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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dry, Dry, Dry

On this Tuesday afternoon, I should really be at Riverdale doing market, selling a range of salad greens, lavender, garlic and grass-fed beef to the brave faithful souls that are out in the sultry heat looking for fresh local organic produce. Instead, I'm home on the farm. The temperature out there right now is 34 C. Not so extreme, but for the dearth of rain around here for several weeks at peak planting and growing time. It is hard for customers in Toronto to believe; they who have gone through bucketing rain that came down so fast and furious that the worst floods for a long while ensued. Basements under water, extended power outages, cars stranded half-submerged on major highways…. And we out here in the hills didn’t get a drop. Black clouds raced towards us and passed by, to the north, to the south, just as I well remember from summers gone by.

I have been watering the truly hot houses and the fields, keeping the best patches alive out there while watching the early planted carrots and beets get gobbled up by a sea of weeds, mostly grasses. This same thing happened last year when we endured many weeks of no rain, under drought conditions that took in a large chunk of central North America. I suppose by now I should realize that this is the new normal instead of reverting to the fallback position of hoping that the lack of rain was a one-off. I still retain some optimism that some of the heavy air and thunder forecast for a couple of days hence will yield some much-needed moisture for the parched plants. At least the lower temperatures following the front moving through will bring back some energy sapped by the intense heat. Last Friday, while picking for Saturday market, then watering all afternoon for several hours, I do believe I went a bit gaga and felt some severe heat exhaustion. Oh well, keep on keeping on.

I spare a rueful thought for the millions of people (and animals, plants) around the world that are at this moment entirely without water. Some live in searing heat and rarely have a drop of clean water to slake their thirst, let alone sprinkle over crops growing in the fields.