Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Shem, Ham and Japheth survived the Deluge of 2017

Do you name your cars? We try to, but some names stick while others don't. In our 25 years of marriage we've owned "Herman" the VW Baja Bug, "Augustine" the VW Bus, "Red" the Mitsubishi Eclipse, "Suber" for the (you guessed it) two Subarus. 

All our other cars just got their generic names, Escort, Rabbit, Dasher, Blazer, etc. Right now we have the very original designations of "Your Car" and "My Car." 

We have the same routine with our trees and plants - some we name for convenience's sake. "Have you watered Landon the Plant and The Little Stones" has much more significance than just "Have you watered the jade plants?" No one wants their jade plants to die or freeze, but you really don't want your jade plants you named after your friend's son and grandson to end up in the green waste can.

Our house currently has four trees we call by name. There is "Little Stevie" who is named after our beloved neighbor Steve. He hates Crepe Myrtles, but he still loves us even though we planted a messy tree between our two houses. The other three trees in our yard with monikers are "Shem, Ham and Japheth" - our majestic yet stress-inducing California Redwoods.

If you're thinking of planting a California Redwood in your yard, and you live in the Sacramento Valley, rethink that decision. These trees get big, really really big. They need water, lots of it. If they get big (and they will) and they don't get water (which they won't in a drought) you're going to end up with lots of firewood landing somewhere on your property. Or on your house. Or on your neighbor's house.

We keep our redwoods watered even in summer, because we can't afford not to. If either Shem, or Ham, or even Japheth were to decide it was time to come down, it won't be majestic. They will either take out part of our house, the neighbor's house, our trailer, our pool house or our pool. There's one small sliver of yard they could fall into and cause only some fence damage, but so far they haven't responded to my emails about it. They've just got their heads in the clouds, growing bigger and more majestic every year.

We just experienced the fourth wettest January in recorded history. Rain, rain and more rain. On this date, January 31, 2017 Sacramento is .90 inches shy of our total rainfall for the whole year. What that number doesn't convey is the gale force winds we got with our January storms. Winds that took the breath out of us. Winds that had us going to the sliding glass door and sending messages of encouragement to our three big trees, telling them to "Hang in there, You got this, Dig deep boys, Spring will be here soon." Standing at the sliding glass door talking to redwood trees, pleading with them to not fall into the point where you're standing may seem a bit crazy on a beautiful day like today, but you just had to experience those winds to understand.

On one particularly windy morning, while standing at the sliding glass door, Ernst let out a sound of distress. "Oh, no. I think Ham is leaning into Japheth." "NO!" I exclaimed, as I ran to the door made of thin glass, watching our massive trees bend from side to side in gale force winds, knowing they would reach that pane of glass should they fall. We stood and stared, trying to recall if Ham has always leaned a little towards the right. I got the idea to check my Instagram history to check if any one was off kilter. Sure enough, whew, Ham was fine, he's always had a bit of a bend in the trunk. It was time to step away from the glass and go check on Little Stevie. 

My advice? Plant appropriate trees. Water them. Prune them. But never name them. 

From left to right, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Standing tall, ready for spring.