Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

Barbara posts about water use that she observes in Pasadena over on Weeding Wild Suburbia. In the comments is reference to the California State Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, which is news to me.


All cities in California must adopt it or equivalent by Jan 1, 2010! That's real soon now. However, notice was only given on Oct 8, 2009, which is not a lot of time for cities to react. This mandate is the outcome of legislation passed in 2006 (Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 1881, Laird)). Apparently the state has been slow to publish the guidelines required to implement it.

From the glossy brochure:
Existing landscapes are also subject to the Model Ordinance.
Water waste is common in landscapes that are poorly designed or not well maintained. Water waste (from runoff , overspray, low head drainage, leaks and excessive amounts of applied irrigation water in landscapes is prohibited by
Section 2, Article X of the California Constitution.

Any landscape installed prior to January 1, 2010, that is at least one acre in size may be subject to irrigation audits, irrigation surveys or water use analysis programs for evaluating irrigation system performance and adherence to the Maximum
Applied Water Allowance as de fined in the 1992 Model Ordinance with an Evapotranspiration Adjustment Factor (ETAF) of 0.8. Local agencies and water purveyors (designated by the local agency) may institute these or other programs to
increase efficiency in existing landscapes.

All new landscapes will be assigned a water budget.
The water budget approach is a provision in the statute that ensures a landscape is allowed sufficient water. There are two water budgets in the Model Ordinance; the Maximum Applied Water Allowance (MAWA) and the Estimated Total Water Use (ETWU).
The MAWA, is the water budget used for compliance and is an annual water allowance based on landscape area, local evapotranspiration and ETAF of 0.7. The ETWU is an annual water use estimation for design purposes and is based on the water needs of the plants actually chosen for a given landscape. The ETWU may not exceed the MAWA.



Happy Thanksgiving!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Drought continues

Check this link for current conditions, but I warn you that it's probably the same as the above picture.

It seems like we ought to have had more rain at this point in the winter, but checking the long range forecast through the end of the month it looks like no rain is in sight.  My backyard rainfall from our one early storm in the second week of October is 1.45 inches so it looks like we're looking through the end of November with only that one rain on the books.  Perhaps surprisingly, even if we get no more rain for the remainder of this month, this winter's rainfall is still ahead of the 1" median cumulative historic (1944 to 2005) rainfall for nearby Los Angeles. Still, November has been unusually dry: 75% of the time we get more than 3/4" in November, so perhaps that's why it feels like a dry winter.

To the best of my knowledge, early season rainfall is not a predictor of late season rainfall, so the game is still on with Mother Nature.  Will we get an abundance of rain that gives us some breathing room to further reduce our water requirements or will we go into a fourth year of drought?  Only time will tell, but NOAA predicts that there will be a seasonal easing of drought conditions (through Feb 2010) by at least one stage of drought.  This doesn't appear to be a long range forecast for green pastures - only a safe bet that we will get some rainfall between now and then.  After that, it's probably back to the usual drought.

To Do List VI

The To Do List is dead! Long live the To Do List!

Like royalty, or Bermuda grass, the To Do list keeps coming back with another version that looks similar to the old one.  But this is a good news story.

Way back in May, To Do List V looked pretty ambitious.  Taking stock of all the things I've struck from the list for one reason of another (accomplished myself this summer, hired someone to complete, or on which I've changed my thinking) To Do List V is looking like it was a pretty successful go forward plan.

Looking forward again from where I stand right now, I need a new plan.  The new plan needs to take me to an end point where I can say, "I'm done" and mean it.  Those of you reading for my gardening comments - there's some planning in here for you at the bottom of this post.

When this is done I may have to start a new blog - "The Second One For A Friend" from the adage that I seem to have absorbed in the last couple years of home repair and garden building:

Build the first one for an enemy,
the second one for a friend,
and the third one for yourself.

Exterior House
  • Patch holes in stucco
  • Paint French doors
  • Stucco over where old kitchen door used to be
  • Paint stucco, trim
  • Borrow airless sprayer to paint eaves
  • Fix computer room window

Interior House
  • Replace screen over gable vent at front of house
  • Fix doorbell23 Nov 09
  • Install bathroom tub spigot
  • Have tub refinished
  • Remove baseboard trim
  • Paint walls
  • Replace floor - living room and hall in wood?  Rest carpet?
  • Install new baseboard trim
  • Install drop leaf countertop extension ($30 Ikea)
  • Reconfigure living / dining area - narrow drop leaf table would be good have
  • Fix trim in my bedroom
  • Fix wall behind hall cabinets
  • Ground outlet in my room
  • Paint hall light fixtures
  • Fix garage wall near sink
  • Fix common wall between garage and house for fire safety
  • Fix garage gable end framing

