December makes its big entrance

The month of December had been off to a warm start in Western North Carolina, with the average temperature in Asheville for the first 10 days of the month reported at 10.2° F above normal.  However, Dec. 10’s nighttime cold front brought an end to the warmth. It is feeling like the holiday season has finally arrived — even bringing some light snow to the higher elevations in WNC. The image below shows a light dusting of fine snow on a white pine at 4,000 ft in Madison County on Tuesday morning, Dec. 11.

It’s the summer of the Haves and the Have Nots – with a meteor shower to boot

The story of this summer has certainly been that of climate extremes. In Western North Carolina, we’ve had quite a bit of rain, while well over half of the lower 48 states remain in drought. Our moist summer has produced jungle-like conditions in many of our yards (errr — maybe just mine), but has also produced some breathtaking sunsets with all the moisture in the air.

A stormy pattern – but so much better than the alternative

It’s hard to overstate the importance of water to the Earth’s climate system. In its three phases — liquid, solid and gas — water helps to drive our local weather as well as our regional climate. Most of us don’t think about plain ol’ water too often, but it’s when we have too much or too little of this precious resource that we really pay attention to it.

Dry harvest

Editor’s note: Liz McCarthy, a UNCA senior from Crystal Lake, Ill., who’s majoring in photography, spent the past few months serving as a photo intern for Mountain Xpress. In June, she embarked on a mission to document the area’s small farms and how their products reach local markets. But as the summer wore on—and the […]

Hot air

Several years ago, poet/farmer Wendell Berry penned a controversial essay titled “Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer,” in which he presented a clearheaded rationale for not buying into this form of technological slavery. His critics countered that computers enable them to follow and respond to the numerous environmental issues we face. Berry […]

From brown to green

The more I wrote about drought this spring, the more it rained. I considered starting a second career as a contrarian rainmaker. I could lease my talents out to water-hungry towns, an editor suggested. Still, I wondered what I would write about. The rain gave me more time indoors, even as I fell behind in […]

Raindrops

A welcome sound woke me at 2 a.m. one recent Saturday: Plunk … plunk … . I listened: It was faint and dull. It could be a raccoon fiddling with my trash-can lid (too faint for a bear, too loud for a mouse—we have both here). Plunk. Plunk. Pit. Pat pat pitter-pat. Rain hitting my […]