My yellow "brick" road

My yellow "brick" road

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Precipitation Woes

We were driving back toward home after an evening check of the cattle. I watched as the sun snuggled into the horizon from clouds like looked a big, down-filled comforter.

I asked Randy to pull over so I could get a snapshot of another magnificent Kansas sky. Ironically, we ended up parked next to one of our wheat fields. And as I watched the yellow sun get swallowed up by the blanket of blue, I knew that the clouds were just for show again. No moisture was lurking in the folds of the sky's blanket.
 
Yesterday, we scouted some wheat fields. We got a little freezing rain during a winter thunderstorm Monday night. But it was mostly sound effects - like the artificially-produced noises on a movie set.
Remnants of the sleet remain in the field, but we were hoping Wednesday night's forecast would finally bring us measurable precipitation. Instead, the bulk of the storm again skirted to our east. Some schools in the Wichita area are closed for the third day in a row because of icy roads, and TV reporters lament the slick slide to work.
While we'd prefer our moisture in a long, slow rain, an ice storm last January (2017) gave us our only round of winter moisture and made a difference in our wheat crop last summer. We need good moisture to STOP the drought conditions. (It seems the traffic sign held on to more ice than our fields!)

This winter has been dry. In fact,  November 2017 to January 2018 ranked as the driest (lowest precipitation) on record for Kansas, receiving less than 25 percent of normal precipitation for that time period.


For us, the dry streak extends back to October. We were interrupted with wheat planting because of some intermittent rains, but those also came after a dry summer. We are in the severe drought category on the Kansas drought monitor, and the red of extreme drought is creeping closer.
 
While parts of northern Kansas have received some snow, it's bypassed our area.
Our wheat crop is in dire need of a good, long drink of water.
The bulls got their drink after Randy broke the ice for them. 

If only we could shatter the drought as easily as Randy smashes through the ice with an ax. (Well, it was easy for me. I was just watching!)

12 comments:

  1. I'm sorry it's been so very dry out there!! Waiting for rain is the pits. I forget...do you guys irrigate at all? My sister's inlaws in Sharon Springs do, but I know not every part of the state is the same.

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    1. No, we don't irrigate. We live near the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and the salt level is fairly high in ground water right around where we live. My parents and brother do. They are in the county just south of us.

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    2. I just looked that up...and we've probably "talked" about this before, but you're not too far (at least as far as distance in Kansas goes :) ) from Hesston, where our daughter is in college!

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    3. Yes, that's right. I think it would be 1 1/2 hours or so.

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  2. The waiting and watching for rain must be very stressful. We have just entered another rain event and I have just emptied 2 inches out of the ran gauge - over 12 hours. It is still bucketing down.
    Would love to share with you and the western Qld communities who are suffering dust storms from the drought.

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    1. We'd gladly take what you could spare. But it doesn't seem to work that way, does it? Thanks for sending me the photos via email. I really enjoyed seeing them!

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  3. 199 mm / 8 inches in 36 hours, definitely some to spare! Sky still not clear.

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    1. I have friends to states east of us who have way too much rain at one time, too. Wouldn't it be nice if we could order it?

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  4. Oh, I understand this one year we sold over half our herd because of drought and no water or pasture for them. I do hope your rains come gently and longlasting. Take care and try not to worry. Hug B

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    1. Thank you, B. Wheat is a hardy crop, so I hope we will get some spring rains. Even the little bit of moisture we got gave us a little preview of green.

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  5. So little rain Kim. I really feel for you. Drought & waiting for rain is very disheartening. May your rains come very soon.

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    1. Thanks, Lynda! There was a big story in The Hutchinson News yesterday about the danger of wildfire being very high again this year. That is another by-product of the lack of rain.

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