Summer, in November? All signs say Drought ahead.

Well, it has certainly been a busy month, not that you could tell by all of the activity here on the blog and in the associated social media. Sarcasm aside, I wish that kids, like math, came with instructions.

Returning to school is a great deal harder than I thought it would be. Friends and acquaintances from the way-back may notice a trend – remember how I said one kid was pretty easy, how much harder could it be for two, especially when there are only 17 months between their births? – Yeah, that happened again.

Even though my work for the last several years involved attending class with students, converting spoken lectures in to useable transcripts, making sure that information was provided in an understandable and supportive format. I was going to school then, but not for grades or group projects, or papers. Nor did I spend countless hours spent in front of the glowing screen of doom working on ‘online homework’ as the hours set aside for sleep slip away.

I was erroneous in thinking I would be able to seamlessly return to school to receive training needed to change careers. Looking back at that naive outlook, I take a moment and sharply exclaim ‘HA!’ (Kim M. – I am forever in your debt for teaching me this empowering euphemism complete with the multi-faceted expression.) Coupled with being the Tour Guide on the “Trip to Adulthood”, I’ve admittedly struggled with surfing the wave of chaos, and some things have fallen by the wayside – thus the instruction manual reference.

Happily though, the semester is nearing its end, upon which time I will be catching up on all of the outdoor chores that have gone unaddressed. The weather is unfortunately so warm, sunny and dry that a watering schedule for the more permanent members of the yards landscape will soon be needed. Trees, shrubs, roses and perhaps even the brambles will need watering if we don’t have any substantial and sustained precipitation in the coming month.

If you were in the area during our last drought, you may remember the implementation of the ‘three tiered’ water utility program, the stark limitations on when you could or couldn’t water in Fort Collins, and signs defending green lawns with ‘Watered by Well Water” popping up like weeds overnight along golf courses or other enviable greenscapes. I am looking forward to the wet, miserable weather that provides the life-giving water that is so desperately needed to avoid another drought.

Current precipitation measurements within the City of Fort Collins can be found here  and if you are interested in keeping track of our drought status, visit PlantMaps – an easy to read, easy to use website providing current information on drought conditions in our area and other parts of the county. (You can also find various plant hardiness maps on the site too.)

I’m waiting until cold seasonal temperatures arrive before tending to the raspberries and sorely neglected roses.

Normally as Karl harvests the cottonwood leaves, I focus my efforts to the pruning the raspberries so they are conditioned for next summers first harvest – hopefully over a couple of weeks instead of just a few days after sustained hot temperatures. If that task were to be done now, the hormones in the frost nipped tops would no longer be in place to keep the plants from breaking bud and trying to grow, as though it were spring and not time to ready for rest and renewal.

It’s the same concern with my roses. Each fall I cut them back to a height of 12 or 18 inches so that they can weather through the winters – but it is still far too warm.

While the youngest in our House of Chaos prepares for this season’s Nutcracker there is something very odd about being showered with sunlight on this 70-degree day as notes from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy escape the studio. In years past, there were concerns about slippery roads, cold noses and being dressed warm enough should the train delay us on our trip to the studio; now it’s how many of the trees that we see on our drives won’t make it through the winter if it doesn’t snow soon.

I turn now to focus on the notes, books, and assignments occupying the desk before me so that I can complete the work of learning required in the weeks ahead as I transition to a new career.

Then it will be on to planning for the next season, repairing or replacing tools and equipment that caused headaches over this last year, and celebrating the richness and warmth of family and friends.

Until next time, may your knees be green, and your spirits light.




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