Monday, March 22, 2021

Episode 569 (3-22-21): Treating Spring Fever with Water, Featuring “Until the Summer Comes” by The Steel Wheels

Click to listen to episode (4:23)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-19-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 22, 2021.  This revised episode from March 2016 is part of a series this year of spring-related episodes.

MUSIC  – ~ 13 sec Lyrics: “see I ate all my dinner, and so much for winter; I’m gonna run till the springtime’s gone.”

This week, music from the Harrisonburg, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels, captures some of the “fever” of spring, which begins astronomically in the northern hemisphere on March 20 this year.  Have a listen for about 40 more seconds.

Music – ~ 41 sec Lyrics: “Hey, hey, hey, what a day.  I’m gonna soak up sun, gonna dry out the river, I’m gonna run to the shimmering pond, until the summer comes….”

You’ve been listening to part of “Until the Summer Comes,” from The Steel Wheels’ 2013 album, “No More Rain.” Water is part of spring’s feverish pull for this song’s narrator and for many non-humans, like Spring Peepers [SOUND ~ 3 sec] seeking temporary ponds for breeding; Red-winged Blackbirds [SOUND ~ 3 sec] nesting in wetlands; and—to humans’ dismay—mosquitoes [SOUND ~ 2 sec] seeking all kinds of standing water for egg-laying.

As of this recording on March 19, water supplies were mostly in good condition across Virginia.  The U.S. Drought Monitor from the University of Nebraska showed no current drought in Virginia; the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s drought indicators map showed mostly normal conditions, except for low groundwater in part of northern Virginia; and the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch showed stream flows over the past 28 days at or above normal across the Commonwealth.

Let’s hope that those good water conditions persist well beyond when summer begins astronomically on June 20, for the sake of kids in creeks, frogs in ponds, birds in wetlands, water supplies in reservoirs, plants in the ground, and countless other aquatic connections.

Thanks to for the mosquito sound, and thanks to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week’s music.  Here’s to spring’s arrival, and we close with about 25 more seconds of “Until the Summer Comes.”

MUSIC – ~ 26 sec – Lyrics: “Until the summer comes.” 


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 308, 3-21-16.

“Until the Summer Comes,” by The Steel Wheels, is from the 2013 album “No More Rain,” used with permission. More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at

The Spring Peeper sound was recorded by Virginia Water Radio at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., on March 17, 2021.

The Red-winged Blackbird sound was recording by Virginia Water Radio in Blacksburg, Va., on March 26, 2015.

The mosquito sound was recorded by user Zywx and made available for public use on, online at, under Creative Commons License 0 (public domain).  More information about Creative Commons is online at; license information specifically is online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Above: Two early spring views of shimmering ponds in Blacksburg, Va.: upper photo - a temporary pool and an adjacent wetlands where several kinds of frogs breed and Red-winged Blackbirds are common, April 4, 2015; lower photo - part of Virginia Tech's Duck Pond, March 21, 2016.

Above: Map of stream flows at Virginia gaging stations averaged over the past 28 days, as of March 18, 2021, and compared to normal flows, according to the color-coding chart below the map.  Map from the U.S. Geological Survey’s “WaterWatch” site, online at, accessed 3/19/21.

Above: Virginia drought indicator map as of 3/18/21, from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, accessed online at this link, 3/19/21.


Deborah Byrd, “Everything you need to know: Vernal equinox 2016,” EarthSky, 3/16/16, online at

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at  The Red-winged Blackbird entry is online at

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Meteorological Versus Astronomical Seasons,” online at

National Weather Service/Climate Prediction Center, “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for March 18—June 30, 2021” (released March 18. 2021), online at

U.S. Geological Survey, “Water Watch,” Virginia 28-day streamflow map, online at, on 3/18/21.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “U.S. Drought Monitor,” online at

U.S. Naval Observatory, “Earth’s Seasons—Equinoxes and Solstices—2021-2025,” online (as PDF) at

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, “Virginia is for Frogs,” online at

Va. Drought Monitoring Task Force, “Current Drought Conditions in Virginia,” online at, accessed 3/18/16.

Virginia Herpetological Society, online at  Herpetology is the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, and salamanders) and reptiles (including lizards, snakes, and turtles).

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Mosquitoes and Water,” Virginia Water Central Newsletter, June 2009 (pages 6-15), online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Amphibians,” “Birds,” and “Overall Importance of Water” subject categories.

Following are links to other spring-themed episodes.

Eastern Phoebe – Episode 416, 4-16-18.
Frog and Toad Medley – Episode 408, 2-19-18.
Rhododendrons – Episode 574, 4-26-21.
Spring forest wildflowers – Episode 573, 4-19-21.
Spring Peepers – Episode 570, 3-29-21.
Spring reminder about tornado awareness – Episode 568, 3-15-21.
Spring signals for fish – Episode 571, 4-5-21.
Spring sounds serenades –
Episode 206, 3-14-14 and Episode 516, 3-16-20.
Virginia Bluebells – Episode 521, 4-20-20.
Warblers and spring bird migration – Episode 572, 4-12-21.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-4: Living Systems and Processes
K.7 – Plants and animals have basic needs and life processes.
1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive.
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive.
2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes.
2.7 – Weather patterns and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
4.8. – Virginia has important natural resources.

Life Science
LS.5 – Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
LS.8 – Changes occur in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms over time. 

Earth Science
ES.12 – The Earth’s weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land.

BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs 

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15
– on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15
– on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16
– on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.