Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Finally some rain

Finally we got rain! For about an hour and a half it rained here. Not hard, but not one of those paltry little drizzly affairs that leave you with nothing but humid air.
Oh it wasn't enough that's for sure, but who can complain at this point? So far---depending on the exact location of monitoring we are approximately down 16" of rain for the year. With only about 9" overall having fallen on our area. I know---it really doesn't seem like that much but imagine your lawn or garden needs approximately one inch per week. You can get it as say...2 inches one week, skip a week then get some more but however it is it needs to average out to about one inch. So far we have had 24 weeks in this year to split amongst that 9 inches --which does seem to leave us a bit shy of the mark especially when you consider most of our 9 inches was back in the beginning of the year.
We personally haven't had more than 2 separate 5 minute rains in 8 weeks here on our property. That is absolutely not an exaggeration either (unfortunately). Also, to give you an understanding of what we are lacking, the average rainfall for our area is considered to be about 53 inches. Which works out to--you guessed it---about an inch per week.
Now lets consider where our family is in the Dallas/Ft Worth area of Texas and also East Texas. Now East Texas gets a little bit more than DFW which has an annual average of 33 inches. They had in the month of May 20 inches of rain. Yes, almost their entire years worth of rain fell in one month over the coarse of 21 days during that month. AND to make it even more of a spit in the face to us (had to make the water connection here) they have since then received about 6 inches just last week. How dare they? (As if they had a choice right?)
Well, it just goes to show you that no matter where you live or decide to move---the weather can get you every time, any place, any year.

Which leaves us to wonder? Will we be raising animals next year? That is a question I can not answer yet. Fortunately for us we have a great family and our cows now reside in Texas---eating their way through all that grass, waiting for a better year to come back to us. However that doesn't help our grass grow here for our sheep---it just relieves the amount of hay we have to purchase and feed each day. (which by the way Maggie are doing fine thanks for asking) Can one raise animals in an area that perpetually seems to be in a drought? Yes, I know we could cut down to two or three sheep however our pastures are so dried out that we would still need hay and we wouldn't get enough lambs to make the work involved, time and trouble worth it. So soon---we will work very hard to finish our house, sell and find more acreage somewhere else. Enough to buffer us and our animals even in times of extreme drought as we are seeing now. Even if I didn't raise animals the question of whether it is even worth raising veggies begs to be asked. Because really---we all think that when there is a drought that "oh well, city water folks can't water their lawn however we are o.k because we have a well" Wells go dry people---especially in extreme droughts. Lakes, rivers and streams do also--just consider Lake Chad in Africa. It's a pittance of what it was in the 60's.
Wells dry up, lakes dry up, rivers and streams do too. How then do you store and control your water to make the best use of it? Sounds like Austin Texas has a better handle on it than some of the rest of us do. Rain water collection, grey water usage for orchards, xeriscaping, low flow toilets or composting toilets....many ideas to choose from. Now we just all need to get over the idea that we should, and can, turn on the tap, flush the toilet and water our garden whenever and however we want with no repercussions involved. Screw the neighbors---every man for himself right? I think I smell a water war in those lack of rain clouds.


Cheryl said...

I'm glad you finally got some rain, Monica.
I can't believe that it's getting to the point that you feel you'll have to relocate because of it, how scary. That being said, if you're looking for water, the Pacific Northwest has no shortage of the stuff (hint, hint)!

maggie said...

I think droughts are cyclical. I think our farming forebears had to plan for dry as well as flood. That said, it's tough to decide to shrink a herd down. Frustrating. I also agree that people need to be more aware of where their water comes from. As populations grow in areas the impact on aquafers grows . So people need to be educated in the use of greywater, rain barrels and cisterns for watering(one of the things we work on at the new job!).
Only our vegetables are getting watered now and mostly by hand. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for rain.