Monday, May 24, 2010

Salvation, For Now

We have finally received a bit of a reprieve from a severely dry spring. Two days of rain, followed by a good dump of snow over the third, and ending with more rain on the fourth day, has left us feeling a heck of a lot better about the rest of the coming year. We even narrowly avoided a frost and now everything is absolutely bursting from the ground.

This precipitation was desperately needed, as I have mentioned before. What we received over those 4 days might well assure that we have enough hay for our cattle this winter. The lake our farm sits beside was as low as I ever remember seeing it. Now the water comes to around where I remember it last spring. These are both a huge relief. I just hope that there was enough rain elsewhere to extinguish the fires that have been burning throughout the province.

Back in our garden, we had been watering from the well already but all this moisture followed by a nice, sunny day today has almost everything that we planted now breaking through the soil. The 7 mounds that I built for this year's Three Sister attempt were the first to dry and the corn is already growing there, even though it was planted a day later than the other corn patch. I should be able to seed climbing beans onto these mounds sometime next week, if the weather holds. Shortly thereafter I will be able to add the squash sets that my folks seeded in the greenhouse a couple weeks back.

Speaking of the greenhouse, I should take some pictures to post as I think the folks did a pretty good job of filling it full of sets this spring. If all goes well, there should be need to purchase very few sets this year. We need to start re-potting some things now, as they are not quite ready to move into the garden for a couple of weeks yet. And I need to get some peppers going, thought I worry that I might be too late already. Hopefully we will be able to upgrade to a significantly larger greenhouse soon. It would be so nice to be able to take advantage of all that sun that we seem to get in February and March now.

But back to the topic at hand. The reduced precipitation that we have received in recent years inspires me to look differently at these periods of intense precipitation that we used to receive regularly. Now I see how much rainfall could be saved for use during dry periods. If we stay in this area and shift to more of a market garden farming style, I feel that we must start planning for maintaining surface water in ponds, dugouts, and cisterns. Really though, this is no surprise to me as it is a basic aspect of adopting permacultural techniques.

Until later, brothers and sisters. Be well.


linda said...

We are actually too dry down here in Chicago so far this year as well. While we had a few heavy storms, the rain isn't as regular as in past years. Like yourself, I've been trying to figure out a system for our water at the farm. I have one idea that I wanted to run by you, but I have to go look it up in a book. Its a Native American system of planting and watering all at once. I'll be back:)

Theresa said...

The rain and snow has indeed been a blessing. And the wildfire that was burning around here has finally been controlled, although it's not out. Any pictures of your greenhouse set up? I have just begun my foray into the world of the greenhouse, in a teeny tiny way, and am anxious to learn :)

Teresa said...

I'm glad you got rain. We've had plenty so far this spring, in fact it's storming now with flash flooding around the state. I am anxious to get some type of greenhouse set up. My front porch wrapped in plastic doesn't quite cut it.

linda said...

Okay, I tried to find the Native American system I was talking about online but came up blank. Its referred to as a "bent bed" and is said to have been used by Southwestern Native Americans. Bent beds are large diamond shaped plots on a slope. The planting is at the bottom of the slope. I'm not sure how feasible it will be for large scale crops but maybe the idea can be extended somehow. You can find more information in the book How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons.
I might experiment with one bent bed this summer to see what happens. Seems logical doesn't it?

Jerry said...

I'm glad you got some of it too, Theresa. I'd been wondering about you and that fire.

Teresa, thanks for the good wishes. I hope you get some balanced weather too!

linda, it sounds like some kind of moisture channeling plan. I'd have to see it in practice but I suspect that swaling might have more success. Interesting though, for sure.

MoonRaven said...

Congratulations on getting the rain. May it continue and your crops and cattle flourish.

donnaR said...

I was very happy for the rain as well. I was married to a farmer (still married to the same man, only he is no longer a farmer) so I have learned to appreciate the hardship of a drought. Hope it made the difference for you!

Jerry said...

Thank you MoonRaven and Donna.

I have always struggled with the fact that almost no one I know recognizes the importance of balance in weather, or anything for that matter. It could not rain for 3 years, finally look like it will rain for one day and people will bitch about it. I am so thankful that for whatever reason, I am aware.

Jerry said...

And I am thankful when I do stumble across those others who are aware as well.