This is what happiness looks like when, as my wife and I do, you live in a groundwater limited area in the south Salem hills and this has been the driest spring ever in our part of Oregon.
I turned off our sprinkler system last week when substantial rain finally was forecasted. Then I dumped out the small amount of water in the rain gauge.
So we got about 2.6 inches of rain during the recent wet weather period. That's more than I expected, thanks in part to some intense showers that passed over us periodically.
The past three years have been drier than normal, if I recall correctly what the KGW News weather guys have been saying.
That's added to my anxiety about this year's very dry spring.
We rely on our two wells for water (one is used for the sprinkler system; the other supplies house water). So do all of our neighbors, since our neighborhood is rural.
Thus dry weather means something different to us than it does to people who live in a town or city with piped-in water.
I guess rural residents are sort of like the Pacific islanders whose homes are threatened by rising ocean levels. Global warming has more immediate impacts on us than on city dwellers.
Dry weather leads to worries about running out of water, whereas this is much less likely in a city like Salem -- where there are multiple options for keeping water flowing to its residents.
I'm not saying that city folks don't care about global warming. Naturally they do. Rural and urban people just experience the current drought conditions in most of the western United States differently.
Which makes it kind of strange that rural residents, who are considerably more conservative than urban residents, tend to downplay the seriousness of global warming, even though they're more likely to suffer from devastating wildfires, dried-up wells, and other manifestations of steadily rising greenhouse gases.
We have a mixture of native and non-native plantings in our yard.
I like the Oregon Grape that was growing under two large fir trees when we moved to our house in 1990. Since, I've planted more Oregon Grape in that area, which doesn't get watered by our sprinklers.
The several inches of rain we got is good news for the plants in our yard. However, hot weather is coming in a couple of days.
I'm hoping that our wells make it through summer. And that the next water year, which begins October 1, will be considerably wetter than normal. That's needed to make up for the recent dry years.
The Willamette Valley isn't in as bad a drought as California and the southwest are enduring. I'm thankful for that. Having lived in Oregon for 48 years, it just feels strange to be worrying about a lack of rain, since usually Oregonians complain about too much rain.