A few days without culinary water is, at the very least, quite instructive. You find out exactly how much you use,. You find out which neighbors are charitable, cheaters or complainers. Some, you find, are even natural leaders.You prioritize which plants get the rinse water from doing the dishes. And you are very very grateful when it comes back on.
I went to the town meeting with about 100 other people Monday night. Folks were surprisingly courteous and cooperative. The town was by then bringing in truck tankers of non potable water for toilet flushing and bottled water for drinking. People self-organized to deliver water to some of the seniors. The mayor explained about thee strategy of bringing water back to pressure a few blocks at a time and how long it would take. The county health inspector passed out pamphlets on how to comply with the boil order.
By Wednesday everyone had pressure and by Thursday night the boil order had been lifted. Restaurants reopened. Town seems nearly back to normal. But a lot of money was lost — I heard one restaurant lost $50,000, another motel upwards of $100,000. And the seasonal staff who lost hours, the ones that depend on the summer months to earn enough money to get by all winter, were hurt too. There’s a plan to start upgrading the system in the fall. But when your water runs down a mountain in a 15-mile long pipe in flash flood country, chances are reasonable that the system could fail again. There’s a whole blog post on lessons learned. In the meantime, don’t let the laundry pile up.
Despite the distraction, a lot got done around the place last week:
Husbandry and gardening: A duck went missing Wednesday evening, was seen briefly Friday evening when everyone gets their grain, and disappeared again. R spotted her last night and followed her back to a nest in the goat shed. I can’t imagine the goats are too happy about that. We’ll see if she sticks with it the whole four weeks. That would mean they hatch right when we have house sitters while we are on vacation—that will be the full E-ticket experience for them.
The great thing I can say about the garden is that it is still alive. We pumped water out of the irrigation ditch into a 1000 liter IBC on our trailer, just like I used to water trees the first summer we planted the Bluebird orchard. The trailer gets it high enough that gravity-feed works well enough, if you don’t mind standing around with a hose. I didn’t, it actually gave me a chance to spot weed most every bed.
We finished weeding and mulching the one perennial bed we have, which runs along the pétanque court. Someone gave us six loads of wood chips and I was extravagant with them to see if that cuts back on the ongoing maintenance.
We are down to 13 turkey poults. I’m not sure why we are having so much difficulty with brooding this year, we aren’t doing anything different. R is nursing one along right now with molasses and antibiotic cream— it has corneal infections and its eyes close and then it can’t find the food or water. Another week and we should be past the hard part and think about moving them to an outdoor brooder. The last turkey that the hens brooded roosted with them for the first time, jumping and flapping up 4 feet to sit next to mom.
We had our irrigation turn Friday night. I’m working on getting the schedule for the rest of the summer fixed so we have a few rounds of irrigation during the daylight hours.
Food, harvest and preserving: Harvesting just greens and salads so far. Nothing got put in the freezer or canning jars this week. For one thing, there wasn’t any water to wash vegetables unless I boiled it first.
Energy and conservation: R finished the new automatic drip irrigation system installation yesterday and it is a thing to behold, with lots of room to expand. I used my InstantPot a couple times to cook things without heating up the house and am really pleased with how well that works. We need to stack firewood and figure out how much more we need this winter.
Community: we hosted a Dutch oven cooking potluck last night for about twenty people. Lots of good food appeared at my table and I didn’t have to do much at all except send out the invitations. The new fire pit worked perfectly, and after we were done cooking, we tossed in some logs because the falling damps actually were chilly.
We also hosted the Entrada Institute speaker this week. I had been
stalking a fan girl of John Clark’s work and threw my hand up in the air first for his talk when the hosting duties were assigned to the Board this year. Because we weren’t sure there’d be a restaurant open on Saturday when we were making plans, we invited John and his family for dinner, so we got some extra time getting to know him.
Creativity and recreation: There was not a spare cycle to be had last week. R got out the hammocks, but that was more aspirational than anything lat week.
Next week: more weeding and watering. Keep baby turkeys alive. Stop procrastinating on the final report for our USDA grant. Take the dogs on an overnight car camping trip to practice for our vacation in July. Torrey’s biggest event, Apple Days, is Friday and Saturday and R is playing music in the afternoon with some friends in a band.
Seasonal observations: The bindweed is in full flower. A lot of grasses are flowering too; the pets keep showing up with pollen on their whiskers. The Sandhill cranes seem to have decided to spend the summer in the pasture below, we are hearing them calling most evenings. The clear skies of June are great for night sky viewing—Antares, Scorpio and the Summer Triangle are the most prominent features right now. It’s pretty amazing to see them every night from my lawn chair.