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Friday, July 30, 2004

The "Living" Desert

We are on the road this weekend doing book signings for my wife's book.


Driving the I-10 between LA and Phoenix always reminds me how much I love some of the desert plants. I always smile at the first Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)we see. The Ocotillo Fouquieria splendens, with its long, spindly branches looks even nicer when in full bloom. Finally, the Cholla cactus look so cuddly some have earned the named "Teddy Bear", but you certainly wouldn't want to get close enough to hug them.


The extreme climate of the desert can look empty and lifeless to some who pass through. All you need to do, though, is get off of the freeway, turn off the car and life will appear all around you.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Entropy Rules

It seems that I am dealing with an isolated pocket of extreme entropy here in Van Nuys. I decided to spend a few moments watering and generally cleaning up around the garden last night. I blasted the whitefly off the hibiscus and then started to check all the soaker and drip irrigation systems.


There was nothing much amiss in the rose beds, just a few drip lines disconnected, but everything seemed to be working well. I did notice, though, that the soaker hose along the front driveway was not working very well. I had added onto this hose a while ago and I think the low water pressure necessary for the drip system did not provide enough pressure to reach such a long distance. So, as a temporary fallback, I decided to reconnect that soaker to the front spigot and run the hose across the front of the (unused) garage.


In doing this, however, I noticed first that the hose reel was leaking water. I abhor wasting water, but new washers and tightening the fittings wasn't working. Finally, I realized that threads on the end of the hose had developed a crack, allowing the water to escape. I pulled out one of the hose ends I always keep on hand, and soon had it refitted. Of course, then the host reel connection itself decided to leak. Tearing that apart, I found some loose connections. Finally, the faucet end connecting, after all the on/off/disconnection/connection had started to leak, as well. Grrrr! Finally, though, I had it all back together and working well enough to give the thirsty driveway bed a good soaking.


The next step is to purchase some different manifolds and Y-adapters to allow everything to be reconnected to the mechanical times I use on the spigots throughout the garden.


Finally, as if this was not enough, this morning I awoke to a puddle-filled back garden. My son and I had been watering the roses there, giving them an extra drink after checking the drip system. When we moved to the front garden, he simply dropped the hose and followed. Sometime overnight, the pressure in the hose built up to such an extent that it blew the hose fitting, and the attached spray head right off the hose. Just what I needed, something else to fix. Thankfully, though, this is less critical as I use that hose infrequently.

Event: Summer Botanical Drawing Workshop

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