Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Feast or famine

I’m talking about rain.

This year, in our part of the world, it’s mostly famine. Two weeks ago we had four days of rain during which Victoria, Texas got about 8 inches, depending on whose measurement you believe. Other than that brief time span, we’ve had almost none. For months!

Every growing thing responded immediately to the moisture. By the time the ground was firm enough to run the mower across it, the grass was six inches high. Areas of my lawn which had not needed mowing all spring suddenly produced enough volume that I had piles of clippings in every spot where the mover made a turn.

Four days later it was time to mow again. Now, a week later, I once more have about 6 inches of grass to cut.

But now the ground below the vegetation is dry and powdery once more. When I mow today I will throw up clouds of dust when I pass over some sparse areas.

And then, unless we get another shower, I probably won’t have to mow again because all growth will shut down pending more moisture.

The rain we had was welcome. In fact, it was desperately needed by those with livestock who depend on pasture to support their herds.

But did it “break the drought?” Not nearly.

People here are starting to talk about how “nice” it would be to get an Alberto-strength tropical storm to dump additional inches of water on this area. Well, okay; but let’s be careful what we wish for.

We haven’t forgotten Katrina, have we? And what about Rita, where the evacuation efforts (some ill-advised) killed more people than the storm did.

Given that choice, I’d opt for continuing famine (of rain). For now, at least.


Anonymous said...

We just had Alberto over here (Tampa Bay) and it did provide some much needed rain. We are in a drought here too. Anyway, it wasn't nearly enough... we live near the Hillsborough River and you can barely see any change at all in water level (IF any). Alot of twigs, leaves and small branches blew down here, but not much more than that - didnt even lose power. But, again, not enough rain.

Trish said...

We've been getting more rain than normal for this time of the year.

Plus--For the past four days we've been getting horrible thunder/rain storms. Last night it rained so hard in about a fifteen minute period we had our first flash flood ever.

It washed a two by four foot crevice down our driveway. In fifteen minutes, that's how hard it rained.


Anonymous said...

We have been so fortuntate to have had quite a bit of rain this early on in winter. Our dams and reservoirs are now up to 50% full, still a long way to go if we do not want water restrictions in summer. Two winters of low rainfall has meant 2 summers of drought and the government had to declare some farming areas a disaster area. I know what you are going through and pray you get more rain your way. Eventually you wont have to mow unless you are able to fertilise and water it regularly. I fertilised my lawn and watered it twice a week last summer and that, fortunately, was enough to keep it growing and green through summer.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Wow. Theresa has feast, most of the rest of us have famine.

Why can't we be like Baby Bear in the Three Bears story, for whom everything was "just right?"


Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought of fitting astroturf. I have seen many a football (that it American football, not English Football, soccer) stadium with astroturf.

Its much better than real grass as it never needs mowing or watering.

It does however leave really nasty burns if you fall over on it.

Its a good job I am here to sort out these problems for you !

Anonymous said...

ok duke 3/4 of an acre is 3000m2 I have found a reptutable dealer on ebay who will sell you grass in 6*4 meter squares. These are only £300 !!!!

That means you'll need about 112 sections to cover your plot which I think comes down to around $120,000 ONLY !!!!

Anonymous said...

I did see the fund bit yes ! Although I'm still wondering where the three bears fit in with "...the better to EAT you with, my dear!"

Are you talking about the lesser known tale little red riding bear and her half sister Goldilocks ?

Duke_of_Earle said...


In our version the wolf was a first cousin to Baby Bear. Or something like that. And I think the red-headed Riding Hood girl was somehow related to the blonde Goldilocks by marriage, but not by blood.

It all got confused when Jill and I fell down that damned hill after going up for a stupid bucket of water. I ended up with a broken crown, and my menory's been scrambled ever since. My nickname was Jack, back then.

Clear now?

Zinnia said...

I'm worried about our gardens. We went from having too much rain to having to water our strawberries for the past three evenings and giving our new plants enough of a drink to keep them from dying.

Btw, I updated my contest announcement on my blog.

Anonymous said...

There was an interesting article in the WSJ this week about how the drought in the US Southeast has hurt fire ant populations -- and how, as a result, the populations of other insect pests, like chiggers, is exploding (fire ants prey on them).

Nature is amazing . . .