Rain does a winter garden good

Don’t misunderstand me. We need rain spring, summer and fall too, but winter rain is a blessing beyond measure. In a land that hasn’t seen measurable rain for months, we are overjoyed. Oklahoma is in the third year of a crippling drought. Only yesterday, I was lamenting the dark red color in the middle of the Climatological Survey Map for Oklahoma for January, 2013.

Courtesy of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.
Courtesy of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

I live where extreme drought has reigned supreme the last couple of years, and it’s been hard to maintain my passion for all things that grow.

Can you see how low the lake/pond behind our house is? The red bank on the other side of the water is where the water should be. It's about four feet low.
Can you see how low the lake/pond behind our house is? The red bank on the other side of the water is where the water should be. It’s about four feet low.

Yesterday, local meteorologists forecast rain, but they couldn’t agree on how much we would get. We’ve heard it all before. Last month, a small spitting here and there, but the atmosphere was so dry, real moisture never materialized. Weary and dusty Oklahomans just stopped talking about the weather. At Christmas, my Aunt Della asked if she should even try to plant anything this spring. The disappointment of two hot and dry summers showed in her face, and I had nothing to say.

Last night, after book club, I came home, and my husband was in bed pointing to the skylights over his head. Droplets of water pooled upon the surface. It had started raining after I walked into the house. We ran outside on the covered deck to listen to raindrops falling against the roof and upon the fallen leaves. The air remained warm and moist, and I left the door open as I read a novel long into the night.

As I read, I also tracked a line of storms on my phone. Through an app called My-Cast, I could see the storms forming over New Mexico and begin marching our way. Those same storms could be a mirage once they reached Oklahoma’s border. Hope prayed, but experience said don’t bet on an unsure thing.

Lichens on fences bring winter color
Lichens on wet fences cheer a weary heart.

This morning, the air was still moisture kissed, and the atmosphere felt pregnant and heavy as a woman in her ninth month. I took Bear to school, and once I hit Guthrie, the rain began to fall in sheets that landed across my windshield wipers. Bear and I were a bit surprised at all the liquid falling from the skies. The rain so amazed our local news stations that they preempted the national news and just talked about the weather all morning. News 9 even called in seasoned meteorologist, Gary England, to discuss tornado watches.

It was funny and sweet and a little sad. My mom, who lives forty-five minutes south and west of me, called and said she heard thunder. Her voice echoed that of a small child on Christmas day. Who could blame her?

These storms were odd. In the beginning, they moved from the south to the north. Only later did they behave normally traveling from west to east.

Rosehips with raindrops.
Rose hips with raindrops.

This morning’s thunder showers gave the Red Dirt Ranch 2.02 inches according to our little weather station. Yes, we own a La Crosse Atomic Weather Forecast station. Does that make us weird? Some parts of the state got more, and other parts got less. With my camera, I’ve tried to record the joy and jubilation a little moisture can bring to a dusty land. Of course, you can’t hear the birds calling to one another, or the squirrel scolding me for being absent from the garden too long.

A trowel full of water from a rain that brought two inches to my garden.
A trowel full of water from a rain that brought two inches to my garden.

Oklahomans are not foolish people. We know a few inches won’t break the drought’s stranglehold. We remember the Dust Bowl. Hell, my grandparents lived it. We also know to rejoice and say thanks when God sends a little something to raise our spirits. Today, it rained. We are standing in tall cotton, and it feels grand.


  1. RobinL says:

    Our drought isn’t nearly as severe as yours, but I still cherish each drop, even in winter. I can’t convince my husband that a garden needs watering even when nothing is growing! He thinks winter rain is superfulous. Silly man.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Robin, I think everyone in the U.S. is savoring rain and even snow this winter.

  2. Les says:

    Your post made me smile a little. I have never been through the kind of drought you are experiencing, but I know what it is like to wait for rain and rejoice when it finally falls. I hope you are blessed with more.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Les, I’m glad I made you smile.

  3. It smells so good, doesn’t it? And two inches is quite a lot to land in one go. I hope it doesn’t get too stormy for you though. I suspect you have as much to fear from wind as drought.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hey Lucy! So nice to see you dear. We could use a whole lot more, but I’ll take this.

