Sunday, January 19, 2014


During drought season, drop a brick
down the inside of the toilet tank:
it will displace water—in order to save it.
A neighbor who had no bricks, 
added pebbles: chert, jasper & jade
which tumbled & clogged the flush valve.
She had to fish the rocks out the drain.
If you haven't a spare cobblestone or brick,
a plastic milk jug will do the job nicely.
Fill it with water, add plastic pupfish, 
cat-eyed marbles & fake plants.
Replace the cap. Sky blue is best.
Place your new aquarium in the tank
far from the floatrod & plunger valve. 
No dirty bricks or rocky beachhead
will plug the valve & the desert pupfish
will swim counter-current when you flush
& maybe the sky will open up & let them in.

1/19/2014 rev 2/11 & 24

Friday, January 17, 2014

Conserving water

We sure learned to conserve water in a big way during the 1970s drought. All graywater went to the gardens. Bucket brigade from the washing machine, sink and bathtub too. We saved all bathwater and used it to flush. MUCH less water used. We eventually undid the graywater pipe from the kitchen sink so it ran directly into the garden. The climbing roses and grapes loved it and completely covered the front of the house. Godzilla plants.

There's a false security when people live in cities or have city/county water. Even during drought, there's always water in the taps. We were on a tiny spring, so we were really hard hit by the drought. That hissing sound when the pipes are dry, is a very visceral reminder of the preciousness of water.

We used to sneak down to Camp Taylor and shower. It got so bad that at one point, we jerry-rigged a hose with two female ends, and ran water from the MMWD meter on the street to the outside faucet, and ran water uphill to fill the tank during the night, I can't believe the pipes held.

What really pissed me off was the Smallowes next door punched into our spring—we were sharing the same water table, they dug in at a lower level, siphoning off our water to water their ornamental (not food) garden. And the were on MMWD water so the didn't need to do that. So hard to make a choice what trees to let die in the orchard.

The main thing, is it use as little water as possible for all chores, and then, to reuse that water. Redwoods and apple trees don't mind graywater.

SoCal Folks, please help us to conserve water—that aqueduct that brings Northern California water to you, takes water from us. Our reservoirs are at a record low—they look like a war zone. When I first turn on the faucet, I get muddy water. I have never seen that before. Governor Brown is about to declare a state of emergency tomorrow in SF. Please spread the word, this is a mega-drought, and unless we get a lot of rain between now and April, it'll be the worst drought of the century. 

It's distressing to witness the rampant waste of water in Southern California. Especially on those blasted East Coast  lawns that have no business being planted in California. Our water company is now posting how much water our neighbors are using and is challenging us to use less. Please won't you help us conserve water now—before we run out? Shower with a friend. Flush less. Drink more wine. (Just kidding). Spread the word.

Our challenge: How do you cut water use by 20%?

But I already do all this. This is SO not enough, folks.

 -- Run the washing machine for full loads only.
(Don't wear clothes for 2-4 hours, then throw it in the laundry! AGH! Wear those jeans and shirts several times,)

-- Use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.
(NO! NO! NO! NO! Not true. Dishwashers use FAR more water. This is a bogus statement. If you use a washpan, one gallon of water, suds, and another gallon to rinse—it's WAY less than a dishwasher. Use fewer dishes!!! Use graywater to water your plants.)

-- When washing your hands, turn the water off while lathering.
(When showering, turn off water while lathering.)

-- Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving. (Duh).

-- Install low-flow shower heads.
(Duh. Also, when showering, turn off water while lathering. )

-- Consider buying a dual-flush toilet.
(Or put 2 bricks in it. Don't flush if it's yellow.)

-- Water outdoor plants early in the morning or later in the evening.
(Use that gray water from the dishes or shower.)

-- Plant drought-resistant trees and plants. (Duh).

-- Use a broom to clean driveways and patios, not a hose. (Duh).

Monday, January 13, 2014


Inside a potato
are mountains, rivers, auroras
and galaxies without end.