We are grateful to be getting a few raindrops in these early days of the new year since we are far behind our normal rainfall numbers. It could be another season of drought if the rain totals don’t begin to add up. The new year snowfall check was very poor, too. Not only has there been no rain in the valley, there has been no snow in the mountains. One of the local ski resorts closed up before the new year as there just wasn’t any snow on its slopes.
Because of the fires in California, and the fact that the San Joaquin Valley is just a large bowl that collects all the air pollution from around the state, we have the worst air in decades. Just the other day the air in Fresno was worse than the air in Beijing. The bad air irritates throats and nasal passages. Coughs, colds, and respiratory infections are on the rise. If I’m outdoors for very long I get a headache and I know it’s the bad air that’s causing it.
These three weeks of school vacation have been nice. A chance to catch my breath, sit and contemplate the new year and how I will go through it, to read and relax with no demands on my time and energy. I continue to take my probiotics and to eat well so as to build up my immune system. I’m sure I’ve stayed well because I could spend so much time indoors and away from small children who cough and sneeze on me.
Next week that will change as school goes back in session and I get my bag of tricks ready to return to two days of storytelling. I’ve already been to the bank and gotten my lunch money. I will sit with small children and eat lunch. I will get hugs from these children and their small hands will slip into mine. I will be outdoors, breathing the air that may still be polluted if we don’t get enough rain to wash it away.
And hot as a firecracker! Well, today will be. The past few days have stayed below 100 but today the forecast calls for 106 as there will be plenty of sunshine. We’ve had a monsoonal cloud cover that has kept us cooler, Thank God. On Friday of last week our air conditioner decided it was tired and wasn’t going to work as hard as it had been. We usually keep the thermostat set at 80 in the summer (70 in the winter), but the compressor decided we would have to be happy (!) with 84 to 88.
Terry didn’t realize how poorly the unit was functioning until late Friday afternoon and the heating/cooling place had closed for the weekend. When he called them on Monday, the best they could do for him was an appointment two weeks out. Well, that’s just ridiculous. And this is the company that installed the unit. Fortunately, he found another reputable company that can come out tomorrow. I am hopeful that it will be a part that can be replaced easily and quickly and that we won’t have to replace the whole unit. That would be about a $5000 job.
Because it has been so hot, and we are in a drought, I’ve noticed the wildlife looking for water, too. I’ve been leaving a bowl of water at the base of the tree where the squirrels and birds come to feed. Even the cats stop and get a drink from it rather than making their way up to the patio to their own water dish. Every morning I have to dump the cat’s water as the bugs have drowned their sorrows in it the night before.
One of the blue jays has been coming on the patio to eat the dry cat food so I put a bowl of crunchies on the greenhouse pad so it doesn’t have to come as far and chance getting caught by a cat. One very early morning I saw a raccoon making its way along the greenhouse wall after eating and drinking in the yard. Just think of me as the shortstop cafe for wildlife!
This just in:
In super-dry 2015, compared to a normal water year, California agriculture is on track to use 2.5 million acre-feet less water, fallow 560,000 acres, employ 18,600 fewer people and contribute $2.7 billion less to the state’s overall economy.
By 8 o’clock the sun is high in the sky and blazing in the living room window. I have to draw the drapes for a couple of hours after having just opened them at sunrise around 6:30.
I was up early on a Saturday as it’s our day to run the sprinklers for a few minutes. The weatherman is promising a rain storm later next week which I hope comes through. We are parched. As are the mountains.
We drove up to Yosemite yesterday and were shocked to see all the creeks dry. Trees are dying by the thousands. Even the iconic falls in Yosemite Valley are just small trickles in comparison to their raging waters of years past.
The dogwoods were blooming which was our main reason to go. I don’t think I can stand going again until this drought has ended. The devastation is heartbreaking.