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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Wednesday 07/18/2012 Sand dunes in the Suncook River. Heat wave and drought continue.

Well we just ended a six or seven day of run with temperatures in the 90's or a breath below. I think there were some new records set. And a week of 90's is pretty rear in my memory. And it is still mid July. Our heat wave usually arrives in August. And this was the third streak of 90 degree days this summer. Oh ya ,there was that string of 80 degree days back in March as well. So the heat is really on in 2012.

And it sure is showing all over the place. The Suncook River out my window is not much more than a series of sand dunes this summer. On July 4th I wanted to do something I have been wanting to do since I got a new canoe for my birthday last year. And that was to canoe from my house down river to the old dam site in Pembroke. So my son and I slide the canoe into the river and away we went. Maybe 20 yards before he jumped out to tow us across and sand bar. And this continued a few more times with us only about 200 yards down river.

Suddenly a 10 mile canoe trip didn't seem like a great idea. So we pulled out and had to lug the canoe across the neighbor's corn field for the 200 yard drive back home. Basically there no longer is any channel in the Suncook River. Just a three or four inches of flat water across the river at most. So much sand continues to come down river that no channel can form. My neighbor has seen kayakers pretty much dragging their craft down river this summer I learned after words. How I miss the old river before the avulsion in 2006. What a loss to this community of a place to swim and boat. The river used to be six feet deep below my house. We used to be able to dive in from a big rock at the rivers edge. And there is absolutely NO cover left for fish. Bass and pickerel were abundant as well as plenty of perch in the old river. There are no deep holes left that I can see. At most holes are knee deep now. The river looks more like a waste land by the day as the water levels drops in this drought. And not a single American toad or bull frog calling here anymore. Spring peepers were few in numbers and only a couple of tree frogs in the trees nearby. None breeding down in the meadow as they did for more than 30 years I have lived here. With the dam removed in Pembroke, and really since they pulled the dam boards on the Buck Street dam in 2006 there has not been enough back water in the meadow to support any more breeding frogs. Spring and summer nights are so different now without the calls of my frog friends.

While not affected by the avulsion the local brooks in town are drying up as well. When my son was home in May he tried to brook trout fish in the town forest only to find a mere trickle in the native trout brook. No snow and now not much rain for four months has pretty much dried up our local native trout brooks. And now toss in this extreme temperature events of the last two months and I doubt there will be much left of our native brook trout population. And so goes global warming. I just can't see how anyone can deny what I see year after year if they spend much time outside.

My garden is looking pretty good despite the drought. Thanks to an exceptionally good well at my mom's. She waters it some five or six hours most days. Things are just starting to come in. I planted later than usual this year. Not until late May into June.

I helped my daughter make some zucchini relish this evening under the watchful eyes of my 89 year old mother at her house. As usual when we arrived she had things set to go. She had two dozen pint jars lugged up from the cellar and they were finishing washing in her dish washer as well as she had a canner full of water heating. Granddaughters were monitoring the situation but kept at bay from the boiling water. So four generations of relish/pickle makers in the works. I did pick the first big batch of cucumbers from my garden today and will be making dill pickles by the weekend.

One thing that is absent this year is fruit on our trees. Thanks to that freak 80 degree steak in March all the trees bloomed early only to have frost kill off the fruit a couple weeks later. I don't have a pear on my twp trees and there is not an apple on my mom's several trees. I need to check the wild apple trees but I doubt they fared much better. So not much fruit for wildlife this fall. I did notice some acorns on the local oaks and just a scattering of cherries on the American cherry trees. And I'm thinking this drought may dry up the blackberries as well. We are desperate for rain.


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2012-06-27 Plenty of rain, streams are up and fish and frogs are happy.

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2012-07-31 Summer is Skipping by

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