We still haven’t had a good rain. Some nearby towns have put outdoor use (watering lawns or washing cars) water restrictions in place and a few people’s wells have gone dry. The trees in some areas of the woods are already taking on fall colors a month early, due to stress. Even our Hopi Pale Grey squash are finishing up a month early, with fewer — but larger — squash on each plant, even though we are watering when we can. Likewise, some of our pole beans are taking a hit both from the drought and high heat. I took water out to Will in the hayfield this afternoon and saw pitiful windrows of hay in previously bountiful fields. It’s so sad. Even some of the nearby rivers are nearly dry and our little creek is only a series of very small puddles. The wildlife is having a hard time finding drinking water and the bears can’t find anything to eat.

See how thin the hay is this year? Some fields it’s even worse!
When driving through the woods, it’s sometimes hard to believe we’re in severe drought; it’s kind of a relief, although brief!

Our North and Wolf gardens are still hanging in there. I planted some late carrots and beets, figuring they might just make a crop before winter sets in. The carrots are up but small. However, the beets are getting large pretty fast. I pulled a small bunch, thinning the row a little and we’ll have them for supper tonight.

Even though planted late, our fall crop of beets and carrots is looking good.

I checked the Gete Okosomin squash (those 500-year-old Native squash from Wisconsin) and was astounded at how many and how big some of them are. Already there are half a dozen that are longer than my forearm and bigger around too! And there are literally hundreds of little ones on the vines. Wow! We planted them before and the one plant I had didn’t impress us. But, as with everything else, we gave it a second chance, and boy am I glad we did. If it can produce that well in a new garden, in a hot, droughty year, what would they do in a “normal” year? — Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie, This is off subject but how did those bush cherries, etc do for you n Will this year? If you can post where you obtained the plants you’ve planted down your driveway and elsewhere to give you alternative fruit crops, I would greatly appreciate it. Joyce

  2. So sorry to hear about your severe drought. It’s depressing to see all your hard work and efforts wither away. Our first 7 years here in N Georgia we had a drought so severe all the lakes were at record lows. It’s been raining ever since so I keep worrying we’re due for another one.

    Hopefully next year will be better and wetter for you. Hang in there Jackie, you’re tough and experienced!

  3. The drought here in California is really bad also. My garden didn’t do well this year with our summer long heat wave and water restrictions. All but one of my tomato plants and most of squash died but strangely my green bean and pepper plants have taken over the garden. Hope you get some rain soon but not too much rain!

  4. Jackie, I know what all of you with the drought are going through-last year here in the Finger Lakes of NY we had the drought & I had my worst garden ever in over 40 yrs. We hardly had enough hay to get through to first cutting & the well went dry in November. This year we’ve had a fair amount of rain so that the garden is wonderful. Of course, I’ve over planted tomatoes & peppers to make up for what I didn’t get last yr. fearing another drought. I’ll be canning everything I can to refill the pantry. Tell Will his Seneca Sunrise corn is terrific.

  5. I think this drought (even here in far north California zone 9) is of biblical proportions, and has a lot to do with it, actually, as it reflects the state of our union, even the floods of rain, earthquakes, and volcanoes. The weather’s gone crazy. Our oak leaves are turning yellow and dying for lack of rain. I’ve had to use shade cloth in the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, etc. are sun burned, and the melons have all ripened early, and given up the ‘ghost’ really early. We’ve been in ‘very unhealthy’ skies covered to the ground in wildfire smoke for several days, reminescent of our Carr fire in 2018, accept we have several months-long lasting wildfires. Your area is so beautiful, Jackie. God be with you!

    • We know He is, but sometimes I think He believes we are stronger than we really are. Whew! Today we had a forest fire about 5 miles southeast of us. Not to mention the Canadian wildfires, which have burned out of control for over a month now and a few smaller fires continuing to burn about 70 miles northeast of us. Yep, we have smoke too!

  6. I had a friend in Florida that grew peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. under a sort of net/screen to prevent UV burn only 1 block from the ocean. You might that idea from him to protect a few cherished plants from searing sun. It can be brutal.

    • Luckily, we’ve had quite a bit of smoke and cloud-cover so we’re okay with sunburn. So far. I sure hate to pull out the shade cloth. We don’t need more work….

  7. Sherry / no California
    We also have had a strange year ! My garden came up booming but it really isn’t producing much! Zucchini here and there tomatoes and peppers are nice plants but very few blossoms! Less tomatoes. We have Vernon water restrictions for some time lawns are dead plants look almost dead. Lakes are so very low it’s so sad and so scary

    • Yes, it is. A lot of our plants blew their blooms because of the lengthy and intense heat too. All we can do as mulch, pray for rain and hope next year is much better.

