Rain, rain, please go away
By Renea Winchester
Water, water everywhere; everywhere we look. I know Billy isn’t one to complain about the weather, and I’ve tried to hold my tongue about the rain, but with an influx of moisture in the forecast for the Atlanta area predicted for the next three days, Billy’s little “strip of land” sure could use a break from the liquid sunshine. So could my front pond, I mean yard. While many farmers have already broken ground, planting peas, beets, lettuce and other vegetables, Billy’s garden still bears the remnants of last year’s, crops. Tomato cages are tied together; desiccated cornstalks standing as a reminder last season’s pitiful harvest.
I know, we needed the rain; Georgia had been in a severe drought for years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the rain. The streams are beautiful. I anticipate a glorious spring filled with flowers the likes we haven’t seen in years. But now, water, water everywhere brings concerns about plant diseases, slugs, and mold-induced sneezing.
If it doesn’t rain another drop for weeks, Billy and I will be hard-pressed to make the ritualistic Good Friday planting. First, we need to clean up the garden. It will take days to remove the tomato cages, unknot the string, till the ground, and “lay out” the rows in preparation; all while praying the weather will cooperate. After all, everyone who has one drop of farming blood in them knows that something, anything must be planted on Good Friday.
This year, that something might be rice.
Alas, as the saying goes, “it’s too wet to plow.” Not only is it too wet to plow; the ground is so “soupy” it sucks the boots clean off your feet! Billy and I are beginning to loose hope of a productive garden this year. He has dug a trench around the area to allow drainage, but water is still running, brook-like, down the trench through the chicken lot, and the goat pasture.
The growing season looks so grim Billy has tilled up his back yard, which at this moment, is the highest and driest spot on his property. The positive side to this plan is that he won’t have to cut the grass this summer; the negative, all the grass must be removed before planting. This summer, I hope his customers understand. For the people who depend on him for vegetables, and for Billy who depends on visitors to feed his lonely spirit, do you think we band together and ask Mother Nature to carry her rain elsewhere, just this month?