The Dry Garden: An orchardist among us

When musicians Kazi Pitelka and John Steinmetz tell friends that they are leaving their Altadena home of 15 years, the invariable responses are: “Why?” “Do  you have to?” “Whyyyyy?”

It’s not that their friends are given to whining. It’s that few homes will ever be occupied so well. Theirs is a place where music was made, children were raised, a father died. Where mealtime meant family time and where Pitelka gardened, then cooked.

Click here to keep reading in the Los Angeles Times about the garden where Kazi Pitelka amassed 75 fruit trees, many herbs, chickens, vegetables and summer berries, and, in the process, became one of the best kitchen gardeners in the state.

High good, low bad: Mead in April 2011

Mural, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Photo: Emily Green

Last week at a meeting of the Southern California Water DialogueReclamation had good news and bad news. The good news was that as tallies keep coming in from a record water year on the Colorado River, the looming prospect of shortage declarations for the “Lower Basin” has receded. (By last night, the closing April elevation of Lake Mead was 1,095.77 feet, more than 13 feet higher than November 2010, when the largest reservoir in the American West was within 7 feet of shortages being declared.)

The bad news was that Mead, which serves Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico, is still less than half full. As this graphic shows, when a dry trend began on the river in 1999, Mead was 95% full. While we’ve had a wet blip in 2011, if this generally dry trend persists for

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