Coffee heat rising

Round-up: Colder than a bigawd edition

Okay, okay, a mere 28 degrees is as nothing compared to winter in the Midwest. HowEVER . . . a Myers lemon, a lime tree, a cape honeysuckle, a bougainvillea, a queen palm, a lavender plant–they know nothing of snow, ice, and temperatures in the negative numbers. So I’ve spent the afternoon hauling paint-flecked old sheets, doggie quilts, and threadbare towels out to the garden, making scaffolding out of ladders and cheap wire fencing, and trying to cover the most frost-sensitive plants. Under the coverings I’ve stashed as many shoplights as I could plug into the outdoor electrical connections, in hopes of warming the plants to the survival point.

A brisk wind is wailing toward California, where it will scale the coastal range and, in dropping hundreds of feet in altitude gain enough heat to call itself a Santa Ana. For that we feel sad. Locally, it will lift our best tied-down frost covers off our trees and shrubs and carry them toward Death Valley. And we are worried.

If the weather predictions are accurate (a long shot), this will be our second year in a row of hard frost, bracketing a summer that brought us 31 days of 110-degree-plus heat. We’re glad to be rid of the mosquitoes that were killed by this unholy weather, sorry to lose the black widows (who eat the mosquitoes and the cockroaches and the crickets), and mad as the dickens to see our most spectacular bougainvillea and prettiest lantana already dead after a single night of this stuff.

Some of our food plants will live: lettuce and carrots and beets and grapefruit certainly will make it; if the temperature doesn’t drop too much below 28, the oranges probably will be OK. In Yuma and other points agricultural, the growers are beside themselves because Arizona’s xenophobic anti-immigrant law has robbed the fields of the workers who pick the crops to take them to market at a price Everyman can afford, and so, my friends, expect to see the cost of produce soar into the “luxury” category. Sure would be nice to keep those backyard winter crops alive through the winter.

In the Warm Up a Cold Night Department, Wise Bread has six ideas for New Year’s resolutions that will improve others’ lives and yours too. Mrs. Micah gave a special Christmas gift to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Over at Money and Values, Penny Nickel posted four good ideas for things to do with gifts that are more clutter than welcome. Flexo at Consumerism Commentary explains how charitable gift funds work, and Trent at The Simple Dollar proposes six ways to beat the post-Christmas blues. All good ways to start the new year and to keep the frost away from your heart.