The First Storm of the Season

I took a walk on Tuesday October 13, day of the storm, and the day after. One day storms are great fun, terrific drama, as long as you don't lose power. Longer storms can be wearing, lost in the low clouds for long days on end, and buffeted by wind and rain, cooking over a calor gas camp stove. When we lose power we also lose water; it takes electricity to get the water from our neighborhood tank to our ridgetop house. This time we only lost internet (but that was bad enough!!).

Our neighborhood is laced with culverts and roadside ditches. This fine pipe takes the water from our property and directs it under the road and down the culverts through our neighbors' properties. The nasty old Monterey pines do drop leave wonderful rusty red pine needles, don't they?

I took a walk along the part of the road that runs through our property, to check for slippage and drainage issues. We had cleared the chaparral on the hill up to the right of the photo above in spring. But there was only a little silt on the road, and no slippage. Blockages were caused by leaves and twigs, and gravel from some recent road work. I spent a couple hours with a shovel and soon the culverts were running like mountain streams. I got soaked but it was in the sixties (F), and the air smelled fresh, and I was having fun. When my kids were small we liked nothing better than going out for a rainy day walk and splash in the puddles. Maybe it's my wet west of Scotland heritage but I love the rain. I just don't like being cold!

Duncan, however, hates getting wet! But he hates being left at home more.

The plastic and duct tape greenhouse faired fairly well. The one side came unmoored but the plants within were not damaged. Not that they are doing that well. And instantly the weather got damp, the lupine cuttings, which I had been most hopeful about as they were still looking green and alive, started to mildew. It is astonishing how fast mildew blooms everywhere. I removed the mildewed ones and hope the rest will survive.

I soon had it shipshape again. I found that wrapping the front plastic around metal fence posts works pretty well. I also had "trimmed the sails"; the plastic used to drape to the ground as I had ambitions of filling up the area below the corrugated metal shelf.

This morning I opened up the front panel on the right, as there is a bit of fungus growing on the peat moss on top of the new trays of seeds. I hope it'll wither with a bit of fresh air. It's all a learning to be sure, trying to maintain an environment favorable for growth.

But the best news of all was that the new path suffered very little damage. Some small chunks of the steep bank had collapsed but that is probably a good thing, better to have a gentler slope above. I'll put that soil in buckets to use for potting-on any natives I'm lucky enough to propagate. The stairs that Mr Wood Rat cut out are still recognizably stairs, and I'm itching to get on with the stone work there. No pics of the stairs, as I was staying off of the wet soil and it's round the corner from the end of the path in the photo above.

I can't honestly say whether the jute netting we laid across parts of the path and slope made any difference. Certainly it didn't hurt and it may have helped. I did get two more rolls of the stuff as it was on sale at a local nursery.

After the storm, everything was clean and warmly fragrant - heaven on earth. I can't take a picture of the scents and the feel of the air, so I'll have to leave that part to the power of your own imaginations.

(Sunrise October 15)

If you haven't already - be sure to check out the prior post - Town Mouse's excellent Blog Action Day post.


steph said…
Speaking of mildew, last weekend I had scratched-in a little blood meal around my cabbage plants. As of last evening, everything was looking shiny and exuberant. As of this morning, everything is still looking exuberant except that the surface of the soil where I had scratched in the blood meal is covered with a white matt of fungus. I'm going with the notion that this is a "good" thing, that the fungus is speeding up the breakdown of complex substances to turn them into readily available nutrients.

I live down in the flats of San Jose and utterly envy you your location. Other than the power outages, water outages, internet outages, ... :-)
Michelle said…
Oh yes, a one day storm is something of a treat, although I like to watch the drama from the cozy indoors! The air was incredibly scented after the storm and everything looks so clean and somehow greener now, I guess all the summer dust has been rinsed away.
Town Mouse said…
Steph, I have that white fungus everywhere under my wood chip mulch as soon as it gets wet. My garden designer said it's indeed a good thing, and I've never noticed any ill effect.