This is a post I published on Cowbird, and I wanted to share with you:
This morning we toured the Shinzen Japanese Gardens at Woodward Park. As you can see from the pictures, it is a beautiful place, filled with spring flowers and budding plants. The peacocks were guarding their nests with loud shrieks; the pounding of the drums reverberated through the gardens. The day started beautifully with a promise of temperatures in the 80s. The park was filled with people, all enjoying the sunshine, the gardens, and blue skies. It was perfection.
Later, at home, and sitting out in the backyard, I started reading the flurry of Cowbird stories about the winter weather many of our writers were experiencing. The same types of posts, and pictures, were also on Facebook. This is my response to all those stories:
>>I’m sitting out back, on the greenhouse pad, in a wicker chair, wearing capris, and my feet, in tennis shoes, are propped up on the low wall. I’m reading posts, blogs, and stories written by people who woke up to snow-encrusted landscapes this morning while I listen to the neighbors’ air conditioners come on. Although feeling a bit guilty, I am loving this wonderful weather, here in California, under a pear tree in Fresno.<<
For all of you wondering where spring is, it is here, in California. You are certainly welcome to visit it.
There must be a change coming in our weather. My head is hurting this morning, and because I have lots I want to do today, I took an Imitrex. For a few moments, while it “kills” the migraine, the medicine makes me feel wonky and a bit slow. However, by the time the the med wears off, the headache will be gone and I will feel my usual self, ready to tackle the day.
My migraines are triggered by sinus pressure and sometimes just taking an Excedrin will relieve the inflammation and make everything right with the world, plus it gives me a kick with its caffeine. Excedrin has been pulled from the store shelves, though, since January and when I seek information about its return, all I seem to find is bits and pieces about why it was pulled and little about getting the supply back on track. Very annoying as I find the generic not as good. Years ago a pharmacist told me that most generics have different (cheaper) fillers than the real stuff. Most of the time it’s not a problem, but some of the fillers don’t agree with me.
So, what’s on today’s agenda? Grocery shopping, cooking, jazz hop on the mall, and a tweet-up at the local ball park. Maybe some laundry, too, if I feel up to it.
Turns out, today, at my daughter’s in San Mateo, it is cooler in the kitchen than the rest of the house. Of course, no cooking is going on.
San Mateo is usually pretty cool, like San Francisco, its neighbor 20 miles north, but today there was no marine layer; therefore, the temperature has hit 88 degrees by 4:30. Not so bad in a place like Fresno where we all have air conditioning. Pretty miserable in a place like San Mateo where AC is rarely needed. Even in Fresno I have four fans running during the hot summer days. My daughter has only one fan.
For now I’m hiding out in the kitchen, where there is a slight breeze coming in the window, and where I can feel the fan blowing some air from out in the living room. It’s also close to the ice.
As you may remember, dear Reader, I have been bemoaning the unusual cool temperatures we’ve been having here in the San Joaquin Valley. There are consequences for the strange weather, some good, but some bad.
This is the number one agriculture spot in the nation; our whole economy depends on our water, soil, and warm temperatures. This year we’ve had the water, and the soil hasn’t blown away, but the cool air is keeping the fruit from ripening and thwarting the growth of so many crops. The cotton is just standing out in its fields, shivering. You’ve heard about corn growing so fast, overnight, that you can hear it. The cornfields on the west side of the valley are silent. The ground is too wet to dig potatoes and onions. Basil and peppers are not growing. The grapes will have a hard time getting their sugar levels high enough for raisins.
I received my first box of CSA stone fruit yesterday–peaches, nectarines, and plums–that should be soft to the touch. Instead, rock hard. The big storm we had Sunday night has caused major damage to stone fruit and there is fear some of the crop will be completely lost. The winds and rain caused skin damage and mold and mildew is setting in. That is the bad news.
The good news, on the other hand, is that for the first time in history, the Zody household electric usage did not go over the baseline amount. By now, PG&E has changed the rates to reflect the usual hot weather we have, thus calling for the use of air conditioning. No air conditioning needed. However, our gas usage was double the baseline for this time of the year because the heater should have gone off and stayed off. Didn’t happen until this morning. So, we had a fairly low power bill.
The date is June 4. The average temperatures for this time of year are lows in the 60s, highs in 90s. It’s not happening this year, and today it is raining.
The view from the front porch
It was cloudy yesterday, but today we have rain, not a brief shower, but rain all morning and what looks like all afternoon. Glad we aren’t invited to an outdoor wedding today.
Maybe we could huddle under a tree to stay dry.
I worked in the backyard this afternoon.
The weather was beautiful this afternoon. The air redolent with the fragrance of all the flowers in bloom. Perfect day to get some yard work done. The neighbor kids saw me and asked for their balls back that had been residing in a hedge of nandinas. The little boy made the comment that he had been waiting for me to come out so he could ask. Guess it was a good thing I finally got out there.
It has been a stormy few days here in California. The whole state has been doused with plenty of rain and there are piles of snow for skiing in the mountains. Should make for some good Christmas fun if you like to strap sticks to your feet and sail down a steep cliff. As for us, I think we need to stay in Fresno and clean up the yards.
Here is a picture of my backyard last spring:
As of this morning, it looks like this:
The mulberry tree in the front yard is almost bare. During the three weeks I was in San Francisco it dropped all of its golden leaves on the lawn, walkway, and shrubbery. It’s rather pretty, but a little dangerous on the front walk:
Today is clear but more storms are forecast for later in the week. At least we didn’t have a whole shrub come down like our next door neighbors. Leaves and branches are a little easier to clean up and there isn’t quite the sense of urgency. We are also grateful that we have no flooding here nor is our roof leaking, problems that many of the surrounding communities and homes are facing.
My friend in Minnesota, Certain Absurdity, is hunkering down for a long winter’s nap, I mean snowstorm, this weekend. Oh, she may nap, too. She’s not too concerned as she has no where to go. Out here in San Francisco, when it rains, I too hunker down. I stayed in all day on Wednesday because of the rain and gloom. I am definitely a fair weather person. I don’t like to walk in the rain, and when it gets cold, I get grumpy. I told her that if I lived in Minnesota I would probably just like down and die.
It was 80 degrees in San Francisco today. Tied a record for high temperature. It’s already November. Time for frosts, rains, and wind. There was wind today. A warm, tropical breeze that gently rustled the leaves on Market Street as I walked downtown.
I didn’t get as far as I had planned as it was too warm at 11 a.m. and I was hot and sweaty. For you see, dear Reader, my hot weather clothes are all hanging in the closet in Fresno, the place for high temperatures. Here in San Francisco I have sweaters and jackets and heavy trousers to keep the chill away as I walk those streets like Market. My collection of scarves hangs here, to wrap around my neck and shoulders on cold mornings and even chillier afternoons when the sun has dipped below the tops of the tall buildings and the sidewalks are all in shade. What do I wear on such a warm day?
Getting home just before lunch, I changed into my capri jeans and a light tshirt. Perfect for around the apartment, with the window open, blowing a warm, soft breeze in from the bay. The only person I had to look good for was the maintenance man who was scheduled to fix my dishwasher. The warm weather must have done the trick on it for by the time he showed up, the water was willing to pump into the machine.
Although it gets dark too early, one would think it was still summer. I hold off turning on the lights until I am sitting in complete dark. I leave the window open until the breeze gets chilly and I am getting too many cooking odors from all the restaurants that are below me. I am enjoying these lingering warm days, so reminiscent of summer.