13 December 2009

the damage report

A wee skiff of snow came.  Then the upper 20's cold snap for three nights.  Quite cold for us!  Now it's raining.  The meyer lemons that had set are fine (Diane, you will be happy to know!).  Many of the late fall buds (only a quarter to half inch in size) that had just started to grow into fruit are black with frost damage.  It won't be the thick crops we've had in the past but enough for friends and family to enjoy, none the less.  The bower vine, which provides us with such striking pink-throated white flowers and fabulous seed pods each year, took quite a hit.  I'll wait until spring before I trim the branches, because nature sometimes has a way of popping back from adverse conditions.  Everything else faired quite well.  Some plants, that in other parts of the country would have been dormant a couple months ago but were still blooming here, have now rested for the season.  They'll require some trimming back in preparation for spring.

When the rain stops, leaves will be raked and stems will be cut back.  The plants are taking their winter intermission.  The only thing that will be multiplying and developing will be the compost.

06 December 2009

a strong potential

Last week was the sudden thunder, quickly followed by hail.  Little balls of ice that came down quick, hard, and fast.

Tonight there's a hard frost advisory, which in itself warrants a "heads up"--we don't get hard frosts, except on rare occasions.  But attached to this sting of a real frost is a "strong potential" that we will get SNOW!  Snow?!  Don't misunderstand:  I was raised in the stuff, walked to school in the stuff, spent hours playing in the stuff.  But I have gotten "soft" living here in the meek and mild California valley the past fifteen years or so.  I don't even own a windshield scraper.  There's no need.  What little frost that may be on the windshield a few mornings a year can easily be taken care of by the defroster in the time frame my grandpa would say was "two shakes of a lamb's tail".

I've gleened the last of the jalapeno peppers off my plants, which up to now have continued to bloom and produce since spring.  They're hardy plants but they won't survive the potential 27 degree (F) temperatures predicted.  Winter crops which have just started to come up are covered in straw.  Citrus trees are being covered, "house" plants that normally live outside on my patio year-round are being covered, bird feeders are filled.  I'm ready.  Bring it on.