State of the Farm

Sightings on a crisp May dawn of the day: our family of deer, their children growing up; a dozen feral hogs and their babies watering at the lake next door; drought-damaged ponds temporarily full to the brim; cattle grazing contentedly, their calves frolicking in the cool breeze, happy to be alive.

We are too.

But trying to describe the State of the Farm in advance of our publication date is becoming a trick. All of you attending Open Farm on May 3rd saw a good bit of rain-starved grass. At that point in time, we had enjoyed a pretty nice spring but had gone without fresh rains for several weeks as temperatures simultaneously rose into the high 80's. We sat at a 4.2 inch deficit for the year, about 40% below average, and heard the nasty word “drought” creeping back into the forecaster’s lingo. During the same period we had experienced very low humidity levels, which is further warning that we may be headed back into a droughty year.

Then everything changed. In the week following Open Farm, we had 3.2 inches of rain over two days. Then came the deluge, 8.6 inches in a ½ day rain, five days later. That puts the May rain total at 11.8 as of May 11th, and not only surpasses May averages but closes the deficit and creates a surplus of rain for the year, standing at 18.6 inches total. Lakes, ponds and tanks are full to the brim.

The mighty thunderstorm that brought the big rain also filled the atmosphere with lightning induced nitrogen and preceded a cold front which set a record low of 47 degrees two nights later. Along with the low temperatures came very low humidity levels that persisted longer than would be expected - the front forged further into the Gulf than normal, preventing the Gulf moisture from making its counter-attack as quickly as usual. This sets the stage for another record-breaker: eight consecutive months of below normal temperatures. So we have enjoyed very pleasant though briefly violent weather, be you man or beast, in May 2014. The farm and its creatures, great or small, thrives.

You just never know. And “what happens next” is what keeps it interesting.

JVF