Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dry Weather Continues

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.


  1. it is like the summer of 1980 to me. When we moved here in late summer that year (August) the trees had yellow and brown leaves on them, already I have seen some like that near here.
    Grasshoppers are all over the place.

  2. Karen reminded me it was 1980 we had such a dry spell we lost a great old oak tree in the yard of our old house. Fortunately we don't have cattle to feed as I can imagine how difficult it must be to choose which cows to let go. I fear we aren't going to have rain for a while.

  3. The weather is definitely affecting all of us this summer..hang in there!

  4. Charlotte, I am so sorry. The heat wave is similar in my area but only 105 so far. My little garden and flowers are drying up.
    That is not important compared to your situation. I do stay concerned about fire since I am surrounded by acres of now dry woods...

  5. How devastating! Colorado is also very dry. You are so strong and inspiring to withstand this amazing hardship with such grace. You are in my thoughts.

  6. I am so sorry to hear this Charlotte. It is a bit difficult for us to go through a drought, but those of you who make a living from the land are the ones my heart aches for. It was exactly the same here for the ranchers and farmers last summer. We were hopeful the rains of the winter meant this summer would be better, but we are already back in a drought situation. I'm praying for you and for everyone affected by this crazy weather - and the terrible fires in Colorado.

  7. I am trying not to let myself be depressed, but I feel so bad for all our animals. They all stand at the fence and everyone except the horses bawls at us. I am feeding the sheep the leaves from the Brussels sprouts, since the plants aren't making anything anyway. But that's not much. I guess we just have to bear it.

    I can't help thinking about different books I've read, like The Edge of Time, and The First Four Years. Farming has always been hard, I guess.

  8. Oh, Charlotte, my heart aches for you. How sad this is. I pray that rain will find its way to you, soon, dear.

  9. My prayers are with you. It is this extremely hot here as well. It is a very hard year.

  10. I hope you get rain soon. It is very dry here also. The storms come through, but don't leave enough rain to help.

  11. My gosh Charlotte I am so sorry to hear of the drought, I do wish we could send rain your way.

    I saw on the news today, a map of states in drought conditions, it is so sad as it is such a large area.

    We have too much rain, I worry about what is going to happen with all of this weather causing farming issues.