Snow at Finch Frolic

Pickerel and snowy azola on the little pond.

Pickerel and snowy azola on the little pond.

Finch Frolic Garden is located in Fallbrook,CA, in sunny San Diego’s North County.  Dry and hot conditions are the norm, with temperatures rising above 100 in the summer,and an occasional frost in the winter.

This is a prime Southern California winter scene: palm trees and red tile roofs - and traffic - with snow on the mountains.  The peaks are usually only dusted in snow in Jan. or Feb.

This is a prime Southern California winter scene: palm trees and red tile roofs – and traffic – with snow on the mountains. The peaks are usually only dusted in snow in Jan. or Feb.

A rain around Thanksgiving means lawnmowers are humming around New Years.  This past year, 2014, has experienced strange weather as has the rest of the world.  We had back-to back Santa Anas (hot, dry, high winds from off the desert) in May, which caused many trees and plants to drop flowers.  The lack of food and water induced many animals to not reproduce, which affected the rest of the food chain.  Then we had fire season in May as well.  Unfortunately arson was the cause of some of the fires, but many homes were lost as well as hundreds of acres of our precious endangered chaparral and the baby animals that lived there.

These mountains are northwest of us - they never get snow!

These mountains are northwest of us – they never get snow!

Our heat wave came in June, and our ‘June gloom’ – a marine cloud cover – came in July.  We had several significant rain events in late Fall, and then on New Year’s eve, it snowed.

The pathway down to the Mock Pavilion.

The pathway down to the Mock Pavilion.

So many of you who live in snowy areas are saying, “Who cares?”  The last snowfall in our inland valley area was in the late 60’s when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. I lived with my sister and parents in Carlsbad, a town west of here. All I remember about it is that my dad made a snowball and froze it, and in the summer threw it at the neighbor.IMG_6033

On the 30th we received an inch and a quarter of cold, Canadian rain overnight. The rain came in heavy showers and swales we’d created had filled and prevented flooding. In the morning I looked out on a white garden.

Kitchen garden in snow.

Kitchen garden in snow.

Not everyone in the area received snow this week, but streets were icy, nearby Temecula was covered as were all the mountains even those west of here.

Good-bye 'till next year, apple mint!

Good-bye ’till next year, apple mint!

The landscape looked like a large powdered sugar shaker had been at work overnight.

Perhaps this year we can have bees again.  Last year they all died - someone spraying in the neighborhood is my guess.

Perhaps this year we can have bees again. Last year they all died – someone spraying in the neighborhood is my guess.

Again about 10:30 in the morning snowflakes fell and strangers grinned at each other in delight.

Creeping red fescue, which is an excellent soil holder and groundcover here,  just laughed at the cold.

Creeping red fescue, which is an excellent soil holder and groundcover here, just laughed at the cold.

Not so the growers of frost-intolerant plants such as avocados, citrus, succulents and tropicals.  After the snow we have had clear, frosty nights which have done more damage than the snow had.

These are now ripening in the house.

These are now ripening in the house.

I don’t expect overwintering tomatoes this year, and we’ve been harvesting the last of our zucchino rampicante, eggplant, jalapenos and tomatoes, and marking where the sweet potatoes lie underground.

Poor little frosty zucchinos.

Poor little frosty zucchinos.

Our hens aren’t happy about the weather change. We hung towels and tacked up cardboard in their coop for insulation, although now it looks like a cheap harem.  Today I bought a heat lamp to keep them warmer.

Buddha's Finger citron and snow.  I candied the citron this year and used it in holiday bread.  Wonderful!

Buddha’s Finger citron and snow. I candied the citron this year and used it in holiday bread. Wonderful!

Most of them are done molting except, of course, the Turken or naked-neck.  Besides having a naturally bare neck, poor Malika has dropped over half of her feathers and has no insulation at all.  Its a good thing that days aren’t frozen, too.

Poor Malika!  An unfortunate molt.

Poor Malika! An unfortunate molt.

By Monday daytime temperatures will be in the low 70’s again, and I’ll be worrying about planting spring crops already; despite the snow, there really isn’t a winter here.IMG_5962  However, I thought I’d share some New Year’s eve photos of Finch Frolic Garden in the snow – not something I’d ever thought I’d see.

Lovely.   Liquidambers, trellis and wildflowers.

Lovely. Liquidambers, trellis and wildflowers.

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