From the Publisher

After the flood

by Chris Klein
other Nature likes to share. Normally, I love the rain, and last month's showers were a welcome gift. But the sharing was a bit too intense when Mother discovered a way to put about half an inch of the precious fluid in my office at home. My office is below grade, and it appears that the original builder didn't see fit to seal the cement block wall. Understandable, I guess, living here in the desert.
I pulled the soaking, moldy carpet out of the office and stacked it in the driveway, figuring I'd haul it off to the landfill when things got a little dryer. Two days later, the big rolls of carpet were gone! I guess someone has a plan that involves wet, smelly textiles. Who says we don't have curbside recycling?
So now, some hundreds of dollars later, I have a wonderful little drainage system, shunting the fresh water away from my (now sealed) office. As it continues to pour, I watch a pleasant little stream of rainwater pour out of a plastic pipe and down the hill. Better than under my file cabinet, but somehow not satisfying.
I've been fantasizing for some years now about installing a "gray water" system. If you don't know, it's a system that shunts relatively clean "used" water from the house (i.e., shower and clothes washer) into a cistern that can be used to water the yard. They were illegal in the state (what else is new?), but I've been told that's changed.
Now that I've got another little water source, it just may push me over the edge into action. If you've had any experience with such systems, write or give me a call.

learn at least as much from this paper as most readers (no, I don't know it all). I must admit that the constant flow of information about the environmental and health benefits of organic agriculture have had an effect. I don't exactly know what's sprayed on my vegetables, and I'm not positive about what their long-term health impacts are. But the evidence is compelling, and why take a chance?
So last month, we took action. Now, each Wednesday, I drive to my local dropoff site and pick up a box of freshly-picked organic produce from Be Wise Ranch, an organic farm in North County run by Bill Brammer (featured in the April '94 issue of ET). About 20 percent of his crop is distributed locally through this program. There are a variety of plans and prices available; the "standard" box is just about right for Carolyn and myself.
But the best part is ... every Wednesday is like Christmas! You never know exactly what you'll find in the box, although there are some staples. Our favorite is the crisp salad mix that contains about six different greens; you can't get this at Vons. The tomatoes remind you of what tomatoes are supposed to taste like. We've also been getting broccoli, cauliflower, peppers of various hues, avocados, limes, turnips, squash, zucchini, ... all winter seasonal crops.
Getting fresh local produce puts you a little more in touch with the land, with the seasons. It reminds me of a time when you couldn't get strawberries from New Zealand ... you just had to wait. So I anxiously await summer ... and fresh strawberries.