Sunny ways ahead: Sunshine for a week?

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Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher

No, this isn’t a column about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the sunny ways promised by the Liberals. Instead, as I write this column, there is a rather thrilling stretch of sunshine forecasted. Is it actually plausible that we’ll get a full week of sunny days without rain?

Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher

No, this isn’t a column about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the sunny ways promised by the Liberals. Instead, as I write this column, there is a rather thrilling stretch of sunshine forecasted. Is it actually plausible that we’ll get a full week of sunny days without rain?
That’s what CBC Ottawa Morning’s show is reporting. Eagerly, I double-checked the weather network’s seven-day forecast and voilà! There it is: a week-long stretch where the sun is depicted. Does this mean the Shawville Fair will not suffer a deluge of rain? Only time will tell…
Now, sunshine wouldn’t normally be so newsworthy here in the Outaouais – except for this summer. As I reported in my last column, with almost 250 mm of rain recorded in July, we’ve received the most precipitation during that month
since such data started to be reported in 1938.
And we’ve not merely suffered from rain. Many residents throughout our sprawling Pontiac region have endured floods, hail, high winds, possibly
tornadoes, but certainly microbursts.
What’s a microburst? Wikipedia defines it as, “a small downdraft that moves in a way opposite to a tornado. Microbursts are found in strong thunderstorms. … A microburst often has high winds that can knock over fully grown trees.”
We experienced a microburst about a month ago, waking up one morning to notice damage here at Spiritwood directly attributable to a sudden microburst of downward-sweeping high winds. As a result, we had to leap into action to remedy a serious structural problem, where our already long-list of must-do summertime chores suddenly required immediate adjustment.
Any property owner will empathize. We all realize Mother Nature rules, and we mere mortals must react to forces that are far beyond our personal control.
Therefore, with all the weather we’ve experienced since the floods of early summer, this stretch of sunshine will surely be celebrated.
Finally, hayfields are being cut, tedded, and baled. Throughout the Outaouais countryside, farmers are out on the land.
Because we like to nurture the grassland species of birds such as bobolinks and
meadowlarks who annually nest in our hayfields, we
prefer to have our crop cut later in the season, to give these now-all-too-rare birds a chance of raising their young. There’s nothing worse than seeing the gulls following the tractors, when hay is cut earlier on. These predators are merely doing their thing, eating the damaged and exposed nestlings, plus the meadow voles and other creatures that harvesters expose.
But I always feel sorry for the grassland species, where hayfields are giving way to soy and other cash crops. With increasingly diminished habitats along their migratory flyway, who knows for how long we’ll hear that summertime whistle-call of the meadowlark, or the burbling song of the bobolink?
So, with this stretch of sunshine ahead of us, here at Spiritwood we are planning a host of outdoors activities, from trail-clearing to hauling and stacking firewood for
the winter, to weeding, deadheading and harvesting the produce from our garden. And, we welcome two more WWOOFers (people who belong to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms — visit wwoof.ca) to Spiritwood this Friday, so we’ll be teaching them and receiving their help.
How’s your vegetable garden doing, by the way? Ours is fair to middling, not just because of the rain, but also the cool nights. It was only 6.6C at 6:05 a.m. on  Friday, August 25 — now, what did I just say about bringing in the firewood?