After an almost snow-less winter, we’ve had little snow or rain in April and May. The skies have been dark and threatening, wind scudding dead leaves across the ground, but the precipitation has been negligible. My farmer friend Mike used to call such weather events “fake rain” — when just enough moisture falls from the sky to settle the dust, but nothing penetrates. To begin to catch up, we would need a four-foot blizzard or a week or two of soaking rains.
Neither is in the forecast.
Though our meager snow is long gone, with no rain the pastures have been slow to green up. The pond is an empty crater.
I’ve felt anxiety building, a hand squeezing in my chest, since Christmas. I think of the wildfires raging north of us in Canada. I remember the elderly hay man saying to me last year, “Rain in May makes lots of hay.” I recall the awful drought of 2012 when sunny day followed sunny day, the pastures did not grow, the only hay I could find was coarse like straw, and my lambs cried with hunger.
I have wondered about sending my steers to the butcher early, to reduce the demands on my land.
And I’ve been praying for rain.