Dryest Summer on Record?

Burnt grass and foliage in Gettysburg from this morning

Burnt grass and foliage in Gettysburg from just this morning

This is the dryest summer that I can remember. I don’t know whether it’s the dryest on record for this area or not. Gettysburg climate only differs slightly from Westminster, Maryland. But Westminster, Baltimore, and Lancaster have all gotten a lot more rain than here, and Westminster is only 30 minutes away.

I asked dad if he remembers it ever being this dry back on the old farm he grew up on. He said he remembers some droughts, but nothing this bad.

Our trees are turning yellow, our stream is down to barely a trickle, and I keep worrying about our well since it is only 17 feet deep. I am strongly hoping that whatever is feeding our well is also staying at a trickle or more until we can get some decent rain around here.

The drive down to Frederick every day along route 15 is wrought with BURNT (not just dry, BURNT) trees, brown trees, dead trees, dying trees. I -know- I have never seen things this bad before. The drought coupled with intense regular temperatures in the 106 range have created an onslaught of damage.

Dad mowed down our corn Sunday. It was all dead from lack of water, so we have no corn this year. Tomatoes are doing okay, better now that we’ve gotten a submersible pump for the stream. Potatoes I have no clue yet, we’ll try to dig some up and see. I’ll be semi heart-broken if the potatoes are all dead as those are a large staple in our house.

I had many plans for canning this year.

Going through a drought this long (I’d say…maybe 1 or 2 significant rains since May, the rest mainly insignificant sprinkles or instant thunderstorms that last maybe 5 minutes at most but still don’t provide enough water to quench deep down in the plants), I’ve observed a few places that we could better prepare, and then others that will always remain hopeless in such extreme cases.

For example:

1. Rain Barrels – Rain barrels are a great concept of using a lot of under-utilized water. Our roofs provide so much water in a short amount of time, you can fill a rain barrel in a matter of minutes with a good rain. But you need a -lot- of rain barrels for them to be much worth around here. Watering the amount of plants and animals we do, we’d go through a rain barrel in a matter of 2 days. And this drought has lasted several months, and this doesn’t account for human use either.

So while rain barrels help, they don’t help nearly enough unless you have a LOT of them. I do plan to get more.

2. Submersible pump – Great asset to have, wish we had the means for it sooner. But doesn’t do much when the creek is down to trickle.

However, an adjustment in pockets of water could help. Dad is planning to get a bobcat over here and create a swimming pocket in one part of the stream that is surrounded by these big beautiful rocks. The deeper the pocket, the more water available for using the pump to water the garden. If we have several pockets, then we’ll have several reserve “wells” of water once the rains come again.

The downside, however, the pump will likely empty them out pretty fast in this type of drought.

I also don’t like that we only have an electric pump. I’ve always wanted a manual pump, but dad said it would be too much work. Well I figure that, but what happens if the electricity is out? Not too long ago the electricity blew out at work because of extreme heat melting the wires. It -is- possible. I still plan to get a manual pump anyway, I enjoy that type of a “work-out”.

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Random Updates for June

  • Dad will be ending hyperbaric chamber treatments soon. It hasn’t fully cured him this time, but has definitely improved the ulcers. I hope whatever treatment comes next will finish it up.
  • I’ve made $825 extra this month doing side work. That is mostly going towards two parts for my dads vehicles, a new pair of shoes for me, and the rest as a cushion to supplement my dad since he’s already out of money for this month. Any that I don’t use at the end of the month will go towards his debt.
  • My weekends have been hellaciously busy lately. This past weekend I put in over 14 hours worth of work, plus drove down to Baltimore, PLUS went to a baby shower. I’m somewhat taking off this weekend. I have ritual in Hanover with some friends, and if side work comes in I’ll do that. But it’s father’s day weekend, I’m taking OFF.
  • I realized today I’ve put on approximately 60,000 miles on my mustang since purchasing it in January 2006. I attribute that to all the trips to the Grove and some to work, because I haven’t taken it on -any- road trips.
  • Our guineas are doing well, and starting to roam around. We try to pin them up at night, and keep a radio on all night to deter foxes (which we’ve lost 1 to).
  • No progress on the back deck yet, I’m hoping within the month we’ll be started though.
  • I did get a chance to take a look at the wood my uncle is saving to make my new bed out of. It’s gonna look very nice, and very woodsy :D
  • I did win the brownie cook-off at work. The prize was a gift card to a new chocolate shop that opened up in town. I made cherry brownies and home made chocolate ganache, which I might post the recipe for.
  • Does anyone know if you can get a record of all the cars you’ve ever had registered with the DMV, including VIN? And if so, if you’re able to track the VIN of a car once you’ve found out what the VIN is, and who the new owner is? I’ve been thinking of tracking down my dads old 1969 Roadrunner.
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A List of Random Updates

