Jul 23, 2014

Lion dam (or den?)

The arrow pointed to this dam.

But by the time we got there it was spitting more rain.

Both the Vesdre (above) and the Gileppe (below)
pool water at the perimeter of the plateau
on top of which the Hautes Fagnes lie
That motivated us to drive to the Gilippe instead.

Not that we avoided getting drenched:
It started pouring down even harder than before.

Can you see the giant lion?
Still, we got a pretty good photo of the lion on top.

That's one huge cat.

Streams running off the High Fens
are the source of the reservoirs,
which provide drinking water
and energy in the valley below.
Between the valley and the plateau he has plenty of room to roam!

Jul 22, 2014

Familiar feel of high fens

Are the Florida swamps like the moon in that they follows you wherever you go?

This Belgian boardwalk sort of made me feel that way.


But it was much too cold and too many German tourists to be south Florida.

Okay, I'll admit, Florida its fair share of the latter, too.

Jul 21, 2014

Jul 20, 2014

Haunted waters?

What is it about the sound of water that draws you in,

Then just as suddenly sends your mind floating away?


Streams draw you in
and send you places

Lost in the moment ...

I unexpectedly found this water ruin of a rapid on a bike ride in Belgium, but just as quickly listening to it my mind slipped back in time and space to Pennsylvania on the lower end of the Lehigh River, first in the late 1800s of the pre-industrial age and then in a blink a hundred years ahead to me-still-in-school, until eventually I snapped out of it and -- poof! -- twenty years forward, back to the present, back on my bike, peddling ahead through a Belgian countryside that over the years I now know fairly well.

I knew my way home, only I was unsure if I'd make it on time. It was a shame I couldn't take the stream instead:

I'd be there in an instant if I could.

Jul 19, 2014

Ladder and tree

This ladder has become
a permanent part of the
apple tree

Jul 18, 2014

Strategic placement

Full buckets are always
easier to walk downhill

Jul 17, 2014

Batteries not included

Rain barrels are an all-time great innovation:

Easy to set up, gravity fed, and a great way to conserve.

Even better yet – they don’t require batteries.

The only time they don’t work is when it doesn’t rain ...


Or if it rains too much.

That's when you might want a spill over plan.

Jul 16, 2014

"Spill over" effect

The soggy spot at the base
of the water barrel is
fertile ground

Jul 14, 2014

Meteorologic reputations

What are the two things we learn about reputations?

The first is that we "earn" them and the second is that they "precede" us.

Reputations are earned over time

But from a logical standpoint that doesn’t make sense:

If in fact I “earned” a reputation, that implies – at least to some degree – that I performed some sort of work beforehand to achieve it. Thus, by deductive reasoning, that means that “I” – not the “reputation” – had to be first. Otherwise (and as the saying goes), if the reputation “preceded” me: I would have inherited it.

We could blame it on my mother or father instead.

That decisive revelation brings me to Belgian rainfall.

I have been amply forewarned about Belgium’s notoriously reputation as a soggy, stormy and – if you are walking down a hill after a rain shower (on account of the plentitude of slugs sliming their way across the road) – slippery country.

Florida wins in terms
 of "gross" precipitation

Belgium is to rain what Florida is to sun:

Expect it every day, and yes – in both cases, your best bet to protect yourself (from the soaking and sunburn) is to use an umbrella.

Shockingly, however, Florida gets more rain then Belgium.

Clearly, one reputation is at fault – either Florida is not the sunshine state or Belgium is not the rainfall country.

But Belgium makes up lost ground
with its steady rains and lesser evapotranspiration

What’s going on?

This is a hydrologic parlor trick of sorts. My slight of hand was to conveniently glance over the evaporation picture and only focus on rain. You see, Belgium may not get as much rain, but it more than makes up for it by having much lower evapotranspiration as well.

Belgium’s rain falls steadily in all four seasons, too.

Compare that to most of Florida’s rain falling in its four core summer wet season months.

Rest assured, Belgium
has sunny days, too!

Are reputations earned?

My recommendation is to have an umbrella on hand at all times in Belgium. It rains all year round and – out of nowhere – at any point in the day. You’ll want to keep an umbrella handy in Florida too – although not for the rain (i.e. intense spurts of sideways rain and lightning render them useless,) but rather for those intense bouts of mid morning sun that strike all year round.

It could serve as a handy parasol instead!

Jul 12, 2014

Belgium abandons metric system?

As if the language gap wasn’t already confusing enough,

All the hydrologic scales are out of sync, too.

Theoretical precipitation
as viewed on a map

Fortunately I found this map of yearly precipitation averages for the European continent – only it was in millimeters instead of inches. My two options were to try to switch my mind into thinking in metric or switch the coding intervals on the legend.

Not surprisingly I chose the latter.

Anywhere in light blue (i.e., Brussels) and green (i.e., Paris) gets about 25-35 inches and anywhere you see coded yellow (i.e., Berlin) and orange (i.e., Madrid) gets between 15-20 inches.

Actual rain as observed in Eupen, Belgium

Florida averages 55 inches of rain per year.

Or as seen on this map, squarely in the dark blue (i.e., Alps.)