Tuesday, August 1, 2006

It’s hard to believe that I escaped the heat of Minnesota and went to California where in Sacramento and Lake Tahoe it was cooler then here. I have two very good friends who live in Sacramento and have a cabin on Lake Tahoe. The record-breaking heat that we have been hearing about in California had lifted when I arrived last Thursday for my annual summertime visit. The temperatures (day and night) were cooler the entire time there then it was here.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite places to visit while in Lake Tahoe. It was taken from a narrow hiking path in the mountains overlooking Lake Tahoe I make the trek up the mountain and along this path every summer while there. It was in this very spot a few years ago that at 7:30 a.m. I came across a black bear and her two small cubs. Luckily black bears don’t attack humans and this mother and cubs wasted no time climbing the nearest trees.

As fast as they climbed the trees, I wasted no time going back down the mountain to the cabin, never reaching the small water reservoir at the end of the path that year.

While out there, I had a discussion with my former college roommate Mike about using native or lower maintenance plants that can survive the extremes of heat and cold. With the hot weather we have been experiencing, it may be a good time to look at some of those lower maintenance plants.

We also talked about the importance of mulching - wood chips and other mulches all help keep moisture in the soil resulting in the need for less watering. All of my perennials, trees and shrubs have a thick layer (4 plus inches) of cypress mulch around them. I like cypress mulch because it stays in place, breaks down slowly and does not attract insects. I add a bit to the top of each area every few years. It makes a big difference, resulting in less watering.

Make your day a good one and cross your fingers for some more rain during the next few days.