How to cope with a heat wave

Just as there’s always a cold snap or two every winter, we get a couple heat waves every summer that challenge the plants. We just made it through a second August heat wave, where five days were over 95°. Two weeks ago we had four days over 95° and a new daily...

Rain met drought, drought doesn’t care

It seems a tautology that rain reduces drought. Yet our water picture is so surreal that the National Weather Service just said, “. . . local rainfall in Southern California does not necessarily help the drought situation.” How so? It hinges on the meaning...

The economics of my rain tank

Last winter was my first with a 530-gallon rain tank. I did not buy it because I thought it would save me a bunch of money on my water bill. I bought it because rain coming off my roof and running down the driveway irritated me. It seemed wasteful. Water is scarce and...

What if we lived off rainfall alone?

Just out of curiousity, how far off is our current water usage from the amount of rain that falls on us? Our land is 1.32 acres, and the average rainfall here is 16 inches. This means that an average of 573,150 gallons of rain fall on the land each year. Our roof...

The New Year’s 2015 Freeze

On the eve of the winter solstice, December 20, I got to thinking about how warm it had been. We still hadn’t had anything near a frosty morning. The winter before (2013-2014) we had some chilly nights in late November and our coldest spell of the whole winter...