  • Dads hyperbaric chamber treatments seem to be going well. He has to go to them 5 days a week, and it’s about a half hour/40 minute drive to and from every day. They say the color of the skin is looking a lot better, and the ulcer has gotten slightly smaller in one direction, but looks a little bigger in another direction.
  • His truck is also still having troubles, which we think is the fuel pump. He’ll be getting that today on my dollar and hopefully that’ll be the end of that for now.
  • As shown yesterday, a tree fell against the house. My insurance company is not open on Sunday’s so I should be receiving a call today about my claim for the porch and whatever damage there might be to the house. The thing I like about my insurance company though is how advanced their website is, as I was able to submit a claim through there. My hope is that they’ll give enough that we can build the new deck we’ve been wanting, since we can get it done on the cheap. My other hope is that my uncle, who is unemployed right now, can bid on the job. But if everything else fails, we at least got some free firewood out of the deal.
  • My other hope is that we don’t have to use all of the money, if we get any, and I can put it towards something else (like dad’s debt, or the new animal pens dad wants built behind the garage).
  • An ex co-worker has hooked me up with a fella I’m doing sidework for in order to bring in some extra cash. The guy seems to like me and has already said he has more work for me through June. It requires me working 11 hour days by doing more work at nights, but I’m certainly not complaining.
  • I think I’m going to really smash my $0 day goal this month, as I’m already at 12 days, and last month I was at 16. I mainly contributing this to unfortunately not being able to travel as much this month, so I’m saving gas. I may still keep count in June, but I don’t know whether I’m going to be as severe about it, because even though it’s not a hard thing to do, I still feel a little deprived.
  • I’ve been enjoying the blender that the sweetheart got me. I make a mean mango + apple + flax seeds smoothie for breakfast. Now I just need to send the juicer off to get fixed, since I burnt it up I guess.
  • Dad and I have a TON of stuff in the garden this year. I don’t think I can remember it all. Onions, Potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, at least 2 varieties of squash, different peppers, corn (as of this week anyway), radishes, tomatoes, and more I just have to remember it. I’m going to be doing a lot of canning this year, I’m very excited.
  • One of my uncles turkey’s had some babies as well (which is not an easy thing to do, honestly), so we’re going to have more turkey’s than we originally thought. Not complaining though, as I love eating a good turkey.
  • The guineas are still not quite big enough to release, but they are growing bigger every day. I’ll be glad when they can roam around and eat up all these damn ticks.
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Financial Karma, Taxes, and Guinea Fowl

I decided to loan a friend $95 to get a discount on something that was important to him. I know he’ll pay me back as soon as he is able, and I mostly did it because I wanted some good financial karma right now. Those that give will receive, afterall.

Dad has also gotten some baby keets (Guinea fowl), so we will be having some tick eating ugly birds in a couple months. I am excited :) I’ve missed having them.

I checked my escrow account and saw that my taxes were paid on time, so I was able to get the $100 or so discount for paying early. I’m still going to call and confirm the tax collector that it was received just for my own peace of mind.

I’m very excited for the coming months. So many possibilities :)

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PETA and Rabbits

The country restaurant my dad frequents usually gets baby rabbits from us every year about this time to sell as easter bunnies. I’m not entirely supportive of the topic of easter bunnies because a lot of kids can’t handle taking care of them. But I know some do, and it’s something that’s going to happen anyway so I’d rather just educate people more.

Well someone came in this week to inform the restaurant/fruit market/orchard that they need a permit to do that, which is usually about $170. I can sorta see the usefulness of a permit, but I am not someone who likes to be bound by laws when I’m not doing anything wrong. The same goes for selling eggs, etc.

The same day PETA arrives and starts boycotting the selling of baby bunnies, saying that they are like children and should never be separated from their bunny siblings.

Give me a break. This is where I run into the fine line that I walk of being a nature-lover/animal-lover as well as a traditional farmer. Yes I love animals, yes I love nature, yes I treat both ethically, but I still kill rabbits and chickens and turkey and deer to eat them. I’m not doing it for sport, I’m not doing it unnecessarily. Get off my damn back.

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