Saturday, October 8, 2016

The State of the Pond, Fall 2016

Turfman loves watching the weather report. A hush must fall over the house so that he can hear every word uttered. He's most often listening for words like "rain" and "high chance." Most forecasts this summer have ended with him being dejected.

I, too, would love to hear those words, but I have come to loathe the weather report, not just for the lack of rain in the forecast but for a curious and disturbing narrative that the reporter invariably delivers. I don't know exactly who the local news stations consider their most important audience, but I'm guessing it's tourists who hope that we don't get rain while they're here. Otherwise, it's locals who have no idea or concern that we need rain in order to have--well, you know--water.

Here are the two basic forecasts one might hear (and I suspect this is true all over the country):

  1. "Well, folks, I have some bad news. We have a 40% chance of rain today, which will make the commute a soggy one."
  2. "It's going to be a great stretch of days. We have almost no chance of rain in the next 7 days, so get out there and enjoy the sunny weather."
Rain is the enemy.

For those who don't garden, it is likely pretty easy to become unaware of how much or how little rain has fallen in a given month. Sometimes a gardener, too, thanks to the aid of drip irrigation, might be less attuned to precipitation levels. But a pond is an unmistakable indicator of rain patterns. I'll demonstrate just how much by sharing a series of photos. 

On Christmas Eve, the pond and its series of draining canals had succumbed to four days of deluge. 

The canals are no longer to be seen

And neither is the driveway

Over the course of the winter, our driveway washed away four times.

The level settled a bit (and we had some pretty flurries)

And over it went again
We were hopeful for a summer of consistent rain, but it virtually disappeared by May. Although we occasionally had rain, it clearly wasn't enough in the face of far too many 90 degree days. It rained yesterday while I took the photo below, so the water level was a little higher than it has been, but the scene is shocking.

That's all the water left. The bridge is just beyond.

The soil is cracked, and sedge has taken over in most spots

Rain in one season does nothing for us in in the next, especially when we have a pond that we don't want to be a serious eyesore. And whatever we see happening above ground, we can be sure is going on below ground in really important areas like aquifers. I hope we all keep that in mind the next time we watch the local forecast and listen intently for a promise only of sunny days. Rain really is one of our dearest friends.

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