Posts Tagged ‘drought’

The sky ain’t cryin’

June 28, 2021

Big, and bad, and bupkis.

Waiting for rain around here is like waiting for a Republican to grow a pair.

It huffs, and it puffs, aaaaaaaand … that’s about it.

Nevertheless, the clouds have helped keep us delightfully cool. Unlike the Tour de France, which so far seems to be a searing symphony of skidmarks and blood trails, scored for ambulance sirens.

Some pundits have been calling for a return to an “opening prologue” to mellow everyone out in the early going of Le Tour. Which might be smart, if we overlook that “opening” nonsense. A prologue is a preface, an introduction, a preceding event or development.

Have you ever seen a prologue three stages in? You have not.

Anyway, prologues are far from foolproof. Chris Boardman crashed in the 1995 prologue. Stuey O’Grady did likewise in 2007, as did Alejandro Valverde in 2017.

But it’s true that the carnage tends to be retail rather than wholesale in an “opening prologue.” A racer gets taken out by a tight corner, a slick descent, or a roadside eejit, and a writer gets taken out by the copy desk. Le Tour goes on.

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.

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.

Draught for a drought

October 31, 2020

Man, you just can’t beat the clouds in New Mexico, even if they occasionally snow on you.

Seven inches. I measured it, with a steel ruler.

No, not that. The snow. The landscape drank it the way a wino chugs a short dog.

You’d be surprised how quickly an Albuquerque lawn can drink seven inches of snow. Maybe not.

Winter’s drive-by with its record snowfall and low temperature meant I had to crank up the furnace two days earlier than last year. There’s something final about the sound of that Trane XR80 groaning back to hideous life; every time I switch the thermostat from “Cool” to “Heat” I feel as though I’ve just driven a stake through the heart of summer.

The streets cleared quickly — after 133 vehicle crashes and 31 injuries, nobody wanted to be on them, not even the snow.

But if you were afoot and kept your eyes open it wasn’t awful. I went out for a couple hourlong walks and by Friday it was warm enough for a ride, in long sleeves, knickers and tuque.

Anyway, we’ve got a stretch of 60-something and sunny on tap, so it looks like the landscape is back on the wagon after slamming its cold one.

Chile today

January 1, 2016
Pax capsicum.

Pax capsicum.

2016 has begun as 2015 ended, with a bit of fresh snow on the deck and temps in the mid-20s. And they call this a “new year.” Harumph, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Last year was the wettest in a decade for Albuquerque and New Mexico, according to the Albuquerque Journal. A quarter of the state remains abnormally dry, but the National Weather Service says there is no drought for the first time in five years.

As to 2016, quien sabe?

“It’s hard to say what short-term drought will be like next summer,” says Chuck Jones, a meteorologist with the Albuquerque office of the NWS. “But we are getting off to a good start for 2016.”

Of course, opinions vary wildly as regards what constitutes “a good start for 2016.” All the four-legged O’Gradys are curled up in their various beds trying to stay warm, while the two-legged types are pouring cups of hot tea over last night’s tinga poblana, which proved a stunning success. If you’re feeling the January chill, I urge you to make it at once, if not sooner.

Tonight’s forecast: dark

November 26, 2012
The NWS forecast for the remainder of November

The NWS forecast for the remainder of November (and yes, the headline is a George Carlin/Al Sleet reference).

I don’t like being cold and damp, shoveling snow, or having to wear pants indoors. But neither do I care for the idea of watching the Front Range turn into the Sonoran Desert, only without the great Mexican food.

The local fish-wrapper reported the other day that Bibleburg has enjoyed just a tenth of an inch of moisture this month and for the year to date is eight inches under normal precipitation. This is not a positive development, even for those of us who reach for a cold beer over a glass of water on a summery afternoon. For example, you can’t make beer without water. Unless you’re Coors, which seems to do just fine with Rocky Mountain trout piss.

South of us, in the Land of Enchantment, Elephant Butte Lake is experiencing drought conditions unseen since the year of my birth, which as regular readers know occurred the better part of quite some time ago.

And there’s no relief in sight. Not here, anyway. According to the weather wizards, there isn’t so much as a hint of a whiff of a rumor of a whisper of any precip’ in the Bibleburg forecast over the next 10 days.

What there is, is a parade of 60-and-sunny that will delight me in the short term (I have two bikes to review and more on the way) but gives me The Fear as regards the long term.

This autumn, for the first time since we’ve lived here, a neighbor declined my offer of the usual dozen or so bags of fallen leaves from our silver maple for use in her composting. She has also downsized her once-elaborate front yard to something better suited to a high-desert climate.

“What’s the point in gardening if it’s never going to rain again?” she asked.