Today marks the vernal equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere. So, at 5:24 p.m. eastern time, spring will officially be underway. I’m ready!
California has had a rough winter, with 12 significant storms since late December. Our beautiful state swings from drought to drench with little in between, with devastating consequences.
Our suburban neighborhood is not at risk for floods, but the wind storm that followed last week’s rain packed a brutal punch. We lost power for 28 hours, along with several businesses, large and small. Traffic lights were out at major intersections, making it challenging to get anywhere and scary. Trees, large and small, were uprooted and dropped on fences, roadways, sidewalks, and trails. Snapped twigs and branches littered the roads along with debris the winds gathered along the way.
The railing across our deck twisted in the wind, then fell into the garden with the windchimes and two hummingbird feeders. Parts of our roof tiles littered the deck, and our back fence is now leaning precariously. One of my frost covers has traveled to parts unknown, and one of the two hummingbird feeders smashed, leaving broken glass and sugar water in its wake.
An enormous Monterey Pine leans across our back fence, making it hard to relax in the living room of our home when the wind is strong enough to shake the house. I’ve worried through many storms that the tree might come down, though, in a stroke of good luck, I had the tree assessed by an arborist late last year, then arranged to split the cost of a significant pruning. The arborist says the tree is “extremely stressed by drought conditions.” Removing dead and dying branches took a day and five crew members. The tree sits in our neighbor’s yard and towers over four properties. During the worst of last week’s windstorm, I either left the house or hung out in the front corner of the house, farthest away from the tree. I’m happy to report that the tree remained upright.
That evening, we found a charging station with power so Mike could get his electric vehicle charged for a presentation the following day. As we drove to a power station, we passed neighborhoods in complete darkness, while others kept their power.
Using the FDA guidelines for food safety, I had to pitch 90% of the food in our fridge and freezer. Fortunately, we have the resources to replace what we lost, but it is a painful reminder of many struggling to get by. An extra cash donation to our local food bank is in order. The needs here are significant.
These storms haven’t ended the drought but have filled several reservoirs, which is excellent news. Melting snowfall is also a significant water source during the warmer months, so as long as it melts slowly, it’s a fabulous resource for our parched state.
Here are a few welcome signs of spring.