Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

climate change

It's not what you think.

I'm speaking of climate change in terms of moving from one climate to another. Apparently this has been the coldest, foggiest, greyest summer on record here in Ucluelet. When we moved here in the spring, we knew we were in for eight months of winter (read: rain). I've lived on the west coast of Canada for 13 years and am very acclimatized to the kinds of weather we get here. When we go further inland, I do dry up a bit, but then I just get out the hand lotion and drink gallons of water to compensate.

A year ago and more when Dan and I were looking for work and places we'd like to live, we had some pretty strict criteria. The biggest thing was that the place we ended up needed to be near the ocean or a large body of water. Well, we live 200m from an ocean inlet, it's hard to get much closer than that without risking tsunami hazard conditions. Given how cool it's been here (save for a few sets of warmish or even hot days) this summer, Dan says the desert is starting to look pretty good.

Well, the places in the desert that were on The List of potential places (i.e. places where Dan had applied for jobs) are no longer. Strangely, though, we can still see ourselves moving there at some point in the future. See, Dan has been thinking a lot about the construction of the house we are going to build someday. He had a basic idea for it about a year and a half ago, but over time the design in his head has been modified and improved. The other night we admitted to each other that we both imagined this house to be in the desert. New Mexico, in particular. And we were both surprised to learn this. Isn't that interesting, we said.

I have recently started reading Barbara Kingsolver's Book Animal, Vegebable, Miracle. I love BK, I think her fiction is fantastic and this book is one I've had on my list of things-to-read for a while. And you know, things come to us when they're meant to. The narrative begins of her family's decision to move from the desert (Tucson, Arizona) to the lush hills of the Appalachian mountains. (Virginia? I can't remember). Their reason? They wanted to grow food, and what with the lack of water in the desert, growing food was not an option there.

This has me thinking, of course. I mean I know that water is hard to come by in the desert but for some reason I thought that if we moved near the Rio Grande, surely there are lush areas there?

Last weekend we had some of Dan's family here. Dan's mum Melinda was telling me that the state of Texas was upset that they don't get any water from the Rio Grande and they were blaming New Mexico (since NM is upstream). That they want to drill massive wells into the land of New Mexico and then install pipes to ship that water from New Mexico to Texas.

Talk about getting blood from a stone.

Uh hello? New Mexico doesn't have water.

It occurred to me that it would make more sense for Texas, who has lots of money, to build a desalinization plant. They, after all, have access to the ocean whereas poor New Mexico is landlocked. Seriously, though, I think desalinization plants are going to become very important in the future. Australia has already embraced this technology.

I digress...

When considering a move to New Mexico, we have been thinking about what we would take. What would we take? What would we leave behind? We have decided that we would take only what we could drive with us in one trip. That means our pickup truck and possibly a trailer. The Tercel we'd give away. The beloved van, alas, would go to car heaven (the boneyard for vehicles). Almost all of our furniture was given to us and will likewise be given away. Many of our clothes currently in circulation will be thrown away - we are using old grubbies for our smelly fish job and after we leave, they will no longer be appealing to anyone. Instruments will be given away or sold. Books... I can pare mine down. I can't speak for Dan but really, how many hundreds of used paperback science fiction books does a person need?

Well, we're not going anywhere at the moment. I'm still lined up to work at and teach knitting at the yarn shop in Tofino. I'll be teaching the girls how to knit a la Waldorf. I'll continue to count fish.

We are still searching though, and it is interesting to consider other climates. We were relieved when Madrid gave the job to the other guy (really, 35 degree heat in a city of 14 million people seemed like torture to me). Montana is still a possibility.

So now that's interesting. We are currently in a rainforest/coastal climate. We were considering the desert but that's on hold at the moment. But then there is this other place with actual seasons and a proper winter. I grew up in a place that had winter. Alberta. You know, I actually like shoveling snow. Montana is appealing for a number of reasons. Dan's family has a condo in Missoula. Dan's aunt Susan and Uncle Roger (siblings of aforementioned Melinda) live a day's drive away in Utah. There is all kinds of fibery goodness happening in Montana! It would also be a day's drive away from my family. But most important, I already have a Gardening in Montana book. I'm dying to grow food.

We were supposed to have had by now a back yard full of raised beds for veggies. I know I have griped about it before but nutshell version: we moved here for a job that was supposed to pay Dan lots of money which would have afforded us the tools and materials to make my veggie garden possible. That never happened. Now the back yard looks like a bit of a mess with patches of dead grass where I had put the cardboard down for raised beds. I can't even afford to bring in some soil to throw on top. The earth that's there is full of clay and gravel, so not much will grow there. It's very frustrating to me because we spent two growing seasons in a place where growing space was limited and I got as much as I could out of that bit of land, and now that I have a much larger space, I can't do anything with it.

I suppose I'm just rambling and ranting now. Just wanted to share some of my thoughts with you, my dear readers. We continue with our uncertainty but make the best of it.

In other news, in another post, I will go on about how I have been knitting like a fiend...


  1. Thanks for keeping us all posted--I am living out my desert fantasies through you two, but you're right, gardening in the desert is a unique prospect. Check out Dissertation to Dirt's blog; they're currently farming in Texas. Very different than our mediterannean and rainforest climates! Have fun knitting with little girls!

  2. speaking of Montana, I am reading your blog post in our rented house, looking at Flathead lake, Montana, about 20 feet away from me. We have a dock too! And a great view of mountains across the lake from us - this lake it huge! I am guessing you'd love this area :-)