  8. We are in southern part of Michigan and we have had unusual weather this year. It will rain for a few days then it will be very hot for a week of more. My cucumber leaves are yellow and I realized its because of sunburn because the ones in the shade are green. My Kutsara tree in my front yard is looking like it needs rain but it just rained a couple days ago. I think its because its been so hot you can’t be outside in the afternoon. I heard it said that its not the temp but the UV rays. My garden is doing ok but I have battled disease all summer and have never had much disease in my garden. Its very frustrating because the weeds are doing fine.

    • Very few people are having wonderful gardens this strange year, for sure! All we can hope for is a better year in 2022.

  9. We’re in year three of drought here. We’ve had enough rain to keep the garden alive but not enough for it to thrive. My potato crop was nearly 75% less than usual. Also, I’m not sure they will keep because some have a bad spot where they were connected to the plant. Plant sucking moisture back from the potato? Carrots less than 50% germination and only 25% of that produced carrots and they aren’t very sweet. Zucchini has died, summer squash is hanging in but about half dead. The tomatoes are loaded so maybe they will be good. Peppers were tiny when I put them out and have not really done much. So I’m thankful grocery store shelves are not yet completely empty and I’ll survive another year.

  10. Sad for you Jackie. I do hope this year isn’t a view from the future. You don’t mention climate change though, it’s all over our news here in Australia. Sadly the world’s governments aren’t taking the appropriate steps to mitigate the worst effects. Like you we keep planting and hope for better next year. We’ve had two difficult years but I’m hoping for a more “normal” spring this year. Hope springs eternal, as the saying goes. Just keep on doing what you do, the honesty of your blog is a bright spot for me during these challenging times.

  11. In August, we normally see highs of 95-105 and little rain. Today? 70 degrees and 3+” of rain with more in the forecast! N. Central TX has had a very odd weather pattern this year (very few triple digit days). This whole country is seeing some very odd weather. Kind of scary. Several years ago, we had a very hot year (like 70+ triple digit days) and severe drought. We ended up paying way over $100/bale (big round) of 3 year old hay! A few years ago we had problems getting hay because of to much rain (farmers could not get into the field!).

    • Yep, farming is sure tough, all over this year. We’re hearing of $150 a bale for big round bales already. Will’s selling many of our cows so we can make it through. Whew!!!

  12. We were pretty droughty until about a week ago. Have had so soaking rains since. Good for the potatoes especially since we have to pull the drop tape when we hill them! We had several days in the eighties but as I write this at three in the afternoon it’s only fifty and most of our diseases is seed pods all the way to the end. Alaska may be having an early winter.

      • I hear you, Howard. I’m wondering if we are going to have an early winter too. Already the birch and maple have colored leaves which are falling! But it’s 92 today!

  13. It seems to be dryer than normal everywhere…even northwest Washington has had no measurable rainfall to speak of since …June…

    • Yes, it does, but for a very few areas where it is too wet. Go figure! I’m even dreaming of rain so much it woke me up last night, thinking it was real.

  14. N E Colorado
    Very dry and most crops are hanging in there but won’t if we don’t get rain. Feed looks like it will be in short supply and many are trying for a small feed crop Smoke from fires is sometimes here and sometimes not. Garden still looking good but we are watering almost every day Kind of a rough year

    • Yes, it is, for sure. We spend about 10 hours watering every day and when Will’s haying, guess who is dragging hoses in 8 gardens??? Our feed went up, nearly double, already. Ouch!

  15. Same problem here in Southwestern Wisconsin. The hay is minimal to nonexistent. We’ve had life saving rains but are still 9-10 inches behind. I’m digging potatoes and that’s a month early. We will sell a few cows to stretch our hay supplies. Praying for rain.

    • We’re in the same boat but have had very little rain, only 3/4 of an inch in over a month. Our heifers will have to go so we have enough hay. Lots of praying going on here too!!

  16. Here in central Oregon the drought is as you say hard on the animals. Our garden is holding not great but producing ok. The smoke, air quality in hazardous range at times, seems to really stress everything. Heat has been in 100 degree range for days. In my over 30 years here this has never happened. Hope we all get moisture soon, hang in there.

  17. This morning I saw there is a wildfire in NE MN. I’m sure the drought isn’t helping. Hope you’re not near it but I suspect you might see the smoke/signs of smoke.

    • Yep, we do get some of the smoke but worse smoke from the unchecked Canadian fires north of us. We’re about 70 miles from the fires in NE MN but we just had one 5 miles away that (I think, is now contained.)

  18. Jackie, I’m sorry your garden is suffering from lack of rain. The sad part to me, is the hay. Animals need hay, and terribly costly to buy and hard to find. Good luck.

    • Yep, our gardens are hurting but so far, we’ve been able to kind of water 8 of them. But my poor flower beds and lawn look like shredded wheat. So sad. The hay’s thin so we have to sell about half of our cattle so the rest can eat. We sure can’t afford $150 a round bale hay! Thanks for your good wishes.

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