We did it! According to the latest weekly update of the California Drought Map, our immediate area is out of "Exceptional Drought". Now, we're merely in "Extreme Drought".
Collecting whatever we can in whatever we have
Local news reported December 2016 has been the rainiest month in Southern California in six years. December's rainfall stands at 4.12"; add in October and November for a total 6.13" (156 mm) for the season. Our official rain season runs from October 1 to September 30th. The rainiest months are normally January, February, and March, with almost no rain falling from May through September, for a historic average yearly rainfall of around 14". Southern California's rainfall total for 2011-2015 was just under 40" for an average of 8" per year.
One phenomenon this month was the moist appearance of the soil. Over the past five years our soil has been so dry that even an inch of rain was rapidly absorbed; after a rain, the soil still appeared dry. This dark color and puddling is a surprise.
Aloe bloom has been slow compared to the past five drought years, years in which heat waves throughout the winter months seemed endless. This year, the weather has been more "normal"--with cooler days and nights--days in the 60s F and nights in the 50s F.
Waiting on A. vanbalenii:
Waiting on A. cameronii:
A. thraskii peaks
Will January, February, and March bring more good news? We're all trying not to hope, lest we be disappointed again.