Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In the Jailhouse Now

My longtime friends might remember stories from our last epic drought (2008-2009).  Worse than the dust-bowl 1950's it was, in fact the worst drought on record here.

The last 7 months in the Hill Country have been drier.  Until last week, we'd had 1 1/2 inches of rain for the period.  Now the total is 3 inches.  We're grateful for the recent 1 1/2 inches, even though it wasn't enough to close the cracks in the clay.

On the USDA's color-coded Drought map, here, we're shown in dark brown, called Exceptional Drought.  A third or more of Texas is.  The rest of the state is in the lesser categories from Abnormally Dry - Extreme Drought. 

I see the hardship in the hummingbirds flocking to our feeders and flowers.  Few wildflowers this year, so home gardens and feeders are lifesavers.  We're making a quart of food a day, sometimes more, and my sugar water total is way ahead of this time in prior years. 

And the deer...I see deer like shadows in the thicket behind the house, reaching for pungency previously spurned, junipers and persimmons harsh in the second chewing. 

We fenced our front porch plantings, after the Dwarf Barbados Cherry (that deer don't eat), was chewed every night.  

Okay, you can laugh.  I tried bamboo stakes before we put up the really ugly fence.

Now the pineapple sage outside the fence--they don't eat it, really!--is chewed to nubs and flower spikes sheered off Gregg's Blue Mist, magnet to Queen butterflies.

Turk's cap, the aromatic, slightly prickly butterfly, sphinx moth  and hummingbird favorite, eaten to the ground.  This picture is from last year.
We have new investments these days--mesh fencing and chicken wire. My front porch plantings look like they're in jail.

Please--dance, sing, pray, whatever you do and believe, for rain.

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.
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