||[Jun. 3rd, 2015|06:06 pm]
I don't know if they were playing, mating, or fighting, but two squirrels just spent several minutes chasing one another up and down pine trees in the yard next door to mine. In fact they might still be at it. I got tired of watching them and came indoors, so I'll be missing the copulation (or battle) if they ever get around to it. If it was a game then it got dull pretty fast, at least for this observer. Maybe squirrels are more easily entertained than I am. If so then they are sad, sad creatures, given the sort of crap that can hold my attention. I'd probably do better to be out gathering nuts than to be watching television as much as I do.|
The weather has been a bit odd today. It has been very warm, but an overcast has been slowly forming all afternoon, and now the sky is quite gray, yet it remains bright. There are shadows under the trees, but they are indistinct— just darker areas with soft edges. The overcast is expected to continue tonight, so the night will be warmer than nights have been lately, but then it will continue tomorrow as well, so tomorrow will probably be a bit cooler than today has been. By Friday we'll be back to the summer-like heat again. I've been hoping for at least one more spring rain before the torrid, dry season sets in for good, but we probably won't get one.
The unwatered lawns are starting to turn brown, and more than a few leaves have dried out and fallen from the oaks. The walnut tree is doing okay so far, and has quite a few little green walnuts on it. The crop looks like it will be smaller than last year's, even assuming that most of the new nuts survive, but it will be larger than I'd expected it to be given the odd late winter and early spring weather. I don't know if there's enough water stored in the soil to guarantee the survival of many of the nuts, or to let them grow to normal size. Last year quite a large percentage of them were smaller than normal, probably due to insufficient water. As I won't be able to do much irrigation of the tree this year it might be that this fall's walnut crop will consist mostly of undersized nuts.
For some unknown reason I've been very klutzy today. I keep running into door jambs and pieces of furniture, and I've almost tripped over Portia more than usual (stupid cat thinks my feet are kitty toys.) I'm going to assume that I'm developing a brain tumor, so I'll be pleasantly surprised when it turns out not to be. When one leads a life as dull as mine, one must seize opportunities for pleasant surprises whenever possible, no matter how ridiculous they may be.
Time to start thinking about dinner. I don't feel very hungry, so I might just settle for finishing off the rest of that watermelon I've had in the refrigerator for a week, before it goes completely bad on me. On a day when I'm being klutzy, cooking is probably not a good idea anyway. Burns would be a definite possibility. I'll just have to be be careful with the knife when I cut the melon.
Did the watermelon come up from Mexico? I'd imagine water-intensive farming like that will not be possible in California much longer. Poor California.
We've continued dry here, if slightly cooler, but will get a spike of heat this weekend. Ou sont les neiges d'antan, or however that goes.
Squirrels, who even knows. Those guys are bonkers.
California's agribusiness will have to either get way more efficient in its use of water or get smaller. If it gets smaller, which parts shrink will depend on which of the crops we export bring in the most profit, and which crops we grow for local consumption can be replaced with imports most economically. We actually already import lots of fruits and vegetables, not only from Mexico but from even farther away. In summer we always have naval oranges from Australia in the stores. We also sometimes see melons from Chile.
Almond trees are big water hogs, but almonds are a very valuable export and the groves are a substantial investment that it would be costly to buy out. Alfalfa, used mostly for the diary industry and some for the meat industry, is also a big water hog, but meat and dairy products are less valuable as exports, and some dairy products (butter and cheeses, for example) can be imported pretty cheaply, so I suspect that the almond industry will be getting a bigger share of the rationed water and the alfalfa growers will have to make do with less, or just switch to some other crop. It's going to be a pretty complex transition. We'll still have agribusiness, but it will be a different mix of products, probably smaller, and probably not as profitable.
I'm not sure where the melon I had came from. A lot of them come from Arizona these days, but Arizona is going to have less water in the future, too. We still grow a lot of melons in the Imperial Valley with water from the Colorado River, but our share of that water is gradually being cut back and going to Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, even as flows from the Colorado decline due to climate change.
I've wondered about the almonds, as those get mentioned a lot (also wrt honey bee decline). I didn't know the US imported produce from Australia! Wow. I've seen beautiful tomatoes on the vine from Israel, but that was closer to Maryland than Australia was. Small world, isn't it?
Btw, when I lived in Maryland, I considered Florida citrus the juiciest and best but California fruit dry and not worth the money. Here I find California citrus to be gorgeous, so the problem was likely the length of time from grove to store due to distance across the continent.
Florida grows the best Valencias, which are the best juice orange, but California grows better navels, which are the best oranges for eating. Navels can dry out pretty rapidly in storage and transit, though, while orange juice travels well. We get some dried up oranges even here, and I used to get quite a few before I learned that the juiciest navels are the ones that are heaviest for their size. Quite often the ones that are palest, or even a bit green, turn out to be better than the ones that have the most orange color. Judge by weight relative to size, and by fragrance (the ones that smell most like orange blossoms are usually the sweetest) and ignore color altogether.
It was navels that I bought at Safeway here recently and really enjoyed, out of hand. Not much of the fleshy parts that tend to bother me -- I buy Tropicana w/o pulp for the Boy, who has a similar aversion to fleshy pulp in juice -- and a lovely flavor. I do look for ones that are heavier, as I'd noticed the light ones are dry inside, but I didn't know that about color. Thanks for the good advice! Now I'm hungry for oranges. :D