Winter has been toying with us. There were some unexpected cold days back in November.
Then as we got towards the end of November, we seemed to be stuck in the mid to upper sixties and even broke above 70F once. As we got into December, it was mostly fifties and sixties with only a few days in the forties. There time to get back out on the river.
As we got close to Christmas, the temperature soared back into the upper sixties and again found its way up over 70F. We even had a day when the low was only 62F.
Now as we are slipping towards the end of 2014, I think winter has finally found us. On December 30, we are having a hard time getting above 44F. A high temperature in the forties is a cold winter day for us. We will likely slip slightly below freezing tonight and tomorrow night.
I will have to cover our lettuce patch which most years provides us with some nice fresh heads of lettuce into January and sometimes even February which is often our coldest month. After a series of days when the low temperature struggled to get below sixty degrees Fahrenheit, it will take a little adjustment to walk outside tomorrow morning and find the thermometer reading 30F.
It is the nature of weather that we take whatever we have whether it is warm December waters or frost on the kayak and in the marshes. I enjoyed my morning walk the first day we saw frost after our mild streak in December. Still I had to remind myself that the sparkle on the boardwalk was slippery frost. Looking up at the wrong time could easily turn me into a meal for our ever vigilant crabs.
It is hard to complain very much about winter weather here on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks because we have so little real winter. We mark the seasons on the Crystal Coast with holidays unlike who mark them with radically different weather. When you can go for a long walk with just a long-sleeved t-shirt on Christmas Day, you know the weather is pretty nice. The same day we also managed a hike on the beach and the next day a boat ride down the river. Neither activity is what you would expect to do on a winter day after Christmas.
As that nice weather finally departed, even the season seems to be reluctant to change but with a front sweeping through the area, I think the north winds have found us. The couple of tenths of an inch of rain to add to the over five inches that we got Christmas week will not bother us much, but the persistent cold Canadian air will.
Fortunately the front only brought a little rain but no serious storms. Sometimes our storms become coastal low pressure systems and head up the coast, but this time it was just cold air passing through from Canada with all the snowbirds in tow. While the cooler weather has put a temporary end to my kayaking even inside our inlet, I will adjust.
As we get our sun back tomorrow, there will be plenty to enjoy along the edges of the marsh in our inlet. Even the day before our big rain I caught some otters heading out the river. The next day I found a hawk high in a tree and a beautiful great blue heron. I know the neighborhood kingfisher is just out patrolling the inlet.
I am very comfortable with the regular cast of characters that hang around our inlet. I suspect winter will be another one when inside our inlet is going to be a peaceful and relatively warm place to weather the storms of winter. It will never be a boring place for those daily walks of mine and it will not be long before it is time to plant our tomato seeds and get ready for another spring of gardening