2011 - A year of weather extremes
I know, I know. There’s still a couple of weeks left in this year, so I’m not going to get too emotional about 2011, but it’s always fun to take a peak back at what’s transpired over one more trip around the sun.
For those of us in Texas and much of the southwest, we survived one of the worst droughts on record. No prizes for that, but we’re certainly a bit tougher after enduring unforgiving heat and drought. For many along the Mississippi and Missouri River, flooding was unmerciful. For many in the Northeastern United States, as well. Hurricane followed by tropical storm made for a hellacious ride in the late summer. Talking to farmers from those areas, they are rebuilding and rethinking some of their methods to better prepare for the next catastrophic weather event.
One interesting pattern to note is that this was undeniably the worst one-year drought in Texas on record. Many farmers remember the 1950s and the scorching drought that plagued the area then. Coincidentally, that was the same time flooding occurred in areas like central New York state. While Mother Nature has flexed her muscle for many of us to witness over the years, it is interesting to note there is a pattern of extremes that occur simultaneously even if they are thousands of miles away.
Hopefully, the weather pattern flattens out heading into 2012 so that we are all able to experience closer to “normal” conditions. While there are still wild predictions of more chaotic actions and reactions of Mother Nature, we can’t allow ourselves to focus on the most pessimistic outcome. However, preparing for another occurrence like we just witnessed is wise. Preparing for the worst-case scenario is not hoping or inviting it to enter your world. It is simply an efficient means of keeping yourselves from feeling helpless if extremes become more of the norm.
Personally, while I can’t do much to protect thousands of acres from scorching drought, I can ensure my garden is protected next year. More shade, more shade and more shade is in my plans for next spring’s garden. To my fellow farmers and gardeners out there, may your minds and bodies prepare your own fields for whatever comes our way.