ARID — WHERE THERE’S NOT ENOUGH RAIN

This post  is about arid. It turns out, this is something about which I know a little bit.

Arid isn’t a place. It isn’t a special piece of ground. It isn’t always flat or sandy. Arid means just one thing:  the annual amount of rain the area gets is minimal. Everything else is tangential. An area can be arid yet support significant amounts of wildlife including trees and animals. The Sahara was not always a dry wasteland — it was made that way by human farmers a very long ago time.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Aruba, for example, doesn’t have any aquifer. No “running water.” But it does get rain and it has always been part of the Island’s culture to catch all the rain and save it against the days when the rain does not fall. Now, I think, they have desalinization and I have had it for a long time.

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I spent nearly five years at the University of Jerusalem’s Environmental Health Laboratory. One of the most important projects was trying to convince farmers in the northern part of Israel to not use chemical fertilizer. Almost all of Israel gets at least some rain (a few spots, like Eilat, do not), but it is an arid region. The amount of rain expected is typically less than the amount needed to wash away pesticides and fertilizers. To this end, our crew of experts in air, water, earth went out to convince (okay, beg) the farmers to please not use those fertilizers. We offered them alternatives. Insects that would kill the weevils and stuff they could add to the soil to make it more fertile.

They didn’t listen. Before the mid 1980s, the aquifer in Israel died.

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A dead aquifer does not revive. Once gone, it stays gone. After that time, Israel went along using solely the water in the Sea of Galilee for drinking. As the population increased, water use got increasingly dodgy. Finally, many years after they should have been built, desalinization plants arrived and now there is water. It’s a small country, so sending water from one place to another isn’t so difficult. Not like it would be here, in this big half of a continent. Their pipes don’t have to run from the Great Lakes to the center of the hottest part of the south.

Not like the United States.

The first time we were in Arizona, I remember hearing people saying no one needed to worry about the lack of water because “they” would send water down from the Great Lakes.

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How did that go? Anyone start those pipes yet? I was glad to see, when we were back last year that the state had done a lot to protect the land. The big cacti are protected and grow everywhere. Arizona is working hard to keep the water they have and use it effectively. A lot of the “fancy gardens” I remembered were gone. Home gardens grow sensible plants — mostly cactus. The air is better, too.

Someone listened and something good was done.

This year has been a good for water. Too good, with a lot of flooding. Still, there has been plenty of rain and the big lakes where water is held for drinking are full.

Until the next drought.

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The American southwest including California and Utah is arid. It isn’t arid because “nothing grows there.” Things will grow there if you give the land a little more water. But reality doesn’t change. You can’t keep sending in more and more people to an area with severely limited water resources. Arizona doesn’t even have an ocean from which to draw water via desalinization.

There is a limit to how many people the area can support and I’m pretty sure it has already been breached. This year, there is water. What about next year and the year after that?

ARID | THE DAILY POST

SNOW – MORE AND LESS

Snow, and then … not so much snow … and finally … tee-shirts, but there’s snow here and there. Of course the tee-shirt weather won’t last, but it’s a wonderful nearly spring time. We got a lot of pictures. Everyone was out with a camera today.

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The temperature is going up all the way to around 60 this week and maybe, if we are lucky, it’s the end of winter. So … a few more pictures.

THE CHANGING SEASON — IS SPRING AROUND THE CORNER?

The Changing Seasons: February 2017


Photographs by Garry and Marilyn Armstrong


We got a lot of snow this month, but not as much as we have had in earlier years. If this is as bad as it gets, I’m okay with it.

Yesterday, suddenly, the temperature went up. It didn’t go up a few degrees. It went from well below freezing to downright warm and cozy. But of course, we had a lot of snow on the ground, so the world went into the big drip. First, the long icicles hanging from the roof began to drip and about 24 hours later, they were gone.

Then, the roof began to drip. It was dripping so hard it looked like we were having our own personal rainstorm. This afternoon, with the temperature at 45 degrees Fahrenheit (about 7.25 Celsius), the dripping has stopped. Which probably means the roof is now clear and we didn’t even have to get someone to come and shovel it!

I’m hoping we are now heading towards spring. Not an early spring or even a late one. Just a normal, on time, regular kind of spring weather. Garry took most of the pictures this month, so all of these are from both of us.

Please go visit some of the other beautiful galleries for this month!

You will find them on THE CHANGING SEASON  – FEBRUARY 2017.

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SUNSHINE AFTER THE STORM – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Downtown on the Commons

Downtown on the Commons

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It has been snowing almost continuously since the beginning of the month. We’ve had a day here and there without snow or sleet, but mostly, it has been precipitating. And I’ve been shoveling, then shoveling some more. The last two days we have spent awaiting a plow. There’s no point in plowing while it’s still snowing … and competition for plowing services gets intense.

Late afternoon with the sun low in the sky

Late afternoon with the sun low in the sky

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The town hasn’t taken down the Christmas decorations yet, so red bells are still in the picture

Finally, in the middle of the afternoon, the plow arrived. And did a pretty good job. I still had to go out and clear off the car. Then I dug out the parking area because there will be sleet tomorrow and the next day and before the weekend, it will be snowing again. If you don’t clear the space, you wind up with ice that doesn’t melt until the flowers are blooming.

The library from the Commons

The library from the Commons

More snow on the Commons

More snow on the Commons

I took the opportunity to  go into town. With the Olympus OM-D EM-5 and a nice 12-50 mm lens. Our little town looked like pictures from the past. If only we could get the pretty part of the snow without the rest of the mess.

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That's me, doing my job, clearing the snow from our parking area. Obviously Marilyn's picture. You knew that, right?

That’s me, doing my job, clearing the snow from our parking area. Obviously Marilyn’s picture. You knew that, right?

THE NORTH WIND DOTH BLOW … GARRY ARMSTRONG

Not a robin, but Fred the Lawn Flamingo. Leaning forward but otherwise unaffected by the cruel weather.

Not a robin, but Fred the Lawn Flamingo. Leaning forward but otherwise unaffected by the cruel weather.

The North Wind Doth Blow

Nursery Rhyme
The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then?
Poor thing.

He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.


Little traffic late on a snowy Saturday afternoon

Sparse traffic late on a snowy Saturday afternoon

Welcome, but beware of fierce terriers who are noticeably absent. They prefer being inside where it's warm and dry. They have a point.

Welcome, but beware of fierce terriers who are noticeably absent. They prefer being inside where it’s warm and dry. They have a point.

Only two mailboxes. There were three. Once was probably knocked down by the plow and is buried under the snow.

Only two mailboxes. There were three. One was probably knocked down by the plow and is buried under the snow.

Our house from the road through the trees and snow

Our house from the road through the trees and snow

The old tractor and the house ... and the snow season has only just begun.

The old tractor and the house … and the snow season has only just begun.