Drought Pity Party…

Hello all,

We’ve been meaning to update the blog for a while now, and we have some cool stuff to share, but lots of the news is drought-related and not particularly uplifting. Sorry ‘bout that. If it’s any solace, we don’t like it either, so we’ll get it out of the way first. We promise we’ll follow this depressing stuff with an update on our porch, which is nearly roofed! And we’ll also introduce you, dear readers, to our latest acquisition, Nelson, Missouri’s stoutest pony. There’s more good news, too. Lots, in fact –just read our next post.

Also, since it’s really no secret that I (Eleanor, the missus) am the one doing the writing for this here blog, I’m gonna just call a spade a spade and speak in the first person. I. I. I. Me. Me. Me. There you have it. It’s less awkward this way.

Anyway, at the risk sounding like every weatherman and farmer in the Midwest, that fact remains that it’s been oppressively hot and dry here. The worst drought our county has seen in 30 years, in fact. The earth here is powder. Hot, sullen powder.

Where our lovely creek used to be.

This is all that’s left of the pond.

This spot is usually covered in several feet of water

… at least the frogs are happy

On a loosely related tangent, we recently biked a portion of the Katy Trail and were shocked to see huge cracks along the trail—sometimes 30 feet long, several feet deep, and a couppla inches wide at the tops! We could see where Katy Keepers (no idea what they’re actually called) had gone along and filled in some of the cracks, seemingly a safety precaution, but more had cropped up since their last visit. Was sort of unnerving, and was an unwelcome reminder of just how dry it is around here.

As it turns out, farming, while rewarding and lovely on many levels, is a profession that puts folks, even when they carefully plan every aspect and penny of a year’s business,  at the mercy of the weather. And that’s just exactly where we are.

We’re making it work, but we’re definitely whiney about it. It’s almost a laugh so you don’t cry sort of situation, some days. So we’ve been doing a lot of laughing.

Among other things, the drought and heat have meant we’ve had to be extremely vigilant with the poultry (we now have turkeys, too—a ton of ‘em!), especially those on pasture. We always have plenty of shade and water available to them, but still they crowd and pant. They eat only when it’s cool, so nights (not even evenings, as it’s been staying hot so late) and early mornings are their best times. They were a bit smaller during the hottest months, as a result, but not by too much. Fortunately, they’re still delicious and tender, just like they always have been.

Chickens at their waterer out in the field. Note the fancy new electric netting.

The turkeys are about five weeks old, and they’re growing like mad. They’re getting to the point where their cute factor is suffering, but we’ve still been finding their antics entertaining, now that they’re out on range, peeping and playing in the dust. In related news, it’s been hot enough, even in the shade of the brooder barn that we haven’t had to use heat lamps at all during the day. Did I mention it’s been hot?

The turkeys are super entertaining and curious. This one was scoping out the lambsquarter weed in front of her and taking a bite (peck?) every few seconds.

The pastures are suffering from the heat and drought too. Many farmers around us are selling their cattle because their pastures won’t support them. Heck, some farmers’ wells are drying up! Thankfully, we still have enough pasture due to the newly acquired acreage in front of the house. But our cattle are growing slower than we’d hoped, since the grass isn’t the thick, lush green it usually is. They seem happy enough, though, and Matt has them trained to come when he yells for them. Our toddler nephew yells for them too; it may just be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

Our pasture in August, looking as though it’s October, due to the drought

The drought is also responsible for decreased clover in the pastures, which has been noticeable in our beehives. Last summer was fairly dry too, and we managed a good honey crop, but this year’s drought is decidedly worse, and this year’s crop is looking dismal in comparison. However, we’ll still have honey, since we have more hives this year—just not as much as we’d expected.

Had to purchase bee food, since there’s very little pasture/clover for them to replenish their stores before winter.

Sounds like it’s too late, rain-wise, for corn crops around here, too. So much so, that farmers are talking about cutting crops for silage, instead of grain. Soy’s not looking great, either, though there’s still a chance it could turn around if we get some rain. All this has caused our grain/feed prices to skyrocket! We’re paying 35% more to feed the chickens and cattle than we were 3 ½  months ago! Ouch, right?!

The beans look pretty sad in spots…

Some of the beans around us look OK, though. We’re hoping to still get something out of ’em.

Anyway, since this has gotten lengthy, and I’m about to switch things up and get cheery with the good news around here, I’m gonna cut you loose on this post. Read on for the good stuff. This was depressing. Sorry.

3 thoughts on “Drought Pity Party…

  1. Buttonwood Farm says:

    Hi Barry! If we get some good rain soon, it will certainly help! The pastures could benefit lots from it, which will help the cattle, chickens, turkeys, and bees, and while some rain will likely help the beans, it’s not likely to cure them.

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