Tag Archives: rain

Hiring frogs, fish and herons!

FloodZone 020817

Rain, rain, and more rain, followed by a little snow, then more rain, has kept the flood zone fluctuating, but definitely always a swamp. I keep waiting for some frogs to take up residence in our yard.  The swamp area is a little too shallow to be a fish pond, but it seems like it has potential!  It wouldn’t surprise me to see a great blue heron standing there one morning, but not likely.

As our latent winter, pseudo-spring has raised our temperatures into the milder zones, the ground is ultra soggy, and every shovel of soil weighs close to 3 bricks.  It is not a time for planting anything in our yard yet; instead it has been a time of digging up old, neglected, and sprawling shrubs; weeding, and pruning plants to enourage their new looks.  A time to clear the old and make space for new.

Cycles of equilibrium: the balancing of energetic elements; over-abundant rain to counter balance 2-3 years of uncanny drought.

While April plays its games of freaky weather, we wait and dream for gentler, warmer days in May, to dry us out a bit, and give us momentum to actually plant.

Kitties are taking more outings, too, weather permitting.  Juni definitely has spring fever, and likes to take her time scouting around the neighborhood, sometimes causing her mom some anxiety.  Aspen is reliable in hanging around the premises, preferring to keep an eye on his human’s activities.

Spring has sprung in our part of the world! Time to admire the exquisite colors emerging all around us!

Waiting for rain…is this for real?

We love sun, but I think I can accurately say I can’t remember any spring in which we have had this extent of warm, dry weather, in the 30ish years I have lived here.  A complete switch from the last 2 to 3 years of cold, damp springs!  Trouble is, all that grey we had in late January into February wasn’t rain, but fog, so our water levels for the year are only 30% of normal at present!

It is almost unbelievable that we have tomatoes transplanted, and all the squash, melons, and cucumbers seeded before Mother’s Day, no less Memorial Weekend!  The much anticipated rain predicted for May 12th that was to bless our new plantings of the prior day, was postponed till the 13th, and then disappeared as we watched strong breezes break apart the front and send most clouds northeastward, and offer only brief spits of moisture, if any.

Seriously, it has been mostly shorts and sandals weather for the last 3 weeks, including some summer-ish nights. The ground in many places already showed the typical cracks more typical of late June or July.  Soaker hoses are being laid out for sudden action when plants are a bit bigger.

Though we cool off to more average temperatures in the 60’s, dropping into the high 30’s at night again, it is “life in the breeze lane”, requiring almost daily watering.

The house yard is looking good, coming into the first flush of blooms for the Tradescantia, and all lavender is prolifically laden with blossoms and bees!  It is always a joy to listen to them moving around in the plants while weeding or watering.  This year they will hopefully be able to enjoy watermelon blossoms one day on the seedlings planted along side some of the lavender.

Life is good!

A new batch of “red hats” that convert to evening jackets
for the young tomatoes.           Welcome to the CG for 2013!

May-12-13

Blueberry bushes are noticeably larger this year.
Good crop of berries set….!

On the driest day of the year…..it rained…

Yes….the garden is growing!  In spite of very inconsistent spurts of summer! The almanacs show that on July 12, typically the driest day of the year (.001 inch of rain in the records) we received about 0.7 inches overnight, setting a record.  Didn’t need to water for a few days!
Tomato jackets came off July 3rd….and they are now doing wonderfully; many blossoms and a few small fruit on one plant.  A plethora of beets, spinach, and lettuce have been pulled, and the inconsistent warmth we have seen has allowed a prolonged lettuce season.

July 4: starting to kick in for biomass

A bright sunrise....tomatoes love it!"

Oodles of Chiogga beets (red and white interior; almost like radishes)

A most inconsistent corn stand emerged, and there was no way that the corn was knee-high on the 4th of July; but now there are some plants that are waist-high, while others are shin-high.  Crows picked off some squash seedlings, so had to replant at a late date, and slugs knocked off a couple of melons.  So, we feel behind in some aspects, and yet catching up very quickly during this last week.  An overnight rain just left us 0.5 inches of rain, when we normally see none at this time of year; everything is different!

July 16: Lush greens

July 16: Growth in full swing!

June harvest tally:

  • Beet shoots: 3.25 pounds
  • Kale: 9
  • Lettuce: 14.25
  • Swiss chard: 4.75

Total: 30 pounds
And on we go….with gratitude to all Beings involved!

A spot of spring……

If the chairs are out front, then it is officially the start of our CG!  We were granted a brief reprieve on April 3rd, from any significant precipitation, and were able to spend time seeding various lettuces, spinach, scallions, and mesclun mix.  I was contemplating doing a “sun dance” to invite the solar rays to part the weather system.

Chairs are out...the CG is in session!

