My friend Lynn, who lives up north in Chico, asked about the ponding basins I wrote about in my last post. She had not heard of these before. I don’t think Chico has a flooding problem, nor is it located in a deep flat valley with hardpan soil as its underpinning.
Fresno has these issues, and for decades had severe flooding within the city. My husband has a photo in his 1967 yearbook of boats being used for transportation on one of the main thoroughfares after a series of rain storms had pelted the San Joaquin Valley.
Fresno had sense enough to start a drainage system that diverted rainwater from city streets into ponding basins and then used the water to recharge the city’s water pumps, utilizing all that rain later in the year when we would be in drought status.
Some of the 150 ponding basins within the city are wildlife refuges, like this one behind our housing tract:
Others are kept filled all year for recharging purposes. And still others are used as playgrounds, ball fields, and dog parks when the water recedes in summer and fall. Right now the city is diverting the water from overflowing basins into canals that will take the water out to the San Joaquin River and it will eventually make its way to the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, other areas in the Valley are not as fortunate to have this flood control, and right now many smaller communities are battling water and mud. Yesterday, a small school in the south part of the valley was flooded with rainwater that had no where else to go except through the school’s hallways.
Although there is none of the usual tule fog for Thanksgiving in the Central Valley, the reason is bad news for us–no rain. The drought continues. Our weather is so glorious, the light is so golden, the trees are beautifully dressed in reds, yellows, and oranges. The smell of autumn is intoxicating as we have so many bay trees and citrus trees. Someone should make a perfume with that recipe.
With a whole week away from school for the holiday, I have plenty of time to rake leaves and linger in the backyard to enjoy this beautiful time of the year. Today, after taking care of the newly fallen foliage, I sat on the greenhouse wall and read and wrote in my journal. Behind me, in the saddle of the pear tree, a squirrel was munching on the nuts I had left there. He did not appreciate my presence even though I am the source of his bounty.
Suddenly there are leaves, small pears, and other debris, raining down on my head. The squirrel had scurried up above me and was shaking the branches. Perhaps he was only trying to pry lose some of the pears for his own lunch, but after I got up and left, I could see him nibbling the nuts again. He too is enjoying the lovely fall weather in the backyard.
Ok, so it’s the first day of May and the temps are warm, and we are having April showers. I am very glad as we need any water from the sky that we can get. My crispy front yard is very glad too. You will note that I have no photos here of my front yard as it is a terrible embarrassment. Maybe when the big tree in front leaves out and covers most of the yard, then I’ll show you what I mean.
Hope it’s cloudy and gloomy wherever you are so the little guy doesn’t see his shadow. That means spring is coming soon. If it’s sunny and he sees his shadow, then 6 more weeks of winter. Unfortunately, it’s sunny here so who knows what we’ll have for the next 6 weeks. We’re praying for rain as we are in a bad drought but I know the east coast is ready for spring.
I’m home today, recuperating from my lousy, no-good, miserable sick day yesterday. Although feeling better, I’m still fuzzy and achy. Today is a non pupil day at school so I’m not leaving my kids high and dry, just my fellow teachers.