Drouthy Kansas

It’s been raining a bit here on the prairie. They say we need it, it’s been dry. When we first moved here in ’06, it rained and rained and for a while, I thought we2007-Flood had mistakenly moved to the Pacific Northwest. That lasted for a couple of years and then the bottom dropped out.

New-Years-20102009 was dry, in comparison to the previous wet years. We had some snow so we wouldn’t get lonesome and then end of March there was an ice storm. Not an unusual event here by any means, but this one caused everyone in the county to scramble. We got 1.5 inches of ice over night and lost power. A mile south of us there was a 700 foot tall radio tower that came down in that storm. It was rated to be good for 3 inches of ice clinging to it, but this storm gave it around 6 inches of ice at the top, and down she came.

2009-Ice-1

We woke up to a cold house with none of Benjamin Franklin’s gift flowing through our circuits. We had not acquired a generator yet, and I put my best man (my wife) on the phone to track one down. She finally found the last one in the 3 county area. Lowes said they had just gotten a return from somebody that wanted a bigger unit. We gave them our credit card over the phone and hopped in the car. Got it home and fired it up. Had our freezer, fridge, a couple of lights and the internet running in no time. The rest of the county was just about hosed. The power company had not trimmed trees off the lines in quite a few years and now everybody was paying for it. The linemen finally pulled in to our drive a week later and we were back in business.

3HorsesI believe the weather boys said something about La Niña cooling off the Pacific, and things might get a bit dry. And yup, it did. We still had a great garden yield and our horses were able to keep fed off our 20 acres.

Bounty-4

Each year afterward got hotter and dryer. Kansas is prone to cyclic droughts and we were getting wild predictions of all sorts of nonsense. They have been keeping temperature records here for around 130 years. The Indians who lived around here weren’t much into thermometers, so the settlers just had to take their word for it that it gets hot and dry around here.

2012 reminded me of living in the desert. We had temperatures of 115 to 118 degrees and our farm did not have any rain from February to December. It did rain in the county, just a little bit, but where we live seems to be special. The farm is on a limestone ridge, we have a river to the west of us and a lake to the east. I have no idea if that has any bearing on why it doesn’t rain here, but it is very noticeable to see a hole open up around our township and rain and snow go around us. Another portent of some kind, was an eclipse of the sun. The Mrs and I parked our selves on the west side of our ridge and took a bunch of pictures.

Eclipse 2012

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We soldiered though the dry times, pretty much gave up on the garden. What the drought didn’t get the grasshoppers did. 2012 was the high water mark (metaphor irony alert) and things stayed hot and dry, but to a lesser extent. The Mrs works as the Energy Manager for the school district we work in and it was hard to save money during those years.

I had done a bunch of research online when this deal first started. Studied weather, droughts, grasshopper plagues, cycles and what not. Part of it was for the Mrs so she could kind of have a heads up what energy needs the school district might have. Part of it was me being a weather geek and since they put everything on AlGores information super highway, I came up with the idea that this was going to be a 5 year drought, with a possible 2 to 3 year breather and then jumping back into a 7 year drought. You know what they say, it’s good to be good, but it’s better to be lucky. We are in the 2 to 3 year breather and I don’t know how, but I nailed the first part of it.

People at work ask me all the time what the weather is going to do. If they are gullible idiots, I scare them a tad bit. It’s bad, I know, but I just can’t help myself. The normal folk get shown Weather Command and I give them my best shot at what’s going to go down. The big shots in the front office ask the Mrs, because she’s the Energy Manager and with that goes the whole weather thing. She asks me, tells them, comes out looking like a winner.

2007-Rainbow

So, I am looking at the current weather, seeing a small opening in the coming rain and make my plans. We drive home and it’s drizzling, get out of the car and it’s raining. We have a mild emergency project to do, before it rains in earnest. We took down the Utility shed a while back and noticed that the rain gutter that used to empty on the roof of the shed now drains half the house right over our back door. A minor detail that got overlooked somehow. It was supposed to rain a couple of inches and I wanted to put up a temporary rain gutter to keep the back door from flooding. The Mrs asks me if we are still on for the repair, I tell her to look outside, it has stopped raining. I haul up the ladder, grab some baling wire, and get the gutter up, just as it starts to rain.

Since I have separated my shoulder, the Dr. and Chiropractor have told me to take it easy. Easy, but the prairie has demands that must be met. As I stepped off the ladder, I noticed my collar bone had sprung out like a jack in the box. Easy they said, like indoor plumbing verses an outhouse. Uh huh, doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it. At least water isn’t flooding through the back door. Honey, another pack of ice please, and could you top off my medicine, there’s a good girl.