Too Busy: A Haiku

Life is too busy
my brown garden parched and sad
summer, hot and long

What a complainer, eh?

I miss my gardening nirvana, that blissful state that comes from weeding, pruning, planting, bug-picking, harvesting, and all things gardening.  Today after work and before an evening engagement, I soaked my sore muscles in a hot bath, then saved all that water for the trees.

I used a one-gallon jug to bail the water, then carried it outdoors with a lightweight trash bin to catch the drips. It is so blazing hot that I raced back inside for gallon after gallon, knowing our trees are in a bad way. I bailed about ten gallons that would otherwise go down the drain, and delivered guilt-free water to the tree’s roots. They’re in a lot of distress.

bailing water

Bailing water to water trees

The city-imposed water restrictions allow for two days of watering a week, regardless of the circumstances. On a cool, cloudy day evaporation is less of a problem. With the start of another heat wave however, (high 90’s F or 34 C) my garden droops.

On the plus side, yesterday’s water bill shows decent conservation: We’ve reduced our water usage from 403 gallons a day (for a household of four) to 318 gallons. In 2013 we were using 515 gallons a day.

July, 2013  515 gallons per day

July, 2014 403 gallons per day

July, 2015 318 gallons per day

The discouraging part: we’re still over our allotment, thought not by much. We’re allocated 10.012 ccf for this period, and we used 10.229. So close!

Additionally, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is raising rates by 6.44% effective July 1st. So our usage is down, and our rates are up.
Here’s the latest from the Santa Clara Valley Water District:

For the first time in state history, the Governor directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25%.  Please remember that most areas in the county have a restriction on irrigating ornamental landscape with potable water to two days a week.

The rainfall year that ended on June 30th was another below-average year in the county.  The California Department of Water Resources found no snow during its April 1, 2015, manual survey at 6,800 feet in the Sierra Nevada.  This was the first time in 75 years of early April measurements at the Phillips snow course that no snow was found there.

The District will continue to conduct limited groundwater recharge using available surface water.  However, total groundwater storage is predicted to fall in the Severe Stage at the end of 2015 if water use reduction for the rest of the year is similar to that in the first five months of the year, highlighting the need for continued water use reduction at the 30% level or above.

And so it goes. What’s the weather up to in your neck of the woods? I think it’s off kilter all over the globe.

33 thoughts on “Too Busy: A Haiku

  1. We are constantly thinking of our California friends and the terrible drought conditions. Seeing the images of you carrying jugs of bath water outside to save your trees has made it all very ‘real,’ rather than just hearing the news reports. We so wish that we could send our rain to California!! We have had too much rain this spring and summer in the Midwest. Flooding is a real concern here. The weather is off kilter everywhere! ♡

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    • Dawn, thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. The lack of balance around the globe is of great concern. I read about the floods this morning and the tragedy that accompanied them. My heart goes out to you. I too wish we could offload some of that water. It’s both precious and destructive. We’ve lost the balance.

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  2. It is off kilter all over. We have not had the rain either that we should and causing all manner of problems. Fish are dying in the rivers and lakes because the water is too low and the heat too high. This is Oregon that always has rain. Not anymore. I’ve taken out my lawn and only water early morning and deeply a couple times a week. What doesn’t survive has to go. In the Midwest, they have too much rain. It’s just out of balance, I’m sorry you can’t play in the garden and enjoy it. I have never seen such clean bath water though.

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    • Marlene, isn’t that sad? I read that fish were struggling to spawn earlier in the year since we had so little snow pack to fill the streams. And now they are dying in the rivers and lakes! When Oregon is dry and Canada is hot and Pauline is facing flooding down under, it’s hard to know what’s next, and how to manage what comes along.

      I too read about the Midwest floods this morning and the loss of life as a result. It’s heartbreaking.

      I’m so happy to hear about your garden and the changes you’ve made. I hope you get some of your typical rainfall soon.

