What is Wrong With This Picture?

I often brag about my garden titled 2011 Monet Vision. I am proud of the scene I’ve created in my own little piece of the world.

Today, I took another photograph for the record. Wait, what is wrong with the photo? Can you tell? This garden is in Frankfort, IL, and it is November 5. The trees are bare, the tall grasses are brown, many of the shrubs have dropped leaves. Dead foliage lays between plants waiting for me to rake and pile them on the mulch heap. The water lilies are dormant as are all the other aquatic plants. So what is different?

The begonias, marigolds, and lobelia are still blooming. Where is the killing frost? By this time in year’s past we have had a killing frost that would take out  the annuals. My breathing must be extra heavy and I’m exhaling too much carbon dioxide. Yeah that’s it. I’m watching too many young women (anyone under sixty qualifies for that) and they are making my heart go pitter-patter and raising my carbon footprint, thus warming the globe.

Yep, that’s it, too much CO2. I have to put the blinders on to make the weather behave more normally. What is normal for November in Frankfort? I Googled temperature records and learned that in 1977 it reached seventy-seven degrees in November. Wow! In 1977 I drove a VW that got 35 mpg. I must have breathed real heavy to outgas that extra CO2 to warm things up that much. The opposite occurred in 1958, the low temperature dipped to “ZERO.” I must have reversed the process and consumed CO2 during that year to effect Global cooling of that magnitude.

Record highs and lows don’t really give us a clear picture of November weather. Averages do a little better. November average temperatures range from 48F high to 32F low. This November has been slightly higher with more days in the fifties, but I’m sure that will change in a few days. Most likely we will catch up with degree days and freeze with colder temps.

So what does all this have to do with the picture? Nothing, it just means that I got lucky this year and got to see my flowers bloom a little longer than in past years.

Here is what 2011 Monet Vision looked like a few weeks ago.

2011 Monet Vision

Fifteen Degrees and Flat

A couple of nights ago, I received an emergency call to help out with a rescue. The caller, my son, was without a car. He loaned his car to the kids to go to their scheduled swim session at Lincoln-Way High School West. I had just settled into my favorite chair for an evening of TV when the phone rang. The kids had a flat tire and asked for help.

My response was as quick as I could make it. I only delayed long enough to get a flashlight from my shop. The Avalon Death Star went into motion within five minutes. I picked up Mike and we were off to the rescue.

We found the rascals on a dark, and desolated section of road in the country about six miles away from home. Thankfully, my granddaughter had the car pulled completely off the road on a flat shoulder.  The outside temperature was fifteen degrees, and there was a wind blowing with two inches of snow on the ground.

I left my car running to power the lights, and to provide a warm place for the kids to sit while Mike changed the tire. Mike had the tools and the spare tire out of the car in short order. As he struggled with the lug nuts, I found the jack point and began to set up the jack. Thank God, Mike is as strong as a bull. He had all it took to loosen those nuts. Once the nuts were off, he started raising the car. The jack was on uneven ground and began leaning forward. “Stop,” I told him.  Take it down again, If we keep going up the car will fall off. He reset the jack by scrapping some of the snow and stones out from under. Then the jacking began all over again.

We looked at the tire from the outside, and yes it was severely cut.  The cast aluminum wheel didn’t come off easy. It was frozen to the hub, and needed quite a bit of kicking, and shaking to loosen. Finally, the wheel came off. We were shocked to see that the entire inner sidewall was shredded. My sweet little granddaughter drove on a flat tire for several miles before discovering that a problem existed.

Mike got the new tire on in record time and we were on our way again. When I stopped at his house, the timer on my car indicated that we had spent fifty-eight minutes from the time I started my car to leave until we arrived back home.

All I know is that my ass was frozen and it took the remainder of the evening to get warmed up again. Working in fifteen degrees is not fun. Even though all I did was hold a flash light for Mike, I got the same degree of chill. I think we set some kind of record for tire changing on a cold winter night.

Shredded Inner Sidewall