Archive for the ‘drought’ Category

And the uniform of the day is. …

August 17, 2021

Some faces should be covered.

Face diapers for everyone!

I’ve been wearing mine for a while now. I like to think of it as a community-beautification project.

Still, Jesus H., etc. Afghanistan’s up the spout and all its daddies are ducking for cover, the West’s faucets are running dry, and Paris Hilton has a cooking show. Truly these are Dire Portents of the End Times.

Just deserts

June 12, 2021

Even the cacti are hunting shade.

“Just put a chair underneath the swamp cooler and deal with it all like a pro.”“When Everything Goes Wrong,” Ken Layne, Desert Oracle Radio

Gonna be a hot one — or two, or three, or four, or more — throughout the desert Southwest.

Especially out there in Desert Oracle country, where Ken Layne chats with author Claire Nelson about the time when her day hike suddenly got too hot to handle.

Here in the Duke City I’ve finally bowed to the elements and switched the Honeywells from “heat” to “cool,” because we’ve been having too much of the one and not nearly enough of the other.

And it will only get hotter. The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures of 5 to 15 degrees above normal for about a week (!) as a strong high-pressure system blisters New Mexico like a chile on the grill.

We didn’t need no steekeeng air conditioning back in Bibleburg. Nobody made us move to the upper edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. We knew it was wrong, but we did it anyway.

And whaddaya wanna bet one or both of us goes out onto the sunbaked trails to get the ol’ heart rate up for a while? No brain, no pain. If you don’t hear from me for a couple days call the Duke City trash collectors. I’ll be that bag of bones under the prickly pear somewhere in the Sandia Foothills Open Space.

A wee misinterpretation

June 10, 2021

“Oopsie.”

Well, it sure is shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Lake Foul is a couple quarts away from becoming a pump track. Lake Merde, a skatepark. And we have to boil the air before we can breathe it.

Good times. Maybe not.

It seems we took God literally when She said: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Now I can envision Her muttering: “You write ’em books and all they do is chew on the covers. You see anything in there about Phoenix, Las Vegas, or California? You do not. Because I was writing the Bible, not ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’

“I send you my kid and Ed Abbey and this is the thanks I get? I hope you meshuggeners like drinking your wee-wee. Straight, no chaser.”

Each star’s a pool of water

May 11, 2021

My friends in Sonoma County are tapped out.

It’s hard to believe. When I was couch-surfing around Santa Rosa back in 1981, trying and failing to find newspaper work, the place felt downright soggy to me after a short tour of duty in Tucson.

Not any more, Skeeter. You already know about the fires. Now comes the drought, which is triggering both voluntary cutbacks in water use and a few mandatory restrictions.

Says Cotati Councilwoman Susan Harvey, chair of the region’s Water Advisory Committee:

“We just kind of have to hope that people will do the right thing. And if they don’t do the right thing, we will have to be more stringent. It’s always better to use the carrot than the stick.”

Here in the Duke City, meanwhile, John Fleck reports that the Rio Grande forecast has dropped yet again after what NRCS forecaster Angus Goodbody calls “an exceptionally dry April.”

Adds Fleck: “April was really our last chance for a late spring bailout.”

Hijo, madre. By the time Denis Villeneuve’s take on the Frank Herbert classic “Dune” hits the screen it’s liable to feel like a documentary.

• In other news: It’s not just that we don’t know where our water is coming from. We don’t even know where it’s going.

Sore arms and sunshine

April 26, 2021

Sunny, warm, and windy. Don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em, please.

Well, here we are, enjoying our first Monday of total vaccination.

Not really. It’ll be a couple weeks before we’re deemed properly armed against The Bug® v1.0. But we’ve both had both shots, and so far the side effects seem mostly minimal.

Herself required a longish nap the day after she got stuck, and so did I. Sore arms for both of us, too. But the procedures went even more smoothly than before, zip and zip and zip. I’ve seen slower Golden Pride drive-thrus.

Before bagging some Z’s yesterday I went out for a short stroll to keep all the pivot points well oiled. It was shorts weather. The official high was 83 degrees, three short of the record and 11 above normal. Less than an inch of precip’ since Jan. 1. “No significant weather was observed,” adds the NWS. Ohhhhhh-kay.