      Thinking of you. xox

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  3. I suppose baths are on the endangered list now too. Here water is freely available and there’s sometimes a little too much of it too – yet it is not difficult to appreciate the strictures you must be living under. I have just been doing some research into the possibility of my neck of the wood being inundated by water – of the salty kind. The outlook is not positive and the bets are on that within twenty years there will be a ‘major event’ . So while I see death by drowning as a future possibility, you are concerned with burning up. It’s a crazy world we have made!

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    • Baths use more water than a short shower, so I only have one every few days and either sponge bath or shower. And now I’m bailing water. Who knew?

      Pauline, the idea of you drowning in your home is disturbing. Are they predicting an earthquake that will trigger a tsunami? It all sounds ghastly. And as you said in one of your posts, it makes one reconsider the whole idea of a beach house, doesn’t it?

      Would you mind sharing the article your read the next time you come across it?

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  4. Although it is generally wet here in Wales, we always try to keep our water use down to reduce the amount of water that needs to be treated. Of course, we have the opportunity to collect rainwater most of the year, but we also use our grey water (collected from bath/shower and washing machine sometimes) to flush the toilet and water plants when the rain is low. We use containers with wide openings to scoop water out of the bath (I have a great plastic watering can for this which is completely open at the top and tapers to the base) as it’s much easier than fiddling with the sort of jug you show in your picture that has a narrow neck. We also pipe water into the garden direct from the washing machine in a similar way to this, described by Metan over in Australia: https://picsandstuff.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/waiting-for-rain/
    We don’t have a dishwasher, so we tip water from the washing-up bowl directly onto the garden, but if we did have a dishwasher, we’d pipe water out like for the washing machine.
    Our biggest water saving has been not using mains water to flush the toilet – we just fill the cistern manually with whatever grey water or rain water we have collected.
    All this does take some thought and effort, but we think it’s worth it and it looks like you don’t really have a choice. I hope that you can find some way forward that is manageable in your household and will keep at least some of your garden growing.

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    • Jan, I’m incredibly impressed with all you’re doing to save or reuse water. That’s extraordinary. I looked into gray water systems last year, but my husband wasn’t on board so I dropped it. I’ve also priced cisterns and definitely think that’s a practical move (if it ever rains again! so we can catch some of it.) I really miss the sound of rain on the roof, the smell of the air after a rain, even the snails crossing the sidewalk). Well…maybe not the snails. Thank you for including the link. I’ll go take a look now.

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  5. I’m agree with Dawn … your words and images sadly illustrate the seriousness of the drought. Our earth is in such distress.
    And I’m so sorry about the loss of joyful time in your garden. I know you dearly miss it. Feel free to complain … we understand your love for gardening.

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    • Thank you, Laurie. Our earth is in great distress. I see it and feel it everywhere.

      On a more positive note, I’m glad to see you getting out on the bike and putting your camera to good use. Your photos are always interesting, breathtaking or both. xox

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  6. Reading your updates really helps me more fully understand what I hear in the news–this is so serious and so awful! The droughts, the fires, and the crazy, unnatural other kinds of weather that are occurring all over the world.When will we ever learn . . . ?

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    • Exactly: when will we learn? I read the saddest story in the morning paper about a young man trying to rescue his grandmother from the flood at their home. He saved his dad, an aunt, a small child, but by the time he went back for the grandmother the waters were too strong and they were both washed away. Heartbreak.

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  7. Oh, Alys. I bet you miss the garden terribly and even though you’ve got some succulents in, it still can’t be the same. On the other had, Jan has some amazing conservation ideas. Wow. Here, it just keeps raining. Wish we could spread it around.

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  8. Sigh, oh dearest. You’re working so hard to conserve, nice to see positive results in your usage. It’s just rotten that you can’t be gardening like you’d want to. Since we’re having our own kind of draught in Alberta (rain but less than usual), I can relate a bit. Those hot days here in early July were so unusual. While some enjoy the sun and heat, I didn’t at all. I don’t know how cheerful I’d be after several years of it. Thankfully, we’ve gotten a lot of moisture over the past week with normal, and less than normal temps. It’s perfectly fine with me. I was saying to Jim, how far north can we all possibly move, we’re in the boonies practically already.

