8/22/07 Vol. 4 #22

Three tenths of an inch of rain last night, quite unexpected but always happy to receive it, won’t have to irrigate today.  It still doesn’t relieve the strange feeling we have around the farm this week, that odd sensation of what will happen next.  I think aggravated by the drought and the intense heat there have been two events this week that make us realize that we are not exactly an island out here.  The first is that our neighbor is having his land logged, clear cut he tells me.  400 acres that comprise our entire south side.  Runs from the road to the river, beautiful rolling land with bluffs over the creek and big hard woods.  Now we have cleared a lot of land here on the farm and turned it into growing areas, we are no strangers to a chainsaw or a bull dozer.  But they were an acre or two at a time and had previously been fields, this is a huge area of what felt like untouched land.  From first light to last the logging machines roar up and down the hill cutting and dragging trees to the loading zone, slowly the tree line to the south is getting lighter and thinner.  Maybe it’s just the constant din of the machines but it does make us feel like we are not as alone out here as it usually seems.

The second event happened Monday up the road on our north side.  Big fields of corn line the north side of the road, dry and crinkly tan as the drought has done it’s work.  A transformer on the power line that runs down the road exploded or caught fire (probably due to the high electric demand from the days of heat) which ignited a fire in the dry grass on the road side, fanned by the hot wind from the southwest it blew into the parched corn field.  It ran through that corn in a hurry, burning off all the leaves and the husks on the ears of corn leaving just stalks and the yellow orange ears of corn standing up right.  Soon it jumped into the woods and headed towards some new houses in the next field over.  The volunteer fire departments and the NC Forest Service stopped it there but it took most of the day to do so.  No damage to any buildings just to the nerves of the neighborhood.  I know we will feel better when the heat breaks and maybe some rains come, until then we are walking around the edges of our island and keeping an eye out for what might be coming next.

Picture of the Week
Burned over corn, just stalks and bare ears

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