Friday, November 30, 2007

Its-a-raining and I'm-a-baking

Lemon and regular thyme soaking in the rain
What is it about rain that's so soothing? Whenever it rains here (which isn't often during most winters), I always hope I get to spend the day IN. In the warmth of my house. In my comfortable kitchen. And most times when I have a day like this, my thoughts turn to baking. In some ways I wish it didn't, because I then eat whatever it is I bake. When we got up this morning (this is Friday) it was drizzling. It continued drizzling for several hours, then it turned to rain. Not pelting. Not a downpour. Just solid, steady rain. We so badly need the rain. After all the wildfires this Fall, we desperately need the rain. But the worry, always, is that after such a dry summer, houses on hills are subject to mud, runoff and in some areas, mudslides. We don't live in a mudslide area, but we do live on a hill. Because of problems with our sprinkler system, some of the vegetation on our hill is sparse or dead. And we always have problems with our drains.

I didn't know all about this stuff when we moved into this house on the hill. We have outside drains, on all sides of our house (a total of 13), that help funnel any water or rain runoff down the hill and into the sewer. Over the 5 years we've been here, we've had several floods in our house, in a guest bedroom that had a vulnerable wall. Not like Katrina or anything. Just water that backs up and leaks into the house. We hope all those pesky problems are repaired, so even if the drains back up, it wouldn't ever get IN the house again.

But whenever we get our first real rain of the winter - that would be today - my DH is out surveying the property, scraping leaves out of the outside drains, making sure we don't have a problem. During the 8-9 months of the year when we don't have rain, the little bit of water that goes through those outside drains (they start in the rear of our house, the uphill part) and route water underground to the main drains (the slope on the far downhill part of our property) is not a problem. It's the heavier rains that could cause us grief. Periodically tree roots wriggle their way into the joints, so we must have a Roto-rooter guy over to clear things out. Our house is about 35 years old, and those drain pipes likely have settled, perhaps, maybe even broken in places. We are, supposedly, on a regular schedule of having the drain lines cleared out. No waiting until after the rains begin. We need it done regularly, so we DON'T have a problem. Just another budget item that we didn't know about when we bought the house on the hill.

So, I'm here in the kitchen. It's chilly outside, though not stormy. It's not a thundering kind of rain, just that lovely, gentle type that usually doesn't cause problems. Maybe our slope plants will enjoy the long, steady gulp of water today. My herbs certainly will, those that have survived (Italian parsley, rosemary and thyme).

Sometimes a stay-home-to-watch-the-rain kind of day calls for soup. But we're going out to dinner (2 hours away, without traffic issues, which we likely will have) tonight. Californians generally don't know how to drive in rain, so our streets and highways become clogged with super-cautious people, or those who think the opposite - that they can still drive 75 with not a care in the world, until somebody veers, slides or has an accident. We're going to Fallbrook to celebrate our good friend Tony's birthday at his home. He didn't want any gifts, so about an hour ago I just decided to bake cookies for him instead. He's a widower, and although he cooks, I doubt he does much baking. Actually he's a very good cook (Italian by blood), but I only know that he makes big pots of soup or stews, pasta sauces, etc.

My house smells so wonderful, and the rain continues to pitter-pat outside. I'm content. Thankful for my happy life. My home. My family. Friends. And all of you, a few I know, most I don't, who read my blog. Bless you, my online friends.

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