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The Deluge or Where’s My Arc?

by germinatrix | January 22nd, 2010


my newly renovated (and stinkhorn-free) firepit is close to floating away

my newly renovated (and stinkhorn-free) firepit is close to floating away

When I left for New York, the skies were a typical Southern California blue, and my Aloe bloomspikes were stretching to the sky. My favorite time of year! Aloe blossoms and grasses flowering and crisp winter air and falling leaves. But when I returned, it was to torrential rain that had been going for two days, and has kept going on for two more.

my poor plants that love their dry lives - as wet as they've ever been

my poor plants that love their dry lives - as wet as they've ever been

And I mean TORRENTIAL!!! I have a metal roof – one of the reasons I love it is that the sound of our infrequent rain is like a rhythmic lullaby. But for the past two days, the sound  has been like a mob of cattle flamenco dancing up there. At times, the downpour is so extreme I am certain the roof is going to collapse. Why is it that nothing in Southern California is ever done by halves? Always the extreme form of whatever is happening – that is what we get. By the time this storm system is over, we will have over 2o” of rain in 6 days. That is more than we get in ONE YEAR!

The last time I looked out at my lovely aloes, I saw that 2 of my spikes were bent over. I’m not sure if the stems are broken, or if they are heavy with saturation and just leaning over. Either way is bad, and since there is one more day of this horrible storm, I have little hope for the Aloe Extravaganza I was anticipating. Not only that, but about an hour ago there was about 10 minutes of hail – tiny, hail the size of Israeli Cous-cous. It is awful stuff for a succulent lover. It pits and scars the firm, tender flesh – and the beautiful smoothness is never recovered. I have epidendrums that are still mangled from hail  two years ago! And I can’t even TALK about what hail does to gorgeous leaves of Agave attenuatas. I know I have some pain in store tomorrow.

I know this looks like I'm crying wolf rain-wise, but it was a break in the storm

I know this looks like I'm crying wolf rain-wise, but it was a break in the storm

Just so that you can all be left with images of what Los Angeles is SUPPOSED to look like, why don’t you stop by my friend Loree’s fabulous blog, Danger Garden. She has marvelous pics up from her recent trip to these parts – and these particular ones from Venice, CA are fantastic and make yearn for the sunny, hot, dry skies I have grown so dependent on!

Rain Rain Go Away!

a banal photo, but it was so dark and awful it was the best I could do...

a banal photo, but it was so dark and awful it was the best I could do...

11 Responses to “The Deluge or Where’s My Arc?”

  1. This is why (much as I envy your aloes and agave) I could NEVER live in California. I LOVE rain. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Here in Michigan, it is cloudy and rainy (or snowy) for months at a time and I adore the somber grey, the misty gauzy haze. When it starts raining, I grab my oldest shoes and a big umbrella and go for long walks, coming home soaked and happy. Yay rain!
    But: I DO feel sorry about the hail. Hail is evil. Almost as evil as deer and rabbits.

  2. Germi dear,
    I’ve been following your storm system even as we have had NO break whatsoever from an endless downpour. But I did not realize the extent of your inundation. And yes, we too, Moi! observed great drifts of hail surrounding the in-ground succulents – more hail than I’ve ever seen here. So all the earlier talk about this being an El Nino winter… are we now seeing the evidence?
    Israeli size cous-cous hail? Your poor bambinos!! I hope the damage proves not as disheartening as it would appear. xoxoxo tendril

  3. Oh Germi I know exactly what you mean about the hail. It is pure evil, hate it! I am so sorry! It is just hard to wrap my head around the quantities of rain that you are getting. That is just freaking amazing!! I’m praying your next post is of a beautiful sunny day with bright screaming aloe blooms everywhere! Very little damage. (thanks for the link love!)

  4. Ah, but this is what CA is all about, feast or famine with regards to rain. I’ll take the feast, we need it too much. Sorry about your succulents and the hail.

  5. Have you got a rain barrel to save some of that glorious water?

  6. Rain is good! Hail is definitely bad, though. :(

  7. Texas is all about extreme weather too, Germi, so I feel your pain, truly. My DH has been in L.A. all week, and he was bummed about the weather. He expected sunny California skies. Instead he’s been deluged, and we’ve had the beautiful, sunny 70-degree weather here in Austin instead. Fingers crossed that your succulents survive the hailstorm with minimal damage. And I LOVE that shot of your shed with that gorgeous orange tile wall.

