Rain, RAIN!


Utah is the second driest state in the Union. No, I don’t mean booze, I mean moisture.  Although we’re known for having the greatest snow on earth, the airy flakes don’t melt out to much water.  You may have heard that Gov. Jerry Brown of California has signed legislation to reduce monthly water use by 20% because 93% of the state is under severe drought. We’ve got a big time drought too but so far our Governor hasn’t called for mandatory water cut backs.

        If you’ve got a well in your back yard, who owns the water? Most likely, not you. The state of Utah owns the water here and you’re not allowed to use it without permission. Whaaaaaa?  Isn’t everyone into collecting rainwater these days and helping Mother Nature water the garden and landscaping plants? You’re okay there because the state made it legal to collect rainwater in 2010.  Salt Lake County this past week is officially encouraging you collect rainwater through a program called RainHarvest. County residents are encouraged to collect what falls from the skies to water plants and is offering 50-gallon collection barrels at $40 each (normally $130) first come first serve.

        Apart from the obvious, rain collection is a good thing because the water comes out of the sky with less pollutants. Rain that runs down the street may have oil, gas, fertilizer, poop, piss, vomit, decay, organic and non-organic stuff. Mormon pioneers knew how precious water was when they settled the capitol city. The first thing they started doing was digging irrigation ditches and dam up City Creek to soften the hard clay soil so they could plant potato crops. There were over 1000 miles of irrigation canals in Utah by 1865 and there was a water ditch in front of the Beehive and Lion Houses downtown. Our fine state was successful in part getting off and running because we were the first irrigation-based economy in the entire country.

        I laugh when I see folks buying large bottles of water in the grocery store. Who knows where it comes from and how much energy and resources were wasted in getting it to Salt Lake City? We have a free, wonderful source of drinking water at the Artesian Well Park at 800 South and 500 East that is continually fed by a deep underground aquifer. Anyone can take water from the spigots 24/7, 365 days a year.

        Smarten up your water use and get a rain barrel. You can pre-order the discounted barrels on savesomethingutah.org until May 3rd  and get the $40 price for the 50 gallon containers. Otherwise you can purchase them at a larger local hardware chain or at Murray Park from 10AM-2PM on May 9th for $74 each.



If you don’t golf then click on!  I’m a golfer because my dad was a golfer and when we moved from New York to Arizona we lived with the new Tucson Country Club in the back yard. The course was a never ending source of play during the day and discovery as darkness fell as the wild life came out.  It’s a patience game and a great way to socialize with friends and meet new ones. And when you play golf you never have to produce anything to prove how great you did, like a fisherman does!

Utah has around 140 golf courses to play on and they are relatively cheap for 18 holes with a cart. Generally it’s about $50 for five hours of fun. If you compare our prices to say Arizona or California we’re generally half of their fees. Sadly though, Salt Lake City can’t figure out how to make golf profitable on its public courses. The sprinkler infrastructures are ancient, waste water and several courses are in need of better design. Frisbee golfers and foot golfers want to use the courses and dog owners for walkies after hours and during the cold months. Instead of creative future mixed use possibilities for thousands of acres of green space golf courses, Salt Lake City is thinking of closing Nibley Park, the airport course and Glendale.  The bad news will be announced soon.

Golf is like sex. You don’t have to play well to enjoy it and it’s just as addicting. For us players Midvale city has just announced “Topgolf” is coming. You’ve seen their style of golf ranges in movies: 2 or more tiers of driving greens where golfers hit buckets of balls at their own speed in heated or cooled comfort, at targets many yards away from the platform. Topgolf will open at Bingham Junction and Jordan River Blvd. and will have 102 hitting bays, 230 hi-def TV’s, music, and dining. The really really cool part of Topgolf is that they make the experience a game of competition (if you want to play). They have special golf balls with microchips that log where you hit the ball to complete a game, and the chip reader will post your score based on your accuracy and distance and send it to the TV screen in your bay. You don’t have to play that game and just practice your own shots. Like bowling, you can practice in your own lane or play on the overhead screen with another person next to you or down the alley.  You don’t have to have your own clubs or balls and their courses allow golfers to drink beer and eat food in the individual bays, served by ‘Bay Hosts’. Whoot! I can’t wait to try Topgolf.



Since global warming appears to have landed in Utah this spring of 2015, we are going to have to get used to changes. The fruit growers statewide are pretty much crapping their pants right now because the freaky warm spring is causing things like apricot and peach trees to be in full bloom a month too early.  One dip into the low twenties and orchards will lose virtually any possibility of bringing profits this year. 

My wife has noticed the early spring. She has a perpetual surprised look on her face, indicating she’s ready to sneeze into her bent arm at any moment. She goes through a box of Kleenex a day, scowling at me as if it’s my fault she’s allergic to all Utah plant life. I feel for her. Really, I do! When I moved to Utah in 1970, I was allergic to virtually every growing thing the state had to offer. I had those ‘back scratch allergy tests’ and then weekly allergy shots for a year. She had the test too (again scowling at me) after moving here for love, and she found out there were at least 10 plants here she didn’t react to before when she lived in Portland, Oregon. The worst reaction she had was to the pollen of Russian olive trees. Her allergist advised her not to get shots until she acclimated to the plants and seasons here.

Have you seen magnification of pollen parts before? Holy hell, they look like spikey evil Goat Head sticker plants or micro-satellites with razor sharp appendages. Would you know it but pollen is the MALE fertilizing aspect of plants. Some plants have insects pick up the pollen while others let the wind carry the evil dudes to impregnate plants all helter skelter. Our noses inhale the sharp pollen particles and they then impale themselves on our sinuses to cause non-consensual pain and suffering. Our noses run as a biological reaction to try and wash out the balls of misery and we sneeze to let high force nasal winds attempt to blow them back to where they came from.

 Alas, trees are pollinating now and will continue until Memorial Day.  Then the wild grasses and lawn grasses will follow until Days-O-47-ish and then the weeds take over until the first hard frost happens.  Cottonwoods, cedars/junipers, willows, elm, oak, ash, birch and Russian olives are sending their love to all sufferers right now.  When it’s windy the pollen gets stirred up even more and the Kleenex manufacturer gets even happier.  Homeowners along the Wasatch front and in Cache Valley have been adding air filtration systems to their furnaces to strain out the pollutants in our air during winter inversions. These devices also will help purify the air inside your house from mold/ mildew, bacteria, pet dander and many pollens the rest of the year. Call your local HVAC service provider and get a bid to add one to your home. Some of them are even good for the environment by not contributing to pollute the ozone by using coconut husk filters-cool, huh?