Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Experiment: Chapter One

Anyone who's ever read this before knows I'm a bit of a weather fanatic.  Pretty much anytime I get online I check my favorite weather site, forecast.weather.gov aka the National Weather Service.  I like their site because it's easy to use and I love their radar.  They also have links to local climatology, which I look at every now and then to see what they see trending as far as temps and precip for the coming seasons (FYI, this is another La Nina year, so expect more hot dry conditions just like last year through at least August.  Gotta love climate change!).  

But just because it's my favorite...doesn't mean it's the most accurate.  Last winter when we had our frost scares with the strawberries, I learned just how much difference one degree can make.  There's a fine line between a frost and a freeze, or a frost and nothing.  Mostly it depends on the dew point, which is the temperature at which dew/frost begins to form.  However, since a) no one predicts dew points and b) it's closely related to temperatures, I decided to take the path of least resistance.  

I decided then I needed to do some kind of experiment with a couple different TV stations and a couple websites, just to kind of see who happened to be the most accurate as far as temps go for our area, Goldsboro.  Almost a year later, I finally did it.

I chose my fav of course, the NWS, as well as weather.com, WRAL and WNCT.  I chose to do it last Mon - Fri.  I looked at the forecast high for the day at 8 am and the forecast low at 5 pm, since these sites tend to change their forecast throughout the day.  Then I recorded it in a spreadsheet (I am also the queen of spreadsheets.  I have one for everything, sometimes two for the same thing even.  Part of that is The Husbands fault, but that's another blog for another time...).  Then I recorded our actual high and actual low as measured by the thermometer in my backyard.

The results were surprising.  The overall winner for accuracy was the weather channel.  I usually don't check their site, because I hate it.  There's so much information I don't need on there and advertisements and all I want is the weather, plain and simple.  They nailed the high for Monday and low for Tuesday, and came the closest three out of the other four days.  WNCT and WRAL were the closest on Wednesday.  And my favorite, well, only came close one day when everyone was just a degree off the actual temperatures.  It's also worth noting that no one was wildly off, everyone was a couple degrees one way or another from the high or low.  We are talking about weather, no one is going to be spot on all the time.  There are just too many variables.

I plan on doing another one of these in a month or so.  I'm sure different sites are closer different times of the year.  I feel like unless I try it again and see which site consistently performs the best I don't have an accurate picture.  So check back, I'm sure I'll have a chapter two to report on soon.
Latest pics of the strawberry plants (mostly because I hate not to include a pic, but no one wants to see my thermometer)
Have a Happy New Year everyone!!!  (I don't mean it unless I put at least three exclamation points apparently.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Front War

Please forgive me, I've been a slack blogger.  It's not because we've been doing nothing, it's because I've been a little stretched out fighting a two front war with strawberry planting/planning and everything happening at the same time the corn maze is going on.  And I have to say, because I always mistype (not to be confused with mispell because I do in fact know how to spell the word because.  It's chunkin' that apparently I have a problem with) the word because, that I love Google Chrome because they underline the mistypes like Word does and I don't have to do all that copy & paste stuff.  

On the corn maze front.  Obviously we shut her down Nov. 5 with a few remaining groups left until Nov. 12.  We had a great year this year.  I want to thank all of our staff, you are all awesome and we love hanging out with you.  Huge thanks to everyone who came out to support us and have fun on our farm.  I loved having you out and seeing some returning families.  It's fun to watch the kids grow every year (as long as it's not The Boy, who has to remain 3 forever).  That's kinda my end goal with this thing is to be a place people come every year to play around in the corn and chunk a few pumpkins (or gourds, because those little suckers will FLY).  I would love to have my farm be a part of someone's family tradition. We'll be back at it next year, hopefully with a few new things to do.  I want to add another pumpkin chunker, I'm thinking about having a trebuchet as well as the slingshot.  We also want to have a different pumpkin patch where people can cut their own pumpkin from the vine.

On the strawberry front:  We got them planted the first weekend of October and they are growing fast.  The lack of cold weather is causing them to grow like crazy, and causing them not to go into dormancy.  Last week we noticed some blooms even.  We are hoping for some cooler weather to come on in and slow them down and it looks like after today we'll get it.

First Blooms - notice how the center is dark, that is due to frost damage
One more new (exciting!) thing we are planning on bringing to you this spring is more vegetables on the farm. We want to start offering more produce throughout the spring and early summer.  We want you to be able to come here and get all the delicious vegetables you need, for you to be able to walk on the farm and see where it comes from and meet the guy who grew it and know exactly where it comes from.  

So, that's what's up with us.  I wish everyone a good holiday season and a happy new year!  My resolution: being more attentive blogger.