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Thursday, July 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 74.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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How is the drought affecting you?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Donald » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:11 am

TeachInPeace wrote:Question: how come no one in this state seems to have an irrigator? When I lived in west river South Dakota (dry like here, all summer, plus fire) it seemed like every wheat field, bean field, and even some of the rangeland had at least one irrigator - and I think I've seen a grand total of 1 on my drives around Southern Wisconsin. What gives?


The soils must be suitable for irrigation. If you have tight soils, you salt up the soil. I'm not sure where you lived in west river SD, but only some of the land is suitable for irrigation. The Belle Fourche and Hot Springs areas had federally subsidized projects that made irrigation economic. Otherwise, it wouldn't have happened.

The Arena/Spring Green area in Wisconsin has irrigation. Irrigation works with well-drained soils, so you'll have irrigation in sandy areas if it makes economic sense.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby TeachInPeace » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:15 am

Donald wrote:
TeachInPeace wrote:Question: how come no one in this state seems to have an irrigator? When I lived in west river South Dakota (dry like here, all summer, plus fire) it seemed like every wheat field, bean field, and even some of the rangeland had at least one irrigator - and I think I've seen a grand total of 1 on my drives around Southern Wisconsin. What gives?


The soils must be suitable for irrigation. If you have tight soils, you salt up the soil. I'm not sure where you lived in west river SD, but only some of the land is suitable for irrigation. The Belle Fourche and Hot Springs areas had federally subsidized projects that made irrigation economic. Otherwise, it wouldn't have happened.

The Arena/Spring Green area in Wisconsin has irrigation. Irrigation works with well-drained soils, so you'll have irrigation in sandy areas if it makes economic sense.


Got it - I lived in Todd County, so we were on rural water and RST tribal water systems, but out to Lakeview nearly every field had one. That's sand hills country though, so the "sandy" soil makes sense. Thanks for the info, guys! :D
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:31 am

snoqueen wrote:I put out a pan of water every night for the critters.


It dawned on me to do this last week and our yard turned into a menagerie. Birds I'd never seen before, haggard looking squirrels slowly crawled down from the trees, every kind of bee... Yesterday a murder of crows took over for awhile.

Having a lot of outside work lately, I hate to admit to being tired of the relentless sun.

Although I feel for the farmers, I do love to see insurance companies forced to actually PROVIDE the service they sell. Of course they've probably hidden an "act of god" clause somewhere on page 88 of the policy.

rabble wrote:Image


One of these was buzzing around me yesterday at a job. Kind of creepy, like a little spaceship trying to figure out my weaknesses.


Mad Howler wrote:
Meade wrote:Very few mosquitos.


Coincidence or do you have an aka thing going on?

viewtopic.php?f=42&t=55117#p693692


Trust me, the way I type I only have time for one identity on here.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby snoqueen » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:12 am

Does anyone have a ground cover that is faring well? I need to find a hearty perennial to replace turf grass in medium to large spaces.


I've got some sedges that might do it for you. Wish I could tell you the variety, but I'm not good at keeping track of that sort of thing. Just check into sedge and see what grows in Zone 5.

It looks sort of like crazy grass, growing every which way, but the flower part (the seed stalks) are different and the stems are more square than round in cross section. It stays green, soaks up a whole lot of water when it can, then it seems to just wait. And some varieties spread, so if you plant little plugs they fill in the spaces on their own.

People down south hate it because it invades their golf courses, which is all good from your point of view.

Here is a link:

http://www.bluestem.ca/carex.htm
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Violet_Skye » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:06 pm

Surprisingly my garden is doing well in this disastrous summer. Tons of tomatoes and tomatillos, bell peppers, jalapenos, pickling cucumbers coming in now. Carrots and green beans doing well, too. Strangely, the supposed heat lover is the eggplant, which although only about 6" tall, is fruiting now. Turnips did fantastic, and radishes. Chioggia beets also doing great, however, many that I pull up have been completely hollowed out by some critter. They like the sweetness, I guess. Lessons learned for next year...they will be covered with screen cages. Lots of dill, leeks going strong, and a plant called methi (fenugreek) is doing great. Cilantro barely germinated though, which makes sense, it seems to prefer cool soil. Lettuce is even germinating and growing in this hot mess. What a strange year. I water deeply about every 4 days and everything seems happy. I also mulch everything with straw.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby rabble » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:36 pm

narcoleptish wrote:
rabble wrote:Image


One of these was buzzing around me yesterday at a job. Kind of creepy, like a little spaceship trying to figure out my weaknesses.

