Thursday 30 May 2013

Dried Out Brown Grass

I know that there are places where it rains for weeks and even months at a time. I know that some places in the world have seasons of the year where all it does is rain. There are places that have an equal mix of rain and sun which promotes an amazingly fertile land.

I have backpacked through a rainforest on Vancouver Island where the annual rainfall can be up to 11 feet. Yes, I said 11 feet. That kind of rainfall can create monster sized trees and an incredible assortment of vegetation. Places like Ontario and England get a good measure of both rain and sun making for almost perfect growing conditions. The mountains to the west of us here get a considerable amount of precipitation, but there is very little good soil and the altitude as often as not will give snow instead of rain. Not a very good location for cultivation.

I have chosen to live in an area that is a pretty dry area. Grains tend to grow well here and grasses which make it an ideal area for raising livestock. You can grow vegetables, but they had best be the hardy, quick growing variety. Tomatoes are hit or miss, some years I have more than I know what to do with and other years, my only option is fried green tomatoes. We are used to the country side being mostly brown with the odd area of green. There are scrub tree forests of some deciduous, but mainly various types of evergreen trees.

This year however, we have been getting more than our fair share of rainfall. If we get an appropriate amount of sunshine, there is a good chance that the farmers won’t complain and my garden will actually ripen before the first frost in September. With the big tree gone there is a chance that the grass on the front lawn will overpower the soil and dandelions. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Right now, sunshine is a dream and I spend part of my days looking out the window watching the rainfall drip off of the various plants and people who come into view.

I was thinking today, while watching the rain, that the different plants and trees have evolved to make the most of the rain. I have determined that the upper portion of the plant or tree collects the rainfall and deposits it where the roots can make the most of it. The rhubarb plant has large leaves that collect the rain and funnel it down to the roots. The large deciduous trees whose roots spread out as far below ground as the branches do above ground will catch the rain on its leaves and drop it evenly on the ground underneath it. The coniferous trees do much the same thing, but their roots tend to be a tap like root and the branches are pointed up for the most part and drop the water close in under the tree.

I know it is probably far more complicated than that, but I only spent an afternoon thinking about it. Hopefully, the rain will stop soon and we can go back to the dried out brown grass that I am used to.

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