Three weeks ago I wrote about the dry weather we're having this year, on the heels of a hot, dry summer last year. We had a very mild winter, and warm weather came earlier this spring than usual. Since March, we have had only 1/2 inch of measurable rainfall and now we're in a serious drought condition. These two pictures show the toll it has taken on my flowers. I'm not sure how many will survive; a lot of them are daylilies and irises so maybe their underground corms and bulbs will come again. Even the things I have in containers on the porch are having a difficult time with the heat; Monday the temperature on the porch reached 113* in the shade!
The vegetable garden never got a start really; I did have a few little potatoes and tomatoes until grasshoppers invaded. They thrive in dry weather!
But flowers and vegetables are not our number one worry, for they can be replaced. The cattle are our main concern now. They're used to having green grass in the spring and summer, and this year the grass didn't have time to come back from winter. We have been feeding hay, put up for next winter, for several weeks and every day the row of bales grows shorter; how do we feed all of them come cold weather? Even if there was grass enough to cut for hay, there is such a great fire danger that we don't dare take the equipment out and take a chance of the tines on the baler or rake striking a rock and making a spark to catch the grass on fire.
So we have started feeding grain to the cattle along with the hay. They come running
and wait at the gate
while Popa puts feed in the troughs.
It's much too dangerous to be inside the corral with the hungry cattle, so he opens the gate from one side, climbs up on the fence and they rush in, stirring up a terrible dust cloud. I can only hold my breath until the wind carries the dust away; the wind? oh yes, it blows every day, pushing the dust up into our noses and driving it into every crack and crevice of the house.
The calves don't have much chance to get to the feed, so Popa is bringing in more troughs.
Hope for rain is dwindling; I find myself praying less for rain and my conscience nags at me about that. It's so sad to think about having to sell some of the cows just to have enough to feed the others. How does one pick the cows that go? How do you put Sulky, or number 748, or others on a trailer and send them off to market? These have become our life.
This is only one herd of three that we have. These are on a hillside pasture and the grass is eaten down to the roots. The others still have a little bit of dry grass to eat on. The pond is so low there is a ring of dry dirt in the middle, and the creeks only have pools of water in them.