As I walk through the yard to the mailbox, the grass crunches beneath my feet. There is nothing lush and green about it. We need rain!
The fields that my son mowed for hay have not begun to regrow as they usually do. Animals depend on good forage to grow. Although the quality and quantity of hay per acre was good, he fears it will not be enough to see the animals through this winter. He already contacted nearby farmers and made provision to purchase hay because he thinks he will have to start feeding early this year.
Who would have thought as we endured the never-ending rain this spring that we would be in a drought? Webster's defines drought as prolonged dry weather. We have certainly had that. I have not had to mow my lawn during the month of July. Couple that with the scorching temperatures that we have endured this past week and it spells disaster for the crops.
We cannot complain that we did not have any summer weather this year. I can stand a lot of heat, but what we have had has been oppressive. I do not feel like doing much of anything. I have had a chance to read all of the library books I borrow when the children and I make our bi-weekly trip.
What I notice around here is that those who planted their seeds and plants between the raindrops of spring have decent growth. One neighbor already has summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers to sell. Crops that were planted after the danger of frost was passed this year are not having much luck.
The tomato plants that I have were volunteers from last year's crop of cherry tomatoes. I thought that might be a good thing since the root systems were well established by the time I saw the sprouts. It does not seem to be the case. The plants are surviving, but not thriving. They have grown little.
My small bed of herbs is doing fine, but when I cut them they do not regrow as they normally would.
As for the flowers I planted, they too, are alive, but not in prolific bloom. I have an old watering trough that I use for flowers. Since this is made of stone it usually provides an excellent place for plants. This year I planted marigolds in there to discourage the rabbits. The flowers are still alive, but, in spite of my adding water from the house dehumidifier, they are not thriving.
I am truly thankful for a good well. When we moved into this farmhouse we were told that water was always a problem on this farm. The house was fed by a series of springs. They were accustomed to running out of water during the summer. We were proactive. Before we moved in we drilled a well. The well is more than 100 feet deep and is a more than adequate supply for this household.
People who live in the cities and towns do not worry about the water supply. They know when they turn the spigot; water will flow out of it. I remember doing what I called "green minutes" with one of my classes. The children were astounded to see how much water an average family of four used in a week. We talked about water quality. I went over the idea that when you live on a farm you have an independent source of water. I explained about drilling a well to supply your home with water. I also explained when there was a power outage, the farm was without water. I think farmers are natural conservationists out of necessity. Their way of life depends on the environment so they think more about it.
Water is something that many people take for granted. I do not feel that way. The only thing that feeds my water system is run off from the hills behind the farm. When the oil guys visited with their leases and tried their best to persuade us to lease our land, I held out. The water supply of the farm is of prime importance. I did not wish to have anything done that might destroy what we had.
On the nearby farms where they drilled, the ugly tanks and apparatus take center stage. These drilling eyesores are very near the road so as to be easily accessible. We did not want that for the farm either. No matter how inviting the pitch of the salesmen, and we had several visit, my family decided against leasing. No, we do not get help with our taxes, but we do not worry about the water quality either.
The situation of the dryness around here is serious at this point. I fear that a lot of cattle will flood the market this fall unless we get a good amount of rain soon. We had a small shower this past weekend and another one today, but it was not nearly enough to do much good. Everything was dry by morning. What we really need is an all-night rain maybe even a couple of them.
I know the Lord is in control, but at this point I am anxious. Lord help me to have faith that all things work out for the best, but, please Lord, let us get some rain soon!
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org