And then it was Spring! Yesterday we had brown dead looking orchards rising out of native green carpet; today there are acres of white and pink. It’s never prettier around here than right now. Oh! And the pregnant Sierras in their snow-white maternity blouses complimenting lush foothill green skirts are stunning, glowing pink in the sunset like every expectant mom.
You might have heard we’ve had a bit of rain. Rivers all over the state are flowing enough fresh water out to the ocean every month to carry our state for a year. In the South, this would be called a cryin’ shame. Whatever words you’d like to couple it with, shame has to be part of it. Shame on California for not taking the steps to create off stream storage so the wet years can carry us through the dry.
I was with a bunch of rice growers last week who enlightened me regarding the Oroville Dam fiasco. It’s stunning that the same State DWR bureaucracy that would impound a farmer’s equipment and fine him into bankruptcy for allowing a wheelbarrow full of dirt to run into the Feather River can find no one to be held personally responsible for allowing more sediment into the Feather than all the farmers in a lifetime… Okay, cool down Uncle Vern. Better stop right there or we’ll fill the newsletter with negativity. I do think it’s important though that everyone be accountable for the outcome, not just the intent of their actions; democracy depends on the faithful reporting of these easily obtained objective facts whether it regards private, public, or elected activity.
Okay, lots of people get average confused with normal rainfall. Regardless where on earth you live, average is always wetter than normal, because wet years are wetter than dry years are dry, and there are always more dry years than wet years, hence our need here in CA to capture vast amounts of water in a short time if we expect to save it for a not rainy day.
Back on the fruit farm, it’s bloom time. The first thing to emerge in spring on a stone fruit tree is blossoms. The reason is so bees and other pollinating insects can focus their full attention on flowers and not be deterred by leaves, the tree’s later arriving photosynthetic engine.
Most people also don’t know that a stone fruit flower only has from 30 minutes to half a day to be pollinated before the stamen dries up. High humidity and low temperature—like when it’s raining—prolong this time, while dry and hot reduces it. Low temperature also prolongs the period of time between first and full bloom. If it’s 75+ degrees, an orchard could completely bloom and be done in a couple days. If it’s 55-, it could take a couple weeks.
Now check-out the brilliance of this design from a bee’s stand-point. It’s cold and rainy, I might leave the hive for an hour or two between storms and visit the blooms that opened today. Warm and sunny, every bee and nectar loving bug in North America will be on the job from sunrise ‘til sunset makin’ hay while the sun shines. It’s never prettier around here than right now.