And then there was a drought. In August my schedule cleared and I once again began accompanying Farmer John on his daily rounds, but I had no heart to describe the terrain we covered. Grasses gone brown and dormant, a sun that had become malevolent in its scorching intensity, crops that withered and died...it was worse than disheartening; it was very nearly horrifying. Our ponds went dry and we began hauling water for cattle.
Small silver linings appeared. When ponds are dry they can be cleaned out and deepened, and John rented a bulldozer to complete this task. And then at a meeting John attended a conservationist told him that drought is one of the best ways to break up the hardpan layer of earth that can compromise drainage for fields and pastures. Those deep cracks in the earth that nearly made tears come to my eyes--it seemed the land was crying out for water--served a valuable purpose after all. But it was a sad and wearing time nonetheless.
Finally, toward the end of September, we received a 3 inch rain. Grasses greened, and the cattle grazed eagerly. The ponds John had cleaned were no longer completely dry. A week or so later there was another half inch or so, and then nearly an inch fell this past weekend. And the hundred degree temperatures of late summer finally gave way to freshening breezes of early fall.
This morning I picked up my camera as Farmer John and I left the house to do chores. We are blessed to welcome autumn back on the farm!
|Our little yellow farmhouse. The maple tree at the left of this photo has turned red and the grass has greened due to recent rains.|
|Weeping willow with a thick vine of red poison ivy in the background. The leaves on the trees look healthy again. s|