Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Who’ll Start the Rain?

water truckThere is no rain in the forecast for the seventh straight day and not before this column appears in various south shore weeklies kind enough to print this perspective each fortnight.

No rain for the lettuce heads in the field. No rain for the garlic which has been in the ground since October. No rain for the small potatoes that are harvested, and they are small due to the lack of rain. No rain for the seedlings the farmer has in trays for hoping for eventual transplant so the sunflowers and cucumbers will grace table tops and salads come September.

No rain for the rain barrel that sits below far too few down spouts, ready to fill watering cans for home gardens. No rain to soften the soil and make it possible to loosen the fertile, nutrient-rich earth. No rain for the dry compost piles, living entities that also need water, so as the worms and ingredients and thousands of micro-organisms can thrive. No rain for one who wishes to walk the paths and by-ways for a good soak.

No rain to break the cycle of oppressive heat. No rain falling on a tin roof while reading inside on a summer evening. Is this California? Is this a farm in New England? Is it a garden where someone is trying to grow some food and flowers of their own? The dry, struggling plants and hard working farmers are weary and desperate for rain.

Sometimes the farmer can be picky. There is the case of too much rain and muddy fields. There is now too much sun for plants that crave sun. There is so much upon which a farmer depends. It is not just seeds sown in healthy soil with water and sun. So now, the farmers are working hard to repeatedly go back to the well and pump water out of that well and into the tank, so the tank can be driven to the most dire field and crop to be expeditiously pumped (thank you Dan and Jon) into a hose and drip tape so as the produce can live up to their name and produce tomatoes, greens, roots and squash.

The farmers and even the shuffling teens who are completing community service are filling watering cans and walking them to gardens and rows so as to pour directly at the roots, efficiently and tirelessly. I would have much to write if we were in a monsoon setting and longing for sun and warmth.

Instead, we plod on, making sure we have plenty of water to drink, making sure we don’t leave the hose dripping. Making sure the animals also have enough water in their buckets and troughs. And we continue to add water to our coffee, so as to keep on working and providing ample opportunities for growth, sustainably and carefully. And I will save some water for a cup of tea when the rain pitters and patters on the roof, with a book about climate change and ways to improve the serious state of our environment, firmly in my hands.

© 2016, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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