  • Add a sprinkler head to front garden area to improve coverage - The sprinklers aren't used often, but when they are they ought to cover the whole area.
  • Extend Aristida purpurea plantings to provide better unifying theme
  • Rejuvenate front garden meadow  - This might mean just keeping the yarrow mowed and adding supplemental water (see sprinklers above) as needed
  • Plant parking strip area with natives - This needs brief consideration for suitable plants.  Maybe more Aristida and a low sage (Salvia sonomensis? aka creeping sage or Sonoma sage) or some sedges that will take summer water since part of the parking strip will remain turf grass and need summer supplemental water.
  • Re-mulch native areas - Just maintenance and to keep it a bit more attractive
  • Do something in N side yard to make it better - brick pathway?
  • Pour custom pavers for bedroom French door exit to replace wood lain on ground
  • Overseed remaining grassy areas with a winter rye at the first signs of a real rain
  • Figure out what I did wrong with the driveway edge plantings (Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet' (Silver Carpet aster) and Lotus grandiflorus (Large-Flowered Lotus) and not make that mistake again. 
  • Add to my potted plants - both interior and exterior

Update: I thought I had a sufficiently good idea to make a placeholder.


Apple sausage stuffing

I made some apple sausage stuffing the other day to go with an early turkey that I purchased on sale. The interesting thing about this recipe is the custard, which represents a change from my usual apple-sausage stuffing recipe. We all liked it.

The recipe, below, is from epicurious.com and I used it as guide only. Without measuring, I'd have to say that I increased the sage and bay seasonings significantly relative to the recipe. I used a crusty whole grain bread (some fresh, some stale), home made turkey stock, and was more vigilant on the fats than the recipe calls for, buttering only the pan, leaving out the added butter, and partially draining the sausage fat.

Bon Appétit | November 2002

yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
This delicious stuffing is similar to a savory bread pudding. It's best baked alongside, rather than inside, the bird.
subscribe to Bon Appétit

* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 pound spicy pork bulk sausage
* 1 cup diced celery
* 1 cup diced onion
* 1 cup diced peeled cored apple
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
* 1 bay leaf

* 8 cups 1-inch cubes French bread with crusts (from 1-pound loaf)
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
* 3 large eggs, beaten to blend


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; sauté until cooked through and brown, breaking into pieces with spoon, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Add celery and next 6 ingredients to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Add mixture to sausage. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat to lukewarm before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add bread to sausage mixture. Whisk milk, broth, and butter in bowl to blend. Mix into stuffing; season stuffing with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs; transfer to prepared dish. Bake uncovered until cooked through and brown, about 50 minutes.


I purchased an iPhone the other day and I've been spending time with it instead of blogging. I'm playing with several apps that allow me to blog from the iPhone, so hopefully in the long term I will improve my blogging rate. Oh yeah, I also worked a zillion hours last week too, with appropriate 'attaboys on Monday after a good save on the weekend.

Another launch* is approaching and the silly season is upon us in more ways than one. This will be my third launch with personal involvement. Interestingly, ULA has a ULA twitter feed as well as the standard web page. I really ought to check out Twitter, but I can't muster the energy. Clearly many people think it's of value.

*Someone commented to me once when I was talking about launches that they thought I was talking about product launches. Nope.



Juli and I went to see Kouza tonight.  Kouza is Cirque du Soleil's latest. It was marvelous.

The above posted by text message.

More 11/3: I've seen two similar performances before and this was by far the best.  The first was a poor Cirque du Soleil - like performance back when the South Bay Civic Light Opera was bringing in outside acts.  A better one was Cortero, Cirque du Soliel's most recent touring act prior to Kouza.  Kouza seemed more energetic and focused than Cortero in all respects, so I think it was better for the occasional fan like me.  Physically the set was less sprawling with all the action happening on a smaller central stage.  Rather than diluting its appeal, this made the action appear more energetic.  Musically I found it more engaging too: the music was uplifting and energetic with familiar pop and world  influences that could have been sampled from current broadcasts on KCRW.  The stories in these productions are always minimal as well, but the Kouza story trod a fine line that had just enough continuity to bridge the different acrobatic acts.

Side note: Aside from the fantastic acrobatics in the production, I noticed that the food and drink prices were also quite fantastic.  I bought a large soda for $6.50.  Small sodas were $6.00.  Both came in souvenir cups which were used as an excuse for the price.  Other food prices were high too - something like two hot dogs for $24 or similar.