Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Got Water?

People seem more ecologically responsible these days. For example, this
year I didn’t notice any automatic sprinklers going off in the rain. Then again, I didn’t notice any rain.

We have a long dry year ahead of us, and that can make for all sorts of unpleasantness. Worst will be the fire danger, probably stretching from early summer into autumn. I expect we’ll be put on a strict water-diet and rates will rise.

If there is rationing, I hope it’s on the honor system, and things won’t get weird like they did in our city to the South. When Pasadena rationed water a couple of years ago, they tried to start a neighbor-snitch-on-neighbor campaign, encouraging citizens to spy on each other and report sightings of off-day watering to a local authority. That’s just all kinds of creepy.

I’m happy to save water, but there aren’t many corners left to cut around here. No leaks, no half-loads of laundry. No half-filled dishwasher. No dishwasher, for that matter.

But I will be putting a little Darwinism into practice; natural section will take place in the garden.

Even though my house is old, a nonagenarian, it had no landscaping at all when I bought it. Just a few giant trees and then some Home Depot snapdragons that were scheduled to die as soon as escrow closed.

According to a long-timer in the neighborhood, my house has a checkered past. Back in the 1980s, it was a "pharmacy" of sorts, which explains why I have two front doors. Then in the 90s, it flipped yearly, from one owner to another. So in either case, a well-tended garden wasn't a priority. (More on Patch)

23 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

A few years ago, I changed over my 'forest of a yard' to one more drought tollerant..Thanks to a gal at our farmer's market whose family owns a nursery that specializes in drought tollerant plants.. Thanks to her inventory, I love succulents, shrubs from Africa, Mexico.. all the hot climates.. I like the minimalist look. People don't realize that less is more... My water bill is cut in half.BTW if that's your yard, I like it, especially the tree that is probably glad no other tree is around cuz his roots can stretch and not be crowded out.

Pierre said...

When I lived in Portland where water abounds, we would panic if the rain gage fell below normal only a bit and rationing would ensue. Here in Phoenix, we're in a dry spell and no one cares. I've yet to hear anything much about water conservation. Ironical ain't it?

Tomatoes sometimes like to return the next year. I hope you get some.

Janet said...

I've always had what I considered a "survival of the fittest" garden. I came from the cold, wet Atlantic coast and finally got my garden the way I loved it there. When I moved here, I lost a lot of the plants I planted, like you did. Now that I've changed my idea of beauty, the possibilities are endless.

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean Spitzer said...

My city also has water conservation measures in place, including the opportunity to inform on one's neighbors. I think you're right--that last bit is creepy.

altadenahiker said...

Kalei's Best Friend, sadly, that's not my yard. And I agree. I put up one photo of a sort of New Mexico-ish looking place, and I really like the stark but sculptured look of it. (Water bill cut in half? Now that's a serious recommendation.)

Pierre, I wonder if Arizona doesn't have unlimited access to water from the Colorado River? I spent part of my youth in the Pacific Northwest, remember my first exposure to Southern California. It took awhile to get used to the brown.

Janet, Yes, year by year, I've been coming around to a new aesthetic.

Jean, it reminds me of Fahrenheit 451. We should talk to our neighbors, not inform on them.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Altadena: 4got to mention we aren't restricted as far as water.. even though our bill shows if we are 'efficient' in our usage.

Petrea Burchard said...

Maybe I've been reading too much about the 60 years of drought we're entering. That makes me nervous. I'm more creeped out by the jerks who run their sprinklers while it's raining than I am by the jerks who turn them in.

Paula said...

Make some olla pots and use lots and lots of mulch. And do what I did today, I put all of my birdbaths near each other, close to a ready faucet so I'll be sure and have water for the birds cuz we're scheduled for a drought as well. But hey, the bluebirds have already built their first nest...

Margaret said...

Sigh. Now I'm a wee depressed. I blame Petrea.

Bellis said...

In the 12 years I've lived here, I can't remember a dryer wet season or a hotter one - or am I wrong? There's no Sierra snow pack to keep our reservoirs full in the summer, either. We could be in for a lot of forest fires (but the "good" news is, there's not much of the Angeles National Forest left to burn) and water rationing. The main offenders of the watering ban were the condos. No one person takes responsibilty for their landscaping, I guess.

altadenahiker said...

What have we gotten this year -- 2 inches of rain? Something like that. And that's not even our water source -- we depend on snow pack and there's been no snow.

We who live next to the the hills will be white-knuckling it this summer.

Carolynn said...

I think we're in for a dry summer here, as well. About an hour away from us they routinely have horrific forest fires and homes are lost. I'd rather not add that to my list of experiences, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for your suggestion about the bird seed - although I'm a little leary about trying it. We currently have about 20 redwinged blackbirds at our little birdfeeder every morning, in addition to the two red flickers and numerous smaller finch, etc. We even had a crow visit the other day. Then, there are the deer that continue to come in the early evening and eat whatever scraps of birdseed the birds have left behind in their feeding frenzy. I'd hate to attract bears or something with a tantalizing birdseed treat. I mean, who knew birdseed would be such a draw?

Ken Mac said...

a "pharmacy"! Deluxe.
The whole water rationing thing is foreign to we spoiled NYers who get our water from the reservoir to the north. One hour north of NYC and it's all forests, camp scenes and tiny towns..I gotta go!

Marjie said...

After reading this, I'm very pleased that rain is overabundant here. The fact that the back yard was a cow pasture for nearly 200 years before becoming a yard is just an added bonus: my lawn is green in August when everyone else is dried up. Of course, with the cooler and wetter climate comes the dreaded s-word. But only 7" of that fell this year. So maybe people will be howling that the aquifers are low this year. Who knows?

Brenda's Arizona said...

As Pierre said, dry here. Over 90 days without rain thus this year. Wait, wasn't 90 days ago actually last year?

I'm a sucker for anything green in the garden. That goes for weeds and volunteer flowers. And tomatoes!

Anonymous said...

you had me at pharmacy.

Soilman said...

We're having a drought in the south east of England, and the hosepipe ban has just been announced.

Foreigners (and Brits) struggle to conceive of the UK as a dry place. Yet London gets less annual rainfall than Rome, and water shortages are becoming a real problem here.

We're miles behind Californians in figuring out sensible ways of dealing with this. Most folks are aghast at the notion that running their washing machine or dishwasher could EVER be limited, under any circumstances.

TheChieftess said...

Good news!!! It's been snowing for the past couple of hours up here in Mammoth...source for a significant portion of water in LA!!! Currently it's a bit warm and the snow is not sticking, but tonight the temps are supposed to drop significantly. They're expecting about 4 feet this weekend. Not a lot, but a few more drops for the LA bucket!!!

Susan Campisi said...

And it's raining this very moment. Music to my ears. Of course it won't be enough to make up for this dry winter, but every little bit helps... doesn't it?

Midtown said...

Whats "natural section"?

Vahnt spellcheck?

altadenahiker said...

What's your problem, you never read Organs of the Species?

Midtown said...

LOL, good one! Of course I read Organs of the Species; it was required reading in my high cool sex education class.