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Summer Time

Well it appears that summertime has arrived and with it brings a number of different challenges based on its weather or this instance a "lack of" weather.

Surprisingly this year the biggest dilemma we are facing a appears to be extremely high heat with an unseasonably low amount of rainfall; in fact many would say we're reaching drought conditions this early in the season.

On a more positive note, we are trying to use this problem as an opportunity to survey areas of our lots that are maintaining some level of moisture. Likewise, we are making an inventory of some of the more drought resistant native plant life in our wildlife garden. It is our intent to transplant many of these plants into sections surrounding our property and project areas in a way that is beneficial to reducing artificial watering requirements.

The big hill is gone!

Earlier last week, the people from the Habitat for Humanity were finally able to remove, level, grade a significant portion of the staging area we permitted them to use. Unfortunately, this was done during this arid heat and much of the soil has had the sun beat all the moisture out of it.  To call it a dust bowl, would be a bit of exaggeration at this stage-hopefully, we can get seed laid and begin reestablishing that area with newer more productive plant life.

In addition to the wildflowers we intended to be planted there, we're looking at native switchgrass for soil stabilization and perhaps a Hairy Vetch or similar ground cover crop to build up some of the organic layer for this winter's sleep. We discussed a bit more about the switchgrass in one of our earlier updates in our natural wildlife garden section.

Water we need water!

Earlier last month, we're compiling our main project report regarding our rain harvesting system. While we continue to lament over the issues of being able to find a suitable contractor, we have to be appreciative of the fact that had we completed the work earlier in the season, much of the plants that would have been moved would've suffered greatly with this lack of water. Not to mention, that our rain harvesting would not have harvested any rainwater from our roofs.

While we are prepared and have made plans to use smaller equipment, we do know it'll take a longer period of time but have the concerns that much of the growing season will have passed us by. Currently, we are considering how to best utilize the lot area in a way that complements the near-term development of these water collection lagoons and the sad fact that we have no water to physically put in them.

Rabble-rousers and Flat Earth-ers!

It didn't take long for a few less informed individuals of our community to begin sabre rattling and raising their finger to the sky. Personally, I am proud of the steps that we have progressed over the past five years to the point where we have a number of these systems in place (see our "shake a stick at" article). Furthermore I'm even more excited over the prospect that we received funding to take on some of these initiatives, and the few households that have begin asking about a rain barrel on their own property.

In a conversation with one of our funding partners, we realized that it is easier, and considerably more productive to stay on track with the big picture and align our goals with the larger world around us. While I have no doubt, that this is the most common sense approach; I can't help but feel frustrated over the perceived lack of maturity from some but grateful over the understanding of others.

Regardless, I am hopeful that someday they will come to realize there is a larger world outside of their own backyard and that individuals can work independently to provide change in a positive way.

Until our next update, have a pleasant and low stress kind of summertime.