Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blood and Sand

2013 was the driest year in California on record. Now, while the rest of the country suffers from snow and severe cold, we're experiencing gorgeous 70F days. Narcissus are blooming, and several blossoms have busted out already on my Eva's Pride peach tree. I know I shouldn't complain. I've lived through -40F, and I know what it's like: start the car 20 minutes before you need to go anywhere, feel your snot turn to crystals inside your own nose, avoid putting on mascara before you arrive at your final destination (otherwise your breath catches on your eyelashes when you step outside, freezes, and once you and your eyelashes have defrosted, melts all over your face). But this drought—because that's what it is, even if isn't yet declared—scares me.

Right now, Southern California putters along, not as if there isn't a problem, but in spite of the problem. We're dealing with nothing. It doesn't rain, so sprinklers run in January. Fire happens where there should be snow. A stand of iris in my yard bloomed last month. It was beautiful.

The satsuma tree in the backyard is bearing a mighty crop that has broken a few branches from its weight, and I don't understand why, other than maybe the stress of drought has sparked its need to reproduce. Thousands of fruit, small, intensely flavorful, deck the tree. It isn't its sweetest year, but by far, its most productive. I've juiced so many fruit, my fingers may smell like satsumas forever. We drink it as orange juice, though it is so much oranger, mix it with sparkling water, turn it into sorbet. And tonight, I drank it in one of my favorite cocktails, a drink made for a season like this one.

Blood and Sand
3/4 oz scotch
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz cherry heering
2 dashes bitters
1 1/2 oz orange or satsuma juice

Combine ingredients and shake in a cocktail shaker, or pour the ingredients, as I do, over ice in your favorite cocktail glass.

Drink and pray for rain.


Sidenote: Today in the kitchen, I documented with my phone rather than my camera. I've never posted pictures to ATS that I've taken with my phone and usually rely on the much better image quality of my camera. But, today I was busy, and the phone was in my back pocket, so I tried it. Of course, I couldn't help playing with an artsy-fartsy image software, in this case Snapseed.


Michelle said...

It is scary. I'm scoping the parts of the garden that I can let go, but fortunately they are already looking like crap so it doesn't really matter. Let's hope for a late rainy season.

Christina said...

Michelle: Fingers crossed.

Emily said...

It scares me too. It's not right. Today, the haze of the Colby fire produced an increidlbe sunrise, but when I went outside I counldn't help feel but it was a bit apocolyptic: the dim sun, warm temperatures, and a hundred daffodils blooming in my yard in January.

Peter said...

Hope and prayer are both OK I guess, but not burning fossil fuels anymore would be much better.

Christina said...

Emily: I spent part of today pruning fruit trees I know won't fruit this year because of lack of chill. I wore fliflops. It is all so disorienting.

Peter: Indeed. Hope or prayer without action in a case like this is truthfully crazy-thinking.

lucy said...


crossing everything for you and some rain.

i have been reading about your drought a lot of late, about how there is a worrying lack of water worldwide, and, as ever, thinking about our drought. we need to get more political about it all somehow, put our heads together maybe?

lots of love to you, your garden and your peoples, and sending very, very damp thoughts your way while i am at it.