Welcome to “January Thaw”

Yesterday morning if you looked east from some of our fields you could clearly see the snow-topped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, all the way from Mt. Lassen in the north down to the peaks South of Lake Tahoe.
Thanks to the storms of the last two weeks, those peaks got spackled with over 10 feet of snow.  Down here on the farm, we got soaked with almost 10 inches of rain.  During the first round of rain earlier in January, the ground soaked up just about all the moisture.  But last week, the soil reached capacity and water started filling up the fields and all the creeks and streams filled up as well. During the last round that came through, Northern California put hundreds of millions of gallons of water into the snowpack, the reservoirs, and the ground where it will seep in and fill the acquifers.
We’re all caught up now: the north state is at 105% year-to-date average precipitation and locally at the farm we’re even higher.  Thankfully, we’ll get a nice break in the storms now and get a chance to let the ground dry out and get some work done on the farm.
Farmers around here call this “the January Thaw”, which is a misappropriation of a term from other places with much harsher weather by people who probably have never experienced it.  Some years, the January Thaw can just turn into full-blown “Spring” (and then drought) but more often the cold, wet weather returns for at least part of February.  The latter option looks more likely this year.
Until the storms return, we’ll be busy enjoying the sunny weather while pruning fruit trees, weeding the strawberries and garlic, planting a few crops for the spring, and lots of other tasks we can’t get done when it’s raining.  And if we’re lucky we’ll get to see that incredible view of the Sierra a few more times.
Thanks,
Pablito

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