no rain, no rainbows

I looked west this morning while I was having breakfast and saw the first rainbow I’ve seen in months, maybe years. Although it was cool outside I had to go up to the deck to check it out. The rainbow was just a short piece of an arc rising from the ocean, but in this land of little rain you take what you get.

The rainbow was just about the last official act of a set of four consecutive storms that delivered over six days almost as much moisture as we received all of last year. And by “storms” I do mean real storms with rain, hail, thunder, lightning and tree-toppling winds. But for most of us in town things went as well as could be expected.

At work eucalyptus trees cracked and fell, buildings leaked, flows of water and mud threatened to invade several buildings. Walking outside entailed wading through puddles or jumping from one high spot to another.

At home power flickered on and off a few times. The back yard laked up briefly, but nothing that looked like it was going to come in the house.

Hail came down a couple times, but nothing was hurt. These pellets were about the size of peas.

Rain was heavy. These little buckets to catch roof runoff were full within the first 24 hours.

A potted Kalanchoe prolifera on the roof deck–seen here on the right–blew over. While the base must weigh 75 pounds when soaking wet, the plant is tall and proved no match for the blasts of wind that came through. This photo was shot after the plant was righted, so you can see it wasn’t bothered by spending some time sideways.

A survey this morning showed the trays of bog plants full of water, flooding the pots. These swamp dwellers are adapted to a little flooding, and in some areas people overwinter the rhizomes underwater so they don’t rot.

In fact, the parrot pitcher plant from the Florida-Georgia area, Sarracenia psittacina, can be found completely submerged over the winter. Its traps are unique in that they’re adapted to catching swimming as well as crawling creatures, so it’ll find something to eat, whether underwater or above.

The culvert in city easement behind the house filled with water. It makes me want to establish a little vernal pool in the muck at the bottom. I wonder if it would work in this location. Some of the most endangered plants in my area can be found around vernal pools and nowhere else.

The cooling weather and moister weather greens up the plants that have been dormant through the dry season. In the back Coreopsis gigantea leaves begin to sprout on what had been little brown trunks. But in the foreground you see all the weeds that accompany the season. These are mostly seedlings of a few mizuna plants, a Japanese mustard green, that I let go to seed a decade ago.

…and when life gives you young, weedy, tender mizuna sprouts, why not pick mizuna greens? These will be in tonight’s salad.

So you can see we came through pretty well. The main casualty was Scooter, the cat, who’s used to occasional times outside to sun herself. I think the “Can I go outside, please?” expression is pretty clear on her face here.

She did get to go out this morning, at last, and so did I. While I appreciate the rain, a little respite between storms doesn’t hurt, both for cats and humans alike. It also gives the waterlogged ground to dry out a bit or to let the water seep down farther.

If the weather forecasts are right, we’ll be getting another storm on Tuesday, but it won’t be anything like the almost continuous rain we just had. After 3 years of bad drought, we’ll take whatever rain falls, even if we don’t get any more rainbows with it.

5 thoughts on “no rain, no rainbows”

  1. I saw some smothered rainbows too.

    Water capture: my roof has a “V” section that funnels too much water for the rain gutter to fully accommodate so I put a plastic 33-gallon trash barrel underneath the spillage to catch it. One filled within an hour. Instead of draining the rain gutter onto the driveway which slopes down to the street, I divert it to the top of the small adjacent gravelly slope where cypress trees and junipers grow. That small slope ends at the street but I’ve never seen much excess drainage to the street so most of the runoff from that gutter ends up underground I think. I never water those plants during the year.

    <Dream>
    I wouldn’t mind another week-long storm series like this, maybe one for February, one for March, and one more in April. Then top it off with a few light showers in May.
    </Dream>

    (apologies if that attempt at displaying html markup didn’t work)

  2. Yeah we had quite a week of rain up north as well. I was fortunate to see a double full arc rainbow over the city 2 days ago. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. We’ve used gray water in the past to water ornamentals, but we are not catching rain water, and I don’t know why not. Maybe I can hook something up before the next storm.

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