Summer 2016: " I guess you farmers could really use some rain!?"
Summer 2017: "I guess you farmers are really loving all this rain!?"
I slogged back to the house early this morning after dumping another inch of rainfall that had fallen overnight out of the rain gauge. Rainfall sheeted down with biblical intensity from a sky that roiled like diesel exhaust overhead.
A check on the computer weather forecast informed me that Gormley was currently experiencing "light thunderstorms".
I have never heard the word "light" coupled with thunderstorms before, but I guess that it's kind of like light beer: a marketing gimmick designed to make you feel better about quaffing beers.
Sure enough, the rain gauge showed another inch of rainfall in the gauge by 9:00 a.m., but I didn't feel so bad because they were light thunderstorms.
Clifford and Keroy, our two Jamaican farm workers and I spent the rest of the morning in Stouffville, getting in grocery shopping early for a change. Too wet to do any farm work.
Apart from a few puddles, there was very little evidence that it had rained heavily in Stouffville at all, although they had experienced similar rainfall. Urban environments, with their pavement, lawns and storm drains are designed to quickly and efficiently deal with excess water.
The difference is that the two inches of rain that fell on our 150 acre main farm in the last 24 hours is over 30 million liters of water. While there are two watercourses, the vast majority of that rainfall has to percolate down through already sodden soil.
We will have to wait three to four days to even consider getting back on the land without damaging it by working it too wet.
Vegetable farmers rely on succession plantings to ensure a continuous supply of corn, beans, lettuce, and cole crops throughout the summer. Ideally we would like to plant sweet corn every three days, beans, etc., every seven days.
The challenge of doing so in the spring and early summer of 2017 has been considerable, given that we had about five days to work the land in May and about seven good days so far in June.
We are fortunate to have some well drained land that has been planted and will continue our succession plantings until mid-July, so we will be back in business soon. Sweet corn and beans will be later this year, likely the first week of August.
God willing and the crick don't rise....