Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Time...But the Living Ain't Easy

This is truly a long, hot summer. Today was the second time we've reached 111 in the last few weeks. We haven't had a really good rain in months. In fact, we feel lucky if we get enough rain to wash the dust off the leaves. The cracks in the soil are inches wide and gaping. Even my native perennials and grasses are struggling and I've resorted to deep watering a few to nurse them through the summer.

Farther away from the house, the prairie we're trying to restore is struggling too. It greened up nicely after the burn this spring and looked good until about a month ago, but now it's parched. The grasses should be almost up to the dogs' backs, but they are barely ankle height. The deer skull was almost completely hidden by vegetation in mid June; now it's almost as fully exposed as it was after the burn.

I saw a piece on TV a week or two ago asking for suggestions on how to visually show heat. It's hard. A picture of someone sweating? ...or of a dog panting? ...of a plant wilting? Somehow none of them can begin to convey the angst of the sapping heat and drought that has got us in its grip.

Grasshoppers seem to be doing phenomenally well, though, at least in my yard. And blister beetles. I've decided to nurse my tomato plants along just enough to keep the adult blister beetles fed, hoping that they'll lay lots of eggs and produce lots of baby blister beetles to eat all the gazillion grasshopper eggs we're going to have. (Every blister beetle eats about 21-27 grasshopper eggs as it grows to maturity. Doesn't that sound wonderful?!) With this heat, there's no way I'm going to get any tomatoes anyway, so at least the plants are providing us with some benefit!

The prairie is showing its severe side. I think often of what this sort of weather must have been like for the poor pioneers trying to keep themselves fed and watered without any of our modern conveniences. I feel grateful for our well and for our air conditioning every day. I know that this, too, shall pass, but some days I get a little shaky, wondering what would happen if it didn't...

1 comment:

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

This is truely a year when only the tough will survive. The heat is the worst. So sorry you aren't getting tomatoes. Mine, which have some late day shade and get watered each day are struggling. My parents' tomatoes which are out in the open more like yours are barely living. The prairie grass will return. Hope the flowers you're watering reward you in the future.