Written by Kaelin
Earth Day this spring marks almost three months in Calistoga, my first time living in the Napa Valley in over a decade.
In many ways this spring has felt incredibly familiar ~ the yellow blanket of mustard across the valley, brisk mornings, sunny afternoons, and the steady progression of green as trees and vines come out of hibernation.
mustard and other cover crop around Calistoga
This move back home has also brought with it a new perspective ~ an appreciation born from my time away and a new sense of connection to the land through the work we are doing with the olive trees here. Emily and I have spent the spring connecting with our growers and learning first hand about the annual cycle of the trees. We participated in our first year of pruning and watched patiently for the first sign of buds.
left: one pruned and one unpruned olive tree | right: olive buds
It struck me recently how deeply intertwined I am with this land. It's my past and present. It sustains my personal and professional life. I am aware now more than ever of the delicate balance that supports our land and community and the resources needed to maintain the vibrancy in this valley. Fires are increasingly frequent and devastating. As we enter into a second year of drought, the colorful cover crop blanketing the valley has been cut down early and the finite nature of our water supply is undeniable.
We've decided to make some changes. This past week we learned that the wells for a few wineries in the area have already dried up. Our well will be checked in May, but for now we are putting a pause on our garden plans. Instead of planting our own hobby garden this year, we’ve decided to remove that stress from our well reserves and instead support our local food shed.
We also continue to look for ways to support community efforts to preserve our land, which is why we chose to donate to the Land Trust of Napa County this Earth Day. Our support of the Land Trust will aid projects to:
~ Manage and care for public and private land through the Stewardship Program by restoring native species, protecting wildlife corridors, and using sustainable forest management techniques
To learn more about the Land Trust and opportunities to support, visit its website here.
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