Although everyone is blogging and posting about current events, I have decided not to, because a) I'm much too smart to lay my opinions out on the internet for everyone to misinterpret and dissect; I have found it's way more effective to have an actual conversation about such matters, b) I'm chicken or c) both a and b.
Nor am I going to blog about the puppy (he is on my very bad side right now because he recently ate a new pair of Rainbows, these really cool leather flip flops that people wear every single day out here), Jason's graduation (although it was wonderful and we are so proud of him!) or Grace being amazing (which she is - she would be my nominee for family member of the year if there was such a thing).
Instead, I've decided to answer the question that several (and by several, I mean 2) people back east have asked, and that is: How is your family being affected by the drought?
Well, the creek is totally dry in our neighborhood, as is our town lake, and our yard looks below-average, because we have to water 25% less (also, Jamey is still recovering from shoulder surgery, so we have a substitute lawn-keeper who does not quite share Jamey's "pride of ownership"). I'm not posting a photo though because our grass is still pretty green (our sprinklers go on at 2 a.m., hoping that no one notices) and we don't want to be 'drought-shamed' by anyone. I really want to keep the grass, because come fall we will have groups of up to 100 students coming over to picnic/play cornhole/camp out/watch meteor showers/eat dinner/play wiffle ball.
There is no garden this year, which is okay, because we are out of town quite a bit anyway. But the orchard is still there, and the plums are abundant although small, and the peaches are the size of marbles. And when I say marbles, I am not exaggerating - I took this photo of a marble next to a peach to show just how small they are. No peach cobblers this year (I actually don't ever make peach cobblers; they involve baking and I try to avoid that in the summer heat). I will still be making plum and apricot jam in the fall, however, even if it takes way more effort to get 4 cups of plum puree. Take that, drought!
Also, there are a lot more critters around, because they are coming into the neighborhood to find water. And apparently there's been a major increase in rattlesnake sightings, so now when I run with the dog in the mornings, I keep my eyes up ahead looking for snakes in the path. We haven't seen any yet.
We did, however, see this coyote one day. It followed me unnoticed (I was intently listening to a favorite podcast; "Stuff You Missed in History") until the dog happened to turn around and see it. Then, of course, the puppy thought he had found a new friend to play with and the coyote shunned him and went under the barbed-wire ranch fence. My neighbor, a forest ranger, suspects it was a mama coyote making sure we didn't find her cubs.
So, I water the herbs outside the back door with old cooking or dish water, and try to take shorter showers - you know, the usual. And we look forward to this fall and winter when we have been assured by the fine weather people that there is 100% chance of it being an El Nino year, and everyone can look forward to wimpy Californians lamenting the rain and clouds and lack of sun, and we can all get "Storm-Watch:2015" updates constantly.
Until then, I will just continue to enjoy these summer nights by listening to baseball games on the porch!