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the lights in a morning, till the glasses are opened. Pro
A notion has always obtained, that in England hot summers are productive of fine crops of wheat; yet in the years 1780 and 1781, though the heat was intense, the wheat was much mildewed, and the crop light. Does not severe heat, while the straw is milky, occasion its juices to exsude, which being extravasated, occasion spots, discolour the stems and blades, and injure the health of the plants?
August. A truffle-hunter called on us, having in his pocket several large truffles found in this neighbourhood. He says these roots are not to be found in deep woods, but in narrow hedge-rows and the skirts of coppices. Some truffles, he informed us, lie two feet within the earth, and some quite on the surface; the latter, he added, have little or no smell, and are not so easily discovered by the dogs as those that lie deeper. Half a crown a pound was the price which he asked for this commodity.
Truffles never abound in wet winters and springs. They are in season in different situations, at least nine months in the year.
Though the weather may have been ever so dry and burning, yet after two or three wet days, this jelly-like substance abounds on the walks.
The cause, occasion, call it what you will, of fairy-rings, subsists in the turf, and is conveyable with it: for the turf of my garden-walks, brought from the down above, abounds with those appearances, which vary their shape, and shift situation continually, discovering themselves now in circles, now in segments, and sometimes in irregular patches and spots. Wherever they obtain, puff-balls abound; the seeds of which were doubtless brought in the turf.
November 22, 1768. A remarkable fall of the barometer all over the kingdom. At Selborne we had no wind, and not much rain; only vast, swagging, rock-like clouds, appeared at a distance.
The country people who are abroad in winter mornings long before sun-rise, talk much of hard frost in some spots, and none in others. The reason of these partial frosts is obvious, for there are at such times partial fogs about; where the fog obtains, little or no frost appears: but where the air is clear, there it freezes hard. So the frost takes place either on hill or in dale, wherever the air happens to be clearest and freest from vapour.
Thaws are sometimes surprisingly quick, considering the small quantity of rain. Does not the warmth at such times come from below? The cold in still, severe seasons seems to come down from above: for the coming over of a cloud in severe nights raises the thermometer abroad at once full ten degrees. The first notices of thaws often seem to appear in vaults, cellars, etc.
If a frost happens, even when the ground is considerably dry, as soon as a thaw takes place, the paths and fields are all in a batter. Country people say that the frost draws moisture. But the true philosophy is, that the steam and vapours continually ascending from the earth, are bound in by the frost, and not suffered to escape till released by the thaw. No wonder then that the surface is all in a float; since the quantity of moisture by evaporation that arises daily from every acre of ground is astonishing.
January 20. Mr. H.'s man says that he caught this day, in a lane near Hackwood park, many rooks, which, attempting to fly, fell from the trees with their wings frozen together by the sleet, that froze as it fell. There were, he affirms, many dozen so disabled.
MIST, CALLED LONDON SMOKE
This is a blue mist which has somewhat the smell of coal smoke, and as it always comes to us with a N.E. wind, is supposed to come from London. It has a strong smell, and is supposed to occasion blights. When such mists appear they are usually followed by dry weather.
REFLECTION OF FOG
When people walk in a deep white fog by night with a lanthorn, if they will turn their backs to the light, they will see their shades impressed on the fog in rude gigantic proportions. This phenomenon seems not to have been attended to, but implies the great density of the meteor at that juncture.
June 4, 1783. Vast honey dews this week. The reason of these seem to be, that in hot days the effluvia of flowers are drawn up by a brisk evaporation, and then in the night fall down with the dews with which they are entangled.
This clammy substance is very grateful to bees, who gather it with great assiduity, but it is injurious to the trees on which it happens to fall, by stopping the pores of the leaves. The greatest quantity falls in still close weather; because winds disperse it, and copious dews dilute it, and prevent its ill effects. It falls mostly in hazy warm weather.
After a bright night and vast dew, the sky usually becomes cloudy by eleven or twelve o'clock in the forenoon, and clear again toward the decline of the day. The reason seems to be, that the dew, drawn up by evaporation, occasions the clouds; which, towards evening, being no longer rendered buoyant by the warmth of the sun, melt away, and fall down again in dews. If clouds are watched in a still warm evening, they will be seen to melt away, and disappear.
DRIPPING WEATHER AFTER DROUGHT
No one that has not attended to such matters, and taken down remarks, can be aware how much ten days dripping weather will influence the growth of grass or corn after a severe dry season. This present summer, 1776, yielded a remarkable instance; for till the 30th of May the fields were burnt up and naked, and the barley not half out of the ground; but now, June 10, there is an agreeable prospect of plenty.
November 1, 1787. The N. aurora made a particular appearance, forming itself into a broad, red, fiery belt,