Throwback Thursday Post: Rain Makes Berries
***Here's another throwback Thursday post from 3/15/11. Stay tuned for an update at the end!***
When I was in college, I took Geology and Oceanography as my sciences. I had biology twice in high school; I didn't even want to tackle chemistry. Turns out I really loved it and even seriously considered changing my major. Looking back I kind of wish I had. What can I say, I've always been a dork. I remember my professor saying that eventually water was going to become the most important, sought after, and fought over resources in the world. When I look at last year’s crop I believe it. I think it rained maybe four times all summer and things, especially the corn, just dried up in the field never making a crop. It was awful. I see things like that and think, how can people not believe our climate is changing?
So what is that saying, when Muhammad won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Muhammad? It's a proven fact that plants need air, sun, and water to live. We have plenty of sun and plenty of air, and if nature doesn't provide the rain it's up to us to make it happen.
When we first bought the farm, we knew we wanted to dig a pond to use for irrigation. It was supposed to be a simple pond. Well, if any of you know The Husband, you know it wasn't just a simple pond. A month later we have a 20+ foot deep hole in the ground. It was an odyssey to have the thing dug. The up side was he got to use the excavator, which always makes his day. Then comes the fun part, watching it fill up. We knew we'd tapped into some underground streams, you could see them flowing in. However, as mentioned before, it might have rained four times so the underground streams weren't exactly at capacity. It wasn't until we got thirteen inches in just a couple days last September that it filled up.
Then we had to get a pump to pump the water from the pond to the berry field. In comes Berry Girl to save the day. It took two missions to Clinton, but I was able to complete my objective and secure the necessary parts. (Everyone knows that superheroes must have a sweet ride to cruise to missions on, well, I have a Mercury Mariner. Fitting pump parts into this thing was a challenge. I think someone needs an upgrade, I'm just sayin'.)
So now we have our pond and our pump. As per usual, The Husband puts his over analytical mind to the task and comes up with a plan to lay pipe. Him and his dad take on this mission (I will not have any part in this), and several arguments later the pipe is laid. Fast forward to now. Our berries are blooming, and we even have tiny green berries (!!!), so if it freezes, we have to a) cover the berries up with row covers or b) run water over them all night long to create a protective coating of ice over the fruit so it is not damaged. We choose option a usually. So far this year that has not been a problem (knock on wood).
Our problem is the dry weather. I know, I know, it rained last week, it's supposed to rain tomorrow and Wednesday, but it's not enough. We've had a dry winter and the climate forecast is for a warm spring (yes I look it up, I’m a bit of a meteorology nut too, I’m a dork remember). We haven't forgotten last summer. We're preparing to irrigate. We planted our berries on black plastic which allows us to get the maximum effect while using less water. Irrigation is great, but it only holds out as long as the rivers/ponds/aquifers do. So the next time you say, I wish it wouldn't rain, think about your local farmer and how sweet those berries are going to be in about a month. Think about what you eat tonight when you sit down to supper. Without rain none of it would be possible. What is that song...rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby get a little frisky? What if we change it to rain makes berries, berries make wine, wine makes my baby get, ah, well you catch my drift.
***Update! When I was looking through posts to use this one stood out because it was talking about our lack of rain, and I just recently read an article that said no one in NC alive right now had ever seen the amount of rain we'd gotten since last fall. We've had major floods on the farm three times in three years. Half the winter we were sure we were going for number 4. Still, drought is never far from my mind. I remember many childhood summers living down a dusty dirt road praying for rain. The Husband always says we're always 10 days away from a drought. Now I probably could have argued with him about that a couple times this winter, but at spring comes upon us and the trees start putting out my little farm is looking a bit dry. Just last year we lost crops due to drought. So I try to never really complain about the rain, at least not out loud, because you never know when you'll wish you had it back.***
The pond freshly dug Last year preparing to plant the maze The difference 3 months makes