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Another lovely wet winter leaves Santa Clara a tad damp …

Spring is definitely on the way and the first Barn Swallow chicks have hatched in the Quinta’s Library. The days are appreciably longer and today the sun is shining fit to bust, but the last few days and nights Winter threw at us everything it could possibly fling with the result that we’ve lost Turtle Island, Chicken Island is a mere blip in the ocean that is the lake and Santa Clara has a roaring torrent flowing past its door instead of its usual trickle. The pontoon is a jump away from the garden now, (I honestly can’t pull it up any further and will instead build a bridge to get out to it), and there are just three steps from the Summer House lawn into the water.
Yes, I’ve seen it higher, back in November ’97 when we had the worst storm in living memory and the lake came up 3 mts in a single night, but I honestly haven’t seen it as high as this since then. Back then we were hit hard and then followed a drought that only really lifted eleven years later; I wonder what the next eleven years will bring?
In the meantime we’ll relish the proximity of the water to our door and pray that the Cāmara, our local County Council, repair the roads that are all falling apart around here – the potholes are simply everywhere; it’s getting as bad as Costa Rica, so we’re glad we’ve had recent practice !

A lovely wet Christmas …

Most of the Quinta’s visitors see the lake during the summer when it’s warm and clean – and when we’re all swimming and boating on it it’s sometimes easy to forget that a huge swathe of countryside nearby draws its Life-force from the water stored here; it’s mostly used for irrigating the sandy soils along the west coast during the six hotter months of the year and the level drops on average an inch a day during that period. It needs a fair amount of rainfall to replenish it, so, unlike most Europeans, we pray for a wet winter every year! The last seven or eight years haven’t been that spectacular and slowly the lake’s dropped down to 12 meters or so below it’s level when full – but it looks as if we’re going to see it a lot higher by next Spring as we’re having a lovely wet winter this year thank goodness, and there’s more on the way if the forecasters have got it right ….
It started to rain here just before Christmas and hasn’t really stopped during the last ten days, so the little stream we cross every day, that’s dry for the majority of the year, has turned during the last week or so into the raging torrent in the video clip here; it’s hard to believe that the stream that you can see here flowing OVER the bridge was only a week ago bone dry …

The result? Well, this is just one stream out of hundreds pouring its offerings into the lake – and there’s a fair sized river as well – so the end result is that the lake’s risen four meters during the last four days … with an an average width of half a mile and a length of more than 25 miles that’s an awful lot of water. It seems we’re spending every other second pulling the pontoon further up the bank – but boy are we happy … a tad damp it’s true, but very, very happy!