside, and I'm starting to see more woolly bears on the move, scooting across the road ahead of me. Farmers have cut hay again, and the corn fields are as tall as can be.
Our tomato plantation, such as it is, has begun the late-summer decline. We had some pretty severe thunderstorms a month or so back and most of the plants got beaten down badly. They've come back, and we've had a bumper crops of gold and red cherry tomatoes. The larger plants - Bigger Boys and Brandywines never really seem to recovered. Based on our experiments this summer, we'll probably move the square-foot frames closer to the house (for easier access to water), and concentrate on cucumbers, hot peppers and tomatoes (with better staking).
We were blessed with a breezy and mostly-clear evening for the Perseid meteor shower last week. I had a bit of insomnia, wandered out side to take a look and was rewarded immediately by a long, bright meteor. I waited a few more minutes and dragged the oldest two kids out of bed and the three of us sat on the back deck quietly counting meteors until the thin clouds started to move in.
Have I posted this bit from the Book of Wisdom? I don't rightly recall, so here it is, maybe again. It has been attributed to Solomon, but was probably written by an Alexandrian Jew in his voice, perhaps as a tribute. It contains a beautiful paean to wisdom, including this little piece (7:15-24, NJB) that provides all the justification I need as an armchair naturalist:
May God grant me to speak as he would wish and conceive thoughts worthy of the gifts I have received, since he is both guide to Wisdom and director of sages; for we are in his hand, yes, ourselves and our sayings, and all intellectual and all practical knowledge.Over time, I have come to realize that it is through an attempt at understanding the local natural environment that I root myself in a particular place and time: trees and plants, insects and spiders, flowers, fungus, mosses, soil, landforms, watersheds, geology, weather, astronomical cycles. All of these reward patient and careful study. Some of these things can only be learned over time, over several changes of seasons. Once you build up this inner library, you may be loathe to move someplace where you can't use it. As my wife can attest, I have much more difficulty letting of particular places than I do of people in some cases. On the other hand, moving to a new place provides an excuse for new field guides, almanacs, ephemerides, and so on. So there you go.
He it was who gave me sure knowledge of what exists, to understand the structure of the world and the action of the elements, the beginning, end and middle of the times, the alternation of the solstices and the succession of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the position of the stars, the natures of animals and the instincts of wild beasts, the powers of spirits and human mental processes, the varieties of plants and the medical properties of roots. And now I understand everything, hidden or visible, for Wisdom, the designer of all things, has instructed me.
For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd, irresistible, beneficent, friendly to human beings, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits.
For Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.