Dry Season Farming

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With the turn of the new year it seemed that nature got so caught up in the celebrations that the water bill was left unpaid. by this i mean ll the rain stopped. Just like that. Even with a few promising days of heavy cloud cover, not a drop was spared on our patch of earth. I have spent weeks watching the clouds in the sky trying to predict when My crops will get there next drink. But sadly i watch many full dark clouds carrying untold amounts of life in them simply blow right passed me of split and avoid my space all together. and even when i would watch as they started to pour just on the horizon and move toward me only to have a change in wind bringing them right passed.

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ahhh the mind games these things are planning is cruel. And just like any population that booms with the added surplus of resources only to fall victim to swift famine once they have exhausted them, I too have made the same mistake. At the start of the rainy season with all the water falling out of the sky freeing me from the chore of carrying bucket after bucket morning noon and night, I became in a frenzy of planting and making new beds for vegetables to grow. And now with a swift kick in the jeans I get a first row ticket to what it means to experience a drought. To watch all the hours of work, tilling building planting weeding go down the drain as plants not yet fruiting slowly succumb to the slow death of dehydration.  And in such a pitiful way they appear to walk out side and see them like that hurts. In a physical way I feel the strong urge to run to there rescue, but my efforts remain futile with now almost 3 weeks with no rain the grounds consumes water like a black hole.

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My skin gets redder and redder in the hottest part of the day as i try desperately to keep these things alive but there is to much. I am to few and the gravy train has been driven off  a cliff. Bucket after bucket seems to no avail and after the anger and the frustration have run themselves ragged I’m left holding one thing, Empathy. Empathy for all my neighbors all the places like this place all the people staring at clouds to get there food for the year and all of Africa. Here I am a novice young farmer trying hard and making many rookie mistakes. Here I am a man who was born lucky enough to one day find a situation where he may travel across the globe to kneel down at his drying garden to feel self pity And now here I am looking up from that self pity and seeing better the answer to my small issues.

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With the clouds comes less water from the well. Because the solar needs full sun to function. So sensitivity to this resource is heightened. And wile watching the garden dry to death is very painful, it become clear which plants seem less effected so careful observation reveals what i must do next. I have discovered my solution shortening the list of crops ill be putting down. reducing the size for the dry period in order to cut down weekly water needs and redesigning the shape of the beds in order to best save every drop right on the roots lastly gathering all the drying grasses to slow the process of evaporation.

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Once again a privileged white boy from the land of opportunity one day struggles to struggle where people struggle the most only to feel frustration before being humbled to the true facts. My garden my die I may fail but If it does there will be a faucet back in the states that I may one day turn on. And if i should be so foolish to forget about it. I will return the next day to find still water flowing. And flowing and flowing. Each day with out a thought, I can turn it right and drink. But here the rules are different………Humbled.

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