A little bit about a lot of things:

• Spring appears to have full-on arrived, with the weather turning toward sunshine and warm temperatures over the course of the past week.

The gorgeous weather is coaxing more and more plants and trees into the annual rebirth of spring....a truly miraculous season which renews my faith in life and admiration of nature.

Our peach tree has blossomed and set tiny fruit, and the orange and lemon trees are bursting into full bloom....much to the delight of the bees that love our yard.

Out of nowhere, it seems, the pomegranate tree is fully leafed out and the Rose of Sharon which bloomed so beautifully last year is following suit as green leaves begin to appear on its bare stems.

We’ve done the last of the pruning, and Kat - the real gardener in our household - has started seedlings that will find their way into the ground and is planning out this year’s garden.

Winter, what little there was of it, suddenly seems like a distant memory.

The seasons have gone by in a blur the past year, it seems, and I’m sure that before we know it the valley’s notorious heat will arrive.

In the meantime, spring is a season to be savored.

• The arrival of spring also means that residents will be dragging out their garden hoses and turning on irrigation systems to nurture their landscaping.

Just a reminder to use water wisely and as efficiently as possible to conserve the valuable resource.

Newman’s mandatory water conservation program remains in effect, with designated days and watering times. Violations could bring a citation.....although typically the city will first issue warnings to educate and encourage compliance. The year-round conservation program allows residents to water three days a week. Those with even-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; those with odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

No outdoor water use is allowed between the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Residential vehicle washing is limited to once a week, during the designated hours, and use of a quick-acting automatic shutoff valve on hoses is required.

Gustine has adopted a voluntary water conservation program which recommends those with even-numbered addresses water only on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Those with odd-numbered addresses are asked to water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The voluntary plan also asks residents to refrain from watering between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and noon to 7 p.m.

It is incumbent upon all of us to use water wisely......avoid over-watering and gutter-flooding, install efficient irrigation when possible, and perhaps even give up lawns in favor of drought tolerant landscaping.

At the Harris household, lawn has entirely gone by the wayside and while I sometimes miss having at least a patch of grass I more enjoy having our urban farm-scape. While we are not necessarily water saints, we try to be very cognizant of water use and not waste the precious resource. To be honest, though, I don’t know how our water use now compares to our consumption when we were regularly watering a lawn. But, it just feels different to be using the water to produce fruits, vegetables and a variety of herbs as opposed to maintaining aesthetics.

I do believe that most of us are more water-aware than we were 10 years ago, and are doing a better job of using water wisely. Sure, there are always some exceptions but I rarely see flagrant examples of water waste.

Let’s continue to be good stewards of that precious resource.

• This was a first, and hopefully a last....never thought I would be taking first-day-of-school photos in late March, but that’s exactly what I found myself doing last Thursday at Orestimba High. Technically, of course, it wasn’t a first day of school because distance learning has been ongoing since August at OHS and Yolo. But I suspect that most of the students who returned to campus last week when classroom instruction resumed would tell you that, yes, it was the first day of school.

And most of them were probably thrilled to get back to the classroom.

Still trying to wrap my head around the reality that most of those students hadn’t set foot on their high school campus in more than a year.

Hopefully the seniors can carve some memorable moments out of the remaining two months of the school year and enjoy at least some semblance of the traditional activities.

But let’s not forget the freshmen, either. How challenging has it been for them to spend most of their first high school year in front of a computer rather than in a classroom?

Can’t even begin to imagine.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.