Friday, January 24, 2014

A Very Merry UnWinter to You


     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.




     


10 comments :

  1. That dry area is very obvious in your photos. It's unreal how different parts of the country do. After numerous years of drought, it looks like we may be on the road to our water tables recovering. Hoping things do a turn around for you out there this year.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Hi Cher,
      I'm sure glad things are going well weather wise for someone! It's crazy dry in the West and crazy cold in the East this year. I think you're right in the middle? I hope your recovery continues - at least then I will have one beautiful garden to look at!

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  2. Scary, It's great you planted your vegetable garden anyway....

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  3. We're on the same wavelength... The seeds arrived - little specks of hope! Thank you so much. Hope to send some your way soon.

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    1. You are most welcome! I see on tonight's weather forecast that there's a good chance of rain on Thursday. Let's keep our fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.

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  4. Is it raining up there now? I hope, for all of our sakes, it is. We got a little rain down here in Southern California last week. But, the hillsides and I are longing for more.

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    1. Hi Christina,
      Sorry to get back to you so late, I've been out of town this week. We did get a little rain from that storm, about a half inch, same as you. So, now we stand at a little over 5 inches for the season, normal being about 25. Dang.

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  5. We are hearing a lot about California's drought on the news here in Canada. It is scary, and it affects everyone who depends on California for fresh fruit and vegetables. Canada, with its short growing season, depends heavily on produce from California.

    I love what you said about seeds and children being the purest expression of hope.

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    1. A large chunk of the world is overly dependent on the San Joaquin Valley for food. I'm reading an interesting book right now, "The West Without Water". Alternating drought and flood are common here if you step back and look at the geological record over larger bits of time. It shouldn't have been a surprise to us.

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