The Grass is (Not) Always Greener…

It's really not THIS bad...

It’s really not THIS bad…

The rain came back today. Not surprising since I live in Seattle. However, according to the locals summer came a whole month early this year. June gloom is the way of the Pacific Northwest, but not this year. June was gorgeous, and July was downright toasty (by Seattle standard). In fact, no rain fell at all. For the whole month.

This shouldn’t phase me in the slightest. I’m from Las Vegas, where (as a friend pointed out earlier) a drop of rain causes all TV news crews to declare an extreme weather emergency. This isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. Vegas soil is not very absorbent so a tiny bit of rain is usually enough to cause a flash flood, with cars floating their way down to the Las Vegas Wash.

Ahh... a nice clear Seattle day.

Ahh… a nice clear Seattle day.

In Seattle, prolonged lack of rain makes people uneasy. As if mother nature is getting ready to pull something crazy. The reason this place is called the Emerald City is because the rain keeps everything green. It drizzles for 10 months out of the year. It’s peaceful and relaxing and helps us sustain our coffee consumption.

Not that the sunny skies have been unwelcome. We usually treat warm sunny weather like a unicorn. A rare mythical beast that must be worshipped and adored. Schools will have “sun days” instead of snow days, and it is not uncommon for people to call out from work to enjoy solar activity. But a whole month… nobody wants a unicorn to hang out that long. Rainbow crap piles everything, not to mention the horn just knocking stuff over.

Poop happens.

Poop happens.

Then there’s my garden. In Spring, it was awesome. We planted things, they grew. We thought we had magic seeds the way they took off. Some good soil, a raised bed, a little NW rain… instant garden veggies! And we never had to water. Mother nature took care of it all. I’ll  be honest, it made us lazy.

Then July came and mother nature said “Enough of this, I’m going on vacation. Water your own garden.” Heather and I used our rain barrels until they ran dry. Then we started watering from the hose. Everything just keeps on drinking! They are like water zombies; their ravenous thirst will never be sated!

Public water?!?! Socialism!!!!

Public water?!?! Socialism!!!!

We weren’t prepared for this. We hadn’t set up any drip irrigation or water lines. Our rain barrels were horribly inadequate. We believed wholeheartedly in nature providing for us. It’s a good thing we live in a city; if we were subsistence farmers we would have starved to death. Well played nature… well played.

This brings up the issues of water as a human right. Access to water is a worldwide concern. Communities in the desert southwest fight over water. Global climate change causes horrible drought conditions in which affects food supplies that impact the poor the most. Water is by far the most precious commodity the earth has (along with clean air) and I take it for granted.

Mr. Water says "Do it!"

Mr. Water says “Do it!”

Heather and I have been trying to steward our water more efficiently. She’s much better at it than I am. She captures gray water, only takes a shower every other day, and set up our rain barrel system. We made the decision to take out all of our grass and replace it with garden beds and native plant life. I just try to run the faucet less. But I’m learning.

Since moving to Seattle, I’ve experienced more rain than I’ve ever had before. As a result I respect it now more than I ever have. I suppose the grass is always greener, especially when you have enough water to keep it that way.

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About Justin Almeida

Coffee roaster, beer brewer, spirit distiller, capsaicin addict, active activist, peaceful warrior.
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4 Responses to The Grass is (Not) Always Greener…

  1. Mark N. says:

    Regardless of the weather safe drinking water is always a scarce and sacred item. What always amazed me about Vegas was how cheap water was. We really should have been paying 1000% more for water then we did per month. Not only that but the amazingly lax attitudes that prevailed from the government and NGO’s about the water issue are continuously surprising. Even as we watch, literally watch the Colorado becoming more stressed daily.

    The next thing that you have to consider is not just how much you use, but what goes down the drain. Not just the amount of water from the tap, but chemicals and items that will find a way into the system. Several systems have issues that have been caused by industrialization and the negative side effects to pollution. Sure, we’re getting better at taking care of our resources, and maybe the environmental positivist movement has made some great steps. But to reiterate your point, when mother nature wants to abandon her duties for a while, well, we are screwed!

    • Very true about the chemicals… Seattle looks green and pristine but due to urban runoff most of our waterways in the city are heavily polluted. Seattle is taking steps to clean it all up but it’s going to be a huge overhaul.

  2. Freya says:

    Looks like Belgium and Seattle have a lot in common, also here June was beautiful and July toasting (very exceptional for Belgium). Today we had for the first time in a long time nothing else than rain. It’s true when it’s that hot and dry it’s difficult to keep watering your garden and it requires a huge amount of water. Irrigation and water lines are a good idea as well are native plants. We do take a lot for granted and I’m glad more and more people are starting to realize this cause all little bits help.

    • Thanks for commenting Freya! Water is a precious resource all over the world. I’d love to experience Belgium in the summer to see how it compares to the pacific northwest of the USA. Cheers!

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