So—which season is this?

Snow in June

Here’s the scenario: You’ve been hearing the sound of raindrops on the roof for hours, when it suddenly stops.

Here’s the question: How should you interpret this phenomenon?

Here are the options: It’s possible (taking a broad view) that you have just been transported to Mars, where it doesn’t rain. It’s also possible, if unlikely, that you have gone suddenly deaf.

Leaving aside these somewhat farfetched possibilities, you might conclude that it has stopped raining. Seeing as how it’s June in the Northern Hemisphere, this would be the most obvious conclusion—and the correct one, except that there’s a hidden assumption underlying that statement: “It’s stopped raining” generally implies “It’s stopped precipitating.” And while the former statement is currently true, the latter is false.

In other words, my good friends, it has started snowing.

This is not entirely unexpected; I’ve been watching the weather carefully for days and spent much of yesterday mulching my corn to within an inch of its life (likewise the potatoes) and devising wraps and covers for strawberries and cherries in flower. But midday temperatures were predicted to be near fifty, not the thirty-five we’ve actually got. It wasn’t supposed to get this cold until about three a.m., and snow here in Bozeman proper was an outside possibility.

The last time it snowed in Bozeman on June 6th was in 2001, our first year in town, when six inches of heavy, wet snow brought down newly leafed-out tree limbs all over the city. Also the occasional electrical wire. It was a week before all the roads were cleared, and months before all the piles of branches got carted away.

At that time, I had no garden, no cherry tree, no stake in the matter, though I do remember swinging a broom to knock snow off my elderly neighbor’s fruit trees. This time it’s different; this time it’s personal. If it keeps up, my lovely delphinium will keel over, and even if it doesn’t, I’m wondering whether the seeds I planted yesterday will all rot in the ground. Dag nab it.

But wait—I hear raindrops again. So I’m wondering, will it snow again? Will it freeze? Should I throw a plastic sheet over the newly seeded bed? Will my corn, potatoes, cherry tree, and strawberries make it through? Will the power go out? Which makes me wonder: Why didn’t I buy lamp oil after the last power outage? Dag nab it.

10 Responses to So—which season is this?

  1. Glad to see that life in Bozeman,Mt is as incident packed as always.
    Would hate to think you were getting bored over there!

  2. Oh Kate, that is so sad! We thought it was slated for the mountains in this part of Idaho for last night as well. We only got a power outage instead. Thank goodness. I hope your garden fares well and produces better because of the cool down. One can hope!

  3. Ah the joy of living in a cold climate. I used to go backpacking in the mountains of Colorado as a kid (OK I also lived in the mountains of Colorado, but not quite so high as I would hike). It wasn’t unheard of for it to snow in either July or August. Once in July I left my shoes outside the tent. Mistake. They were frozen solid the next day. And I mean solid. The day before we had a bad river crossing so kept the shoes on. Three days from that one it rained on us, then hailed, then snowed, but at least it was also sunny part of the day ;>

  4. If your seeds haven’t sprouted yet the cold won’t hurt them. Of course they could rot if it stays cold and wet too long – depending on what they are.
    .
    Then again what do I know? I live in Tennessee, and it’s almost 90 outside. My rain concern in June is that it will stop for weeks at a time.
    .
    Good luck – don’t give up.

  5. I’d say this is simply unfair…not acceptable AT ALL.
    I’m sending warm vibrations your way from the tippy tips of my fingers through the blogosphere to heat things up. So there.

  6. Kate girl … hold on … things have to get better , right ? : )

  7. Snow in June?? God, this is deeply, ineffably crappy. Is it even possible to raise corn that far north? Do they get to any size, or do you end up eating minicorn??

  8. Not surprising if it is happened this days,because of global warming.Wish other people will help against this phenomenon.
    -Ava

  9. Let’s see, James; have I mentioned the bears in the back yard?
    Heather — We passed on the outage, but I’ve had parts of the garden wrapped up for the better part of a week. I think everything made it through….
    Daphne— Too funny. What did you do? When my husband’s shoes froze (in Minnesota, on a winter skiing trip) he skied out in his socks. But then, he’s the guy who hiked in his sandals when he forgot his boots entirely one summer in the Sierras. Some people.
    Welcome, David; I’ll try to stop by your blog soon, though I don’t think I’ll be ordering any honeybees. How’s your business in this era of collapsing hive disorder? (Hope I’ve got that right.)
    A good many things had sprouted, mostly cold-tolerant stuff; and some that hadn’t did rot, blast them.
    Thank you, Alice. It has been warming up, perhaps due to your influence.
    Don’t count on it, Joy; that would be far too optimistic an attitude for me.
    Can I quote you, Soilman? “Deeply, ineffably crappy” expresses it beautifully. As for corn, that was my biggest concern. I’ve never gotten a real crop, but someone who raises it regularly says she succeeds about four years out of five.
    My thinking exactly, Ava.
    –Kate

  10. It’s so lucky for me to find your blog! So shocking and great! Just one suggestion: It will be better and easier to follow if your blog can offer rrs subscription service.

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