Monday, August 25, 2008

Portrait Of A Drought ....

This is Molly and Sam exploring on the dock about 2 weeks ago. At the time I was going to write a post about how bad the "drought" is getting, but never got to it. We've actually been in a drought for a number of years now though certain officials seem to be in denial about it. Last year the South Fork Rivanna River Reservoir, the same body of water in the photo above never got this low. Water restrictions were put in place in midsummer last year and were lifted later on when rain became more abundant. Over the course of the winter there seemed to be abundant rain and when monthly totals were added up in the spring, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority declared the drought over. What they forgot about is that the ground water has run very low since the worst summer of drought in 2002. Their logic seems to be if the rain fall totals add up to normal amounts for the year, then we are not in drought. It doesn't seem to matter that trees and shrubs all over the county are dying. It doesn't seem to matter that the water level in this reservoir that supplies water to the city of Charlottesville is well on it's way to the level it was in 2002 when we were in severe drought and water restrictions were in place.

This is what the dock area looks like today. The water is now 10 to 12 feet away from the dock. Scattered showers are in the forecast for the rest of week, but so far there has been not one drop of rain.

The trees you see across the river are turning brown. They are not orange or red. These trees are shutting down their systems because they can not pull up any water from the ground. Leaves are falling at an alarming rate. The Garden is dying back very early this year. I still have a bit of water left in the rain water tank but it will soon be gone. We save water from washing dishes to water as many plants as possible. We don't flush every time we use the bathroom, going by the rule: If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down." The grass has not been mowed for almost a month now and is brown and crackly when you walk on it.

I took this photo on August 26th, 2006. Not much has changed has it?

This is what the river looks like when the water levels are normal, taken in November of 2006. So tell me, do you think this might be a drought or is it not a drought as claimed by the RWSA? There are currently no water restrictions in place. I am lucky. I have a well that is quite deep and hasn't failed me yet. I'm thankful I do not live in the city and have to pay for the water I use. I would have to depend upon the "authorities" to keep my water running and they don't seem to see a need to conserve water at this point.

We are entering a new age of global climate change. We can no longer depend on the seasonal weather patterns we have in the past. I believe we need to be conserving water every day, no matter how abundant rainfall is.

This is what the beginning of a real problem looks like. Why can't the authorities see it??

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Abandoned Pets ...

kittens waiting for a forever home at the SPCA

Last week my husband and I rescued 4 cats that were left to fend for themselves on our street. There were 2 lovely gray kittens about 3 months old and 2 young females of the same coloring ... both had recently given birth to kittens ... presumably the kittens that were with them, as we could find no others. They were not feral. I could pick them up easily they came when I called them with bowls of food. They were starving and mewed for their lives ... for someone to pick up where they'd been dropped off, so to speak.

Having 3 cats of my own and two dogs as well we took them to our local award winning SPCA which also happens to be a no-kill shelter. Because these kitties have personality I'm confident that they will eventually find good homes once they are spayed and neutered, which this wonderful shelter does before any rescues are put up for adoption.

Today I received an email from a friend who put out the word that someone had found 5 Labrador retriever puppies abandoned in another part of town. I know the economy sucks right at the moment and we are all having to cut back on expenses, but it seems to me there are kinder and more responsible ways to do that. The SPCA as well as other rescue groups will help anyone who can no longer take care of their pets because of illness or money woes. The folks who work with these animals are not out to judge anyone; they just want to help loving creatures who can longer be cared for.

PLEASE, be a responsible pet owner. Have your dogs and cats spayed or neutered and PLEASE don't leave them on the side of the road when you can longer take care of them. Be a caring and courageous pet owner and take them to a shelter. They depend on you.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August ...

This is the time I normally head north on some exotic vacation. Last year it was Arctic Canada and Greenland. But this year finds me here at home in sun-seared Virginia, baking away. Even the best watered flowers wilt on days like today when the mercury rises well into the 90's and the humidity makes it feel around 100 degrees.
Friends ask me where I'll be going, then gasp when I say nowhere. Can't a body just stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet of summer in her own home??

The price of fuel and the energy it takes to go anywhere of interest is a huge problem and like others, I'm taking a "staycation" this year to ease the wallet and my carbon footprint. Plus I've lost interest in flying. It's just not as fun as it used to be and the horror stories of unexpected layovers, canceled flights and lost luggage get worse daily.
Who needs it?

But the travel brochures keep arriving and as the summer moves on, that bug that keeps me wanting to see another wonder of the world is back.
It's like a flea, biting and making me scratch the red bumps it raises. Unfortunately, the only thing that makes it go away is to move ... pack a suitcase ... make plans. And what has always made home the most important place in the world to me is being away from it. "There is no place like home," as Dorothy said, in the Wizard of Oz, even if it's plain old flat, tornado riddled Kansas. Who can resist one's own bed when they've been sleeping in others?

So I'm making a few plans and hoping the spread of itchy bumps will ease a bit. No big deal here, just a short 3 hour drivable distance to central North Carolina to join my daughter and the grandkids for a few days at the North Carolina Zoo in Ashboro in early September. Hopefully the heat of summer will be on it's way out and other tourists will be getting their kids settled in back-to-school mode. In October, I'll take Amtrack up to New York City for a few days to see a show and a few movies that might not make it to a theatre near here. It may not be Iceland or the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont, but it will be fun and a welcome break from too much Virginia summer. In the meantime, I still do salivate over a cruise around Newfoundland with a quick stop in Labrador.
A body can dream, can't they??