|Ponds are drying up|
We are in drought, like much of the Midwest. It's hard to put into words how hard it is to see this. Pictures can tell you better than I can. We've been 'in drought' since April, although our last good rain was June 14. Most counties in the state of Missouri have been declared drought stricken and/or disaster areas. Farmers are suffering. This little farmer is suffering.
|Rouen my old girl eating some leaves off some limbs I cut for them with the big white sheep in the background doing the same|
|Young Fritzi, Tabitha and Old Callum enjoying something green to eat|
|Ranger and Fritzi share a branch. You can see they aren't starving yet. :-)|
|Bags of leaves to be stored in the barn. Desperate times call for desperate measures!|
Feeding the sheep sorta consumes my thoughts right now. I've been chainsawing down some trees for them to eat (they needed to be removed anyway) and clipping limbs. I rotate them around on the 'barrens' ---used to be pasture--so they can vacuum leaves each night. I've fed day old bread, any kind of scrap bread products for a treat at night. Animal crackers are there too, but of course this isn't much nutrition, just a nod to the mutual misery.
The big picture is that the 'real' farmers are in distress as well. Hay is already being fed. Herds are being culled heavily, with some selling out all. Weaners are going to sale early. There is little to no pasture left. Several farmers can't even cut their last hay fields because it got dry so quick and the danger of fires being sparked by the equipment. Now the fields are dry and not much use in the way of hay, or they are full of Johnson Grass, that scary stuff that can be good hay in normal times, but in drought turns lethal. It's a mess. Hay is being trucked in from other states, but you pay through the nose and sometimes it's not even edible stuff depending on how honest the dealer is.
Trees are dying. Some are going dormant, but many will be damaged or die. Grass is crunchy and dead. Not sure how much of that will recover, even if we get rains. I can't even hardly keep my hardy four o'clocks alive with watering them everyday.
My small garden is hanging in there. The tomatoes are producing a little bit, but most of the fruit is very small. My peppers got ate to ground by beetles but are trying to grow again. The green beans never produced, but the vines act as a little shade on catio. Most of the flowers I planted this year didn't make it.
The dust is terrible and people drive like maniacs, so that it billows out behind them, leaving dust clouds to drift over the fields and houses. The thoughtlessness of people continues to amaze me. The sheepies aren't much better--they tend to want to run everywhere (in hopes of being the first to find that stray leaf no doubt) so I'm often left in a dust storm. The dogs are filthy, the sheep are filthy, I'm filthy anytime I come back inside from chores.
It looks and feels like fall even though the temperatures continue to stay in the triple digits. It's hot. The dead grass and changing trees though fool one into thinking we are in late September or early October--especially when driving down the highway with the a/c cranked.
Because of the excessive heat I have an ewe I haven't sheared and ram lamb that hasn't been wethered. Actually neither one seem to mind! Rouen the old ewe is 12 and she seems to be just fine in her long fleece, while some of the younger shorn sheep stand around looking miserable. Fritzi the ram lamb hasn't a clue what is in store for him when the weather stabilizes.
The fate of the wild creatures weighs heavy on my mind too. I know at the moment I haven't even the hay to feed my own stock, but to know what is ahead for the wild animals if we do not get rain is sobering. Already they are having to scavenge around. Deer and rabbits are browsing through the day, and there is a young armadillo brazenly rooting through the yards during the day. 'Coons ransack my breezeway almost every night looking for a morsel to eat. If the wild animals are eating everything to the nub now, what will they do in the winter?
|Birds gather at the feeder. A bird bath nearby is also much used.|
There aren't very many insects and that is hurting the birds and other small animals that feed on them.
Fire danger is very high. Burn bans are in place but there are still idiots that must burn their trash or throw out their cigarettes. Or the innocents who while moving out hay or trying to mow fields or any number of normally harmless tasks, create a spark from their equipment and set the countryside on fire.
|Here's my pasture!|
The combination of high temperatures, no rain and hot dry winds have effectively baked everything. At times the wind has been so hot it would be nice to be able to bottle it up for winter. I've not seen anything like it. I vaguely remember there being a serious drought in the '70s and recall my Uncle chainsawing down trees to feed his dairy cows. The older folks talk about the drought of the'50s when people would have to drive their livestock for miles to the river just so they could drink. The comparison had been made that this drought was as bad as the '50s, but now 'they' are saying it could be as bad as the '30s (think dust bowl and depression). Now that is frightening.
|Lots of leaves for the sheep to eat or to be put up for later|
|The barn before the hay arrived. It looks much better now half full of hay!|
|The chickens are hungrier now too and demand extra scraps to supplement their grain. They are used to a multitude of bugs to eat as well as seeds and green grass|
|The strange and bizarre armadillo--they've only moved into the area over the last few years.|
I still search for hay. It's my mission these days. I got 15 more bales Friday and have now started feeding hay. Trying to keep them from wasting the precious stuff is a struggle. They do not understand that it's limited. And so it goes....
|Carly--dirty (and wet) dog! She has been cooling off in her pool. The other two use it as a big water bowl but would die before they got their footsies wet.|
And on a final...lighter note..I saw this ad on the local craigslist not long ago and it made me smile. Someone still has their sense of humor!
Wanted rain ... and lots of it - $9999999 (all of missouri)
Date: 2012-07-21, 5:25PM CDT
Reply to: email@example.com [Errors when replying to ads?]
lets not ever complain about rain againPostingID: 3154606836
- Location: all of missouri
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests