Looks like September around here, not late July

I haven’t seen this dry of a Spring and Summer since we built our house up here some 25 years ago. There’s no snow left on the mountains, and the river down at the bottom of the ravine is so slow and shallow you can walk across it like it was a creek.

The deciduous trees are showing heat stress, with the outside leaves on the lower branches turning brown, but our local Cooper’s Hawk is having a great time of hunting mice in the tall dry grass, as they stand out nicely for his sharp vision.

I do fear for the level of water in the well: We haven’t had any real rain since the first part of May.

Temperatures have been running in the high 80s and low 90s since the end of May, and in the high 90s since the middle of June, baking everything to a hard, crusty, brownness. Even walking in the meadows is like walking on concrete – the top layer of soil has lost almost all its moisture, and all that’s holding it in place is the tenacious grip of the parched meadow grass. We got some easing of this last week, with the temperatures dipping into the high 70s for a couple days of highly welcome relief.

Mentioning building the house reminds me of 25 years ago, when I took two weeks off from work at the TV Studio to work with the framing crew. Of course we had a heat wave going at the time; as I recall it was at or above 100° here for the best part of the second week. But MAN! Could those guys work! I also remember on the hottest day when the framing crew took off at ‘lunch’ (2:30 PM) to go swimming down at the river. There’s a good bend with slack water there and it’s deep enough for a good swimming hole. Meanwhile I had some paperwork to do in the (badly built POS) motorhome we had up here onsite for us to live in. I’d had the “air conditioner” cranking since the early morning, and when I went in, it was an almost-cool 89°, versus the 104° outside. I splashed cold water on my face, head, and neck, and collapsed on the floor. I remember panting in a whisper: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…” But that was only one experience in many while building the house, and as a result, I know every stick of wood and every sheet of plywood (NO OSB!!) that went into this house.

Back to the present:
All the God-cursed Tansy in the area is growing too fast due to all this sunshine. There are a number of things I look forward to when I get to Heaven, and one of them is standing at the side of Christ as he rebukes the tansy, and then watching it all curl up, wither, and die; and all in real time.

In past years I’ve gone up to the upper meadow and just pulled it, but doing so now makes my hands hurt for a week afterward. Clipping it off has got out of the question due to the rough nature of that meadow’s ground, and the high probability of tripping over hidden vines in the tall grass.

Which leaves mowing.

I would have mowed the upper meadow a couple weeks ago, but I have my tractor in for service. The best dealer in the area is Sheppard’s, up in Hood River – good farming country – and they are BUSY. When I took the tractor in, I knew I’d have to get in the back of the line as there are lots of folks with fruit to get in and so on. I was hoping to hear this week, but maybe next week.

I’ve reluctantly admitted that there are a number of things I can no longer do myself, and along with pulling tansy, servicing the tractor is on that list. This point began to come home to me for real when I was trying to get the deck off the tractor, and found that I just… couldn’t… do it.

May God bless the folks up there at Sheppard’s who are working on the machines for the farmers, may he bless their harvest, may he bless the work of my hands when I get my tractor back and can do some land maintenance. I thank God that I have been put in charge of this bit of land, and may my stewardship of it glorify him.

And you know Lord, we could really, really, use some rain.

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