So, how was our summer compared to ‘our normal’? Way to hot, far too dry, and all for far too long! Let’s talk about it from our standpoint.
We had little to NO rain, period. People were watering 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and still trees were lost, gardens didn’t produce like expected. Many of our cold weather medicinal herbs, such as Goldenseal and Ginseng were lost because of the drought conditions. Still we pray for rain……….
Fires from around the North West!
Not only did we suffer smoke from our own fires here in Montana and Idaho, but smoke from Washington state as well – Washington state suffered with record fires, some over 200,000 acres! Smoke from all these fires made sure that there were months, (honestly MONTHS), that we didn’t see the sun, let alone the ‘Big Sky Country’ motto we entice tourists with. Many, not only in our state, suffered from the smoke. Even our goats paid a price this summer. Constant coughs, runny noses, respiratory issues, and hoarse throats. Constant air quality alerts. Even though the smoke is finally clearing, some of these fires may well burn until the snows put them out. How’s that for a perspective?
Now we think of those in California with their fires still, understanding what they are dealing with. Those families that lost loved ones this year due to the fires in the West……..our prayers are will you still.
Hot as heck!
This summer was one of the hottest ever recorded for us in the Flathead Valley. Not only did it start early, yes April is early for hot weather, but it was constantly throughout the summer. 100 degree temperatures in June broke all time records. When you are used to a very few 100 degree days, mixed in with a handful of 90’s having to suffer through five or more months of 90’s and above is a hard ‘pill to swallow’. Because our growing season is NORMALLY 90 days long, we have seeds that work perfectly for our normal short cool summers. However, when the heat starts months earlier, those same seeds that produce in cool weather don’t produce at all in the heat. Crops such as spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. never produced this year.
Without the rain, the drought, many are looking for hay and alfalfa to feed their livestock. Many aren’t finding it or are paying far higher than normal. Farmers aren’t going to get the second and third cuttings, because many depended on the ‘normal’ spring rains when many don’t irrigate.
Take firewood. Our main source of heat in the winter is our wood stove. With the fires and drought, many were locked out of the woods, not even able to go cut wood like they normally do for an income. Try finding firewood now is almost impossible. Prices are higher and the ‘cord of wood’ isn’t exactly the cord you would get.
End in sight?
Luckily cooler weather is coming………..we are wishing for a ‘normal’ winter. As we said earlier, the smoke is finally gone. Rains are what we need still…..but with all that – we still feel blessed. And here you thought we were complaining, right? We still have our livestock and they still had grazing/foraging even if it wasn’t the best. We still were able to get hay and alfalfa for them. We still have our home, it’s still cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We are even blessed with friends that are able to provide firewood for a far price. We didn’t tragically lose a loved one during this fire season. Our garden did still produce, even if our variety is limited this year. And most importantly……….we are blessed with each other.
How’s that for perspective?