Saturday, January 16, 2010

here it comes

Lately Sundays have turned out to be my only almost full day off. I sleep in a little (although honestly usually can't make it much past 8:00am) and take some time to read or make phone calls or go for a long run. In the afternoons I often end up at the beach or on a hike with the other interns.

Not so tomorrow. Our Monday harvest for Tuesday CSA box delivery has been moved up 24 hours because the rain is coming. Four storms are converging to dump inches and inches on southern California starting on Sunday evening at the rate of up to an inch an hour.

While this volume of precipitation is very unusual, it's made me notice how we talk about rain around here. The (admittedly only two or three) times it's rained since I arrived in August, the rain has been more of a nuisance than anything else. It makes harvesting cold and uncomfortable (even the joys of jumping in puddles don't quite make up for it) and the moisture can make our crops more susceptible to problems that thrive on dampness like molds and mildews.

After growing up in a place where rain meant the difference between health and starvation for many people, it's strange to talk about it as an inconvenience. Drip irrigation (plastic tape running down the middle of the rows with small holes) means our crops need not depend on the weather for water. Though the rain does replenish the local groundwater supply that we use to irrigate, we by no means depend on the timing of any set of showers. So here we are - farmers - stocking up on ponchos and rain boots, and complaining about the rain.

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