  8. Joseph! We have landed in the right places, you and I – I love rain as a novelty, and of course as a necessary component to this whole ‘garden’ thing – but after a few days – ENOUGH! I realize how ridiculous I sound – I’m complaining about 5 WHOLE DAYS of rain. What a baby! I love that you relish it, that you go out and play in it! Maybe I need to just sink into another climate for a while and learn its charms. Maybe I need a few months in Michigan or Oregon to set me straight! (and I swear I am not fishing for an invitation … not really. Well maybe a little.)

    Tendril we are DROWNING! I am not being hyperbolic, either – many of my containers have been full to the brim for three days now, and I fear for my Cleistocactus! I know you have had it even worse – as we were flying into LA we were hearing about planes being diverted from SFO because of the weather. How is your glorious garden fairing? I’m crossing my fingers and doing a tiny pagan incantation – we will be fine, both of us! El Nino be damned! XOXO!

    Loree, I was reading your wonderful post as the rain was pounding on my roof and thought – wait … this is TOTALLY backwards – so of course I had to link to you to restore the balance! Oh, and I did a damage check today and all is well – even the aloe blooms stood tall! They will NOT be denied!

    It’s true, Susie, this IS California – and I’ve been here long enough that I should take all this drama in my stride, but DAMN! I’ll take the feast, too – but I’ll whine about it. Afterall, when a feast becomes an All-You-Can-Eat Sizzler Buffet, it isn’t good for anyone… right?

    Michelle Clay – I hang my head in shame. I have no rain barrel. I direct my water and use my downspots as places to plant thirstier plants, and I do have a rudimentary arrangement of buckets to grab rain to water pots (inspired by my friend ESP), but that’s as far as I go right now. I’ve been looking into water capture systems, and am not quite convinced about the use value here, where 8 months can go by without rain. Graywater makes more sense to me, and THAT is my next goal!

    Summer! Yes, rain = good, hail = bad … BUT. This rain is too much. Soil is washed away. Plants are broken. The storm drains of LA aren’t built to handle this volume of rain, so sewers overflow and sewage pours into Santa Monica Bay. I know it’s only been 5 days, and I sound like a total ingrate whiner, but THIS is out of HAND! Sigh. I never thought I’d be saying too much to RAIN! Weird!

    Oh No, Pam! He was here NOW? When LA is at its worst because all of us freak out and get cranky and no one can drive in the rain? I feel terrible. Next time he’s here – with you in tow – things will be glorious! I’m glad you love my wall! It’s my favorite thing!

  9. Well you know how I feel about those highly polluting wood burning fire pits. : -(
    It is probably a good thing that the fire pit floats away, at least to those Angelos who have worked so hard in the last 20 years to clean up the air quality .
    I’m looking at all this fantastic rain in a positive light despite it causing a lot of soggy root rotting soil conditions and erosion.
    We desperately need it to recharge our aquifers, wells, cisterns, rain barrels and reservoirs.
    It’s uncomfortable to live through it now, but we will all be better off for it in the long run.

  10. Not to worry Michelle D!
    Our conversation of a year ago DID make an impact on me – we don’t burn wood in the pit – the wood that you see is super old and we put it there as a visual filler. We use Javalogs – which burn MUCH cleaner than wood. AND we don’t use the firepit anywhere NEAR as often as we used to – as soon as we put in a gas line to it, we’ll start enjoying it more often again.
    There is NO WAY I could enjoy the firepit in the same way after our spirited online exchange – but it is a lovely addition to night time parties in our cool desert nights. I’ve tried to make my choices more responsibly – And I have to thank you for bringing the situation to my attention!
    Sigh. I know the water is a good thing. I am on board with all of the good things! But torrents of rain mean something different in SoCal – none of us know WHAT to do! I don’t even really know how to work an umbrella! I have no clothing for this kind of weather! Traffic accidents abound! Sewers don’t work! I KNOW I am whining – I’m always on the side of rainfall – but DAMN!
    I’ll suffer through it now, like the rest of us up and down the West Coast – and I’ll know that we are so much better for it …
    But I don’t have to like it!!! Arg!

  11. Well I hope you dry out soon as I have been looking forward to your aloe bloom extravaganza!

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