Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet, sweet rain

It seems like every summer the weather here in Minnesota gets more and more bizarre. (Actually, the winters have been pretty strange, too.)

We started this summer with more rain than we could handle, at least here in the central part of the state. We have a couple spots where the corn didn't grow because the washed-out soil buried the seeds. Lots of our neighbors have low spots in their fields where nothing grew at all, except ducklings and goslings.

But then somebody turned the garden hose off and those temporary ponds dried up. After a couple weeks of scorching heat, the soil in those empty ponds cracked up like over-baked peanut butter cookies. Then the soil cracked up everywhere. The corn and beans curled. The alfalfa tried to produce a third crop. The crops in sandy spots turned brown.

We don't keep track of precipitation here, so I'm not exactly sure how long we went without rain, but I think it was over a month. I took the picture above of a dry spot in one of our fields ten days ago. I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of our worst corn.

Finally, though, after weeks of watching the approaching storm systems split and go around us, one system stayed its course and delivered rain on Wednesday morning. Of course, there had only been a 30% chance of rain, so we had loads of straw bales sitting in the yard, but a little wet straw was a small price to pay for rain.

The downpour started just as I was loading the kids into the van to bring Dan to school and Monika to daycare. I had to change shoes after carrying Monika to the garage under the umbrella. My clothes were soaked, too, but I've never been so happy to be drenched.

After the brief downpour, the rain slowed and we ended up with close to two inches of sweet, sweet rain.

The sun is shining again today and it's a toasty 90° outside. There's a lot of summer left for the crops to get through. We're hoping that the next month won't be nearly as dry as the past one and we're praying that our fellow farmers in even drier parts of the country get some much needed rain, too.

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