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It will be a hectic Sweet Sixteenth for my Renaissance Girl. We're in the throes of a heat wave and the triple digit temps have bumped her two hours of cross country practice from after school to early evening. Unfortunately, that won't change the homework allotment, she'll just start later. I'll sit with her at the desk while she works. I can't help her with chemistry, but I can sip a little wine and keep her company. For whatever that might be worth.
The girl can run a 5.5 minute mile and she's carrying a 4.5 GPA in college level advanced placement courses. She's funny, good with a camera, a .357, and she can wakeboard. She'll get her license on Thursday and that will be the last morning I drive her to school.
Noticed the smoke about 10:30 this morning. The fire looks to be between Black Star Canyon and Main Divide Road. I imagine the afternoon sea breeze will push it over the ridge toward South Corona. No sign of air tanker support as of yet.
I doubt this was an arson burn, there's nothing much in that area except the occasional off-roader. Couple 100 degree heat with bone dry, late summer chaparral, then throw in some ongoing drought condition, and you've got a recipe for a flash fire.
It was foggy and 60 degrees when I wandered out to the hills with the dogs for my morning constitutional. That's one reason why I was able to find Jimsom Weed in bloom. Generally it blooms at night and the fragrant blossoms wither and close in the hot sun. Also known as Sacred Datura and Indian Whiskey, Jimsom Weed is a hallucinogen and is also poisonous to most mammals.
And, Boy Howdy, finding this lying in the dirt put a big, Texas smile on my face. Even better than finding money in the dryer.
One of several dirt roads that TWC walks with the dogs wanders next to a seasonal creek bottom for a while before it meanders east to a low ridge that marks the edge of the plateau where oranges used to grow. I don't enjoy it as much anymore because the area has taken on the ambiance of the county dump. I mean landfill. I'm grumpy enough without the additional visual input provided by piles of chit. I absolutely support public hanging of those who dump their chit on other people's property.
The water table has apparently dropped and the trees can no longer tap into life sustaining water. This is the creek bottom today:
This is what the same stretch of creek bottom looked like ten years ago:
We're all under mandate to reduce water consumption 20% by 2020. Although my water district publicly scoffed at the concept of tiered water pricing a few years ago, the severity of the drought has forced it to reconsider. I know it is anecdotal evidence, but it has been effective. As the marginal cost of the last gallon of water has increased exponentially, I've noticed that several of my neighbors have let their expansive lawns die out this summer. The Walkin' Man said it cost him $500.00 a month last summer to keep his two acres of turf green. Not no moh, though.
Me? I've never had a lawn here at Casa de Las Rocas Grandes. The water district considers me to be a relatively frugal water user, though the monthly water bill belies that claim. But, the base rate is $75.00 before a single drop of water flows into my kitchen sink, which tends to ratchet the total bill upward pretty quickly.
I recently cut off the drip to a couple of peach trees that inexplicably quit bearing fruit. Ditto an old apple tree. We irrigate mostly with drip and gray water. If I wash my truck in the driveway, that water takes care of a couple of trees. Doin' my part, I guess.