Proof is in the puddles

I stand before you, falsely accused.

Ina is the horticulturist on our team of gardeners. She is expert at selecting and nurturing native or drought-tolerant plants that can survive California’s waterless years. She has taught me a lot about planting for success in our clay-heavy, sun-baked garden.

One of her first soldiers – a large silver ragwort (jacobaea maritima) – was recently lost. You can see it here in its magnificence. She suspects I snuck it water and thus, contributed to its untimely demise.

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When we were deluged with two storms in December, where was Ina? Maui. While all of January was dry, we were visited by a Pineapple Express this weekend – a warm, wet storm that blows in off the Pacific – an “atmospheric river.”

Before:
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After:
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Here, before you I present the photographic evidence which should exonerate me: proof positive that Ina’s garden sits in one of the lowest spots of the garden. Her beautifully appointed crushed granite pathways serve as perfect vessels, creating self-contained rivers that hold water for days. Yes…those are her rosemary, lavender, tulbaghia violacea (aka…smelly society garlic), artemesia, lamb’s ear, asters, lion’s tail, and tanacetum plants and grasses sitting in the flood zone.

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What say you jurors…kind blogger peers? Regardless of the verdict, the rain is SO very welcome.

Before:
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After:
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The downside of a Pineapple Express is that creates rain in the Sierras instead of snow pack. We depend on the snow pack to refill our rivers and reservoirs later in the year. But, at this point, we are grateful for water in whatever form it arrives.

Before:
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After:
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It all made for soggy, dog-walking duty this weekend at the rescue – but who can argue with the rewards?

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Rain Glorious Rain

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Rain. Glorious Rain.

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A Pacific storm – an atmospheric “river” we refer to as the “pineapple express” – dumped a more than generous amount of rain in Northern California setting a record in Sacramento for most rainfall in a 24 hour period. It helped our nearby Folsom lake to rise nearly 3 feet in a single weekend, and the Sierras above us were topped with more than four feet of snow. While we are all soggy and practically swimming in it – we are rejoicing.

Homeward Bound might well be renamed “On Golden Pond.” Our banks have overflown…

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And our parched Memorial Garden is a bit under water.

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But what a glorious sight it is.

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All the dogs got out despite the weather…

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and Rocky, Lisa, Zoe and Eleanor managed to get adopted by devoted families that made their way to us despite the downpour.

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Eleanor

The trees are practically bursting with joy.

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“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” ~ John Updike

These Pacific storms – which have been absent all winter – typically deliver about a third of our annual rainfall. While this one only puts a dent in our deficit, it is a welcome gift and a hopeful sign of good things to come.

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So many have shared a prayer and a rain dance for our golden state. Thank you.

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Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”

The Pineapple Express

This is what the moon looked like a couple of nights ago. (I’m not very good at moon photos, yet – but the sky is what I really want you to focus on. You’ll see why.)

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It’s a good thing I dug the Dahlia’s up.

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Because this is the result of the first two out of three storms we are experiencing. Our poor Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. Not to mention the soggy doggy runs.

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They call it the “Pineapple Express,” or “atmospheric river” – a much more descriptive term, I think. Warm air and moisture move in from the Hawaiian Islands, and dump all over the Central Sacramento Valley and Sierras. What melts in the mountains travels downhill to us, compounding the wet mess.

I can hardly wait to see what the third, and strongest, has in store for us. Does anyone have an Ark?