My last post left me wishing for a long, long Fall. Be very careful what you wish for. It seems that our beautiful Fall has continued right through the Winter. We had one snow storm at the beginning of December, since then, not a drop of rain, not a flake of snow, and warm, dry days in the 70's. The woods are as dry as tinder and the fires continue to burn around us. The photo above shows the culvert that runs under our road from the pond on the other side. I've never seen it dry in the Winter before. In Mariposa, we seem to have fallen down a climatic rabbit hole.
Above, you see the woods. Normally the moss on the tree limbs is bright green from the rain. The moss is still black and dormant, and the deciduous oaks are still in leaf. The grey pines are suffering from water stress and many of them will probably die. A vicious cycle that in turn causes the fires to burn hotter.
This is the creek that runs across the top of our place and down the hill to the West. I haven't heard any frogs since the Summer. I sure hope they're burrowed down deep.
To the left you see our pond. Any other year it would be pretty full by now. We get our water from a well. In the foothills, wells tap into water in fractures in the rock deep below the soil. The water comes from rain that falls each Winter and filters down through the soil. No rain, no water. Pretty simple. Pretty scary.
We all depend on the rain. No rain, no nectar for the bees, no seeds for the birds, no grass for the deer. We were talking just the other day about what we would do if it didn't rain and our well dried up. It would be catastrophic for us and for most people here. We would probably have to leave our home. We decided to plant our vegetable garden as usual. If our water holds out, we will need our garden more than ever this year because the farms down in the valley will fallow their vegetable fields to conserve water for the orchards. Planting a garden is an act of hope.
A friend recently reminded me that there's always hope. Indeed, that's all there really is even in the best of times. Seeds (and children) are the purest expressions of hope I know of.