Dried up pastures...
Well folks, we are experiencing one of Oklahoma's worst droughts since the 1980's. It is dry, dry, dry. And no chance of good rain in sight - in the near or distant future. We have not had any measurable rain in our little part of Oklahoma since mid-May. It really shows in our pastures, yard, gardens, ponds, etc.
The pond on our back pasture is completely dry and the big pond is lower than we have ever seen it. It is so sad to see the place and all the country around us looking like it is. We've been feeding all the livestock since June. Hopefully we've accumulated enough hay to make it through until we get some much needed rain.
The only patches of green are near the trees that we've been watering to try and keep them alive and what's left of the garden,,, still getting some tomatoes squash and green chiles. :) We've been very blessed with a strong well, We have heard that many wells have gone dry in places around us. So sad to watch this and not be able to do anything about it.
Grasshoppers have taken over and are reeking havoc with plants, trees, and everything else they want to eat. They have moved into the yard and around the house as their forage has dried up in the pastures. Clouds swarm up and around your face when you are walking they are so thick. Millions of them on the fences, trees, plants....everywhere!
Guineas to the rescue!! Well, sort of... <grin> We bought 10 - 4 month old guineas last weekend. they are supposed to be the greatest thing for bugs - especially grasshoppers! Unfortunately we can't let them out until they are used to the place and have been here for a week or two. In the mean time we've been bringing them the hoppers that have been caught in the pool skimmer. They go crazy!! pecking and talking. They absolutely love them. We can't wait to let them loose on the grasshoppers. We could probably use a hundred of the guineas right now to help keep down the grasshoppers we have. LOL
Hope your summer has been a good one. Stay cool and enjoy. Send good rain thoughts our way please. :) We need it badly. Take care!
The Purple Martins may have left early this year, due to the drought I would imagine. They come every spring and usually don't leave until August, but I noticed they haven't been around for a couple of days. Just guessing there may not be enough food (flying bugs) to keep them fed as the heat and drought have affected many other things here - like bugs. The grasshoppers seem to be the only insect that is doing well in this heat. They are everywhere and are eating up everything they can.
A couple of momma birds raised their young in interesting places on the place this year. A swallow couple built their nest at the end of the front porch. They raised 5 little ones that flew the nest over the fourth of July. They are beautiful birds and we enjoyed having them around, along with the purple Martin's and hummingbirds that hang around the feeders on the porch as well.
A young Mockingbird built her nest inside the cherry tomato plant in the garden. She raised 5 little ones as well. We didn't pick the tomatoes around her nest for several weeks. Those little ones flew off last week and we hope they all make it. We look forward to seeing them all again next year!
The garden is winding down but still gives us much to enjoy. I've canned marinara sauce and salsa with the yummy, garden fresh tomatoes, as well as enjoyed Gazpacho several times during these warm summer weeks. Last night I canned several jars of new potatoes from the garden. Hopefully they will taste good this winter. I've never canned potatoes before! We've put up dozens of quarts of green beans, squash, and zucchini in the freezer, along with bell peppers and green chilies. Dozens of onions and potatoes are drying in the shop along with cayenne peppers, sunflowers, fennel and many other herbs and spices. We still have flowers blooming in the garden and the bees and other insects are loving the garden as much as I do.
The equine are doing very well, even with the heat. They spend much of their time dozing up by the barn since they have no pasture to munch on.The cows are goats are doing good also. They get up early in the morning and walk around the pasture for a couple of hours finding something they like. Then they spend the rest of the day munching on a round bale or sleeping in the shade of the trees during the heat of the day. They rouse themselves again in the late evening for another bite when the goats come in to get their feed and get put up in their pen. Everyone seems to just be taking it slow and easy during these dog days of summer. Hope you are too!
Russell Ranch is located in beautiful NE Oklahoma, just a few miles from the Illinois river in Green Country. There are lovely rolling hills, lots of wonderful lakes and rivers, and forests full of wildlife.