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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The landscape looked like a large powdered sugar shaker had been at work overnight.
Again about 10:30 in the morning snowflakes fell and strangers grinned at each other in delight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.