Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dry Month

In "Gerontion," T.S. Eliot writes
Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.
I'm an old woman in a dry month (who can still read to herself), and I'm waiting for rain. How many weeks since we've had rain? Two? Three? I've lost count.

At Smith Farm, this field should be lush and green instead of short and brown. This is—was—one of our best hayfields. The grass should be higher than my knees.

It isn't as high as my shoe.

I don't know what farmers will do this year. Luckily, we got enough hay from the first cutting (the only cutting!) to feed my mares. We've lost money on the lime and fertilizer. We won't have hay for sale. Unlike many of my neighbors, though, we don't depend on the farm for our income.

I imagine that beef prices will drop in a few weeks as farmers thin herds they can't afford to feed. Next year, prices will rise because not much beef will be produced.

The dairy farmers are cutting silage that is already drying up—and the corn isn't high at all. How will they make it through the winter? What will happen to milk prices?

What will the horse people do? Will barns close because owners can't feed their boarders? Or will they raise boarding fees sky-high to import hay from elsewhere? Will horse owners on a small acreage have to sell stock that they can't feed? Horse prices will probably drop dramatically this fall.

My horses have almost nothing left to graze in the pasture. Thank goodness we made enough hay this spring.

I remember the drought of 2003. We had problems with our well—the mud tattooed the inside of the dishwasher and stained some of my clothes in the washing machine, but we never ran dry. But even in 2003 the fields weren't this bad.
Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.


Blogger Amy Hanek said...

I know it IS dry! I am holding out hope for a little relief this week or weekend. (*fingers crossed*)

I guess we can count our lucky stars that this drought hasn't crippled us (yet). The well going dry is my worry. I don't water my grass or flowers or anything lately.

Fall will soon arrive and I will have winter to get ready for (someday).

Hang in there hay farmerette!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Marion said...

Milk has already gone sky-high. Thank heavens my kids are grown or I'd have to re-finance just to afford gasoline and milk!

Prices go up but income stays down when you've retired.

I too am worried about our well. No probs last time, but this seems to be much worse. C'mon, RAIN!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I know Becky, the corn fields across the road are the worst I've seen since we've lived here. The stalks are usually way over my head, and this year they barely reach my waist. I don't know if it has something to do with that La Nina weather system, but it does make you wonder. I hope it will end soon!

4:11 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

We cut 50 acres and baled only 10 round bales - should have been 60+. We'll be selling cattle this fall. No way around it.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

And I go and buy another horse...

My well is iffy as it is. I'm pretty worried.

10:49 PM  

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