It’s October 7, snowing and cold with a piercing east wind. I guess that means that the convoluted summer of 2016 is finally over-although the petunias in pots against the house were still glorious as ever yesterday and I just picked the last tomatoes the day before. What a strange summer it has been! Throughout May and June great, promising black clouds sailed in, surely bringing us much-needed rain, but scarcely a drop fell. The pastures were looking stressed and the hay-well, there just wasn’t going to be any. Temperatures reached mid-summer highs in May and the apple trees burst into prolific bloom, only to be frozen by a sudden overnight drop well below freezing. Instead of the nearly 300 apples last year there were about seven! In early July, the one hayfield worth even cutting was put down and then baled with only a little rain on it. Yes, rain! Maybe it was all the jarring from the Calgary Stampede but, whatever it was, something knocked the plug out of the sky. For most of July, August, and September there was rain every two to three days. My green feed (oats grown to be cut green and baled for cow feed) was cut in mid-August with a forecast of about five days of sunshine ahead. Wrong again! By the time it was dry enough to bale it was late September and it looked like rather poor straw bedding. However, the summer was not all bad. The copious rain was sorely needed as the water table had sunk very low and wells were starting to dry up around the country. It took several rainy weeks to even produce puddles as the water just keep seeping into the parched ground. Now, we have good groundwater and the pastures have thrived like never before, still lush and green in most places. The cows are so fat they waddle. Although it took a lot of watering early in the season the garden did well and I finally got done digging all the potatoes. Now, we look forward to winter. Well, I’m not really looking forward to it but it’s coming anyway. Might as well get used to the idea. The chickadees and nuthatches have declared it time to be fed for some weeks now so I guess they’re prepared. As I write this the woodstove is making comforting stove noises behind me so as long as I keep packing in the wood all will be well. Hoping for Indian Summer!
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