Updated: Jul 4, 2022
The annual monsoons arrived a week or two early, on solstice, this year, with low, full-bellied licorice clouds. Humidity jumped from 10% to 80% as warm, steamy, moist air streamed over the desert.
With no chance of a sun rise sighting, I spent the mosquito-y dawn hours picking flowers to make garlands for Ganesha of the Garden, and to offer gratitude to the hotsprings water caretakers, when I went down to the Charles Hotsprings Motel for a soak. I had booked a rooftop tub for first soak after opening at 8am.
The rains held off, though the clouds grew heavier and darker all day. I made apricot empanadas for my solitary solstice feast.
I am never very good at pastry but I’ve been thinking a lot recently of the taste of other places, Jamaica and Cuba and anywhere but here, and especially little fruit hand pies or empanadas.
With these solstice empanadas, it was discovered that garbanzo flour, almond flour and ground flax seed (what I had in the cupboard) do not offer the elasticity of a gluten based flour (wheat) which a fold-over hand pie requires. While the flavour, with coconut oil and coconut sugar, was good, and the texture satisfyingly flakey crumbly, the pastry tended to crack, split and fall apart. No they were not burned, but only just. Almond flour browns quickly.
The garden luxuriated all day in the warm humidity.
It was also discovered that this season’s tepary beans had germinated, while sunflowers continue to reach for the sky: knocking on heaven’s door rather than surrendering at this point. (Thankyou Leonard Cohen and Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan for lines in my head)
Thunder in the air and everywhere a blooming happening.
Finally, in the night, the storm broke. I woke in the wee hours to a great splashy sound of rain. Not all of it was outside.
I got up to distribute buckets, pans and towels under the roof leaks, then spent the next few hours lying awake listening to monsoon music: rain drumming on the metal roof, roaring through gutters and downspouts, splashing, oh! so beautifully wetly into barrels.
Accompanied by a repetitive backbeat of the tinkley plink plink plink of water into buckets inside the house.
I was tempted to dance in the rain, on the rooftop, but the close lightening held me captive inside. My ladder is metal. Ditto the rooftop big box of magic which makes the house cool in summer and warm(ish) in winter.
In the morning every rain barrel was overflowing. All eight of them. One storm and my storage capacity is exhausted. At least I know the gutters, installed October last, work at the rainwater gathering and directing task.
Obviously I need bigger water catchment tanks.