Sunday, June 17, 2007

How do you do a rain dance?

Man is it dry. Dry and hot.

At least it's a dry heat.

We topped out around 94F today. Low humidity, and a bit of a breeze, which made it better than most 94 degree days around here, but man...

Since the first of May, we've had about one inch of rain. A few showers that barely registered on my rain gauge in May, and a couple t-storms in early June that brought 3/4 of an inch in a ocuple days.

So far I've lost two redbuds, a sweet bay magnolia, and a beautiful tricolor beech tree, as well as a few shrubs. I've been watering the garden, and all of the new transplants, so a lot of our plants are treading water (so to speak). I've had to carry quite a few buckets out to the farthest baby trees. I may lose a few of them anyway.

I planted a bunch of woody things this year, and so I've spent the last couple months watering bare sticks. Three of my four peach trees leafed out nicely, but the last one steadfastly refused to show signs of life. But the branches were still bendy, and scraping under the bark still showed green, so I kept watering. It finally came out with some leaves just a few days ago. I still have three more stick trees and many more stick raspberries with no vital signs, but I'm keeping the faith. For now.

Unfortunately, my rain barrels ran dry again. Guess I need to add more capacity. I generally try not to use the well water for anything but the garden. It sucks up way too much softener salt as it is, and I don't know that all that salt is great for the plants. But what can you do? (You can get the water pre-softener, if you were smart enough to plumb it that way. It never crossed my mind at the time.)

We may lose our fish if the pond goes much lower, but at least the willows are growing around the edges. I can give the goats an occasional armload of stuff that's actually more green than brown.

It's been a tough year weatherwise. Mild winter = lots of hay consumption. (The animals were more active while the pastures were dormant.) Then we had a frigid March, including an ice storm, which stressed out the plants and made them confused about when to start growing. Then from April until now, it's been pretty nice from a recreational point of view, but from a garden & farm point of view, waaaay too dry. Less water means less growth.

We hear thunder and see lightning from time to time. But it always misses us. Today there was a passing shower that speckled the back windows. But it didn't even get the ground wet.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be hotter, with some chance of rain. Cooler temps arrive on Tuesday, and hopefully that means a front is coming. We'll see...

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At 6/18/2007 5:48 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

It's dry here in Portage county, too. I planted 7 raspberry canes and only 2 of them leafed out, even with vigilant watering. I'm so glad I didn't plant the fruit trees this year, and will take time over the summer to prepare the holes with plenty of organic matter, then let them sit over winter, for next spring planting. That will hopefully help with some moisture retention for next year.

Our 7 day forecast shows possible showers today, more likely tomorrow with the cool front. Here's hoping!

At 6/18/2007 9:31 AM, Blogger dguzman said...

My new blueberry plants were sticks for a while, then the sticks just disappeared--I think they gave up the ghost. We've had a little more rain in Central PA than in OH, but not much. Good luck playing Gunga Din.

At 6/19/2007 6:01 PM, Blogger JBTW said...

I thought we could use some rain, but I think you're in more need. I'm sending to you via mental brain waves... I hope it reaches you soon. Good luck twig trees -- I always feel for those (I'm still mad at a squirrel who pulled mine up thinking it was it's marker for some food!!! So long ago, still so bitter!!!!)

At 6/22/2007 10:19 AM, Blogger Pat Meadows said...


Since the softener and watering the garden are going to be continual problems, I'd pay a plumber to make a separate tap for a garden house: one that gets the water pre-softener. We did this.


At 6/22/2007 10:21 AM, Blogger Pat Meadows said...

PS - I'm sorry about your fruit trees and canes. What a nuisance!


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