Drought Report and Fig Jam

By now you've heard that the City of Bellevue has asked residents to conserve water voluntarily by 10%, and they offer these tips:

Ways to save water:
  • Cut back unnecessary watering -- consider letting your lawn go dormant.
  • Water plants deeply, but infrequently, early in the day or late at night. Mulching planting beds also helps with reducing watering.
  • Visit the Waterwise Garden at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, where residents can learn how they can save water in their own gardens.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry in washing machines or dishes in dishwashers.
  • Turn the water off. Avoid letting the faucet run when shaving, brushing teeth, and washing.
  • Take shorter showers -- even cutting your shower by 2-3 minutes adds up.
  • Wash your car infrequently, and when you do take it to a commercial wash where the water is recycled.
  • Fix leaks.
  • Order and install free water-saving items, including low-flow shower heads and leak detection kits, from Bellevue's water provider -- Cascade Water Alliance.
Handy graphic--did we skip over Advisory, or did I miss it?
Sadly, the only item on that list that my family isn't already doing is the "Take shorter showers" bullet point. And, apart from my husband in the morning, most of us are pretty brief going about our showering business.

But things aren't too bad in Bellevue yet! I was just visiting my family in California this past week, where they're very much in the MANDATORY wedge of the graph, and neighbors are turning like jackals on each other when someone is caught watering on one of the Do-Not-Water days. Being California, though, backyard crops still flourish under concentrated watering conditions. Consider these Asian pears from my sister's Davis backyard:

Sweet and crisp, rather like the yummy ones the Market used to enjoy from Rockridge Orchards. In addition to Asian pears, my sister and her hub planted a branch of the neighbor's fig tree and now reap the benefits.

Figs are an ideal fruit, and every time I fork out $8 for a jar of fig jam, I wish they grew more abundantly in Washington. After all, what other fruit can be chopped up coarsely, mixed with sugar, pectin, and lemon juice, left to stew for an hour, and then become easy freezer jam? No peeling, so seeding, no nothing. I entreated my sister to make a batch of fig freezer jam with her bumper crop, but with that California take-it-for-grantedness she only said, "Maybe next year."

Luscious, figgy innerds
Next year? Next year the drought may have reached beyond epic proportions, or whatever you would call a drought that's already designated as the worst in at least 150 years. This horrible drought doesn't even begin to approach what scientists call "Megadroughts," which last decades.

So the figs might not be there next year or ten years from now, which makes me glad I enjoyed them now.

Living for the moment
Washington might (should?) have longer, but we may all want to be looking toward snapping up real estate along a river in Northern British Columbia as the globe warms. In the meantime, enjoy those figs.