Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Discovering a Little Delta History in Discovery Bay (San Francisco Bay)

The most recent Enchanted by Sewing Audio/Podcast is a sewing duologue between me and Susan in this glorious California Delta setting. You can download it to a mobile device, or simply listen on the web while you're doing something else.
Tule Fog has been both helping and hindering locals in the Delta
for over four thousand years
We often zip through the delta area of the San Francisco Bay, on our way to or from the mountains. This month I took my time with the rural, delta scenery on a day field trip to hangout at
 my buddy Susan's house for a chummy lunch and sewing afternoon. Susan lives in Discovery Bay, a rural-edge  community near Livermore, along the banks of the historic California Delta water system - where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers flow into the San Francisco Bay.

When I lit on the windmill above, I knew I'd found a time travel portal back to an era of freshly plowed fields, misty skies and well-loved farm houses. It spoke of California in another age, a time before silicon when fruits and nuts reigned supreme.

Discovery Bay emerged from barley and potato fields in 1964, but it still looks very agricultural 'round about. The area is still rich agricultural land, second only to California’s Great Central Valley, which still feeds many parts of the world. You can imagine that wonderful soil being washed down the great rivers and depositing itself in the valleys here. Nowadays with a lot of land zoned agricultural, I wonder if you’d be able to convert agriculturally zoned land to housing?

Humans have inhabited the Delta for at least 4,300 years. Before European contact, the Maidu and Miwok people benefited from the rich soil, just like the later farmers. These early inhabitants harvested foods and wildlife that grew and fed here. They also gathered the native tule reeds that grew in the marshy areas hereabout. They used the tules for boats, houses, and fabric for clothing.

Next time I go for a sewing day with Susan, maybe we'll keep out eyes open for tules. I wonder if there are any Vogue patterns we could alter to sew up from tules?

When I drove to Susan’s I witnessed a mild tule fog. If you don’t live in California, you’ve probably never seen anything like this soupy fog. It’s unique to the area. Tule fog happens between November and March, after we've had a good soaking rain. The moisture then rises up and hangs in the air, where it becomes the leading cause of weather-related accidents in California. It turns out that over the past three decades, tule fogs are decreasing.

Wouldn't you think that would be a good thing?

It turns out that local fruit and nut crops, an important part of the economy, have been impacted by this lack of moisture.

Bring back the tules!
 ~ ~ ~
Web Resources
Listen in on my sewing day with Susan in the Enchanted by Sewing Audio/Podcast 

Discovery Bay,_California–San_Joaquin_River_Delta

Tule Fog What is it?
Impact of decreasing Tule fog on crops

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