Lemme tell ya, when your livelihood is truly connected to Mother Earth, it’s easy to obsess over the weather.
Go into town and everyone wants to know just how much rain you got last week or last night. How your grass is growing. We compare, we talk, we worry. There are days the clouds look ominous. We close all the windows and prepare for the power to go out. And it misses us. Meanwhile, just across the road, lightning and thunder and no power and buckets and buckets of rain fall down. The National Weather Service and Wunderground are the sites you go to most. Seriously, I visit them more than Facebook!
Weather is an important part of life out here. So, much to our surprise, we went camping with family friends and came back to 1.3 inches of rain. We left hoping a bolt of lightning wouldn’t hit and burn everything to a crisp. We came back and it was cooler, greener. Even the sunflowers are starting to sprout up along the roads. Then, that next day, we had another .2 of rain (2 tenths or 2/10″ if you need some direction on measurements). I busted out my rainboots and we splashed in puddles and stood in awe of a double rainbow. That’s a big deal!
Wait. Rain in July and August? Why is that news? In New Mexico, we get these really neat weather patterns from mid-June through August called “monsoons”. These are days where the ground temperature is so hot and the upper atmosphere is so cool, they basically clash and make rain. That’s a reeeeealllly general idea but here’s a better explanation. The afternoons are hard to plan around because you’ll never know if it’s going to rain or just stay cloudy. But this monsoonal moisture is what we look forward to on the ranch and the Southwest. It means that the cattle will have green grass. That our underground wells and aquifers might get a little relief from our pumping. That I don’t have to wash my car. Sunflowers pop up out of nowhere, birds come back around looking for bugs. The frogs are croaking loud in the earthen dams and random creeks. It also means bugs reappear, too, but when you’re in a drought, it’s a welcome sign that things are alive.
There is such a thing as having too much rain but beggars can’t be choosers and I’d have to get someone from the Extension Office to explain it.
One of my favorite Cowboy Poets (well, the only one I can actually name) is Baxter Black. His articles are printed all over the place and he even has some books and CD’s out! One of his poems, I just happened to see in this month’s Progressive Cattleman is titled Feast or Famine. Instead of pictures today, I leave you with Mr. Black reading his poem. I think it explains exactly how we feel about rain on the ranch. Enjoy!