Strange Little Weekend

air quality at dusk

Smoky gray skies at dusk

Local temperatures soared again this weekend, breaking into the triple digits. What made it surreal was the oppressive air. Though wildfires still burn up and down the west coast, the Bay Area has been relatively untouched, other than a few small and quickly contained grass fires. This weekend the skies were a murky grey with the smell of burning wood. We kept going outside hoping to locate the source. The acrid smell got worse at dusk, probably due to the heavier evening air.

According to KTVU, one of our local TV stations:

Fire departments across the Bay Area received numerous calls Saturday, from concerned residents about seeing and smelling heavy smoke in the area, officials said.
KTVU meteorologist Rosemary Orozco says it has to do with a shift in the weather pattern. She says the onshore breeze normally would blow the smoke towards the Oregon and Nevada borders.
But a change in the weekend weather pattern is blowing the smoke from the Gold Country down towards the Bay Area.

Leading up to the weekend, I couldn’t wait to get started on another sheet-mulching project. After nearly four months, we finally have our lawn replacement plans in hand. Yes!!!

To qualify for the lawn replacement rebate, I have to wait for San Jose Water Company’s final plant approval. They have strict instructions NOT to start planting without prior go-ahead and that could take up to six weeks. The rebate pays $2 a square foot so it pays to play by the rules. That said, I am so over our brown, crispy “lawn.”

landscape rebate application

Forms and more forms. Santa Clara County likes to keep it old school

I drove the list of plants, the application and other requisite forms to the water department. Knowing how slow government agencies are, I didn’t want to waste another day mailing the packet. I left with an official looking date-stamped slip of blue paper. Now we wait.

The better news is that they we’re allowed to remove the lawn while we wait. The preferred method is sheet mulching.  Since I already sheet mulched half the lawn last fall with great success, I was ready to get started.

sheet mulch fall 2014

I sheet mulched this area starting last October. It used to be lawn.

On Saturday morning, my back garden looked like this:

beginning sheet mulch august

Did a wild raccoon go crazy with an overturned garbage can?

Did the rats throw a party in the compost bin?

Nope. I made that mess. On purpose. But only because my Friday night self didn’t know about our Strange Little Weekend ahead. Excited to get started, I tossed cardboard, compost and compostable material on to the pile just before dark. By the time I was home from Pilates and haircuts the following day, temps were searing hot.

This week I’m practicing patience while I hide from the heat. I’m thanking the universe for the extra time indoors to catch up on (yawn) my boring (yawn) paperwork. This heat won’t last forever.

How was your weekend? Is your week off to a good start?

san jose weather

I have no right to snicker since I make mistakes all the time, but according to the paper, we can expect low “clodus” at the beach.


20 thoughts on “Strange Little Weekend

  1. Ha! I want a photo of your low clodus! I must have missed a post or too (sorry) because I don’t know what you are planning to put down instead of the lawn. Whatever it is, the less lawn to mow and water the better. We don’t have any lawn, just a path that meanders through the weeds and plants. My poor Fella has to satisfy his urge to mow by mowing not only our nature strip out the front but the neighbours as well!


    • Anne, it has been awhile since I blogged about it, but the plan is to replace all the remaining lawn with California natives, plants that can survive on little or no water for weeks at a time. To qualify for a rebate,you have to plant from a specific list and only receive rebates for the approved “coverage” of plants. So if a 1 gallon plant, currently six inches across, will grow to three feet when mature, then the coverage is three feet. (Sorry we Americans are still using outdated measurements. How I wish we had gone to metrics like almost everyone else.


  2. What is it with this crazy weather. We have 99 tomorrow. Then Thurs and Fri are reasonably hot but Sat when we go to an outdoor wedding, it’s back to 90 or so. And not a drop of rain anywhere. Scary! I’m anxious to hear what the city lets you plant. Aren’t they something though. They make you wait so long to see how bad you want the stipend they will give you. I know that smoke smell only too well. When I lived in Arizona, we were evacuated during the Rodeo-Chediski fire. Nine years later, the forest still had not recovered. That smell lingered for ages. Looking forward to seeing the new yard. Bet the squirrels are wondering what the hey?


  3. I have no idea what a clodus is so I’m expecting you will brave the heat and get to the shore for a quick snapshot of the ……. whatever……….

    But really, sixty-two degrees celsius? I put my oven on that to dehydrate, crisp and tan bread based snacks for Siddy!! I think we need to stop concerning ourselves about California breaking off and falling into the sea – we need to concern ourselves with you all turning to toast! Is there any relief in sight? Do you want to immigrate here? Stay cool, keep hydrated yada-yada-yada [as Boomdee would say] We may all have to start doing a rain dance for your relief. xoxo


    • Pauline, I love that you make Siddy special treats. My goodness he is one lucky pup.

