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Old 08-19-2011, 08:50 AM   #1
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Texas drought

Since returning from Alumapalooza, We have been pretty much locked to our home due to the drought. We have not had any appreciable rain since last October and I am trying to keep my trees and other plantings alive. Our rocky soil on top of a hill does not hold water and I must water constantly. I still have lost one nice tree and several other low plantings and everything is suffereing.

The deer are desperate. We feed them corn and leftover bread that my wife brings home from her volunteer stint at the food bank. On most evenings, we will have at least a dozen deer. Two young bucks and the rest are doe. We only see one fawn now. Earlier in the season, we had at least ten fawns. The starving does can't feed their fawns and the fawns have either starved or have been hit by cars. I have seen doe kicking their fawns away when they try to nurse.

I keep the orange tub filled with water. Our only nearby stream has dried up. Deer are braving dogs to jump fences and drink from swimming pools.

The photos are through the den window late in the evening and not the best. The deer will tolerate me sitting on the back porch with the telephoto lens, but it was 104 degrees at the time I took these photos.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:48 AM   #2
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Your pictures really show the plight of the skinny deers. It is wonderful you are helping keep them fed and hydrated. How is the drought affecting horses and cows and other domestic animals? Are farmers or ranchers able to keep them cool, watered and fed? Hay sources must also be affected. The stable owner where I was staying in Kentucky made a hay run to Texas earlier this month. Could there be a relocation program for the deer or is that just too costly and deer too much in abundance elsewhere to take on more? I think up North they open up more hunting when the deer's food sources are too sparse to support the population. I imagine they are getting quite tame and comfortable with being around you. Beautiful and graceful animals. They are fortunate to have found their way to you and your wife. So sorry you are having such a terrible drought. I hope relief arrives soon. How have you been faring with the high temperatures other than water shortages and dry ground? Good pictures John. Sometimes all the cooler weather and cloudy days in Michigan does feel like a blessing. Our hearts go out to everyone who is going through such difficult times. It's good to hear when people out there do their best to make a difference. God bless you.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:28 AM   #3
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dry here too

I did the worst planning up here...(North of DFW.) Last October I planted 250 seedlings from the Texas Dept. of Forestry nursery. In Feb I planted 150 pines and 50 Red Oaks from the Oklahoma Dept. of Forestry Nursery. I have been locked into hand watering for months now and have lost over 80% of the trees. Now, thanks to the Oil and Gas drilling, they use outrageous amounts of water for fracking, they have drawn the water table down so far we are running out of water in private and Community wells. No water available for the trees....or human consumption as far as that goes. AND, there is no end to the drouth in sight.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:38 AM   #4
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In normal years, I don't agree with feeding the deer. Well fed does tend to have twin fawns and we have way more than enough deer in the area. There are frequent dead deer on the road and my wife totaled a Honda a few years ago when she hit a deer at night. My neighbor, a cop, totaled a squad car. I had a deer run right into the side of my car in broad daylight; some damage to the car, but the deer got up and ran off.

In this drought, though, I just can't sit by and just let them starve or die of thirst.

You can see the cage around the tree in the first photo. Deer are terribly destructive and all my trees live in cages until tall enough to withstand the browsing deer. The Texas Persimmon in the photo would be deer feed without the cage.

This morning, we had two fawns at the food. This is the first that I have seen more than one fawn in weeks.

All of our ranchers are selling off their herds at a loss. There was a photo in the paper of a rancher that is bottle feeding two calves because he had to sell his cows due to no hay.

The photos show how dry my back yard is. There is hardly a wisp of green on the ground. Even over the septic field is now bare.

Deer do not transplant well. It has been tried and many if not most die during transport. Hunting season is months away and the deer are going to be in bad shape.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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We Ain't Out Of The Woods Yet

And they are on fire! It has been BRUTAL!.. State of the Climate | Drought | July 2011

Our only saving grace may be that we could get some rain from the tropics!..
However, like rolling dice, we need some very adaptable rain dancers that can be light on their feet if need be, so's they don't attract the big one that could blow us all away, at the same time!.. Wise?

God Bless everyone in these times. We could sure use it.
Love, Terry
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:25 PM   #6
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National Weather Service Drought Information Statement

Sorry for the caps - it's their format...

"IT WAS ONLY A YEAR AGO (AUGUST 2010) THAT THE
FOUR PRIMARY CLIMATE SITES RECORDED THEIR WARMEST AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE. THE RECORD WILL BE SHORT LIVED. AUGUST 2011 WILL
CRUSH...SMASH...OBLITERATE...DESTROY AND ANNIHILATE THE PREVIOUS WARMEST AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE BY AT LEAST 2.0 DEGREES AND IN A FEW LOCATIONS BY 3.0 DEGREES."
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:43 PM   #7
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Records

We almost set a record for consecutive days over 100. We had one day last week just under 100 due to cloud cover that broke the sequence. However, we will almost certainly set a record for the most days in a year over 100. Somewhere around 70, maybe more.

It has been about 104 for the last few days. The first year I moved back to Texas (1981), we had only a few days of triple digit. I drove home most days with the windows open.

Virtually the entire state of Texas is in the most severe category of drought. Just a couple of counties near the Oklahoma border are not included.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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Our water bills have skyrocketed as we have been watering our foundation to keep it from shifting any further than it already has. We have only 2 doors that open or latch properly. The soil has separated several inches from the perimeter foundation before I started watering.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:09 PM   #9
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Smile 1st Time Ever That The Lawn Mowed Me!

Was today, 108 degrees out there! I did take a short break, not wanting to show up any of those boys on the hill, mind you. And also no help...

Home made ice cream melts right in your hands... I need to buy a walk in freezer for my lawnmower next year! ...

Speaking of climbing the hill, everyone else is out of work, so's they can think that they are on vacation!

Yikes!

Love, Terry
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:35 PM   #10
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107 degrees today down in Austin. A degree or so cooler up here on a hill in the Hill Country. I just put some garbage out at 10:30 pm and it is so hot that it took my breath away.

This is 65 days over 100 and the forecast is 10 days of over 100 with the lowest being 102. No doubt that we will break the record of 69 days set back in 1925.

Only 3 counties in the entire state are not under a burn ban. One in extreme north Texas and two on the Gulf coast.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:54 PM   #11
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I can't imagine that kind of heat for that many days. Come to Oregon - we will maybe have our first 90 degree day so far this year this weekend.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:47 AM   #12
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89 days and counting

89 days of triple digits and probably today will make 90. We have had only one significant rain since last October and there is hardly a blade of grass..

We have been feeding and watering the deer. There is no browse left, The creek dried up over a month ago. Anywhere from 14 to 16 deer come each day for breakfast, dinner, and water.

My wife buys old bread and brings old bread home from the food pantry. We supplement that with corn and pellets.

You can see the ribs on several of the does.

This is part of the group eating breakfast this morning. About half of them had bolted when they heard my DSLR click when I took the previous shot, but they all came back when I came indoors.

We have several, including one fawn, that comes close to taking food out of our hands.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:01 AM   #13
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Funny how things change. About 5 years ago Tennessee was under drought conditions. Our spring,one of our water sources quit for the first ever.
We had almost no hay crop and hay was being trucked in from Texas.
Now it seems the situation has completely reversed.. We are quite wet as we enter our normally driest time of year.
Hope the situation there takes a turn for the better soon.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:11 AM   #14
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I've been asking old timers about the '50's droughts, and the differences. One that stands out was that the grasses were entirely gone. Bare dirt. Searching for Indian arrowheads was popular according to several as it had become so much easier.
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