Friday, September 11, 2009

...and then it rained...and rained

I was discussing this devastating drought we've been experiencing with my friend Julie recently. Always philosophical, she remarked that it would end, as they almost always do, with a flood. I remember saying, "That'd be nice..." Indeed this summer has been so harsh-not only from the lack of rain, but with record breaking temperatures day after day-that I know a few people who have decided to move from just did them in. In reality, Scott and I have discussed it ourselves. The garden, which we pretty much let die while away on vacation (kudos to Lily for keeping the few things alive that were still providing-mainly tomatoes), seemed like it would never come back to life. Walking across the ranch was a "crunchy" experience, with the dry, brown grass breaking with every step. Cracks developed in the bare ground and every living thing felt like it was struggling. And then this week blows in and all of a sudden I soften and remember why I love this place.
This is the rain gauge from the last week. It was just below 1" 36 hours ago. I have been watching the radar online for days and it kept upping our rain chances and the weather would show lots of storms all around us. I added greensand to the garden and planted the garden and mulched the garden and I watched the storms avoid Mount Alamo day after day. When the radar would quit working, which seemed more often than normal, I grew frustrated. Lily commented on my addiction to the weather map and I'd see her and Scott roll their eyes when I would check it once again. And then, Wednesday night it began sprinkling. Nothing hard, but a nice, steady drizzle. The weather map had refused to update for hours so I finally went to bed. It drizzled most of the night. Yesterday it was still drizzling when I awoke. And it soon turned into a downpour that continued most all day. I had expected to be exhilarated, but it made me sad. I just couldn't get motivated and moped around most all the day. I made a big pot of split pea soup and a pan of cornbread. Scott and I tried to manage the water pouring into our rain barrels. It took persistance, but we have lots of water stored now and nowhere to put more. And more rain is on the way. I walked the garden this morning and loved how my feet smushed into the wet ground. Spider webs laden with raindrops were visible everywhere and new growth was pushing up from ground that I had yet to plant. I believe this is broccoli raab that reseeded last Spring. How can any seed sit in the ground over the punishing summer we've had only to sprout in the first good rain in 5 months? Patience and surety of purpose. I wish I was so endowed...
The mysterious pink fava plant I bought from the equally mysterious young man at the Farmer's Market has flourished in the summer heat. It was planted not far from the tomatoes Lily watered while we were gone, so it did get some water. It has climbed up into the oak trees overhead and is now blooming. I am looking forward to what it produces as I have only a vague description of the beauty and unusual color of the beans.
I am hoping it is of the variety of beans we saw in the market in Venice. I brought home some seed of these in case it is something completely different.
Planting the garden means, of course, cleaning up debris from the last season. I have avoided doing it because the garden was so depressing. But cooler temps and the promise of rain got me motivated and I began pulling up dried stalks of fennel along with old stems of poppies with the heads still full of seed. Upon disengaging a few fennel stalks, I noticed they had new buds sprouting out the bottom. I immediately replanted them. They are coming up nicely now, but I still planted a whole new bed of this bulbing fennel, one of my favorite vegetables.
Sophie is glad for the change in weather also because it means daily walks for her again. Sometimes Scott and I go, but more often it is just me. I love to walk in the drizzle or right before dusk and so does she.