Where have I been?
Right here, where else!
Okay, fine. It's been a hell of a summer. I know, I breached the no swearing ban. But actually, it's been like hell.
The heat tsunami has finally broken.
After 80 days of 100 degree heat and 40+ of those over 105!!!!!!, it's finally over.
My yard looks like Death Valley on a good day.
The garden is long since gone and I went into survival mode. Just trying to keep what plants I still have alive.
The grass, if that was what still could be defined as that, is dry dry dry straw.
Paul, the dog with a thousand teeth, running none stop, has worn much of the "grass" down to dust.
My neighbor, in typical suburban fashion, comes out after sun down and hand waters his lawn. (sprinklers are a no no. We're in stage 2 water rationing). He has the only green lawn on the block. Such a colossal waste.
Trees in my neighborhood are losing their limbs because they are drying out. At least a few times a week, I see people out cutting up split off limbs.
Last weekend was the absolute worst. 112 degrees for 2 days straight. It was like some sort of cruel grand hurrah by mother nature. "I'll show you hot!!!"
I'll give you an example of how bad we want rain. Last weekend the much more Significant Other and I went to the movies. We went to see, "The Help". (Good movie, go check it out). There was a scene were it started raining cats and dogs. The whole audience moaned with jealousy. I'm not kidding.
So finally, there appears a break on the horizon, a tropical storm in the Gulf! Yayyyyy!
The screams of joy didn't last long as the storm took one look at Texas and shrugged us off. However, while we didn't get the rain, we did get the winds! And when you combine, high temps, high winds and very dry plant life, it doesn't take much to start a fire.
At this very moment, there are no less than 7 wild fires burning around Austin. Some within the city limits.
Last night as I was hand watering my plants, I smelled smoke. That fire was just about 5 miles away.
The big one, east of here in Bastrop, is directly effecting 3 of my friends.
Two people I work with and one SO works with. One of those two people I work with, she and her husband are in the volunteer fire dept. They are currently on the front lines fighting a massive fire. The biggest of the bunch. It's burned 20K acres already and still is going strong. Many folks have lost their homes.
The person SO works with, she has a farm and raises animals. Goats, chickens, pigs, etc. She had to move the pigs to another area to get them out of harms way. The fire shifted and she believes that the farm that they were at, was overtaken. It will be a few days before she finds out for sure, but she doesn't have a good feeling. She is now asking us and a mess of others for water for her remaining animals. We are giving what we can.
So while the heat has finally abated today, the wind hasn't. After going to a local sports/hunting store to pick up some collapsable 5 gallon jugs, I could see the plume of smoke east of town were our friends are dealing with trying to piece their lives together.
Still no rain in the forcast. Still dry as a bone.
We are experiencing the worst one year drought on record. It's never been this bad in a single year before.
In the 1950's Texas went through a 7 year drought. That one still holds the recorded record for multi-year drought.
I sincerely hope what we are experiencing isn't a harbinger of things to come.
What scares me now is when this drought finally breaks. When ground gets rock hard dry then gets inundated with water from a massive rain storm, it doesn't soak in. You would have better luck trying to saturate a piece of steel.
That's the other shoe waiting to drop.
I know, this got a bit serious, but things are getting a bit interesting.
Just letting you know, I'm still alive and yes, hope to plant something this fall. If I could plant Oxygen and Hydrogen and grow water, I would. ;)
Remember, Green is Good! But it's even better when it's actually green and not straw colored.
Edit: I just learned that my two friends, that are the firepeople out in Bastrop fighting the fire, lost their home. Crap.
Edit #2: The pigs are okay. :)
Edit #3: A new fire has cropped up. Not far from SuburbanGuys home. Brushfire. Hope it doesn't grow. It started from sparks thrown off the wheels of a passing train. Yeah, it's that dry. It's about 3 miles (as the crow flies) away. A co-worker who lives in that area had to evac.
Edit #4: 9/8/11 The Bastrop fire is now 35% contained. I heard that 2 more of my friends lost their homes. Austin was socked in with smoke yesterday. My friend, who is the firefigher with her husband (who lost their homes), was recounting to me some of what she experienced. She told me that all of the volunteer firefighters in the Smithville/Bastrop house lost their homes.
One image she related to me was eerie. As she wsa driving down hwy 71 (still closed to the public), the area was all burned flat. Like a "moonscape". Little "pocket" fires were still burning with no one working them, because the firemen were working the big one. Suddenly, she saw several of her friends Arabian horses running free trying to find safety. Arabians and ash.