More and more I'm seeing the effects of the drought on the pasture. The effects of rain we had a while back is long gone and panic is starting to set in again. There are nice lush grassy places but difficult areas to get the sheep too. I keep waiting. Waiting for rain to wash this whole problem away. Rain to satisfy the dry crusty hard earth. The ponds are holding out so that is a good sign at least, but I'm getting weary and there is just the slightest amount of dread clouding up around us. With the temperatures still in the 100's planting has been put off one more week. According to the forecast we should be looking at cooler temperatures. Beds are ready to be planted.
Yesterday I talked to a man I call my "hay guy". He is an optimist and tells me not to panic. He'll have hay. He's got several fields that just arnt high enough and one or two more rains and we'll be in business, so I'm procrastinating buying hay at $80.00 a bale opposed to $45.00. Its the kind of chance I'm really not confident in taking. If I wait too long I might find myself in worse shape.
Reclaiming our pasture from the decades of abuse and neglect is a slow process. The bare patches of pail dirt and erosion tell a story of a child who has not been loved. I don't own this place I just lease it but I've grown to love it in a motherly way. But its like an abused child and I realize its just going to take time. If given the opportunity to grow a seed I've planted, it retreats, void of the life sustaining nutrients needed. By grazing the sheep they help clean up the dry grasses and weeds, till in their manure from one place to the next. They spread grass seed and nitrogen, then the chickens come and scratch a little go through the manure, till up the thin layer of seed bed and move on to the next spot, then presumably the rains come, making life available. This is a hard slow deliberate way to love someone. Machinery and chemicals are another way but the effects cause greater harm and are short lived. But I can see the temptation. This is an enduring love.
I have plans to buy a manure spreader I can use over the winter to spread horse manure from a nearby stable over the pastures. Again more work for a love I may never reap the rewards from. I know this will pass, at least that's what seems more probable than another dust bowl, but really I don't know. But being positive is my only defence from despair, so I go on and look to next week, next month and hope for a wet cold winter.