Dry weather in central Wisconsin. Hot days, cool nights and no rain. Ten days ago the lawn grass in front of my cabin, native grass as I planted no grass seed was green, lush and growing rapidly. This morning it is brown and crunches underfoot when I walk across it. The grass appears dead, but it is not. It is merely waiting for the next rain when it will once more turn green. Tough stuff this centuries old grass that knows the ways of sandy, dry soils.
My garden suffers. Potato vines curl, squash leaves wilt, the bottom leaves of the sweet corn are turning brown, the tomato plants have stopped growing. Even some of the weeds have wilted—but not all as weeds, better than the fancy, hybrid vegetable varieties know dry weather, know how to send their roots ever deeper, searching for life-giving moisture.
Those of us in central Wisconsin look to the western sky and wait for rain as we have for generations as these sandy soils never have enough it seems. The rains in mid-summer make all the difference as to whether a crop will produce well, indeed even survive. Farming sandy soil without irrigation is a gamble, always has been, always will be.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: One of the best ways to solve a problem is to walk. It may take a mile, it may take longer.
July 26, Noon, Wis Historical Society Museum, on the Square, Madison, WI. Ringling Bros. Circus.
July 31-August 6, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County.
August 10. 5 p.m., program at 6 p.m. Red Crown Lodge, 3852 Highway 51 North, Arbor Vitae, WI Preview of Ken Burns’ latest film, Prohibition. Discussion of Prohibition in Wisconsin. Free. Registration required by August 5. Register: UWalumni.com or call 608-263-4508.