Mitch's Blog 7.0

Mitch's Blog


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Moblogs, or remote blogs, are currently sweeping through the blogging community. In order for my blog to be as new and fresh as possible, I thought it was only fitting that I jump on the bandwagon and install my very own moblog. As you’ll notice along the right of the blog, as of today, June 29, 2004, I now have a link to my very own moblog. The way moblogs usually work is in the following way: a person with a camera-equipped cell phone takes a picture with the camera, and then uploads the picture to their moblog by sending it through email on their cell phone. I’m going to operate my moblog a little differently, however, in that I am going to be posting various digital camera images that I have taken during the past 2 and a half years of owning a digital camera. I’ll also probably use my moblog to upload various TV screen captures as well.

My goal is to feature at least one new picture on the moblog every day, but I’m not entirely sure if this will happen. I do know, however, that I would like to update my moblog more frequently than I do my regular blog.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and click on the link to go to my moblog now! Poke around at it for a little bit. If you’d like to comment on any of the images on the moblog, you’ll have to sign-up for a free account at Textamerica; doing so is very easy, though. Your account will allow to create your very own moblog, but you’re under no obligation to do so. Creating a moblog is also very easy, and contrary to popular belief, you do not need to own a camera-equipped cell phone to have a moblog.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Like I said in a previous post, I once again planted a rather large garden this year. I used all of the same areas as I used last year, plus some extra space that I had to make for the abundance of flowers and vegetables that we purchased this year. Among the new additions, I added about 8 square feet onto my garden, in order to accommodate more broccoli and carrots this year. In fact, I designed the plans for this year’s garden last fall, well after all of my plants had been killed be freezing temperatures. I took into account which vegetables worked well last year, which ones didn’t, and what I could do differently to avoid some of the same problems, especially with fungus, this year. I think it’ll be interesting to see how well my plan actually works this growing season.

I have pretty much all of the same crops growing this year as I did last year. The only thing that I’m not growing this year is cauliflower; instead, I substituted this vegetable for some snow peas, which I have never grown before. You can read more about those below, though. I also made some minor rearrangements, such as putting broccoli plants – and many more of them – in my large garden, and moving the cucumbers to a different place than the garden.

Now that everything has been growing – either inside or outside – for about a month, all I need is for the weather to actually cooperate in allowing for everything to grow and blossom. The month-long span of below-normal temperatures so far in June has not been helpful at all as far as getting the crops off to a good start goes. I am beginning to notice how little growth there has been on any of the plants, flowers and vegetables combined. What would really help is a weeklong period of temperatures above 80°. A couple of days of humid, 90° weather wouldn’t hurt either. Until that comes, if it ever does, I’m afraid this year’s growing season will be less than stellar. Predictions that July in Minnesota will be below-average do not make me feel any better, either. All the sunlight we’re getting this week – these are the longest days of the year – has not helped to warm the temperatures up that much.

Here’s a breakdown of all the vegetables that I planted this year:


I guess I don’t really have much to say about cucumbers. They’re good for a few things, and, after all, they can always be pickled too. We’re going to need warmer temperatures for any success, though.


As I said, I decided to try something new this year, so I planted some peas. I was a little apprehensive about do so, however, because peas are a cold-season vegetable, which means they grow best in temperatures at or below 65°. I thought summer in this part of Minnesota would be too warm for them, but I guess I shouldn’t really have to worry this summer, based on what temperatures have already been. Because June has so far been very favorable for growing peas, it looks as if I might be very successful with them.


I like growing pumpkins and having them around by the time Halloween comes around. Actually, we usually end up taking the remains of what used to legally be called pumpkins out of the potato cellar in mid-April. But anyway, I still like to grow pumpkins. Maybe this year I’ll figure out how to make something that can be eaten out of the pumpkins that I grow. Many people may not realize it, due to Hallmark and the media’s glorification of pumpkins being good only for use as jack-o’-lanterns, but pumpkins can actually be made into many delicious treats.


The zucchini plants that I tried to start from seed really didn’t do well and I finally had to go out to Home Depot to buy a couple of zucchini plants. What hurt my seedlings most of all, I think, was a combination of cold temperatures and strong winds. The lack of warmth didn’t allow them to grow very much, and the strong winds that we had during the time that I planted the seeds broke off what small stems the plants had. Hopefully the two plants that replaced the original seedlings will do better.


I really enjoyed the carrots I grew last year. I would have never even thought of growing carrots had it not been for the fact that one of the complimentary gift seeds from Burpee last year was a package of carrots. I never really knew how much better homegrown carrots could be compared to the ones purchased in the store. Because of my success growing carrots last year, I decided to grow even more this year. I hope they’ll be just as good as last year’s batch.


I expanded the number of broccoli plants this year, so that I would have more after the fire, and largest, head of broccoli grew on the plants. Once broccoli plants grow one large head of broccoli, all that comes up afterward are rather small sprouts that don’t amount to much by themselves. My hope is that if I have more plants producing these smaller heads of broccoli, I will be able to combine them into a sizable amount for eating.


