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Melanie Wong | Aug 18, 201912:26 PM     3

" . . . old Tulare Lake, which rose by flood and sank by drought. Four tribes of Yokut lived along its shores. On the shallow bottom, the women fished mussels and clams with their toes. The nets of the Chinese during the Gold Rush caught terrapin that was served as turtle soup in the fanciest restaurants of San Francisco. Then the men of cotton, driven out of the South by the boll weevil, put the five rivers into canals and dried up the lake. They made a new plantation here. Before he died at age 86, J.G. Boswell told me what a fool he and his forebears had been for wasting water, sun, and soil in California to raise fiber, of all things. Cotton still grows on the lake bottom, but less and less each year. Thousands of acres of pistachio trees now await the next flood. Boswell pumps reach 2,500 feet into the earth looking for water to grow crops, looking for water to sell. For now, they’re selling to farmers like Resnick who can pay the price. . . "

A Kingdom from Dust

A story of power, drought, migrant labor, and an insatiable drive to expand.

story.californiasunday.com
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