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The sound I thought was coming from my coffeemaker this morning turned out instead to be from water droplets landing on the skylight over my head. Around here we’re glad to see rain at this time of year, but this big storm is expected to drop less than 1/4″ of the nice wet stuff. Not a lot of help.

Unlike people in other parts of the country, we here in Southern California normally find ourselves under red flag warnings through October and November,. The weather is still warm, with hillside grasses beginning to dry and die back for their winter’s rest and only the merest trace of moisture in the air. The possibility of fires in the foothills is very real, especially if lightning storms come along at the same time to provide the spark for the tinder. If the storms bring a lot of rain (which is unusual) our marvelous firefighters can keep problems manageable. But Mother Nature is capricious, and all too often, like today, she gives us a few tantalizing drops, then shuts off the spigot.

One more thing in our SoCal bag of tricks is what we call “Santa Ana” winds. These hot, dry, blustery, fast-moving winds are named for the direction they flow, opposite to what is normal for our area. In red flag situations, we all cross our fingers and hope that the Santa Anas will sleep just a little longer. They’ll be more welcome later.

(During the winter they pop up and can bring us a Christmas with fur-trimmed Santas sweating on street corners and wishing they were at the beach instead of ringing charity bells. Still, a Santa Ana day does make for interesting Facebook posts with friends back east: “It’s 85 today, and we’re barbecuing burgers. Sorry you’re snowed in LOL!”)

So, today I’ll play the waiting game. Will enough droplets come together to wet my garden? Will we get sprinkles, or showers, or drizzle? Will the Santa Anas come along and dry everything before the roots of my winter veggies get a taste of water that hasn’t traveled through a garden hose?

In the meantime, I can use the “rain” as an excuse to stay indoors, and maybe–just maybe–I’ll take a damp moment to write in this blog again, now that the lazy days of summer are winding down.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.