I planted some green bell peppers, which are always my perennial favorite. Besides that, I also have a few jalapeño plants, as well as a cayenne pepper plant. I cut down considerably on the number of hot peppers this year, after the copious amount of jalapeños that I had last year. It only takes a few extremely hot peppers to adequately spice up a dinner, and that is probably an understatement at best.

Green Beans
Green Beans

Finally, I also planted green beans. Like cucumbers, I don’t really have much to say about them, other than everybody loves to have beans once and a while, and many people are usually very willing to accept freshly picked green beans from a garden. Like most of the other vegetables, however, we desperately need some warmer temperatures for the plants to actually grow to a height where they will be able to produce a crop.

Here is a picture of a complete overview of my backyard garden.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

As far as newspapers are concerned, the USA Today’s weather section is probably one of the best, not necessarily because of the forecasting or weather graphs and charts, but because of the various tidbits of information that weather enthusiasts like myself really enjoy. Well, yesterday, when I opened turned to the back page of Section A, which is where weather is always found at, I noticed that the weather event for the day was how parts of the country are experiencing much cooler than normal temperatures. Here’s a snapshot of what the page looked like.

June 21, 2004 Weather Events

As you can see, Brainerd, Minnesota was mentioned as one of the spots experiencing spring-like temperatures on the first full day of summer. I was pretty surprised that Brainerd, out of all the places experiencing cooler than average temperatures, was chosen to be on that part. I guess the Weather Channel, the one who is quoted as providing the information, must have looked at forecasted highs for Monday and compared them with the average. The 3 cities with the biggest dissonance between these two temperatures must have been the ones shown. I thought it was interesting, anyway.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Since I haven’t done so yet, let’s talk about the weather in Brainerd for the month of May. Overall, below average temperatures and below average precipitation dominated the month. The jet stream remained in more of a late winter/early spring pattern for essentially the entire month, allowing cooler than usual – sometimes much cooler than usual – temperatures to flow in from Canada into Minnesota and northern Iowa. Along with this jet stream pattern, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was allowed to flow in, causing rain to fall in copious amounts over much of Iowa and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities. Moisture also funneled in from Canada, causing very large amounts of precipitation to fall in northern Minnesota. Although these two patterns soaked northern and southern Minnesota, even causing brief flooding, they did not bring very much precipitation at all for the central portion of the state. There will be more on just how much precipitation fell in Brainerd in May later.

All in all, May in Brainerd was 4.9°F below normal. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center had predicted for months, however, that May in Minnesota would be below average. The warmest maximum temperature in the month was 79°F, 13° above normal for the date, recorded during the only period of above average weather in the month, on the 9th. Overall, only 7 days in the month of May ended up averaging above average temperatures. The coldest maximum temperature was 43°F, 25° below normal for the date, recorded on the 13th of the month. The coldest minimum temperature in May was 25°F, recorded on the 1st and 3rd of the month. This temperature was 11° and 12° below the average for the date, respectively. The warmest minimum temperature was 54°F, 10° above average, on May 20th.

The low of 26°F on the 15th of the month tied the record low for that date, which had been set in 1959. Other than that, no other record highs or lows were recorded during the month, even though there were a quite a bit close calls on the record low end. This may seem strange considering how cold May was, but the primary component making May cooler than average was the daily high temperatures. Only 6 days in the entire month had a high temperature that was warmer than the average for the particular date.

Compared to the normal 3.33 inches of precipitation that Brainerd usually receives during the month of May, only 1.49 inches of it actually fell. This comes out to be about 45% of the normal amount of precipitation for the month. Even though it was cold enough to foster it during some portions of the month, Brainerd did not receive any snowfall in May. International Falls, on the other hand, did actually have measurable snowfall during the month. Incidentally, there’s an interesting question discussing snow in Minnesota on the “Ask a Meteorologist” feature of the Minnesota DNR’s website. Here it is:

Q. I am currently in debate with a coworker about the snowfall in Minnesota. Specifically, I say it has snowed in every month except July in the whole state. He said it has snowed in every month in the whole state. I can't find historical records on this and would appreciate any info.

A. As far as we have seen here at the State Climatologist Office, it has snowed in every month in Minnesota except July. There are multiple reports of snow in June, and a trace of snow fell at Duluth on August 31, 1949. Our records for really cool places like Tower and Embarrass do not go very far back in time, so who knows what may have fallen in the state and was not recorded.

Friday, June 11, 2004

The blog has been given a bit of a redesign in honor of the National Day of Mourning in response to former President Ronald Reagan's death. This is going to only be a one day thing, so enjoy it while you can. Incidentally, the American flag used in the background of the banner on the top of the page comes from a picture I took of the flag at the Veterans’ Memorial next to the courthouse in Brainerd. The picture has been titivated, however, in order for it to be more aesthetically pleasing. I have a feeling you'll be seeing this flag on the blog in a month or so as well...

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The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of Mitch Wahlsten and the participants
Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001