Sunday, March 13, 2011

Making rain and creating rainbows

Perhaps it is because I am a grandson of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and wartime rationing that patience never has been my long suit. I don't want much, but what I want, I want NOW.

Set up camp in the backyard Saturday morning on the pretense of "doing yard chores". That was about 10:30, and the temperature already was north of 70F degrees. Cedar row between our house and our neighbor lady to the east was cacophonous with boat-tailed grackles, but it beat all to hell whatever babble was issuing forth from the TV inside.

Right off we got the rainmaker going on the front lawn as it takes right at an hour to deliver an inch of water across the yard. No doubt you've heard by now that the Rolling Plains--all of Texas, for that matter--is facing what the folks that are paid to know are calling "moderate to worsening" drought conditions. Here in River City we're running some 7.5 inches behind our mythical annual rainfall average. When that happens responsible citizens (and I pretend to be one) begin throwing water at their lawns, mainly to keep alive turf grasses that have no business being in this part of the country. With any luck and a lot of education, we may be able to change that pig-headed behavior before we go completely dry. Anyone who cares to read more on what I'm talking about is encouraged to read Eric Berger's piece from the Houston Chronicle, "Drought's grip threatens state with arid 2011" .

But I digress, for it was not a lack of patience, waiting on the Lord to deliver rain, that got me going Saturday. It was that damned itch to scratch in the dirt. Around these parts our mythical average last frost is mid March, but everyone knows to be prepared for what is known as the "Easter Freeze". With the warmer than normal weather we have experienced for over two weeks now, I have been not entirely successfully resisting the urge to put seed in the ground. Yesterday I gave up and gave in.

The good news is if we do get that late freeze down the road, the roma and cherry tomatoes are in recycled cat litter tubs that can be brought inside. The sage, dill and poppies, however, will just have to take their chances with what Ma Nature delivers.
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