Sabbath eve, March 27, 2009
Last week we got an inch of rain. This week’s forecast called for more rain””three consecutive day’s worth we were told. We got rain all three days. .2 an inch total for all three days.
Farmers planted corn last week. The seed sprouted; the plants emerged. I planted spring garden vegetables.
Pastures have greened up.
Today the wind began to blow””a steady 30 miles per hour with gusts of 40 miles per hour or more. Temperatures rose””the sun beat down. My garden seedlings and transplants showed sign of stress so I spent the day digging borders and irrigating as fast as I could manage (not fast enough).
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The fields where all the corn grows are not irrigated.
Cucumber beetles decimated young squash and cucumber plants. I saw these plants two days ago and they looked fine. Today they are full of holes. So I also applied Sevin dust as best I could in the gale force winds.
It’s snowing in the panhandle, 100 degrees in South Texas. There’s a chance we could get a late freeze which would totally fuck us (as if we aren’t fucked enough already).
Maybe it could be worse; people in Fargo, North Dakota are in a fight to keep frozen flood waters out of their homes and businesses.
There’s no deep moisture whatsoever in the soil around Seguin. We have a couple of inches of moisture near the surface and semi-dry soil below. That’s the problem with surveying the ground from a pick up or a monstrous tractor. You don’t get down in the dirt to see what’s really happening until it’s too late.
The possibility exists that more rain will come later this week and the next and the next and so on. If so, farmers will make a crop. But if there’s the slightest delay in those rains, with no sub-soil moisture to get them through, the young plants will fold up in a matter of days. I’m guessing the second scenario the more likely of the two.
If not for government subsidized insurance programs, most of those fields would not be planted. The odds are against us.
I see parallels in our economy. A few positive signs sent people back to Wall Street this week. People invested in mega banks because the government is there to keep them alive. Some mainstream media financial types print articles signaling the end of the recession. I note that these are the same people that denied we had an on-going recession long after it had begun.
I’d agree that we’re no longer in a recession. It’s a full blown depression we now face. Like crops in South Texas fields, the underlying economy is in desperate shape. If the numbers are to be believed, people are losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands per month. A commercial real estate collapse should soon begin to assert itself.
Despite that little bit of green you see, summer heat waves are soon to arrive; when they do, that grass will turn brown as quick as it greened up.
I foresee problems that will make it difficult for us to resume business as normal. For one, oil rigs are stacked. Six to nine months from now, there will be oil shortages. How are car manufacturers going to sell cars when there’s not enough fuel to keep the cars we already have on the road? Pumping money into auto companies will not save them.
Nearly all major grain producing countries are experiencing some level of drought. I’ve seen estimates of possible food shortfalls of as much as 15% compared to last year.
We live in a chaotic world, a lot like that garden of mine. We’re in a drought. We can hope that it will end.
But hope will only carry you so far when the rains don’t come.