  4. So glad you got some rain — I know how hard this drought is on all living things in our gardens. I added a birdbath fountain – small and shallow, but with recirculating water — this summer and I’m so glad that the birds and squirrels have constant access to that. I still have to pour a few pitchers into it, but it seems to last longer and they seem to flock to it more.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Diana, I’m excited about your bird bath. I need to head over to your blog and see it. Thank goodness, we both got a little rain.~~Dee

  5. You had me nodding and smiling while reading this post. I’m so happy for you! While I can’t imagine an extended multi-year drought, I experienced the worst drought I’ve ever known in my lifetime last summer. We went about two months without rain, at the same time the temperatures were in the 90s and 100s. When it finally rained in August, children were squealing with joy and people were dancing in the streets. I totally understand your aunt, your mom, and you. It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain, but you’ve described it so well here. 🙂

    1. Dee Nash says:

      While two months without water is normal for us in summer, it’s a sorry sight when you haven’t had rain for six month or more. I bet people were squealing with joy about your rainfall. May we all have a better spring and summer this year.

  6. Randy says:

    Yaaaaay for your rain! We are certainly getting a down pour here right now. All I can think about is the mulch is surely washing out of the beds and onto the lawn. I like you though, am glad we are getting it.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Randy, I know your season is already further along, and I’m sure we had some washing in the beds too. I’d take days and days of rain right now and happily replace all that mulch. I’m so glad you’re getting rain too.

  7. Jason says:

    How wonderful! I’m happy for you. We are facing a much milder winter drought situation, but we have also been getting rain and it is a relief.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Jason, I’m so glad you’re getting rain.

  8. CurtissAnn says:

    Tall cotton indeed. See me smile. xxxooo

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Curtiss Ann, your turn. 🙂

  9. Hooray for rain! I love a rainy winter day. (It makes working at the computer so much easier than blue skies.) So glad you’ve had this bit of relief. Hope its the beginning of a trend.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Marian, I hope it is too, but they are predicting drought for again this year. I am praying they are wrong. Hey, your trip to England looks fab btw.

  10. If we had been that dry for that long, there would be nothing left standing. It would indeed be a dust bowl. Your plants must be really tough!

    1. Dee Nash says:


      Honestly, I water with a drip system, or nothing would be left. Even with water, things have been struggling.

  11. I know getting that rain was a real treat. I think your weather forecast station sounds great. We are due to get that rain starting tonight. 🙂

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Janet, I’m glad you’re getting rain too. The forecast station is much more accurate than the news. On television, the meteorologist showed my part of the state as getting a little less than an inch. I felt quite smug with my two inches.

  12. Nancy says:

    In West Texas, where my parents live, every chance for a good rain in the last year+ has failed to materialize. It’s very sad. Back in 1950 Albany was in another terrible drought. When it finally broke, the family tale is that my almost-3-year old sister put out her hand and asked, “Will this hurt me?” It was the first rain she had seen in her life!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Nancy, that’s the most amazing story. I guess she would wonder. Oklahoma and Texas both suffer times of drought, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.

  13. Fabulous to see rain in OK. I know our drought was broken by the rain and snow…but the rain we are getting has some thunder too…so strange.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hey Donna, it was simply fabulous. We also had thunder and some parts of the state had hail. Then, there were tornadoes in the south. This is January, but doesn’t always feel like it.

  14. brenda says:

    I feel your joy as we are getting rain today too! Yippee!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Brenda, I’m so happy for your land too.

  15. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I remember how I felt when it started raining here. Wonderful news for you and your garden. I am so happy for you. I hope this is the beginning of the end of your drought. I imagine we are caught up by now. Not sure but we have had plenty of rain lately. Happy days are here again…

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Lisa, I hope it is too, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m so glad you’re getting rain. I look forward to your spring garden and mine.

  16. Gail says:

    Oh happy day! More will come…this rain has primed the pump! I celebrate with you and am hopeful for you…xoxogail

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Gail, I thought the exact words when I heard the droplets fall.

  17. Jennie B says:

    glory glory hallelujah!!! i can’t wait to get home and see what my rain gauge reports.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Jennie, I hope you got an inch or more.

  18. Holleygarden says:

    I completely understand. I am so glad that you got 2 inches! Wahoo! It’s so scary to be in the red on those drought monitors!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      It is very scary to be in the red. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen drought this serious. However, today is one for rejoicing.

  19. Ann says:

    It is so sad to see my home state in the grips of the drought. You are lucky to have Gary England too. When I was a little girl, we were blessed with Wally Kinnan the Weatherman!

    We have a line of thunderstorms just west of DFW heading toward the piney woods of east Texas. Hope we get some rain, even though we are not as bad off as you.

    Our daffodils are in bud and bloom right now.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Ann, rain is always welcome in our part of the country. I would love to see the Texas hills again someday.

  20. Carol says:

    Your joy comes through in your writing. We all rejoice with you!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      I am so full of joy. Now, if only more rain will soon fall.

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