There are lots of things perfectly normal and even very nice about the picture that adorns this post. The clear skies, the blue waters, and the golden fall colors of the marsh are all treats we count on here along the southern coast of North Carolina
However, what you cannot tell from the picture is the air temperature which had dropped to 23F on the morning of November 19, 2014, when my camera captured the image. That cold walk on the boardwalk was a frigid reminder of the power of nature. Even those of us living by the water know that while it is unusual, arctic air can travel all the way to our coastal paradise along the North Carolina coast even in the fall months.
With a November average high temperature of around 65F and an average low temperature of 45F, our November 18-19 weather this year has come as something of a shock. Our high temperature on November 18, 2014, was 44F and our low the next morning was 24F. The high on November 19, was 42F.
While these temperatures might seem like a heat wave to some friends to the north, they are very cold to us and not even typical of our winter temperatures. Our average high in January is 50F and the average low is 33F. Our first fall here back in 2006 I managed to get back in shorts at the end of November.
Obviously this surprise cold wave brought an end to what was a very glorious fall. While we had some hints that our fall was ending, no one expected it to be such a cold end. Our November transformation is usually a little more subtle.
Usually we have plenty of November beach days and lots of time to look for fish in my watery backyard. This year it has been a little harder to enjoy the water as much and while it would be easy to blame the weather, I have to shoulder some of the blame myself since I have been busier at work. However, it is harder to get on the water when we are missing those long stretches of don’t pinch me weather. However, we are accustomed to periods of challenging weather with lots of great weather mixed in to keep us happy.
The cold brought an abrupt end to my quest to get another ripe December tomato. We have had a couple of years when that was not much of challenge. Then there was 2008 when we had a frost on October 30. This year we were on track this year for a beautiful December tomato crop but with it getting so cold, we gave up and now have a couple of buckets of green tomatoes ripening in our home.
We did have a great early November harvest of beans and broccoli. In fact we are still eating broccoli that we grew and some that came from a neighbor. To lessen the impact of the unusual cold, I built a frame to cover my lettuce and chard and keep it warm with a light bulb. We should have three or four heads of Romaine lettuce in the next couple of weeks. We have more lots more tiny lettuce seedlings growing in a raised bed. If we are lucky we will get some nice weather in December and we might harvest lettuce in January.
Gardening in December is something of a tradition for us. This is a link to a January 13, 2013, picture of lettuce growing in our garden so our efforts to harvest January lettuce are not signs of insanity. Hopefully we will be even more successful this year than we were in 2013. The polar vortex got us last year, but I am ready my light bulb this year. We also have kale and Swiss Chard growing and expect to enjoy them into the new year. They are doing very well. Last year we also harvested a few rutabagas in January. Our crop this year looks even better.
So while the weather is a little unusual in the marsh this year. We will make the best of it and hope that we still get some special treats from our efforts. The fishing might even get exciting again. It can end up being pretty nice out on the water in November. There are days when even the trip home from the big water is very nice. Sometimes you can bring home a cooler full of bluefish or even better a cooler with trout and drum.
If nothing else, the cold weather has been a great time for baking bread, making soup, and enjoying our winter visitors to the marsh.
This picture is of my homemade sourdough bread with some of our home grown lettuce. It made for a delicious tuna fish sandwich especially when accompanied by some of my wife’s homemade chicken noodle soup. It is hard to complain about the weather when you are enjoying delicious food inspired by the cold weather.
You can read more about life here at this archive of recent articles. If you are ready to visit, you will find some great information in our free online guide to Emerald Isle. It is a great time of year to visit and enjoy the peace that comes to our Crystal Coast waters.
We also send out an almost monthly newsletter. Our most recent newsletter was sent out on October 8. You can read it online at this link. We will be sending out our next newsletter next week just before Thanksgiving.
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