What’s there to say? Today’s temperature so far is 109F (42.7C.) No rain in my garden since June, and with few exceptions, the temperature has been over 100F. This week has been anywhere from 107F to 114F. That’s not a typo. According to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, it is the second driest year since 1936. The real estate section of the newspaper showed a photo of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl with the headline, “It could be worse.”
Maybe. If this continues much longer, it will be worse. I’ve gardened extensively since I was nineteen, and this is the worst year I’ve ever seen.
I wait until late at night and water all the containers. If I forget, I get up very early and water them. I soak the soil around the roots and try not to get much water on the leaves. Water droplets on leaves become a magnifying glass for this kind of heat.
I make a trip up to the barn and check on the chickens. They have continuous water, but I always fear for them. I give them fresh food with moisture like extra vegetable and fruit scraps too. We have water everywhere for the dogs. No worry of mosquitoes now because the water doesn’t last long. One tub is big enough for the Labradors to get in and stand. We also have the spring-fed pond for them to swim.
I am fortunate because I live in the countryside. I have a good, deep well and don’t pay for water. I am unfortunate because I live in the country, and there have been fires all around us. We rely on volunteer fire departments out here, courageous men and women who are willing to spend all their time fighting brush fires. My part of Oklahoma had two years of good rain before this so we have a lot of dry vegetation. One of the reasons I keep my area watered is to make it more resistant to fire.
While out taking pictures, my nostrils were filled with acrid smoke. There is a fire about five miles away. Remember the tornadoes earlier this spring? I fear fire much more than tornadoes. You can get in the safe room and escape the tornado, but fire sweeps the world clean.
If I lived in town, the sheer expense of watering would be cost prohibitive. When I go to Oklahoma City, I drive past brown lawns where people have already given up.
I understand why.
I now feel bad for leaving my daughter to water all of this while I was out of town because I am finding it exhausting. Writing a story on pests and diseases, I went out this morning to take photos. I also watered the plants. I was probably outdoors twenty minutes. In that time, I already had a splitting headache. I was writing, and Diva came and touched my head. She said it felt hot to her touch.
I was surprised, but no wonder. The temperature was already 104F. We are hotter than much of Texas.
If it doesn’t rain soon and cool off temperatures, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’ve already given up on the containers in front of the house. I may give up on the containers on the deck, but not yet. I’ve pulled most of them up against the house where they will get some shade during the day.
I have very few vegetables because of the heat, and I don’t feel like working out there. It never gets below 85F most nights. The soil is hard and cracked. Things are desperate for ranchers and farmers. I heard thunder, and some cloud cover came over my garden this afternoon. Even if I get no rain, the clouds are welcome.
This is my tale of woe. I hesitate telling you it because it is so maudlin, but it is what it is.