Saturday, July 4, 2020

Weather Wythards 2020

So here we are on July 4 and it is pretty warm out there.  We can avoid the bugs if we're outside working during the warmest hours.  But, if we want to avoid the warm, we get the bugs.  Alas.

But, I didn't bring you all here to talk about bugs.  We're here to talk about weather!  Why?  Because weather is a Big Deal.  Yay! 

the nearly permanent lake for the months of May and June
Many of you have taken note that we have had wet weather (again).  We know this partly because our 'how wet are the fields' barometer is this puddle that resides near our granary and truck barn.  When it is dry, the fields are normally in pretty good shape to be worked.  Today, the area is dry, though there is a bit of mud still in it.  Believe it or not, we are not used to walking between the two buildings because we spend so much time walking AROUND this puddle.

Not to worry, by the time we allow ourselves to start using that path again, it will fill up.  It is destined to be at the Genuine Faux Farm (or so it seems to us sometimes).

from KWWL blog
So, we get another "top 5" finish in the category of "Wettest June on Record."  We're just so happy.

Take a look at this KWWL blog post that outlines how the month of June was in Waterloo (the graphic form above comes from this blog).  We are not surprised to see 2020 sitting right next to 2018 because we were just noting to each other than this season has mirrored 2018 for weather at the farm thus far....  that doesn't exactly bode well.  

Ok.  We're not happy.  What is astounding is that we have five of the top ten wet Junes falling in years AFTER the Genuine Faux Farm was formed.  Four of those five are the even numbered years since 2014.  If you wanted evidence as to WHY we have been changing our farm so much over the past several years, you need go no further than this particular graphic.

Once again, we fully realize we didn't get as much as some and we got more than others.  It is really more the fact that our soils, water table levels and grade make life harder on us during wetter years than might be the case for other farms. 
from KWWL blog
The graphic above really shows me something interesting.  In particular you should note that Southwest Iowa has areas that received significantly less rain than normal, just as we received significantly more rain than normal.  We are also familiar with this pattern as we do have friends who are farming in other parts of the state.  They have been surprised more than once over the years when we talk about how wet we are - especially when they have been praying for rain for weeks.

A little black rain cloud.
Then, there is insult to injury.  You know how this one goes.  It looks like the lake by the granary is mostly gone and you are putting things together to cultivate or maybe prep some beds for planting.  You look to the NNW and you see a little black rain cloud.   You know pretty well how things have been moving over the past couple of hours and you can easily see that this little cloud is going to "center" the farm.

Ah.  That solved the drying puddle problem.

And, stopped the cultivation right quick it did!

Typically, rain from the 'little black rain clouds will not cause this sort of problem on our farm.  This comes from the all-day/all-night variety.  Or, in this case it was an all-day/all-night/all-day/all-night/all-day rainfall.  You know the kind of rainfall we talk about.

The "it rained twice this week - once for three days and another time for four days."

And now, we have heat and sun.  This tends to bake a nice hard surface to the soil that has been tilled - making weeding and cultivating pretty difficult.

The good news?  We have much less area to work than we have in previous years.  The bad news?  We have fewer hands to do it.   The difference this year?  If we can't save it soon, we're tilling it in.  This is part of the reason we went with no CSA and Rob picked up another job.  We can cut losses and continue to adapt the farm in hopes that maybe we can get back on the horse with a new saddle. Here's hoping!

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