Thursday, October 18, 2007

Finally, the rain we needed in August and September.

It's raining again today, hooray! I've been assiduously watering my trees since mid-August and anxiously watching those trees that had no one to water them as they slowly turned brown. According to CincinnatiGreen, a blog written by a local arborist, trees can go dormant in a severe drought but whether the tree has gone dormant or has died won't be apparent until the next spring when the tree either leafs out or it doesn't. And even if it does survive, the effects of the drought on that tree can be felt for a decade after.

Here's a fascinating animated map showing the progression of this year's drought week by week. (If the animation doesn't work, click refresh to get it going.)

Well, fascinating to me, of course. To local farmers, it's just plain depressing. I have heard of local grassfarmers having to sell off their pastured herds because there's no pasturing left and the costs of bringing in organic hay are prohibitive in a down year. Other farmers simply gave up on entire crops this year, or opened dying crop fields as pasture for foraging cattle. A year like this can provide a final blow to a struggling small farmer, so it's especially important to buy local whenever we can.

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