The Branch Fence Holds + Effects of Drought Visible

As planned, cows have access to the low sloped pool adjacent to Site XR2

Hurray – the branch fence David and I worked so hard on has held. Even with cows nearby drinking from the pool, they have not intruded into the planting area. Eventually, we will fence most of the upper section of this creek and some of the lower section for habitat restoration, and drive the cattle to water at the lightly sloped pool. This will reduce erosion of the creek banks and allow all the plants that are trying to get a start to grow to maturity.

I checked the Odom Creek plants as well. All were present and accounted for.

Drought Here Again

The soil is so dry that Millie kicks up dust while walking

I have included my concerns about drought in many of my previous posts as well as the confirmation we will be in a La Niña year this year. The effects of a lack of moisture are really evident. Pathways look like bare highways with no grass growth to replace dry grass worn away from use. The creeks are dry. My neighbor’s pond is dry. All we have are the two small springs keeping some moisture going on this side of the ranch. I don’t know how my neighbor’s spring is doing; I’ve not checked. Most of the cattle left today. Tom (the cattleman) and his family drove them up the road to another leased ranch with more water. He left behind a handful of cows with small calves.

Mamas and babies resting in the grass

With no precipitation or morning dew, I am back to watering the plants once per week. Although I’ve added another sixty-eight plants with the Xerces kits, many of the old plants and some of the new ones are already dormant. They don’t need as much moisture as those with leaves. After watering the plants near the house, I hooked up the cart, filled the bladder with water, and delivered clean rain water to the Xerces riparian plants as well as Site 8.

The soil was happy to receive the water. I can’t say as much for my attitude. Dry conditions worry me, and I’m feeling a bit grumpy. Maybe it is that and the COVID surge too. On the heels of a contentious election as well, it is all just extremely overwhelming. Not only do I feel pained for humans, I also feel pain for all my other plant, animal, insect relations. It has become clear why that beautiful blue heron has been hanging around. He has no water. His mate has not returned to start a new family near my neighbor’s now dry pond as they typically do. He is forced into eating gophers and mice. I’m not complaining about that, but I know herons prefer water. I’ve filled all the troughs around the hilltop for his consideration and use. Fortunately, I over planned water, and still have over 2,000 gallons available. I also had Tank 3 hooked up when the small rain storm came through last month, so I have about 40 new gallons there. With a bit of forethought, attention to science, and a kindness, derived from absolute love, which by its very nature results in sharing, perhaps all of us, David, me, the plants and the heron, will be able to survive this time.

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