Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tiny Rain, Big Runoff

This photo is from a few weeks ago, right after a quick intense rain that gave our area a mere inch of rain, but that I am immensely happy to have received nevertheless.

Last summer our neighbor began clear cutting several large fields, probably about twenty acres worth.  His plan was to plant Coastal Bermuda and graze Longhorns on it.  Now I don't know anything about Coastal Bermuda, and whether he could really have grown it here so far from the coast, on our stony land, without irrigation, and I guess I won't find out anytime soon.  Our neighbor abandoned the project and is left with acres of parched, bare ground.  That's his soil you see washed all over our road, and also into our field which sits below his.  So I guess we gained some soil but I don't feel like celebrating.

Our field is parched too, but the tough native grasses send roots down two, three, or more feet and hold tight to the soil in even the biggest gullywashers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cow Rampage

Maybe you've heard that Central Texas is having the worst drought in recorded history.  The 110 degree days seem to be behind us, and we've had a couple of tiny rain storms, but the landscape is still parched.  The cove we live on is completely dry.  The other morning we awoke to discover that the cows that normally graze across the cove had crossed over the now dry basin, somehow climbed up the cliff to our front yard, and mowed down a twelve by ten or so hedge of thornless cactus.  I don't blame them.  That cactus looked seriously juicy and is probably the greenest thing for miles.  When I was growing up farmers used to take a blow torch to the very thorny native cactus during the driest part of the summer, singe off the thorns and let the cows have at it.

The photo is post-cactus binge.  That almost bare ground is where the cactus used to stand.  The green you see is some Turk's Cap I planted alongside the cactus and which seems to need less water than just about anything else around here.  Miraculously, cows do not seem to find it tasty.