Tuesday, October 17, 2023

My weather diary

On October 26, 2004, we had our first hard freeze of the year. The temperature was 26F.

On February 3, 2014, it was calm, cloudy, and a low of 20F. It snowed two or three inches overnight and snowed lightly much of the day. I took Younger Daughter into a nearby down for a music lesson.

On August 13, 2017, it was breezy and cooler than the day before. Don's arm was hurting from a bout of tendonitis. We both took a walk to the mailboxes (3 miles round trip), taking advantage of a cool break from some hot weather.

How do I know all this stuff? It's because since 2004 (starting on Oct. 26, in fact), I've been keeping what I call a weather diary. This is nothing more than a brief summary of what we did around the house and farm, and occasionally something noteworthy that happened in the news (Notre Dame burned on April 15, 2019, for example). The weather diary is called just that – a weather diary – because originally it was meant to note the weather patterns in what was then our new home in Idaho (we moved in June of 2003). Somehow it evolved into a daily family diary, though I still note the high and low temperatures as well as any weather.

I've been making nearly daily entries for almost 19 years now, and the document is currently 540 pages long. Pick any date since Oct. 26, 2004, and it's 99 percent likely I can tell you what we did and what the weather was like. I can't even begin to tell you how useful this journal has been for a zillion and one reasons. When did we do such-and-such? On what date do we visit thus-and-such? When is the first time we met someone? When did we travel to a distant location? I can do a brief search and have the answer within seconds.

On October 1, 2015, for example, I dehydrated some garlic (and wasn't impressed by the results). It sunny with a high of 70F.

On April 30, 2012, I got a phone call from a childhood friend who was in the states visiting her family (she lives in Germany), and we had a long conversation. It rained much of the day with a high temperature of 45F.

The vast, vast majority of this diary is boring and mundane. But then, when you think about it, the vast, vast majority of everyday life for everyone is boring and mundane. But it's life.

As boring and mundane as my weather diary may be, I've extremely glad to have it. Life for the past 19 years has been recorded almost daily.


  1. I have a book called "Our Own Snug Fireside" by Jane C. Nylander that is a domestic history book of the period 1760-1860. She takes her information from daily diaries kept during that period. Your diary will be valuable to your descendants, and future historians wanting to know what daily life was really like for the ordinary person (as opposed to the ruling class). I've been keeping a journal since 1975, not daily, but often enough to call it a history of my life since high school graduation. I love reading diaries and letters of past generations!

  2. I have a similar habit that sometimes includes weather but not always. It can include anything. When a pet is ill , I'll write down meds and stuff when given, syringes of food "force fed", ( this is actually what started it), I track bills in it somewhat if there are goals or some problem involved, I track power usage religiously in it, answers to prayer, and yes, frequently weather if it's unusual especially. All sorts of things.

    It's like a piece of your brain you can flip through to remember things when needed because the one on your shoulders is too distracted by the here and now to actually remember stuff back when. And yes, it is very helpful.

    I keep mine in annual notebooks, but they don't hold up well because of the spiral binding. Have been thinking of going through them and paring down much of that paper and keeping things like poems written, event stuff, praises for prayers answered, whatever, and putting that stuff in one notebook. It's fun go go back over them.

  3. Not relevant to weather or diaries but garlic. We experimented this year with dehydrating garlic and then putting it in a blender to make garlic powder. It worked wonderfully.

  4. Enjoyed your comments, as usual. But what amazed me was the fact that I have been following you for over 20 years. Where did the time go? Part of it was spent reading about your daily life and your solutions to common problems. Thank you for your contributions to my happy life. Keep up the good work. Julia

  5. Earlier this year I got the urge to start writing again, mostly a diary similar to yours, Patrice, but I prefer the meditative feeling of writing by hand. I got nudged to write after reading Ann Patchett’s memoir, These Precious Days, that she wrote during the height of the pandemic craze. I’m probably one of the very few who don’t like her novels but I gobbled up this book.

  6. I think your blog attracts people who love to write. Probably way more than those who respond to your topics.
    Diaries are so helpful to life, whether recording events or facts, or cathartic expression. It's much better to write out what you think or feel, reflect on it, then pray about it. Seems few people nowadays really want to think things over before spouting off at the mouth. Then sometimes I'll be writing something good about someone and realize they need iqt in note form, and the words are already formed because I was simply recording thoughts.
    Another thing few realize is that a diary can be used as a legal document. When you are routinely recording things like dates and weather and events, those things are verifiable and give credence to other things recorded. For this reason many successful people keep diaries as well.

    I personally just like to do all my jotting down in one place every day. That way if you have a question later about something, it's all in one place.

  7. That is a real good idea