Yeah one of the articles I read said that happens a lot. They navigate by landmarks so they keep close tabs on everything in the home area including any humans who stray in. You were a new landmark so you got inspected.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Wino » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:24 pm

We've had to water our herb pots and veg's at least every other day. There is quite a good crop of thistles that have sprouted up in our yard. The CSA we belong to has had to do a lot of irrigating and even skipped a week's delivery for the first time in their history.

The whole family's energy levels, including the cats, has dropped dramatically. Everyone just wants to lay around.

Less wine, more beer.

Thanks to those who suggested putting out water for critters. I put out a couple pans today.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby gargantua » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:26 pm

I noticed that when I go out for extended periods, the possibility that it might rain doesn't even occur to me. This came home to roost around noon Friday at the Evansville Golf Club. Heard a few rumbles of thunder, then we played in a fairly light rain for about 40 minutes. Three holes later, the sun came back out and everything dried up again.

My perennials are doing fine, because I water them at least every other day, and had been pretty regular about it even before the drought started. The intense heat has been pretty tough on the ferns no matter what I do, especially those that get some direct sunlight.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:03 am

I've had to run the a/c.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Meade » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:13 am

It's an opportunity to kill weeds like Canada Thistle. Roundup is most effective when conditions are hot, sunny, and dry.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:16 am

Since there has been some interest in my back yard prairie plantings, I thought I'd post a photo. I took this with the phone so it's not much artistically, but you can see what it's like. Before I started, it was nothing but flat grass out there. My neighbor's yard is still flat grass, and of course it's toast at the moment but the prairie plants know what to do in a drought. I watered a few newer plants last night, as you can see by the hose crossing the picture, but the ones shown are three or four years old and have not needed supplementary water:

Image

For scale, the plant at front right is about as tall as a person. The picture shows about a quarter of the whole prairie garden area.

This morning I saw an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on the hyssop plant, which is center-left rear in the picture above. The butterfly was about 4" across and looked brand new. Again, not much of a phone-photo, but such a cool creature. There were also some tiny brown butterflies (skippers?) on the same plant, along with bees and fancy-looking wasps. That one particular plant is a real favorite for flying things:

Image

I dig Canada thistle out with a chef's knife, but I don't get a lot of weeds.
Last edited by snoqueen on Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Huckleby » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:25 am

WestSideYuppie wrote:I've had to run the a/c.


I ran the a/c for a couple days for guests. Then returned to my untrusty fan died, but it died suddenly, strangled by a bungee cord ensemble that kept it from rattling.

I ordered a new, fancy fan made by honeywell, and I'm not shy about saying it is a sexy little number. OMG, I love this sucker. It cost $45, a little more than the usual stand fan that you get at Walmart (or from a local artisan fan boutique if that is your way.) It is really well put together, sturdy given that it is made lightweight. A simple remote control. Blows a lot of air in hushed tones - that's just part of the sex appeal. I have never loved a contraption so much in my life.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Detritus » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:29 am

In my previous house I had put ceiling fans--nice Casablanca fans, solidly installed--in every room. I have missed those fans so much nearly every day this summer....
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Huckleby » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:50 am

ya, you really can't beat a ceiling fan. The ones with 5 long blades work much better than cheap once with short blades spinning like propellors.

I find stand fans reasonably effective, and the new one I got is dreamy.
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Detritus » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:01 am

Huckleby wrote:ya, you really can't beat a ceiling fan. The ones with 5 long blades work much better than cheap once with short blades spinning like propellors.

I find stand fans reasonably effective, and the new one I got is dreamy.

I highly recommend the Casablanca fans. Whisper quiet, very efficient, integrated lighting, controlled by a microprocessor so you can program them to run through pretend-I'm-home patterns when you're away, and they come in both two-wire and three-wire versions. Easy to install, sealed bearings, easy to clearn, blah blah bah. I think I paid $500 a pop fifteen years ago or so--not really that expensive, when you consider the quality.
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