new england drought
The staghorn sumac on the hill is without berries this year
. I attribute this to a drought, at least locally, but the USDA's Drought Monitor says only that the area is "abnormally dry
". But face it, aside from the little bit of rain we had when the remnants of Katrina skirted our area to the west of us, we have lad less than 1/4 inch of rain since mid-July.
The stems and branches of the copse of plants behind the house are thin, almost spindley, and there is no evidence of any fruiting bodies having sprouted at all this year. Wish I could say the same for the abundant growth of poison ivy growing at the base of the plants.
Some might ask, 'Why bother or be concerned? It's just a junk plant anyways.' But folks asking this clearly never enjoyed the tasty liquid confection I knew as a child as "suede
", which was, quite simply, "lemonade" made
from the sumac berries, water and sugar. Nor did they ever enjoy Staghorn Sumac Wine
which, while a bit more complicated to make than "suede", certain whets the whistle. A bit tart for some, but still tasty.
But this is not so much about sumac as it is about the drought. Other garden vegetables have fared poorly, notably tomatoes. This means going into winter with fewer quarts of tomato stews and sauces. I can only be thankful that my harvest of firewood [assuming it all gets split on time] has been more profitable this year.
Since we have a dug well, we have stopped washing clothes at home, relying upon the laudromats [the nearest one is nine miles away, the next nearest 14 miles] to wash clothing. And we've contented ourselves with very short showers ...or doing this at the gym in Middletown, and foregoing our luxuriant bath time for some day when we once again have a higher water table.
I can live with all this, really. Done it numerous
times before. What I find galling is the idiotae
[must be a breed, there's so many of 'em] who populate the TV New crews. They carp and belly ache about virtually every drop of rain in the weather forecast. I don't know where they get their water from [perhaps they don't bathe or wash their clothes] but they sure don't know about the cycles of Nature as much as they do the outdoor social events on their calendars. One would think that recognizing the seriousness of a drought would be something even kids could understand
What those news readers in the tv studios don't realize is that, under current condtions, it would take 4 to 6 inches of slow steady rain to counter the drought conditions we presently face. If the aquifers aren't replenished come winter freeze, the ground won't accept the water as easily, if at all. I can well imagine how those pretty talking heads will feel if they have to be lugging cases of Poland Spring water
up to their apartments to just wash up, let alone bathe.
Meanwhile, I pray for rain. Slow, steady, soaking rain.
What drought tales do others have? I'd like to hear them.