The drought is good for grapes, but it’s been better for Cal Water!

I've been watering these old grape vines for months now.

I’ve been watering these old grape vines for months now.

Today I got a nice surprise – I got down on my hands and knees and crawled into our old grape vines, and what do you know – they were heavy with sweet little fruits.

It didn't look like much of a haul from outside the vines.

It didn’t look like much of a haul from outside the vines.

I’ve been waiting and watching for enough of them to get ripe to start running them through my juicer. They’re small and tough, but the juice is just fabulous. I got about five pints of juice last year. I misplaced one deep in the freezer under some meat, and what a treat that was in February.

Yesterday I decided to go for it, I’d seen enough nice purple ones, they felt soft and juicy, and were in imminent danger of being snatched by blue jays or squirrels. I made my move, I couldn’t get over what I saw when I crawled in there.

Well, I must say, this drought has been good for me.

Well, I must say, this drought has been good for me.

I saw a piece on the Ch 7 news that reported the drought is good for grapes. They said it makes them sweeter. I agree. And for some reason, it makes them grow like nobody’s business.

They weren’t all ripe, and I didn’t think I could handle all of them anyway.  I have to wash and pull them all off the stem before I can juice them, so I wanted a manageable amount. I tried to pick the very ripest ones, and I’ll lay them on the kitchen counter in a bowl for a day or so before I juice them – seems to make them more cooperative.

I sit on a stool at my kitchen counter and watch Rockford Files while I pick grapes off the stem for my juicer.

I sit on a stool at my kitchen counter and watch Rockford Files while I pick grapes off the stem for my juicer.

I’ve been picking peaches the same way – I drag my little red wagon full of empty boxes out to the orchard, climb into the bird netting my husband and I fastened around the trees, and pinch and twist the fruit that looks right, see if it’s ready to fall off.  I hate to leave them too long for the jays, but the net has really been helping.

Unfortunately, our apple tree that we didn’t wrap was just about wiped out, I had to strip what was left yesterday.

We didn't wrap our little Fuji apples with netting and this what the blue jays left us. They're wonderful sweet little apples, I'll put them in the fridge and juice them when I want.

This what the blue jays left us. They’re wonderful sweet little apples, I’ll put them in the fridge and juice them when I want.

Summer is like Ice Cream Man. He comes when he comes, and he moves right along the street. You better keep your change on the table by the door, cause while your routing through your sock drawer he’ll be off and around the corner. 

Summer comes on strong, wearing that sweet perfume, carrying a horn of Plenty. If I don’t keep up with Her, she will leave my freezer empty.

So I try to hit  the ground running every morning. My kitchen counter is covered with various fruits, the floor is sticky, the sink is often piled with  strainers and cutting  boards, the stove a mess of pots. Sometimes I have to do more than one thing with the same pot, and there’s cussing. I take up the whole kitchen, I’m like a dog in a manger – who left dirty dishes in my pile of dirty dishes!?!, etc. 

I’m tired of standing, grinding, pouring, stirring, running up and down the stairs with a wash tub full of pint containers. I’m even tired of thinking, making decisions, trying to remember stuff, etc. Yesterday I had too many things on the timer, and I had to use Post It notes.  

Today is Friday, and a lot of public workers are out of their office. I finally got a note back from Claudia Portillo, the gal at the California Public Utilities Commission Advisor’s office.

She says, “I’m sorry you had to try so many different departments within the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) before reaching the Public Advisor’s Office (PAO). I know that can be frustrating but we did receive your email on July 8 and the prior phone calls.  I wanted to clear up a few things before I get to your specific questions. Annie, who answered your phone call in PAO, was not denying the General Rate Case (GRC) or that it had been filed. The fact is at the time you had called California Water (Cal Water) had not yet filed their rate case. I also did not deny anything in regards to Cal Water’s application. I can understand why you might have been confused given the information in the article. I cannot say for certain where or when the information in the article was provided because the CPUC had no part in the article’s contents, but it appears it was working off slightly old information. Cal Water was planning on filing their GRC at the beginning of July but for reasons known only to Cal Water they delayed their filing a few days. Cal Water filed their GRC Application on July 9, 2015, from the looks of it, a few days after the article was published. At the time you contacted the PAO we did not know when Cal Water would actually file their application, only that it was delayed.

 “I cannot comment for certain on Cal Water’s website but my guess is it did not have any additional information on the application when you checked because again, it hadn’t been filed yet. Now that it has been filed it is public information and I will answer your questions as best as I can.”

I don’t know what she’s talking about because right after I got off the phone with her co-worker my friend from Marysville sent me the rate case information. It was posted on the Cal Water website, as of July 6, just like I told her.  She sounds awfully defensive, but at least I did get the information I had asked her for.

“Customers should receive a notice informing them of Cal Water’s GRC Application in their next bill. Depending on the type of bill cycle Cal Water has they must inform their customers within 45-75 days of filing their application. The notice must also be posted in a local paper of general circulation within 20 days of filing the notice. I don’t know what newspaper that would be in your area.

The process for the application at this point will be that it will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (Judge) and a Commissioner. The Judge will schedule a Prehearing Conference (PHC). At the PHC the scope, schedule, and other substantive proceeding matters will be scheduled. The schedule includes possible evidentiary hearings as well as possible public hearings so there is no information about that until later on in the proceeding process. If or when public hearings are scheduled Cal Water will post a notice in the local paper as well as send customer notices.

“A copy of the application is available on the CPUC website as well as from Cal Water. The notice you will receive will have more information about the application and how to obtain copies of it and any exhibits that were submitted with the application.

” If you would like to continue to be informed and follow this proceeding you may do so by using the CPUC’s free subscription service. I’ve provided the link below.

 You must provide your email and other information including the proceeding number which is A.15-07-015. When documents are added to the proceedings record you will be notified via email and provided a link to the documents.”

When I responded to thank her for the information I received  an automated notice that she would be out of her office both Thursday and Friday. 







2 thoughts on “The drought is good for grapes, but it’s been better for Cal Water!

  1. So I am sitting here in my faux leather chair (hey, it’s all I can afford after the gummit gets done with me) that I just assembled (old chair broke), and now the chair instructions tell me “Sit down on the job in custom comfort.” So I am and I am reading this book on WordPress. It talks about social media listening hubs. It lets you monitor what people are writing and saying about the topics you write about and even what is being written about you. You can import free monitoring tools right into the dashboard. These tools can pick up blog coverage, Twitter remarks and message board comments among other things. You could also use google alerts for this type of thing. Do you use any of this stuff?

    • My blog has all kind of tools like that but I haven’t had time to learn how to use them. One of these days!

      Wow, sounds like you got the same chair I got – the faux leather ergonomic support chair from WalMart. I got the $50 job, but they had fancier models. I just couldn’t tell what exactly it was about the fancier models that made them worth $100 and $200. I saw a chair at Office Depot for $400 – I would expect that to double as a toilet. And play music.

      Of course, I can’t get anything too complicated or I can’t figure out how to use it.

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