There hasn’t been a lot of news in Kansas other than talk of heat waves, drought, and the presumed consequences of both. It's enough to discourage even the heartiest.
At my farm, the effect of the grasshopper invasion could be added as well. A few root vegetables are hanging on and a few distasteful plants in the garden – like horseradish. Last week the resurrection lilies made an attempt to come up, but the grasshoppers ate the buds at about two inches.
Despite the dismal outlook, I have been trying to keep watering with the hope my old faithfuls will pull through. A couple of shrubs at the front of the farmhouse had suffered terribly and I decided to put a hose to them one evening. I was rewarded with six orioles coming to bathe. Jubilation would describe their attitude. They were soon joined by two bluebirds, which politely waited their turn by wading in the birdbath for a few minutes.
A fifty year old viburnum at the edge of the yard looked dead, but I hosed it down as well. Soon I saw one of the wild rabbits had dug a furrow in the moist soil and was enjoying a snooze. As I approached, he gave me the look that said “You wouldn’t dare make me move,” so I moved on, leaving him to enjoy his nap.
My farmer neighbor came by in late afternoon. He had been out carrying water to the livestock tanks. “Hey, you need a little water?” he asked, gesturing to the big tank on the back of his truck.
“Oh, dear Lord, you’re there for me today!” I thought as I hugged my neighbor for his generosity. With a high capacity tank, I was able to give my new trees sixty gallons of water each – and they were still in need. He may have saved them for me.
Sometimes we forget that the wildlife suffers with the heat as much as the plants, so I am developing a healthy case of Kansas stubborn about this heat wave. I just keep dumping as much water on as I can, and I know most of the plants and trees will make a comeback and my wildlife will come out after their month-long hunker down.
I guess you just can’t get an old farmer – or her farm - down. We are Kansas stubborn.