July Drought in Lanark County

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“For months we have had scarcely any rain…. The grass and the trees have seemed to remain at a standstill, as though waiting for something. When I pour pot after pot of water about the roots of some favourite or needy plant, the water runs off the caked ground… seemingly, without quenching the fever-thirst of the earth…. The beauty of rain is a thing often missed, I think, even by those who do keep, as they pass through this world, a keen eye for the Creator’s thoughts, embodied in beauty about them…”.           John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863

As the dry weather continues week after week this summer, we think of those who toil in the fields to produce our food.  Eastern Ontario is experiencing a drought worsened by the hot temperatures that sear the fields as the plants shrivel in the dry sandy soil on the Lanark County farms.  Urban dwellers disconnected from the land by generations, take no notice of the affects of weather until prices rise on their daily goods. 

Conversations lean heavily in one direction this season as worried eyes watch stunted crops parched and withering.  Weather predictions and local forecasts are studied in earnest and the old methods and almanacs are brought out for comparison. 

Perspiration streams down uneasy brows and day after hot, dry, day takes its toll on the harvest and the people.  Watchful eyes stare at the skies, hopeful as any dark cloud passes along the horizon.  Will it rain tonight?  Will it rain this week?  Will the sky open up in time to shower the plants and drench the fields while there’s still time? 

This part of the job is the most difficult; the part that cannot be controlled or willed and we are left to rely on the graces of nature and Mother Earth that labour unpredictably on their own schedule.

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