by Charlene Burgi
| After the freeze
The air is crisp. Yellow, gold, red, and orange colors are dotting the landscapes as we look around. The summer garden is slowing down its production. We wake to hear random scattered rains pelting our roofs before running off and soaking into the soil. As we stroke our furry friends, we note that their coats are heavier. Without thinking, we grab a jacket before heading out the door.
All the signs point toward winter. Winter in Marin can mean heavy rains (we hope). Those heavy rains could cause flooding in the garden without proper drainage. Roof gutters clogged with fallen debris could create a waterfall pouring from the roof and cascading onto walkways. Marin winters could also involve a hard freeze known to send us scurrying to repair unprotected pipes or backflow devices that can break during a freeze.
This past Saturday, I walked around the ranch in Lassen County to assess what I needed to address along these lines, and soon. The weather reports here predicted the evening temperatures would drop into the 20s all week. I checked for damage on the insulation of exposed pipes in the barn. Thermostatically controlled electrical outlets were installed in the well house. These little devices will allow the electrical current to turn the heaters on when the temperature reaches a prescribed low and turn the heaters off as the temperature rises to another designated high.
| Thermostatic cube
The greenhouse heater is also controlled by one of these outlets. I know the plants living there need to be kept at a minimum of 45 degrees. As the temperature plummets, the heater turns on and maintains that temperature, keeping plants such as the Meyer improved lemon alive. These outlets are energy savers.
You might be asking what energy savings have to do with water conservation. It takes energy to move water from the reservoirs to the tanks sitting at higher elevations than your homes. The more water we save, the less the water needs to be moved to give us water on demand. All the way around, it is a win-win. Our plants and pipes are protected if we take the time to ensure the proper steps have been taken. Believe me, working with water when the temperatures are near freezing is not a cake walk!
A heartfelt thank you to all the readers who expressed your prayers and condolences regarding my husband Jack's passing. Each week Jack would listen to my blog before I sent it on to Ann at the district. Unbeknownst to you, his immense knowledge on landscaping and his bits of wisdom left their mark on the blog. Unknowingly, he blessed us all over the years.
Have a great weekend, and thank you, veterans, for your service to this country.