Hitting the trail for a good cause

We toss a bouquet of 2,650 lightweight wildflowers — one for each mile he’ll hike — and a pack of moleskin to Jim Harper of San Luis Obispo.

Jim is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a trek along the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.

Undertaking the hike is a feat in itself, but Harper also has a mission to carry out. He’s raising funds for Operation Walk USA, anonprofit that provides free hip and knee replacement surgeries for those who can’t afford the expensive operations.

Harper, 61, knows how life-changing joint re placement surgery can be; he had a hip replaced in 2010, and was amazed at how effective it was in rid ding him of chronic pain.

Jim starts his journey April 28; follow him at http://www.hike4hips.com. Happy trails, Jim.

Thankful for SLO county agriculture

They’re baaack. Strawberries, valued at nearly $206 million, regained the No. 1 spot on the county’s crop ranking last year. They just beat out wine grapes — the top crop in 2013.

Overall, though, the ag news was glum: Total value of San Luis Obispo County’s farm products dropped 2 percent last year, to $903 million, because of drought-related factors.

Cattle and avocado industries were hardest hit. The value of cattle and calves rose by 34 percent, but only because so many head were sold off on account of lack of grass and high cost of supplemental feed. Avocados dropped dramatically, by 48.4 percent, as many growers pruned or stumped trees to save on irrigation.

We offer all county farmers and ranchers hang-in-there bouquets of SLO-grown cut flowers (No. 6) along with our thanks for putting food on our table even under these stressful circumstances.

Pismo Beach leaders in need of math lesson

It turns out that Pismo Beach residents aren’t water hogs after all, so we’ll take back the brickbat nomination we proffered last week and replace it with a new calculator for City Hall.

The city mistakenly reported that 70 percent of Pismo’s water went to residential use, when in reality it was 48 percent. That lowered the city’s September per capita residential use — a benchmark the state used to set conservation targets — to 111.6 gallons per day, from 175 gallons. That makes Nipomo the biggest water guzzler in the county in September, at 156 gallons per day per capita, followed closely by Atascadero, with 154.6 gallons.

Helping museum’s sustainable plan

The Paso Robles Children’s Museum is replacing its thirsty turf

with drought-tolerant landscaping, and for that we offer the organization a lovely bouquetof non-prickly cacti.

The museum’s water bill was more than $2,800 last year, and most of that went to outdoor watering. The new landscaping will reduce costs for the nonprofit musuem, along with saving water for the city.

Plans include an outdoor play area with a tree house built to resemble a fire truck a fitting design, since the museum is housed in a former fire house. The entire project will cost $65,000.

If you can help by offering a donation, call 238-7432 or email jennifer@pasokids.org and we’ll put you down for a kid-friendly bouquet.