What a Difference 48 Hours… and 7.5 Inches of Rain Makes!

It’s been waiting all winter for this!



Last week this time we could not have imagined that we would receive eight inches in eight days… and 7.5 inches in the last 48 hours, and still going, bringing us to 82% of our normal for this time of year in Napa. Our small irrigation pond, completely dry Thursday, filled to overflowing this morning. The larger pond is at least half full and the water is pouring in.

But Donald and I feel sobered. We are still in drought. Consciousness about water usage is becoming critically important for all of us. And this winter the issue has become very pressing in California: who is going to get the water, the farmers or the cities or the larger environment?  And if the drought persists?  Do we evacuate cities? Are we in for a correction of our arrogance in building huge cities in very dry areas, areas that irrigate lawns? What can we do now?

Our farming is a microcosm of this. Our irrigation ponds are critical to the irrigation that we do, but our soil building is even more so. Healthy soils hold more moisture, as do practices such as mulching. We also need to farm crops that are drought tolerant, and work toward dry farming as much as possible… and Biodynamics has helped us almost reach this goal with the grapes in the 14 years we have been farming in this way.

Today we are vastly relieved. There will be irrigation water; the hills will green this week; the trees, the vines, the lavender and helichrysum are all getting a deep drink.  But we are also sobered, more aware of how fragile this all is, how vulnerable we are to climate.

Has the extreme weather in our country changed your habits in any way?