      You’re right about California. I don’t think we’re going anywhere but we may burn to a crisp. The drought, depleted ground water, forest fires and now dying trees, makes for a very sad state of affairs.

      We have one bright spot on the horizon called an El Nino. It could be very, very good, or very, very bad. They’re calling it Bruce Lee.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So, a 50/50 chance of the weather changing. That’s good fence sitting! Are you in an elevated position should the required one and a half times required rain amount fall and flooding ensues? And do you have a family meet up plan? I have recently been involved in discussions about these things and realised I have no plans except to get in the car with a puppy and a kitty and head for higher ground 🙂 Okay, fingers crossed for the El Nino ‘Bruce Lee’ to deliver the perfect kung-fu chop to the drought!!

        PS El Nino usually means we get wet summers. Meh!!


        • Good fence-sitting. I like that, Pauline. So what might bring us rain might also bring the East Coast snow and New Zealand unwanted wet summers. There is just no winning this thing!

          We’ve talked about family meet ups in the past, usually after a recent earthquake, but we have never had to deal with flooding. We’re not in a flood plane, though I have friends who are. The schools have emergency kits in each classroom, and I’m assuming this is true at the college level too, though I should find out and make an individual plan with C.

          Are floods looking more and more likely for you, Pauline? Are you also on an earthquake fault line? It’s a lot to think about.

          We have a basic earthquake kit that will double in any disaster (flashlights, emergency blankets, potable water in juice-pouch like boxes and simple first aid. I have two cat carriers, one large enough for two cats, but really should get a third. Thanks for bringing all this up. Lots to think about here.


  4. Goodness, I can deal with the clodus, but that High temperature range from lovely 72 to piping hot 102 and with only a 25 degree difference for the following. Is that because such a wide area is covered? or it includes San Francisco, where people wear down jackets in summer?


  5. I can’t begin to imagine that kind of heat – we’re happy if it reaches twenty Celsius in a British Summer (which it doesn’t very often!). All that rain means we have the opposite problem – the grass grows so quickly that we spend every weekend mowing it:)


    • I definitely think of England as lush and green. I’ve only been twice, once in August of 1989 and again for my aunt’s funeral in September, 2008.It was cool and damp both times. The Lake District was warmer and brighter, from what I remember, but I was there for such a short time.

      It’s a beautiful country.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The combination of oppressive heat and that smoky sky must be very unsettling. I don’t think I would want to venture outside at all. I hope your weather will break soon and I really, really hope the west gets some rain!


    • Thank you, Kerry. We ended up indoors for most of the day, then went to the movies that night (nice A/C). It’s finally cooler today (high of 90 in the forecast) and should be mid-eighties as we head into the weekend. What’s the weather like for you? Hot and humid?

      Thanks for your rainy day wishes. We’re hoping the El Nino delivers a long, wet winter.


  7. Good grief, being hot is so eck. I tend to feel warmer than the other girls at work and constantly using body sprays and heavy duty pit stop. What would I do if I had your temperatures to deal with? The power bills for AC must be high too. We enjoy ours but really for only a couple months a year. I’m thinking we’re past that hot weather spell as it’s half way thru August. I really feel for you and that heat.

    You must be so happy to be taking steps toward re-vitalizing your yard. I know how much you love to be out there. It’s great you can enjoy your front area while the back is a work-in-progress. It’s so pretty on your front deck. I just came in from tidying up the yard myself. Things are limping along now that most of the perrenials are done. Lot’s of preening and pinching to be done but I’ll save it for another day. Off to the Boom-room for some fun! xox


    • I’m miserable in the heat. I feel irritable and tired. It’s just so hard to escape. Now that I’m in my fifties, it’s even worse.

      We don’t have whole-house AC, just one room model in our den. We do have ceiling fans in the bedrooms which help at night and a few more stand alone Dyson fans.

      I’m amazed that August is the end of your summer garden. It seems you only get started when it is time to stop. I guess you’re used to it, but my oh my it’s short. Good thing you have the Boom Room and that awesome job to keep you engaged during the off-season.

      Thank you for saying nice things about our front deck. It was so fun last summer when we had both pumpkins and sunflowers growing along the trellis. It felt like a cool, cozy little room. That is, until the squash bugs showed up. I don’t know how far along the garden will be when you come for your visit or if it will have even started. Fingers crossed. I’ll know this weekend if I’m called for jury duty. Finger crossed for a no.

      Liked by 1 person

Please join the conversation by leaving a comment, below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.