A Dry Spell

I shared this picture on Facebook the other day. I have to say that I am spoiled with all the lush, green vegetation right in my own backyard. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Walk at PR

But this is not South Carolina, this is Southern California. And we are in the midst of a drought.

Do you see a problem here?

Over watering? Oh yeah. Just a little, don’tcha think?

Yet, in comparison, sometimes as writers we may hit a Dry Spell. Those times when we rack our brains, searching for the right word, the right sentence, the perfect…well, you know. We walk along on a creative path, all green and lush as our subconscious liquidates on the page. And then something happens.

We hit a dry spell.

For some, this may happen all at once. For others, they may notice a drain on their stored creative juices over a period of time. Either way, their well runs dry.

Let’s be honest. Many of us go through our daily routines more numerous than a single human being should be allowed. And some of us are ready to commit ourselves after a long, exhausting day spent fulfilling the many tasks that lay before us.

With that kind of schedule, how is one expected to be cognizant of every single issue that happens in our world? It’s just not humanly possible.

But we in California are in a dry spell and severe drought restrictions have been put into place.

May I just say…Finally!

Hello! It certainly took them long enough. I mean, come on, this drought has been going on for years. The water supply is down to an eighteen month reserve. Yes, you read that right. Eighteen months!

Blink, and it will be gone!

Okay, I guess I’m as bad as the next guy because the reality of the situation didn’t hit me until I returned home from my trip from Phoenix last month. And I thought it was dry there. Practically the whole state of Arizona is desert, right? But it isn’t quite in the same league as this western Golden state which has now turned into a scorching golden-brown before our very eyes.

82 percent of the state of California is in an “exceptional drought”, the driest conditions since 1895. Record-low rainfall has sent rivers, lakes and water reservoirs to their lowest levels in many decades, threatening the water supply of many cities. In turn, this has also increased the risk of wildfires, which has already ravaged parts of the state, most recently an area near Yosemite National Park.

Although the drought may alter the way we use water, the people that it affects the most is the farmer. In an attempt to keep up with water demand, many farmers are drilling new wells. Recently, in Kern County, one farmer drilled five new wells at 2,500-feet deep a piece — twice the height of the Empire State Building — in a desperate attempt to tap into new water sources below.

And for the farmers less fortunate? They are bulldozing hundreds of acres of thirsty, but still reasonably healthy crops because there isn’t enough moisture to keep them alive through the worst drought people in the area have ever seen.

There is a growing sense that nobody outside the San Joaquin Valley really understands the far-reaching implications of the drought, how it’s put the main source of the nation’s food supply at serious risk, threatening to disrupt an entire industry and ruin people’s lives.

One farmer went as far as posting a sign on his property that says,

“No Water. No Trees. No Jobs. No Food.”

No food? Oh, that’s just great!

I can’t stop thinking about “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Can you say Dry Spell?

Yet, before we get upset because of the lack of urgency, let’s take into consideration that a drought doesn’t cause the immediate excitement that perhaps a tornado, earthquake or hurricane can. It’s been said that a drought is like watching a movie in slow motion. It’s a slow death, a silent killer—with a potential to be just as destructive.

So what can we do?

Here are the top ten suggestions:

10- Check your faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks. Replace your toilet with a low-flow model. That old toilet and a small faucet leak can waste up to 20 gallons of water.

9- Replace your shower heads with low-flow heads which use less than half the water. (I know, I know, I hate then too. But do we have a choice?)

8- Take shorter showers or perhaps take a bath instead.

7- This one’s for the kids. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth!

6- Run the dishwasher only when full.

5- Use recycled water for your plants.

4- Store drinking water in the fridge in lieu of running it in the sink to get it cold.

3- Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator instead of under the hot water at the sink.

2- Take precautions to prevent fires which occur most often in the kitchen.

And the number one suggestion is…

1- If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.

Okay, you caught me. That wasn’t the number one suggestion. I just couldn’t help myself. But it is a real suggestion used in previous droughts across the country. And if we all do our part, perhaps we can help preserve our water supply for future generations, but more importantly, our Farmers!