    I dearly hope all Californians are taking similar steps. I heard on the news, Tom Selleck was charged with ‘Theft of County Water’. What kind of person takes such a valuable resource in the dark of night, for FREE without care for the community or his neighbours? A rotten person, that’s who.

    We’ve not been asked to ration, but smaller neighbouring communities with smaller resouvoirs have been rationing off and on this summer. I’m hoping we’ve seen the turn-around and the rest of summer with be business as usual. Kilter is off, yes in deadie. ❤ missing your smiling face xo k

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    • It must be really strange for you to have such a dry summer. We’re used to dry summers, but not this never ending dry, dry, dry. Everyone has an itchy nose from all the dry dirt, dry grass and dry brush. (Okay, how many times can I use ‘dry’ in a sentence? LOL

      You’re right about north. There’s a pole up there and only Santa and the elves are suppose to hang out there.

      I’m so happy you got some rain and guess what. We got some drops today. Just drops as in spots on the sidewalk and a few swishes with the windshield wipers, but it was pretty cool. Now it’s just hot and humid again, but at least we have cloud cover. I’m working in a garage two days this week in town, then working on a shed over the hill in Aptos. The beach weather should be cooler.

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      • !! hi hon, thanks so much for your message, you sound busy, busy. It’s thundering right now and lightning and raining so I thought I’d catch up on messages since it’s hard to sleep with all this activity. Whew! lightning just lit up the night sky, it’s really the rolling thunder that freaks me out.
        Did you know that fires burn under the ground in forests? Even when they look like they’re out, there’s still a fire going thru the large root systems. The was a big fire going in Jasper National Park and they got some good rain, but the crews are still fighting the underground fire.
        Hope your back and feet will do A-ok with your heavy work schedule. Will you drive by the ocean? That’s so awesome. xoxoxo K

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        • I had no idea that fires could continue under ground. That is horrible news. And I can’t even imagine a storm so powerful that it is keeping you up at night. That is a doozy. I guess the rain is good for the fires, but wonder if the new lightening strikes are starting more fires. Did you finally get some sleep?

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          • I clipped this bit from a Canadian Source

            Yah, all winter underground then next year the same fire can pop back up. You’re right, the lightning does start a great many fires. Yesterday in Calgary the Tornado sirens blew. Luckily it didn’t touch down but the footage was plenty freaky. Just another day in good ol’ Alberta. There’s that saying (could be Mark Twains), “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes”. I did get to sleep late but it was great to sleep with the windows open. Fresh and crisp. xo

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          • LOL, I was reading this really late and was going to reply but I guess fell asleep. When I opened the lid of my laptop this AM, I’m ready to post a comment. I guess I was really tired from the night before.

            “Say there, a higgly, diddly morning to you neighbour” (say it like Ned Flanders) xox

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  9. Of course the dreadful situation in California is repeatedly on the news, Alys, and knowing of your personal crisis has me making extra efforts on behalf of it simply because it’s always been sound practice, but today I heard an interesting NPR piece this morning and thought I’d share it with you. http://www.npr.org/2015/07/20/424571389/faced-with-drought-california-farmers-look-to-recycled-wastewater
    Three years is a long time to wait, but I like the proactive mindset. And maybe we can all put into practice a little bit more ‘how they manage water on the ISS.’ 🙂
    I’m thinking of you and wishing for you some liquid relief.
    ❤ ❤

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    • Thank you, Shelley, both for your comments and the link. I’ve been hearing more and more about reclaimed or grey water. I know at home you can’t use it on vegetables or fruit trees, but in this case they’re treating it. It’s never a straight line, is it?

      I’m getting excited for the release of your book. You must be so busy promoting it. I hope you’re having fun along the way. xox

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  10. I am amazed that even with all your efforts you are still slightly over your allocation. I hope everyone else is working as hard at water conservation as you are. Wishing rain for you. 🙂

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