Historic diaries show a warming trend

By Ruby McFarland

Fall is sure here and the lack of rain or snow has caused us all to be aware of how much we need moisture. In early September, the trees along the river were losing their leaves, not because of fall but because of lack of water.

They simply dropped all the leaves they could to stay alive. Nature knows so much more than we do, and the trees were showing signs of stress. I keep saying we may see a time that we will have no water. Nevada never was real big with lots of water. The inland lakes have suffered from the obvious warming of our weather.

Emma Nevada Loftus recorded the weather daily in the 41 years of diaries we have at the museum. There is no denying the changes recorded in her writings.

I've told about the Italians cutting ice to put down in their icehouses. Emma would say how thick the ice was that was cut from the ponds around Dayton.

Nine inches was common and sometimes 12 inches of ice was cut and stored in the root cellars around Dayton.

As she wrote about how good or bad the weather was at certain times, the trend of longer periods of dry years began to show in her records. The cutting of ice became a thing of the past along about the end of the 1920s. It was a combination of the advent of modern refrigeration and lack of winters that produced nine inches of ice.

One of the weather-related things that happened was the earlier warming in the spring when folks would lose the fruit on the trees around town. Right about the time the trees are all in bloom it decides to be winter again.

Early accounts tell of good crops of apples and peaches in this area, but as it got warmer those fruits began to diminish.

I have an apricot tree that has only had apricots three times in 20 years. It blooms earlier every year making it vulnerable to the late frost.

Victoria Pradere remembers that the seasons were more pronounced in the old days and gardening was easier to predict. Her father raised gardens and orchards to supply his store with produce.

We will have to adapt to the warming and do better about saving water. Rocks don't require much water and make good ground cover that absorbs water.

The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton, and is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check the Web site: daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.

• Ruby McFarland has lived in Dayton since October 1987, she serves as a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.


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