Winter – 1

The long-range weather forecast is predicting generally mild, wet weather in the run-up to Christmas. So still no sign of ‘winter’ yet.

Although there is a lot to be said for mild weather, we need the cold of winter to help to break up the soil for the following year and kill off many pests. But our climate is changing.

There are some swallows still around, apparently. Presumably because there are still plenty of insects for them to eat. They should have left ages ago. What does this mean for them in the coming months? If the weather remains mild and the insects persist, will they be able to survive the winter here? And will they still be able to successfully migrate if the expected colder weather kills off these insects, or will they have left it too late? I suspect it will not end well for them.

There have always been a few of these days at the turn of the seasons, although probably nowhere near as many as now, and I wonder how our ancestors would deal with these days; the days I am sometimes tempted to call the Nothing Days. Those days which are grey and cold, but not severely so. The leaves are continuing to fall but seem in no hurry to complete the job. Nothing seems to be contributing to the change of the seasons. If any plants or animals are responding to anything, it can only be to the shortening of the daylight hours. There are still plenty of nuts and berries for the wildlife to forage – the birds are largely ignoring our bird feeders at the moment – although little for the human forager; the blackberries have finished, the chestnuts and hazelnuts all gone.

I suspect our ancestors would have moved into their own winter routines anyway, and got on with the jobs in hand, largely mending and making. With the onset of rains and wind and snow, rooves and walls would be repaired and strengthened, leaks caulked, trenches dug out to drain water away from dwellings. Tools and weapons would be fashioned and repaired. Measures taken for comfort and warmth – perhaps grasses and rushes and bracken collected and heaped up inside, likewise firewood, and fodder for animals.

Although I’m only guessing, but a fire in the middle of a hut filled with heaps of dried grasses might have required a Neolithic risk assessment following a visit by a fire and safety officer.

16 thoughts on “Winter – 1

  1. I remember pushing a giant snowball around the school playground back in my junior school I guess that will still be possible for children in future years, however the opportunities will be much less frequent.

    A number of years back I wrote the below poem which your post reminded me of:

    “It is too warm for December.
    I remember
    other years
    When tears
    Would freeze
    And an icey breze
    the stinging nose.
    No need for winter clothes.
    The weather grows
    Something is deranged.
    All, all is changed”.

    Best wishes. Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope they still will be able to, Kevin. I suspect there will be more years when it won’t be possible, though. They’d be more likely to have model boat races, although if they do it will probably be on their mobile phones.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The seasons seem to have changed in the past few years don’t they , or that could just be selective memory I suppose. Winters seemed colder, Autumn seemed fresher and Spring drier but it’s probably no different. Don’t mind a cool winter as long as it’s too wet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If the insects suddenly die, then we need to feed the birds that need to eat them, or the birds will die too. Even though it’s not recommended, I feed birds all year round, with as much nutrition as I can afford (I spend more on birdfood than on things most people spend money on!)

    Oh the climate… it’s worrying. I opened my window today (as it was the first day in ages that it hasn’t pelted with rain) and there were a couple of big black flies sitting lazily on the window and windowsill and they’re still getting in somewhere in the house. November, nearly December. That’s just plain weird.

    What bother me, though is this ‘before records began’. What if all this has happened before, before that? And what if it passed? While it’s not good news for any of us now, it’s possible things might be okay for various species in the distant future. Maybe we need to find ways to adapt?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ‘before records began’ becomes less relevant the more we learn and understand about the climate in past times. We (and by that I mean archaeologists, naturalists, palaeontologists, meteorologists and others, not me and a chum) now know an awful lot about conditions before the written records, and seem convinced this is a dangerous aberration. Yes, there have temperature rises similar in the past, but the concentrations of carbon dioxide now present in the atmosphere mean these rises are likely to continue. And when we had similar concentrations in the past, the climate was a lot more hostile. It just doesn’t bode well. We’ll certainly need to find ways to adapt, because this is a long term problem, but equally we really need to drastically change our ways just to limit the damage.

      On a slightly less doom and gloom note, we leave our bird feeders out all year round, too. When there are alternative food sources available, we don’t see much of them. But they know where to find it when they need it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I laughed at your final paragraph. The thought of Neolithic inspectors is just funny. We have a variety of inspectors here who are perhaps a little too fond of their positions — they can be amusing, too, when they aren’t being total pains.

    The back-and-forthing of weather is a constant here, particularly in the transitional seasons. I confess that the gray days don’t bother me; I rather like the change they represent. One of our constant winter phenomenons is sea fog. After a couple of cold front passages, the water cools, and then, when the wind switches to the south and warm air moves over the water, we get our only real chance for nice, “atmospheric” fog. I’m looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely no fogs here, yet. The ground is still far too warm. And that’s another thing that’s changed, I think. I’m sure we used to get many foggy November days, which we don’t have now. Certainly, since the air is plenty warm enough, it can only really be the ground still being warm.

      And |i wonder whether the Neolithic had its ‘jobsworths’, too?

      Liked by 1 person

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