Fall is Here?

According to the calendar, it is fall.  According to store displays, it’s just about Christmas.  According to what people are wearing, it’s still the middle of summer, at least here in San Diego.  Global climate change deniers, sorry, but it isn’t fornication or a lack of faith or a sudden and unpredictable anti-ice age that’s causing our wild climate fluctuations, it’s a man-made buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere.  That’s great news for people who want it to be summer year-round!  Not such great news for people who like sweaters and not sweating!

I’ve lived here long enough to ignore the calendar when it comes to seasons.  In San Diego, lush greenery happens in winter, spring is the end of a cool winter, and fall is just a three-month extension of summer, with a few wildfires thrown in for season-appropriate crackle and cozy smoke odor.  I used to get out my sweaters and corduroys by October, then would swelter in them as locals still wandered around in flip-flops and shorts.  No more!  Okay, I’ll probably still do it but will at least realize it’s me that’s wrong, not the weather.

This weekend we celebrated the arrival of autumn by picking apples.  Actually, my wife and I picked apples while I did chores at home while The Boy took his nap.  They returned with two large bags of apples.  Look!  It’s fall now!

Bag of apples

But that’s not all.  Wife and daughter raked a big pile of leaves while I turned my knuckles into bloody meat trying to fix my car.  [sigh]  Do you really want to know?  REALLY?  I had to replace the coolant temperature sensor because my VW was having cold-start problems.  The actual replacement took about 30 minutes.  The other three and a half hours was pulling apart the top of the engine compartment to get to the part, then cutting every finger on metal poindexters put in place by sadistic German engineers.  At one point I spent half an hour just unscrewing a screw.  Imagine bent over at the waist, your hands buried up to the shoulder in a matrix of plastic and metal, trying to blind-fit an Allen wrench into a bolt head, turning it 1/8th of a turn, fumbling, and repeating.  For thirty minutes.  Then you get to do the same thing in reverse to put the bolt back in.  Ha ha!  Then I dropped my Allen wrench down into the engine compartment and couldn’t find it.  I couldn’t see it.  I couldn’t even get my head into place to look for it.  It is still there.  These are the things that give me dark thoughts.

But the leaf pile, squeaks a small voice from my one blog reader, what happened with the leaf pile?  Jumps.  Many jumps.  I jumped in the leaves.  Child Harbat jumped in the leaves. We got leaves in our hair, we smelled the rich fragrance of crumbled dried leaves from a camphor tree.  We laughed, we played.  Then autumn really began.

CH leaf jumping

CH leaf jumping 2

Writer, architect, father, husband.

Posted in Parenting, San Diego Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
5 comments on “Fall is Here?
  1. Ian says:

    Thankfully our shops aren’t yet showing too many signs of Christmas as they have Halloween and bonifre night to ‘sell’ first 😉

    As for climate change, I’m afraid where we live in the North East of the UK the facts very much disagree with GW. You see we grow our own vegetables and live in an 1850’s cottage with no insulation and just solid fuel for heating so we tend to be more in tune with the weather than most as the climate directly affects our vegetable yields and even which crops we can grow at all. It also has more severe consequences for our fuel usage than many modern homes. In addition to the weather station we have and monitor carefully we have years of data showing our fuel consumption, crop yields, soil temps etc. All of this shows that here we have seen a steady fall in temperature over the last decade with winters becoming much longer and colder. The last few winters we have seen -20c frequently which was previously unheard of here. Currently we have our Rayburn running and it has been for nearly a week after night time temperatures were dropping to just 4-6c which is abnormally low for this time of year so it looks like this winter could be on of the longest yet. Normally we light the Rayburn in October and run it till April/May. Last winter it was lit in October but had to be kept running until June as spring was so cold that we had frosts and snow months later than normal.

    I have no doubt that climate change is happening, after all it has been happening constantly since the planet was created and I also have no doubt that man is adding to that rate of change. What I’m not and have never been convinced with is the blanket approach of GW. If anything I suspect that we could be looking at the complete opposite of abnormally low temps, certainly in the UK, for the medium term which is probably worse than GW. With a stupidly large population to support food production is vital but these long cool winters and wet summers are devastating crop production so yields are low and prices are climbing rapidly. Our crops yields are well down this year in staples that would normally do well and we’ve lost some crops entirely due to very cold spring.

    I was hoping for some warmer weather to be honest as it would mean I could get my Land Rover finished. It is not pleasant working on it out in the cold, I’m getting too old for that 🙂 Mind you at least when I open my bonnet I can actually see my engine rather than a pile of black plastic 😉



    • Hi Ian, I understand that hard data is available on global climate change. I think the term “global warming” has gone out of fashion, along with “tubular” and “pantaloons”. The effects of the rapid rise of CO2 in our atmosphere due to man’s influence are unpredictable. The only thing that’s still up for debate is whether there is anything we can do about it. Year after year of record heat in some parts of the world, cooling trends in others, increased regularity and intensity of ultra-large storms, all these lovely things we can look forward to as we skip down the lane of CO2 emissions. Extreme weather is a verifiable result of man-made global climate change. In a hundred years I wonder if we will look back at the turn of the millenium and think, “We could have stopped it then,” or will we say, “It was already too late.” Regarding your weather across the pond, I’d imagine ocean currents have a massive effect on weather. If the gulfstream stopped or reversed you would have a lot of confused people and fish!

  2. Ian says:

    Oops typed that too quickly 🙁

    This should have said:

    “If anything I suspect that we could be looking at the complete opposite and instead witness abnormally low temps, certainly in the UK”

    I guess we’ll all be moving over there to join you in the warmth! 🙂

    • There’s nothing wrong with warmth, but without rain it’s a bit tricky to grow anything. Cool and damp is generally better for plants than hot and arid. There’s not much to eat out here in the desert that isn’t irrigated.

      • Ian says:

        Shame though as we were looking forward to the lovely hot weather we’d been promised as part of GW 😉

        My wife and I remember the BBC spending most of the the mid 2000’s telling us (over numerous programs) how we needed to rip out our cold/wet loving plants and instead plant arid loving varieties as the UK would be (by now!) as warm as the mediterranean.

        The whole UK populance was looking forward to G&T’s in the sun for 9 months a year…..no wonder GW has gone out of fashion as there are now an awful lot of Brits quite upset that the warming never arrived and instead we’ve had progressively colder winters and wetter summers….

        Mind you, it is not just the UK as I believe Germany had invested in a huge program to convert to solar, giving big incentives to the general public to go this route but for the past few years they’ve had such low levels of sunlight that they have had big shortfalls in power supply and have had to import at great cost from neighbouring countries using coal and nuclear power stations.

        I’m a firm believer in not having all your eggs in one basket and relying heavily on solar is as bad as relying heavily on coal as by the looks of it Europe will be suffering less sunlight in future as part of the climates change, whether man made or not. To be fair though, at least they have been doing something. By the time the UK government make a decision on what to do the country will be in a blackout.


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