Here in Southern California, spring comes in October. Rain has arrived after a five-month hiatus and everything is turning from dusty taupe to rich emerald. I relish the sound of water patting and dripping on leaves, the mechanized whirr-whip of windshield wipers, and the elemental smell of wet asphalt. During a break in the days-long misting rain, Toddler Harbat and I went out to make a full inspection of the garden.
She gathered up some “salad”, which oddly did not include leaves from our lettuce plants, but instead had non-edible flowering tobacco leaves, white flower buds, a bulbous eggplant, and a crinkled red chili pepper.
Rain also means this weekend was the drop-dead date for installing our rain barrel. Not too hard, really, and after two days of rain so light you could call it atmosphere rather than precipitation, our barrel is almost two-thirds full. (This picture was taken just after I installed it.)
Because it’s translucent, I expect it’ll soon turn into an algae farm so maybe we’ll drop in some fish to eat the algae. And frogs to eat the mosquitos. And birds to eat the frogs, and so on. The diverter system was truly baffling, as it looks as if water can drop straight down the spout, through the diverter and onto the ground. I had to look up into it several times to figure out why this didn’t happen, to be rewarded with a splat of water on my glasses. Did I learn? No, I looked up there again and got water in my eye. I learned that water doesn’t pour through a downspout in a gushing torrent like the orange juice in those slo-mo porny Tropicana ads on TV. It actually clings to the edge of the downspout and diverts (success!) into the rain barrel. Trust me, this is much more exciting to see in action. Actually…no it isn’t. But soon we’ll have free water for our plants. I was really excited about our bit for the environment until we went to a birthday party and I saw my neighbor’s two hundred gallon tank. And his other two-hundred gallon tank. And his new nine-hundred gallon tank. Hey, some guys engage in a war of escalation with lifted monster trucks, some guys do it with water tanks.
Since SoCal spring is here, that also means, paradoxically, cooler weather. Finally we could break out Toddler Harbat’s sweater dress and striped tights. Even when she peed in her underwear, I dried out the tights and put them back on her. No way she wasn’t going to wear this outfit to the birthday party.