In early November, it really began raining. Temperatures were in the mid 50's. On November 6th it poured 3 inches and was called the "worst flooding in 10 years". On the 13th it was still raining although now the rain was accompanied by 40 mile per hour winds. Trees uprooted and toppled from water soaked ground. The 15th found us with continuing rain and the winds had picked up - Oak Harbor at 62 and Bellingham at 68 miles per hour. The Hood Canal Bridge closed and traffic everywhere was a mess.
Through it all the Anna's Hummingbirds continued to fly and use the feeders.
On the 18th our temperatures were 52 for a high and 36 that night with some clearing and a touch of sun. I cleared the house for some fresh air and planted three young cedar trees.
The rain was back on the 26th along with serious winds and on the 27th we had wind, sun and 3 inches of snow in Puyallup. Trees continued to come down, 26 million were without power solid ice on the roads. The 28th dawned sunny buy oh so cold. My temperatures were 28/22, even the tubes on the hummingbird feeders froze. My husband, Joe, fixed small red light bulbs to hang next to the feeder tubes and fashioned foil shelters to reflect the heat. It worked and the Anna's fed all day long. A large, hungry looking Red-Tailed Hawk stood in the bright sun on our standing bird feeder. The 29th was dull and very icy. Temperatures holding at 32/17. The birds are covering all of the feeders.
The snow and ice are gone! The 30th brought temperature raises to 44/38 and we are officially the "wettest November ever, since 1933", 15.63 inches of rain. The warmer weather gave me a chance to check the plants, shrubs, and trees on the property. Everything seems pretty much OK, although the recording thermometer in the greenhouse says it got down to 32 degrees. Very glad I have heating cables in the benches.
Rain and wind followed us into December, although the Anna's are sipping from the Winter Jasmine and a Golden Crowned Kinglet was spotted in the Salmon Berry bushes along a trail on our property. We spoke too soon, as the 69 mile per hour winds were back on the 15th. More trees down, more power outages. We lost a 54 year old Chamacyparris Pisaflora when it split at a double trunk and took out our power lines on the way down.
It's the 21st of December and the "First Day of Winter"!!! A nice day, no wind and some sun.
The rain and wind returned on January 1st and during the night of the 10th we received 7 inches of snow. Frozen conditions continued the 14th although the Anna's are still able to feed at their heated feeders. It started to thaw on the 16th and the rain returned on the 21st. The warmer conditions have brought the animals back out. Spotted two doe deer walking down the creek behind our house. Our two Mallard Ducks were seen sitting next to the pond in the late afternoon.
The bad news is that the Shot Weed was totally unaffected by our weather, and is showing color and almost in bloom. Seems like we should get a break.
In the months ahead, even through summers drought, be sure when working in Master Gardeners Clinics, that you remember the terrific beating that our shrubs and trees have taken. When the question "What's a matter with my plant?" comes up, refer your client back to those three winter months of incredible weather abuse. People will have forgotten the onslaught that growing things have endured. Many gardens are openly exposed to desiccating winds that can damage or destroy semi-hardened plant tissue. Many times the plant will struggle to recover and it may take many months for its final demise. Remind them also that the harsh weather conditions started after a period of mild 50's temperatures so plants really had no chance for their needed cold weather "hardening off" period.
Blog posting about the heated hummingbird feeding station.