As beautiful as the soil is, it is still so wet, that turning fertilizer in by shovel was a bit more than our bodies wanted to deal with.  For now we scratched in some 6-4-2 organic blend in the planting area, and will side-dress more as the plants become bigger.  Hopefully, before mid-May, we will dry out more, so the rest of the area can be turned before warm weather veggies are brought in.

Really, there are seeds in the ground.

We take the sun when we can get it!  Many locals are feeling like it would be good to have much more….SUN…..please!  In the last couple of weeks there have been a few 1-shot days scattered amongst the confusion of rain, drizzle, and hail.  Even a little more snow in the foothills.  Hail? That means it is spring.

Brightest color spots to herald spring...

Today there are a couple of rows of “green” showing, so our little seeds are responding to the call of father Sun and mother Earth.  Hooray!

Solstice solitude

Solstice greetings of increasing Light to everyone!

Whew!  November and December have flown so fast!  Some well-meaning friends are already asking if I have ideas for next season.   No, not yet; it is really the season of rest right now, for both humans and plants, and soil.

Although I do think it is time to consider a cold frame of sorts to help weather some lettuce and spinach a bit longer.  If California starts to have climate trends tending to flooding (or interspersed with droughts), produce prices will skyrocket.  Fortunately our local producers are doing well, given their newer methods of winter gardening, but demand sometimes exceeds the supply in our locally-supplied markets.

The older kale plants are looking a little wobbly from wind and soaking rains a couple of weeks ago.  Some of us will probably pick off one plant at a time and pull it out when used up.  The crop planted in fall is surviving very well, as is the chard, but they are both small.  Older chard seems to have survived the cold frosts of earlier December, but is in a “holding” pattern, not looking particularly anxious to grow!  Who would, on the shortest day of the year?

But now, the life-stimulating energy of the sun starts to expand just a little more each day, though our coldest days have yet to come.

Happy holidays!  I’m hoping that some magical elf will bless me with the gift of a hori-hori knife (Japanese multi-functional gardening tool, meaning did-dig).

Yule-tide resting time....Where's Aspen?

January doldrums

Holidays are past; caretaking of people and pets is past; friends are off to the southern hemisphere (Chile) for some summer bicycle touring; and we have rain, rain, drizzle, rain, showers, rain, with tidbits of sun and fog. But, no complaints; my issues with rain don’t happen until late winter.  Today it is mild weather and much preferable to freezing rain.

It’s a great time to get caught up on indoor reorganization, sorting, and simplifying; all the stuff I never get to during a gardening season.

Today has been a day to dash outside between showers to do some cleanup of flattened Crocosmia and lily stalks, and admire the weeds that are growing so well.  Suet and seed needed replenishing, as little flocks of bushtits, goldfinches, juncos, warblers, starlings, a nuthatch, and a flicker all made their appearances.  A couple of days ago a downy woodpecker showed up for the first time (that I know of)!  All great entertainment on a grey day.

Am I contemplating the next garden plantings and dreaming with seed catalogs?  Not really.  Give me another 3 weeks before I’m antsy.  I’m still in rest mode.  Not that I haven’t already contemplated some new varieties of veggies to try, but that was last fall.  Besides, the garden gang will be meeting at the end of the month for an informal tea, to get our ideas flowing.

However, I am contemplating consuming the last tomato of the garden.  Yes, there still were ripening tomatoes in December!

Garden tomatoes for a New Year's salad

Thanksgiving and suet time!

Chilly, rainy weather demands more food for the birds now.  During the week we had a break in the weather, perfect for getting out feeders and restocking suet.  Today a visiting flicker rewards me!  He always looks awkward, being quite large relative to the suet cage, but he prefers it to the specially designed one purchased a couple of seasons ago (forget that one).  A woodpecker came by earlier last week, more interested in picking bugs out of some dead arborvitae trunks.  A little Anna’s hummingbird is braving the rain as well, searching out different feeders in the neighborhood that have more cover.

At the moment, the lettuce crop in the community garden is worth “gold” given the steep jump in market lettuce prices.  It’s slow growing with the current temperatures, but supplies small salads, if not overly-picked.

Frost nips at the yard when there is a clear night, and the nasturtiums aren’t sure when they should officially curl up to call it quits.  I was hard-pressed to find enough intact blossoms to adorn a salad headed to a potluck.

A very dreary day, today the rain came in earlier than predicted, and it has been a constant stream, stronger than a typical drizzle; just the right temperature and moisture combination to make it officially “yucky” enough not to work outside.  Unless one has a giant umbrella.  Hey, I shouldn’t have put the patio umbrella away….

It is a fine day to be inside with the kitties, and I give thanks for that opportunity to “hunker down” for a quiet Thanksgiving, to catch up on correspondence, give the old, ailing cat more attention, and get some rest!

Hope you are having an enjoyable Thanksgiving in whatever way you choose!

Blurred by rainy netting! Wishing a happy, restful Thanksgiving to all!