Thursday 12 April 2007

Weather (again)

Sorry if I seem a bit obsessed with the weather on this blog but when you've got the Atlantic Ocean at the bottom of your garden, it becomes more of a preoccupation. Also, people tend to assume the Azores are "tropical islands" - i.e. "sun kissed palm trees, white beaches and blue seas". (Well certainly blue seas, one or two palm trees but black beaches - volcanic, you see).

I've digressed already (but isn't that the point of a blog?)

Anyway, I wanted to share this satellite image from earlier this week which encapsulates a "weather moment" very clearly:-

Flores is the little dot in the (small) red circle to the left of the pic. Note the line of cloud (white) over us. That was a cold front. It's moving south east. When the satellite snapped this pic at about noon, it was raining very hard. But a couple of hours later, in the afternoon, it cleared up and was bright and sunny as the front passed over south east: we emerged into the clear - but cold as it was coming from the north west - air behind the front as the satellite pic clearly shows.

Weather in action, as it were, brought to you by the Finnish Meteorological Institute's website available (free) at this link:


Epicyclic said...

Neil & Carol,

The cliche "four seasons in a day" certainly applied during our two visits. The climate was just one of the many appealing attributes of the Azores.

Have any interesting success/failure stories re: vegetable gardening in the Azores?



Neil King said...


"4 seasons in one day" should be the national anthem of Flores!

No gardening success stories. Failure stories - how long have you got?!


Epicyclic said...

Neil & Carol,

We have forever, but you have to eat! I ask because the term "supermercado" has a different meaning when compared to the same term on one of the larger islands.

Are you raising the traditional pig? Please don't tell us he got sick and died!!

As potential immigrants we ask in all seriousness.(LoL with increasing concern.)

Well, at least the fish there are always fresh.


Bob & Lynn

Anonymous said...

Hi, Neil & Carol!

I've noticed, on all my visits to the Azores (including 4 days on Flores in June 2002), that most people raise potatoes, onions and Portuguese cabbage [kale] throughout the archipelago with ease -- basically caldo verde fixin's in a garden patch! I've also seen green peas and green beans grown up poles, tomatoes, peppers, squashes (zucchini and marrows), cucumbers, lettuce, corn -- albeit not in as many varieties of these veggies as in the US. (Some also have fruit trees and purple grapes). I imagine this time of year you might be able to forage for wild watercress up above the waterfalls along the riffles (near Fajãzinha, I'm told).

I vividly recall an outstanding vegetable garden in Santa Cruz das Flores that I was trying to photograph by leaning over its white stucco wall in order to get a good angle. I laid my camera lens cap down on the top of the wall, then klutzily proceeded to knock it off into the garden soil. So I had to scramble over the wall into the garden and back, hoping its owners wouldn't catch me and that no one would walk past, because I wasn't exactly fluent in Portuguese yet (not that I'll ever attain genuine bilinguality, but that's for another time). Actually, I suspect they would've figured out that I was an American tourist who had no intention of poaching their crops, but I just felt so-o-o humiliated! I did manage to snap my pictures and retrieve the lens cap, but it wasn't pretty. If I can dig out those photos I could email you the best sometime, which might give you some way of figuring out where it's located in Santa Cruz. I suggest just going up to townspeople on the street, showing them the image and asking, "Onde fica?" -- and before too long you'd probably find someone who could point you in the right direction (or even walk you there)!

As a native Californian, I get such a kick out of seeing California Poppies in so many Azorean flower gardens, as they're California's official state flower, and in their natural state (as it were) grow wild by field-fuls in Spring. Obviously either emigrant relatives have sent back seed packets as gifts, or else the locals have visited the Golden State and brought them back as souvenirs themselves!

If you'd like me to send you any garden photos, or if you want to ask any other questions, please feel free to email me at:

Have you met Gabriela F. Silva yet? She blogs at:
Gabriela's a poet of a certain age(!) who lives on Flores, and we have several mutual friends, including the Terceiran poet Álamo Oliveira and Tulare educator/translator/journalist (and President of the North American "conselho das comunidades") Diniz Borges. She's asked me if I'd be interested in translating some of her poems. I think I might -- once I finish up a play of Álamo's that I'm in the midst of translating, and a book of poetry by Vasco Pereira da Costa (who's also in Angra).

Abraços da sua amiga açoriana-americana, Kathie.