The bees are really happy that I sprinkled wildflower seeds over the dry earth in my yard last winter. Nothing was growing after we stopped watering the grass that used to be there. Native wildflowers came up after the rains about a month ago and every day a new one blossoms. Now that the avocado trees are almost finished blooming, the bees are all over my wildflowers, sometimes several of them on one flower! You can still hear the high-pitched buzzing outside as they finish up the last of the avocado blooms. This pretty pink poppy bloomed in the morning, but by evening the petals had blown away.
I never get tired of seeing the precious new growth, bright red, appearing just before the trees bloom. The new leaves grow larger and turn from red to rust-color and finally to a deep, bold green as the older leaves fall on the ground. These new leaves will shelter the baby avocados from the sun as they grow larger during the warmest months of coming year.
The leaves on the ground serve as a deep mulch to hold in the moisture from the micro sprinklers that deliver just the right amount of water to each tree. We are very careful to use the water sparingly. California’s drought has driven up the cost of water, and over the years farmers like us have had our water supply rationed while the public use was not restricted. As our trees bloom this spring, we have concerns about how the dwindling water supply in California will affect our family farm and our home.
We are facing more rationing even though agriculture has had mandatory water cuts long before the public was asked to conserve. We are waiting to hear what we will be required to do now that housing developments, non-farming businesses, public parks and lush landscaping will finally feel the sting of mandatory rationing.
Our Valley Center Water District has been agricultural all along, accepting difficult water cuts because of our agricultural status. Farms in this district, and the homes where the farmers live, have made deep cuts to water use while other communities continued to enjoy their landscaping without restriction. Now we are told that our district will be deemed “urban”. This is because we are located in San Diego county where many of the wealthy cities have not been restricted. Farmers like us will be expected to cut our water use an additional 35% as if we were part of the public who has not had previous rationing.
After investing heavily in water efficiency and withstanding losses to our agricultural businesses due to these restrictions in recent years, we don’t understand how such unfairness can happen now. It didn’t seem fair that the public was not required to cut their water when our agricultural use was rationed, and now it doesn’t seem fair that we would be told to cut at the highest level now. Our only hope is that our water district, local representatives, and industry advocates will be heard by those who make the decisions. Even if we are granted some mercy, the cut to our water availability will likely be 25%.
One of my favorite native flowers is the Matajilla Poppy, or “fried egg flower”. The first one bloomed this week! The spring wild flowers bring such joy, appearing during our mild spring weather when we still have some hope of a little rain. The marine layer from the ocean begins to move inland during our “May-Gray” and “June-Gloom” months, bringing moisture for the wild flowers along with the mist and fog in the morning. By afternoon the sun has burned away the thick clouds and it’s a sunny spring day once more!
It’s important to enjoy the beauty we have right now, and not to let our worry about the future ruin the joys of today.
A Springtime Surprise: Renewed Friendship
When I was in the 7th and 8th grades, I had a best friend. We enjoyed so many adventures together: a new school, boys and the beginning of dating, summer 4-H camp, square-dancing lessons, 8th grade cheer-leading. We knew that everything would change when we became high school freshmen, and I grieved that our friendship would be lost. And it was. We both moved in different directions during high school and never really talked to each other again.
Who could have predicted that we would find each other 46 years later? This week my friend visited us here at the ranch and we picked right up where we left off. We shared a lifetime of stories, laughed and cried as we looked through our senior yearbook, and shared connections that we have found on Facebook with people from our shared past.
If two friends from a small town in Vermont could reconnect after all these years, living miles apart and having experienced everything that 46 years of living could bring, maybe there are other miracles to come.
The gloom and doom that we hear every day and the dire predictions for the future are terrifying, but they do not take into account the possibility that we may be surprised by something we cannot know or see right now. I choose to have faith that things will work out. The world is constantly changing in surprising ways, and surely some of those changes will bring joys we cannot imagine today.
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