Inez Castor

After an informal poll of everyone I've encountered the last couple of weeks, I've gathered some interesting information. Perception of the recent weather pattern is directly related to how long people have lived here.

Those who've lived here only a relatively short time are amazed at the "unusual" weather. It may rain a dozen times a day with periods of sunshine and clear skies between showers. To avoid monotony, we're offered hailstones the size of hamsters.

Out of nowhere comes a 40-mph wind gust and I brace into it. Then it playfully whips around to boost me from behind, leaving me windmilling to avoid falling flat on my face. Newcomers notice these things.

The longer we live here, the less unusual it seems. We wear three to

five layers, which we unconsciously add and remove several times a day.

We shift with the wind direction as smoothly as surfers. It's not that

we're oblivious. We notice rainbows and cloud patterns that beg to be

captured with camera or watercolors. It all seems perfectly normal to


So if you're fairly new to the area, this is what early summer often

looks like and you'll probably get used to it. It's the price we pay for

sunshine and sweet breezes in February.

It's time to start those summer projects, even if they have to be

squeezed in between weather fronts.

At Gopher Gulch the first project was the new front gate, which Ron

built when we had a couple nice days and he had the time. An honest,

reasonably priced and competent handyman is a very good find, and thanks

to Dona and her new greenhouse, I've encountered another one.

Ron Mayhue is a local fellow who specializes in those smaller

projects that are too much for us but don't require a licensed

contractor. He's kind and nice to have around, which is important.

I love my unique gate, with crooked grape stakes at ground level that

provide a perfect entrance for quail and a broken hammer handle for a

latch. While hand-split redwood grape stakes and old hammer handles last

forever, the frame rotted away and dragged the ground. It could be used

only by those able to lift and drag its considerable weight. Everybody

but the quail got used to using the driveway.

Ron took the whole mess, made a frame that will outlast me, put a

wheel on the heavy end and rehung it. The quail and I are happy. That's

one job done, and here comes the sun again. Quick! Get out there and do


At least weeding and transplanting are much easier when the soil is

moist. If the weather gets to you, be grateful we're not living in

tornado alley. When you consider the nightmare of tornadoes it provides a

whole new perspective on our blustery stumbling from spring to summer.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at