The End of a Long Dry Spell

By Published On: September 10th, 20222.2 min readCategories: Garden

The arrival of Tropical Storm Kay ends a bad heat wave and six months of no rain

blades of lemon grass with rain droplets

The lemon grass getting rain on it for the first time in six months

It’s hard to describe how dry it’s been lately. We haven’t received a drop of measurable rain since March 28th when a little over and inch of water fell.

The hills have been a dry since April, and the sagebrush in the valleys went brown in June. Since then it’s been hot but bearable, at least right up until the end of August. Then it got really hot. Like triple digit hot for over a week.

I pride myself on the fact that our house is a true California Rancho style; single story stucco, wide, shady eves, and big, vine-covered ramada that shades the entire western side of the house. It does a beautiful job of keeping the interior cool and cave-like in the summer sun, but even it couldn’t compete with this last big heat bubble, and I was forced to turn on the air conditioning for the first time in almost four years (though only briefly each day).

Thankfully, Tropical Storm Kay arrived from Mexico yesterday with wind, water and cooler temperatures. It was only half and inch of rain, but it was enough to bring temperatures down 30°, wash the dust off the trees, give the gardens a good drink, and refill both of my rain barrels.

A downspout pouring water into a rain barrel

Two very dry rain barrels filling for the first time since they were emptied in April

The added bonus is wildfire risk, always a big one this time of year, is way down too.

Kay is clearing out of here tonight, and a week of normal temperatures (high 70s / low 80s) looks to be in our future. If it stays mild enough, I may attempt to get some fall seeds started early. It’s risky because late September through October has lots of Santana conditions that make it hot, dry and windy in the day, and chilly at night. Young plants get whipsawed from 90° to 40° in just a couple of hours, so they have to be protected. Something I often forget to do until it’s too late.

Oh well, at least it rained in Southern California. It almost seemed like it never does.

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About the Author

author avatar
Sage Osterfeld
I’m just a guy with nearly an acre of dirt, a nice little mid-century ranch house and a near-perfect climate. But in my mind I’m a landscaper survivalist craftsman chef naturalist with a barbeque the size of a VW and my own cable TV show. I like to write about the stuff I build, grow and see here at Sage's Acre.

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