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Heavy Rain

This week: Heavy rain; Indoor jobs; Seed collecting;

Weak winter sunshine
Weak winter sunshine

Across much of Europe the temperatures are lower than usual and there has been some significant snowfalls.

In Germany the cold and snow brought chaos. The trains, planes and autobahns were closed and it has taken days to get things moving again.

Snowbound Munich International Airport
Snowbound Munich International Airport

This is an appropriately named ICE train (Inter-City Express)

German ICE train
German ICE train

The cause is stationary high pressure over the north Atlantic and Greenland.

Explaining this simply, it means that these blocking highs are funnelling cold from the Arctic down the North Sea and Scandinavia into Europe.

Dol is a long, long way south, but even so, we have felt the chill. There has been a Bura, the cold northern wind, which brings cold from the central European plain.

There is not enough sea between the mainland and Dol, to warm the air as it passes over the warmer Adriatic.

On the mainland, there is still snow on the top of the Dinaric Alps.

The setting sun illuminates the Dinaric Alps
The setting sun illuminates the Dinaric Alps

But cold is relative. Cold to me, is not the same as cold to someone living on Oslo. Even so, I have had my neck warmer on when I have been working outside.

I have even lit the wood stove in the early afternoon.

This is on the principle that if I can keep the radiators warm, rather than hot, for longer, when the temperature drops overnight, a comfortable inside temperature should be maintained.

I took the opportunity to cut some more wood into wood stove size chunks.

Cutting timber into fire sized chunks
Cutting timber into fire sized chunks

These are old floor boards, so are extremely dry, burn well and give off a lot of heat. They are also easy to cut to size and then stack ready for use.

Heavy rain

This week has been another wet one.

In just one 24 hour period, we received a fraction under 100 mm of rain. That is 100 litres of rain per square metre.

So one of my small orchards, with a surface area of 100 square metres, received 10,000 litres of rain.

There is little point in trying to work the soil when it is so soaking wet.

I downloaded the data from my weather station, and have spent time looking at the data.

Human memory plays tricks with you. Until I looked at the data, I would have said that this winter (so far) has been a lot colder than previous years.

In fact we are absolutely on the average. Of course the “average” temperature is the the sum of all the years in the range, so some will have been warmer and some colder. But we are just “average”.

Average winter temperatures
Average winter temperatures

What did surprise me was when I looked at the 11 day running average temperature.

The 11 day average temperature is something agronomists and environmental scientists use to calculate optimum seed planting temperatures.

The majority of 2023 has been below the 11 day average temperatures I have recorded at my weather station.

2023 11 day average temperatures
2023 Eleven day average temperatures

Despite climate breakdown, not everywhere is hotter. There is no doubt that climate change is affecting the weather we experience, however for Dol in 2023, we have been cooler and wetter.

This has benefited some of my trees. My citrus are laden with fruit, more than I know what to do with. But I had a poor crop of apricots and pears this year.

Indoor jobs

Cvjetko has been here every day, working on fitting 30 square meters of plasterboard between the ceiling joists in my big Konoba.

I want to leave the old wooden beams exposed. They have all been treated with a fungicide and insect repellent.

Above the beams I have already installed insulation, so it was just a question ohf cutting the sheets of plasterboard to fit.

That is easy to say, much harder in practice. The gas between the beams vary, as does the actual individual beam dimensions.

Some are just tree trunks brought in from the forest behind my home. Others have been “squared” to some degree.

Plasterboard fitted in place
Plasterboard fitted in place

As a reminder, this is how the ceiling looked before work started.

Washed beams
Washed beams

Now I have to paint the plasterboard before the beading is added to cover the unavoidable gaps.

Seed collecting

We have had some sunny days, although precious few of them this week.

On one sunny morning I was down in Jelsa and on my way home saw these seed pods hanging from a tree.

Black Locust seeds
Black Locust seeds

This is the Robinia pseudoacacia, or Black Locust. They grow by the sides of the roads here and have huge cream or yellow scented flower racines in the spring.

Flowering shrub
Spring flowering shrub

They are a quick growing hardwood which is known for improving soil because the plant roots fix nitrogen into the ground. I collected some of the seeds to see if I can grow some next year…. NCG