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Palabras Pintorescas: Prayers for moisture were answered

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By Editha Bartley

Yes, it was “water, water everywhere, and nary a drop to drink” as we say goodbye to September. Prayers surely were answered here in our mountains and we watched, with lots of other folks, as drops soon and suddenly became inches of rain.

I love walking through our nearby forest; it is such a thrill to see our stately pines absolutely soaked; their bark is a glowing dark brown now and hopefully the visiting bark beetles will finally meet their match. Yes, if you want to see a very sick and dying forest, just drive down Mountain View Drive.

The playground area of Los Niños Elementary used to have a double row of mostly conifers, trees that were seemingly growing and healthy just a year ago. Now they, (most of them) are either dead or dying. And I can look out my windows, in any direction here and see dying trees.

We will lose our last and remaining 160-year-plus-year-old pine tree on the road just before our front gate in the next few months. This dear old pine tree is the last of three that we and our highway department have guarded from all sorts of events and storms for a very long time.

What a treat it is to see every pond, every depression in this big state full of water once again. I haven’t talked to the experts on this, but I’m sure any trapped water has to soak into the ground and then hopefully in the depleting aquifers.

Son John was trying to drill some fence post holes recently and the dirt was so dry the auger almost didn’t work. And if he hit a rock and a spark or two hit in the wrong direction in the very dry grass, he would have a fire on his hands to fight, as well.

He drilled more holes after the big rains, and discovered that wonderful ooey-gooey mud that we used to see here once again.

Now we wonder what winter will be like here. No two weather forecasters seem to agree on what is next, but with this much moisture on the ground (hopefully we won’t have those horrible drying winds for a long time) I suspect snow will be in the forecast. Some of our old timers think we are in for another snowy and cold winter.

I hope our high mountain snowpack is as deep as it used to be 20 years ago. When I was a kid in Gascon, the snowpack used to last from year to year. It takes a lot of snow and blowing snow to fill in that big crevice and hole.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I think the last zucchini has been harvested and now it is time to fill up the wood boxes for the colder weather that is sure to come. From my vantage point here, I love living where there are four distinct seasons, and I must say we surely have had a taste of all sorts of weather and seasons here this year.

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.