Tag Archives: drought

North Bay Organic Dairies Suffer From Drought

12 Feb


“Organic cows must forage on organic pasture, pasture that by definition must be within a cow’s walking distance from the milking barn. Thanks to the drought, there is virtually no pasture in Marin and Sonoma counties – and without locally grown pasture, a farm can’t keep its organic certification.”

Interesting piece about how the drought is complicating organic dairy farming in  Northern California even worse than non-organic farming.

I Bought Begonias Today

11 Apr

I bought begonias today, because I like the contrast of pinks across the dark purplish foliage and because I like how they can grow in pots in the shade, because trying to grow things here directly in the dirt, out in the sun, tends to be something of a losing enterprise if one is not made out of water, and we are increasingly unmade of water these days in the USA southwest.

I have taken to mining the topsoil, tedious rapacious White Person that I am, and using it for potting soil. I dig out the top six or ten inches. I’m currently working a plot I composted on top of, for several years. When I’m done, I have a nice shallow wide ditch in which to work a light compost of leaves and soft vegetation removed from elsewhere where I would get cited if I let it grow because That Is Weeds.

I’m currently trying to grow potatoes in such mixes of rotting leaves upon dirt in ditches, because I had more seed potatoes than I needed even after I gave the extras away in a box on the street with a friendly handwritten explanatory note. 

 The worst thing that will happen here is that I will have a little more information about growing potatoes, even if that information is basically “nope.” But so far, the ones in the bins are sprouting. The old plastic compost bins that were starting to crack and the five gallon buckets were what I had around, and so far I hear no subsonic whining.

I’m seeing a lot of purple in the upcoming foliage. I tried growing purpler potatoes a little ways north of here in 1998 and they did great but we had to move before they might have grown us some new potatoes.

I also planted yellow finns and a red fingerling. And a Rio Grande russet. 

I would not try to grow potatoes if I did not want to regularly eat them. They are nutritiously wonderfully balanced and they soothe my digestion. I have the good fortune to have marginal legal control over a piece of Mother Earth measuring about sixty by 120 feet, meaning I “own” this land I hole up in, and feel relatively safe upon.

But mostly I don’t eat from my “property,” at least historically. I planted a bunch of reasonably drought-tolerant trees and shrubs. I appreciate them, and they appreciate me. 

Red onions were $2.50 a pound at the grocery store today. I could grow those. But I’d have to be careful. 

Assuming it rains, which I don’t. We’re predicted ENSO neutral so far this year. But who is doing the predicting and how far have they figured in this business of the temperature differentials changing when one thing heats up and another melts and the energy that drives a wind engine is diminished because the heat differential lessened, and then the wind engine that drives a wind train that moves the weather along stalls out, and the wind train gets all lost and takes to meandering around into Mexico or wherever and whenever it feels like it?

Damned if I know. I have some spinach looking good in pots. I expect to be doing more of this. 

I made them out of empty cat litter containers. You can steal that stuff from recycling bins, ya know. White containers reflect heat.

Don’t forget to drill holes.

Things That Never Happen To People

3 Apr

Water, Water, Nowhere

The priority call the Carlsbad Irrigation District inflicted upon its upstream neighbors yesterday is unlikely to result in any immediate changes, we are told. So they will continue to pump groundwater and Carlsbad will continue to have not much surface water from the Pecos, while meanwhile the lawyers get in gear.

Well, how could anyone have known that droughts might last more than a couple of years in the desert? Surely we are in the land of things that never happen to people now. 

Normally in the desert there is just all the water anyone could possibly want. There is so much that you don’t have to line your irrigation canals, you can grow water-hungry crops, you can have golf courses and water parks and everybody can have a nice green lawn. This is a Given. There Must Be Something Wrong. Somebody Should Do Something About This.

Such as sue. What else is new?

Filth, Rage, and Appliances

3 Apr

Filth, Rage, And Appliances

Today I received another Notification from the City of Carlsbad, informing me that I had not adequately dealt with Filth and also that my sequestering the Appliance under the Carport is Unacceptable.

This is getting a little old. I’ve been collecting the dog crap dutifully every afternoon, and the refrigerator, while not wholly aesthetic, is hardly Obscene or Hazardous. 

I found a way on the Internet to email the City and cast a communique upon the Waters under the category of General Suggestions. My General Suggestion is that perhaps the good people of Carlsbad, New Mexico might have more important things to concern themselves with than the peculiar frequency of my dog doodoo collection, or the disturbing presence of a Refrigerator under my carport. Such as this priority water call the Carlsbad Irrigation District is attempting to inflict upon our upstream neighbors in Artesia and Roswell, who stand much more to lose than their exterior refrigerators, should this get through the courts. The General Consensus Up There is Stone Economic Collapse.

So, Carlsbad? Could you please get your nose out of my refrigerator, stop hovering around my dogs’ intimate exclusions, and tend to priorities, such as the imminent Water Wars? Because this is big, Carlsbad. Much bigger than me or my dogs or that stray refrigerator of mine that is apparantly torturing your eyes intolerably. 

Thanks. I know you care. In case the message doesn’t get downstream before my property gets condemned, with which you are already threatening me, what sort of placating signs should I adhere to the refrigerator, to the dogs, to myself? 

How ’bout “I love you to bits, Carlsbad, but please go away. And send me a fence. Thx k bye.”

Carlsbad Irrigation District Issues Priority Water Call

2 Apr

Well, they did it. This is to force Artesia and Roswell to shut down groundwater pumping because Carlsbad isn’t getting enough surface water via the Pecos and they believe upstream groundwater pumping is decreasing the river flow. The CID has senior water rights and the whole region is in a third year of drought. This, it has been claimed, will shut down dairy operations and also the refinery in the Roswell-Artesia region, which would have a devastating effect on their local economies. Carlsbad previously sought state aid but was refused.

Update: the Albuquerque Journal has now published about this.


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