Monday, September 12, 2011

~Short But Sweet~

An old catalpa tree in our yard is dying
It has been an extremely hot and dry summer here in Oklahoma.  And I do mean extremely!  We broke an all-time record cumulative days of having 100+ degree temperatures...over 60.  That is SIX ZERO plus days!!!  Many of those days were well over 110 degrees.  We had several days of 115 to 118 degree days.

A new tree that I planted last year had been doing well, but couldn't tolerate the extreme heat.  It did not survive.
These are not fall colors on a neighbor's tree.  This is a mature oak tree that looks like it isn't going to survive either.
The vegetation on, several silver maple trees lining our drive, is thin and sparse
Trees, large and small, young and old, are affected by this heat and drought.  Many trees have died.  I didn't get pictures of flowers and vegetable gardens, but they have been drastically affected as well.  Many gardeners have given up as the vegetable plants just are not producing.

This is not a path going through the woods.  It is a creek bed.  A dry creek bed.  A creek bed that normally has a fair amount of water flowing through it.

From an upstairs bedroom, you can see the pond near our house.
See that pipe sticking up out of the ground?  It is our overflow pipe.  The water is supposed to be at or near the edge of that pipe.  Looks to be at least 3 feet below normal.
And to make matters worse, our state has also been in an extreme drought!  Creeks are drying up.  Ponds are drying up.  Statewide average rainfall is 11 inches below normal.  Fortunately, this pond close to our home is deep and still has a fair amount of water in it.  Better than many around the area.  

A view of one area of our pastureland.  This is normally nice and green.  It is brown and drying.  If only it could survive like the weeds!

You can see the dirt through the very sparse vegetation of a neighbor's pasture.  Normally, he grows wheat on this parcel of land.
The planting of wheat seed normally starts this time of year.  If we don't get any rain, there will be no planting of wheat.  Unless, you are very optimistic and that would be a huge gamble to take.
Experts are predicting that the 2011, because of La Nina, drought conditions will most likely continue making this the driest year on record.  This is not Arizona nor is it the Sahara Desert.  This is Oklahoma!

To make matters worse, several large grass fires occurred burning over 6000 acres and destroying over 30 homes.  We've been under a very strict burn ban for several weeks...not even charcoaling on the grill.  Some intentional, which is way beyond my understanding as to why.  One or two, though unintentional, by people just not thinking, by throwing out a cigarette and burning a mattress (??)

Now I realize that this is not huge by some other out of control fires that have raged across the country, but it has been said that one fire was started by a lawnmower hitting a rock and causing a spark.  Another was started by a bulldozer or some large piece of machinery hitting a pipe sparking a fire.  Conditions are extremely dry and humidity extremely low for fires to start like that.

Now you ask, what is so short but sweet about all of this?  Well, after weeks and weeks of people praying for a break in the weather, it finally happened.  Temperatures dropped to the low 70s to low 80s.....LOW 70s and 80s....that's reason to celebrate around here!!!  Woohoo!!  For about a week, we've enjoyed these wonderful temperatures.  Some areas have even had rain!!  Not us though.

A week of cool, open the windows, enjoy the breeze days.  This weekend, the thermometer started creeping back up.  It will be creeping back into the high 90s.  Today we turned the air conditioner on.  The reprieve was short but sweet.  That's okay, because it is supposed to be dropping again towards the end of the week.  A sign that fall is coming.  Something that looked like it was never going to happen.  But it will.  It always does.

We are thankful for the break in the temperatures, but we are so desperately needing the rainfall.  Farmers and cattlemen will not be able to continue their livelihoods if we don't get rain.  So we are still down on our knees.  Praying that the experts' predictions are wrong.

Praying that conditions are not as bad where you live ~


Cozy Little House said...

Such utter devastation. Here in Texas, we are in sad shape too. Every plant and shrub seems to be dying. The very earth is turning over, looking for moisture. I just hope it lets up soon. Will be in OK next month!

Marianne@Songbird said...

Oh wow, I can almost feel the smoldering heat from those pictures. So different from my wet and cold, well into Fall little country.
Hope some rain and coolness will come your way soon!

Cindy said...

Hi Velma,
I am so sorry to hear what a devastating summer this has been for all of you. I have been following your weather because, though I live in Canada, my mom is from OK and I have lots of family there, aunts, uncles and many cousins. It has been hard on the elderly, being shut-in is tough.
Praise God for the cooler temps and some rain. I hope it only gets cooler and rainier for you from here on out.
Hugs, Cindy

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Hi Velma,
It looks like we are going through the same thing here in Kansas although I think your temperatures were a bit higher than ours at the worst of it. I think we made it to around 55 days of 100 degree days. We lost an elm tree right in front of the house and one old peach tree and what used to be lawn around the house has turned to a sand lot. The only real green we have around the house is the new lawn we planted this spring inside the picket fence. The farmer across from us hasn't planted anything since the winter wheat was harvested in June...I doubt he'll plant now. The soy beans on two sides of us look terrible...there won't be much left on the ground for the cattle they usually put out on the fields if they even harvest it. I feel so sorry for the farmers. It finally cooled off here was 48 this morning and they're predicting a 30 and 40% chance of rain for the next few days...we'll see. I hope you stay safe with no fires in your area. Enjoy your weekend!
Maura :)

Cindy said...

So sorry to hear about the extreem heat there, and the fires are so sad...sure hope rain comes soon!

❁Velma ~Down Our Country Road❁ said...

Hi Cindy,
We finally had a break in the weather this week...hallelujah! In 48 hours, our temperature dropped from 102 degrees to 58 degrees for highs!! Significant rain was also seen all across the state. I think we got around half to one inch of rain. Not sure as we were heading out in our RV. Should have known. We decide to have a weekend getaway and we get rain!! LOL...definitely can't complain. Thank you Lord!


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