Sunday, August 22, 2010

When Dragons Fly

It has been a while since my last post. Its not that nothing has been happening, but it has been rather a frustrating summer farm-wise and every time I sat down to write a post it came out as complaining. So here it is in (hopefully) non-complaining terms...RAIN! Too much rain, too often (ok, so maybe a little complaining).
May 5.5" (ave. 4.25")
June 13.6" (ave. 4.6")
July 10.85" (ave 4.1")
August to date: 7.9" (ave. 4.5")

Alone, none of these months seems too terribly alarming, but just these four months together total 37.65" of rain...a yardstick stood on end would be under water, along with a lot of other things! Also, note that the average annual rainfall here is 34.7". So in one-third of the year we have exceeded the annual average by several inches. This has translated to a variety of repercussions "on the ground."

Over the summer we lost at least 60% of our crops. The only two crops that have exceeded expectations have been the patty pan squash, which we have systematically buried the CSA in, and the okra.Were it not for the high tunnels which have been producing steadily, we would have been forced to close down the CSA mid-summer. This is the first of "counting our blessings"...we thank our lucky stars for those high tunnels, and the patty pans and okra!

In addition to that, because the soil has been and stayed so wet, we've been unable to do any planting in the fields since May. No succession planting at all...scary! We do have an absolutely beautiful field-wide crop of foxtail growing and as soon as we figure out a market for that, we'll be rich!

But, our house wasn't flooded and our family members are safe and largely healthy. Our livestock wasn't caught in rising waters and our vehicles and equipment are on high ground. Compared to a lot of people in the state, we have been (and still are) lucky. Though it isn't always easy to remember on a moment-to-moment basis in a summer like this.

I've been taking monthly Meditation sessions this summer and my instructor had suggested that maybe it would be a good time to focus on "gratitude". Since the things that were causing me so much stress were completely out of my control. Ok, that shouldn't be too difficult, I tend to be a pretty optimistic person. Hmmm, as in so many things, the theory and the practice are two entirely different realms!

And then last night just as the sun was settling toward the western horizon, the dragonflies arrived. We live in the country, near a number of ponds so there are always dragonflies around in the summer, but this was something different entirely. There were thousands of them, apparently all the same variety, swarming across the yard. We could see them hunting smaller flying insects, like mad-bomber-flying-aces. Occasionally we could hear the sudden rustle of translucent wings, but otherwise the only sound was the cadence of the cicadas. It went on for more than an hour, a mad ballet and aerial dogfight in the heavy, sponge-damp air of an August evening. Ah, this is gratitude...

5 comments:

Julie said...

Wonderful! The Dragonfly Cavalry arrived to take care of the mosquitoes! Good luck to you.

girlwithasword said...

I knew it was bad...but not that bad. wow. Just...wow.

BlueGate said...

Um, yeah...it really was/is. But we are optimistic that the season could still turn around...right? ; )

Teresa said...

You must live near me because that is the story of my summer (including the swarms of dragonflies). I will admit it is a bit easier for me to be grateful because I have my wonderful hills that drain the water. I wish you the best for the rest of the season.

BlueGate said...

Teresa we are in Marion Co, Iowa. We too are lucky to have hills, so we were never under water, but when you see water standing in the fields on top of the hills you know there is a problem. Very pleased and relieved to be finally drying out now.