Although forecasters are now expecting an El Nino weather pattern for Southern California this winter. Yay! But I’m not counting on it. So for those of you who are being plummeted by an overabundance of rainfall this year? Send that excess moisture this way!

As for the creative dry spell? I don’t think those top ten suggestions would be of any help.

Yet like a drought, whether as an individual or collectively, we need to take immediate measures to keep productive. Don’t wait until you’re faced with the dangerous feeling of discouragement. Do whatever it takes to replenish that creative well!

So what do you think? Have you ever experienced a Dry Spell? Did you know how bad the drought was in California? How have you recovered from a lack of creativity? What are your suggestions for water conservation? Have you been affected by the weather in your neck of the woods?

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!


24 thoughts on “A Dry Spell

  1. Alarna Rose Gray

    How is the drought going, Karen? I hope there’s been a break and some rain over there. It wasn’t so long ago we had a bad drought here – and it cast quite a gloom over people. What worries me now are the signs it might come back, and yet, everyone here seems to have forgotten about water conservation. Your tips are great, though. Don’t think there’s anything I could add.
    Alarna Rose Gray recently posted..The Domino Effect – Part 1My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      I am unhappy to report that the drought is still ongoing Alarna. We have had relatively little to no relief thus far. They just reported on the news last night that our water reserves are down more than 52%. I can appreciate your concern. Drought is ugly and silent. Water is going to become a commodity like gold and silver, or oil for that matter. We will be paying the price for this. I hope you don’t have to go through this again my dear friend. Enjoy the moisture while you can. Thanks so much for checking in on me. Your visits always brighten my day! ((Hugs))

  2. prudencemacleod

    Hey Karen, I have to say It has been a long time since I lived in drought conditions. I truly do feel for you folks. This is serious. However, in our case, we’ve had the wettest summer I can remember. And I can remember a lot of summers. Here’s hoping some of our extra rain manages to find it’s way to your backyard.
    prudencemacleod recently posted..ShortieMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Prudence, lol. I too remember a lot of summers. Yes, the weather is wacky. And there is no balance. Either there is too much or not enough. We’re dry now. But wait until it does rain. We’ll all probably be building a boat. lol. Ah, girl, thanks so much for stopping by! Take care! 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Yes Lynn, the drought is scary. I’m glad to hear that you haven’t been affected in a negative way. Yet. Thank you for your water conservation girl! Every little bit helps! 🙂

  3. Amy

    It’s pretty scary Karen–maybe the scariest thing is the fact that it took so long for these restrictions. We’re doing okay where I am, but we did buy a rain barrel this year, that’s how I water my garden. We’ve stopped watering the lawn, if it gets a little brown, well, that’s okay.

    Creatively. I’m having huge bursts of creativity, just not with fiction writing–some art, some workshop planning, some photography. But I feel like that stuff is filling my well. Gotta get ready for Fast Draft!
    Amy recently posted..12 Things To Do Before I Turn 56My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Amy, it is pretty scary, isn’t it? Yes, why is it they waited so long? Glad to hear you’re okay. But how inventive of you to store water for your garden. Great idea! And I think we can all live with a little brown grass, don’t you? Photography is amazing way to fill your well. Good for you Amy! So excited for Fast Draft! Can’t wait to join you my dear friend! 🙂

  4. Sheila Seabrook

    I feel like I’ve been in a dry spell for the last 20 years. We live on an acreage, don’t have a well, so my DH hauls in our water. Needless to say, we are very conscious of how much we use so that he doesn’t have to haul too often, and so that we don’t run out at an I opportune time. We also dug a huge pond in the back if our property, and it is plumbed into the toilets and to the outside water taps. The pond collects the runoff from the snow melting in the spring, and of course any rain in the summer…of which we have too much this year. I would love to send you our rain, Karen.

    Creatively, I’m running dry. It’s been a difficult summer with an overload of family demands. I’m exhausted. 🙂 but as with everything else, this too shall pass. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Sheila! If your husband has been hauling water for twenty years to the property, that is the longest Dry Spell I’ve ever heard of. Although, I have heard about areas where there are no water on the property and they have to store their water. Which means, you are an expert on water conservation. Wow, now that was inventive. And yet, it can be done. But why do we wait until it’s practically too late. You are in good company Sheila. Other commenters are saying the same thing. Too much water. Send it here!!! LoL! But I’m not surprised that your creative well has run dry. Stress will do that. No wonder you’re exhausted. Please take care my friend and get some R&R!! That’s my prescription. ((Hugs)) 🙂

  5. K.B. Owen

    It’s just so awful, Karen. Like Susie, I’m surprised they are only now imposing water restrictions. Here’s a link to Mother Jones which gives a drought map of California, and a chart of how many gallons per person each city is using (not counting agriculture). Did you know that Palm Springs is using 700 gallons of water per person PER DAY? I don’t know if that’s accurate; sounds crazy. It also has a chart of how many gallons of water it takes to grow certain crops. 1 gallon per almond? Seriously? http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/wheres-californias-water-going

    Anyway, hang in there, and we’ll all try to do a rain dance…
    K.B. Owen recently posted..Anywhere my research takes me: burglars, knitting, detective cocktails?My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      It is awful Kathy! And I really appreciate that you left a link for more drought and water conservation information. I must say that I am not surprised by the over-usage of water in Palm Springs. 700 gallons a day? Are they still filling up their pools? It sounds crazy because it IS crazy. That’s why I wrote about this. People are not aware of the severity of the problem. It should be on the daily news to remind people. But it’s not. Keep dancing Kathy! We can really use the rain. Thank you so much! 🙂

  6. Kassandra Lamb

    We’re one of the places with too much rain, Karen. I’ll be happy to send some to you if I can figure out how to do that. I actually have a tree dying in my backyard from too much water.

    As for creative dry spells. I’ve felt one coming on for a while now. I’m doing Fast Draft with Kathy Owen’s crowd in October, hoping the support and excitement of that will get my next book flowing.
    Kassandra Lamb recently posted..5 Positives of Getting Old–A Fun Look at the Joys of AgingMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Good to hear that someone is getting all the rain Kassandra! Can you believe how off balanced the weather is? Dying from too much water. That’s a switch. Drat on the creative dry spell my friend. It happens to the best of us. I’m so excited that you are joining our Fast Draft group. You are going to love it!!! 🙂

  7. Patricia

    Amen, Sista! We have been conserving since April and we have our own water supply – a well. But even having a private well doesn’t guarantee there’ll be water. It’s the same water table under the ground.

    It’s hard to conserve when you’re already conserving, but I started showering every other day or sometimes on the weekends, every third day. I only run really full loads of laundry and dishes and I try really hard not to let the water in the faucet run unnecessarily. It’s hard, but it can be done.

    Thanks for bringing this severe situation to light. I think most folks truly don’t realize how dire it is.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt
    Patricia recently posted..Turning the Tables Country StyleMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      You betcha Sista! Amen indeed! It’s true Patricia. There’s no guarantee that a private well will out-perform a community well. But it is amazing how much we can conserve once we’ve been made aware of the problem. But I don’t think it’s been talked about enough for people to realize how serious this situation is. I applaud your efforts. We are following a similar habit as yours. It isn’t easy, that’s for sure. Thank you for your thoughts since you’re living it in Northern California also. Take care my friend! 🙂

  8. Jennette Marie Powell

    I read in the news how almond growers are having to destroy huge sections of their trees just to save the rest. Really awful. And yes, I’m surprised it took this long for restrictions to come down! And yes, it has occurred to me, too bad we can’t send some of this rain to SoCal! Although we haven’t had flooding, more like just right. Truly a blessing.
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..Do Cheap and Free Books Kill Sales?My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Darn Jennette. I was hoping that y’all could send some water our way. Yes, it’s very heart-wrenching to see them destroy valuable groves that support our lives. It is an awful mess. Meanwhile, enjoy that rainfall girl! 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      That’s interesting Coleen. I had no idea that your area suffered from intermittent water shortages. Glad it’s been a cooler summer for you. And thank you. I tried to give this post a lighter tone. Hopefully, it worked. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Susie, that is the exact reason why I blogged about this. There are not many people who are taking this seriously. And the restrictions change, county to county, city to city. Don’t ask me why. It is a puzzlement. But thanks for your encouragement. I’ll have to do that. 🙂


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