Every farmer watches the weather. It’s often the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing at night. Check the forecast. Step outside and see how it feels. Compare this month’s weather to last year. Hope for rain.
Avocado farmers used to be able to count on heavy rains during the winter months to provide water for the trees, giving them a respite from the high water bills that come from irrigating the trees in the dry summer months. The rains are needed to leach away the salts that have built up in the soil. The trees must get the nutrients they need without sucking up those damaging salts, causing the leaves to turn brown on the tips, and creating stress to the tree, affecting the ability to produce a good crop for next year. When the rains come they wash off the trees, rinse the top soil, and renew the earth so that the trees have the best conditions for the bloom and setting fruit that will grow over the next year.
Rain changes everything! Streams appear where the dirt is usually hard and dry. Wild flower seeds sprout and a wonderland of vegetation transforms the browns into vivid greens, purples, pinks. Farmers get a break from the routine, since it’s too wet to work. A rainy day is day to rejoice!
Make yourself some avocado duckling toast and enjoy a second cup of coffee!
Everything looks different when it’s raining. Avocado trees are usually irrigated with micro sprinklers near the base of the tree, so the leaves and buds don’t get wet unless it rains. The avocados look even prettier when there are beads of beautiful rain on them!
The spring flowers stay closed without the sun to coax them open. Their colors are even more vivid in contrast with the gray skies. Everything looks so clean and sparkling after the rain has washed the long-settled dust off!
Snails take the opportunity to glide out of the layers of leaves under the avocado trees.
Even the hawks are happy to come out during the storm to let the rain wash their feathers.
Sad, dead avocado groves whose owners have stopped irrigating due to the high cost of water perk up a little as the grasses underfoot turn green. Ever optimistic, the root systems of those abandoned trees will even try to sprout leaves while the rain water in the soil is available.
Buds have been developing on the healthy trees for weeks, and now a few of the flowers pop open … the first of many to come!
Rosy red new growth is here! The tiny red leaves will grow larger and gradually change into the deep dark green leaves that will shade the new baby avocados. First the flowers need to bloom, then bees need to pollinate the flowers, and then the tiny avocados will begin to appear. Those little red leaves are getting started in anticipation of all those exciting events to come.
Succulents and Birds of Paradise bloom after the rain! The more rain we have, the more wild flower seeds can germinate and bloom! When it’s raining here on the ranch, it is often snowing in the local mountains. For a day or two after the storm we can see snow-capped peaks in the distance.
A sight like this one is rare in dry, drought-stricken Southern California. After two days of rain, it’s fun to see how the water changed the face of the earth’s surface, creating geological events on a small scale and leaving temporary works of art in the sand. Eager seeds and native plants can’t wait to start greening and growing, even though the sun will soon dry them out.
Rain In Summer
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882
How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!
Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!
The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.
From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.
In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!
In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word.
Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.
These, and far more than these,
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold
Of the clouds about him rolled
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.
He can behold
That have not yet been wholly told,–
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.
Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.