Today we have more of the same, with single-digit humidity and winds from the southwest that could hit 50 mph. We’re already had a couple small fires in Torrance and San Miguel counties and it would be nice if we didn’t have any more, please and thank you.

In other weather news, freak cold snaps devastate vineyards in France. In The Washington Post, Rick Noack writes: “By the end of France’s big freeze, at least one third of this year’s wine harvest and many other crops were lost, in what by some estimates was the country’s worst agricultural disaster of the century. It may take years for some vineyards to recover.”

I guess we’ll all be smoking weed before much longer. That shit will grow anywhere, under any conditions. The roaches will be toking up long after Gaia has given us the shove.

Mondaze

April 19, 2021

The skies looked promising to the north.

Well, consarn it all to hell anyway, we did not get the promised rain turning to snow Saturday night, though it was gray and chilly around here until midafternoon Sunday.

El Rancho Pendejo stays deceptively cool on a cloudy day, so by the time we’d finished our chores and stepped out for a bit of exercise, we found ourselves dressed for conditions that no longer prevailed.

“We could’ve worn shorts,” Herself sez to me she sez as we jogged up a short hill. And she did not lie. I was seriously overdressed, wearing pants, a hoodie over a T-shirt, and a ball cap. The hoodie came off fast. Smartwool glove liners that I stuffed into a back pocket before leaving stayed there.

Jogging upward through the cacti.

That was then. This morning the furnace clicked on promptly at 4 a.m., which is about when Miss Mia Sopaipilla decides breakfast should be served (“Meow. Meow? Meeeeeowwwwwww!”) Four hours later it just clicked on again. The furnace, not Miss Mia, who having enjoyed a delicious meal is napping cozily in the Situation Room.

More chores. For instance, coffee must be brewed, twice. Since our coffeemaker went south Herself uses the Chemex at Mia-thirty while I crank up the ancient Krups espresso machine an hour or so later. The last of the bread gets toasted. Old loafer bakes new loaf.

Out goes the trash and recycling for pickup. Brief yet cordial salutations are exchanged with neighbors and dogs. Something has shit in the cul-de-sac. Not a dog. Be on the lookout, etc.

As the temperature inches upward the lawn gets one of its twice-weekly drinks, which feels increasingly stupid with the Rio looking like a sand trap on the devil’s back nine. Time to help a landscaper make his truck payment? Probably. You don’t have to water rocks, or mow them, either.

Anyway, this old wasicu is too stove up to do a rain dance. The gods would just chuckle and avert their eyes.

“Hey, we told you to go to the desert, not to stay there. You get your wisdom and then you get the hell out. Who said anything about lawns, golf courses, and swimming pools? Not us, Bubba.”

And now, here’s Patrick with the weather

April 17, 2021

The maple shares the eastern horizon with blue sky
and a few clouds … for now.

The furnace was chugging away when I woke up this morning. This, after some days of riding around and about in knickers and arm warmers. (Not the furnace. Me.)

Our weather widget in the kitchen told me the temp outside was smack dab at freezing — 32° Fahrenheit. No wonder I was wearing pants, socks, and a long-sleeved shirt, I mused.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla says she would like her meals delivered.

In my office Miss Mia Sopaipilla was tucked away in the Situation Room, monitoring developments, largely through closed eyelids.

The forecast calls for snow, which some of you are already enjoying. Any inclination I might have to bitch about it is tempered by the ongoing grim news about the state of the Rio Grande, which is likely to be drier than the proverbial popcorn fart this summer. Pinning our hopes on a stout monsoon season seems about like asking Santa Claus to lay a few bazillion gallons on us. We have not been good girls and boys.

Speaking of water, if you are fortunate enough to find yourself restricted to the great indoors by inclement weather you might have a sip from this week’s episode of Desert Oracle Radio. Ken Layne discusses the “accidental miracles” that spared so much of the American Southwest’s mountains and deserts from growth for growth’s sake, which Ed Abbey dubbed “the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Then change channels to KLZR-FM in Weirdcliffe, where my man Hal Walter — who seems to be Mister Multimedia these days — chats with Gary Taylor about the joys of running and other things.

Hal is enjoying a bit of snow himself up to Weirdcliffe rather than running his ass off at the Desert Donkey Dash in Tombstone, Ariz., where the forecast is for a high in the 70s. If he has any regrets about this as he feeds the woodstove he is keeping them to himself.