I just walked in the house from taking the dogs out in the field, and all three of us are actually wet. Well, maybe only moist. But after two and a half weeks without rain, every drop counts.
Mind you, things are still green around here–it takes a while to use up the spring melt. But yesterday the woods gave off that sweet, dry Mediterranean smell that would have made a nightingale not sound out of place. In Vermont, however, a dry spell this early in the season does not bode well for fields and farms, flowers and wells.
I have a little fixation on wells, having spent my young adult years trying to coexist with a slow one. I learned to do no more than one load of wash on any given day, and to turn off the shower while I soaped myself, and to never, ever water the garden or the grass. But the Christmas when, having just placed turkey and trimmings in front of twelve house guests, I went to wash my hands and heard that fatal \”shhhhhh\” come drily out of the faucet ranks as one of the low points of my life.
Hence my over-vigilance about rainfall and water tables and wells. As soon as we have a couple of dry days I go into water conservation mode. I water the vegetables with a watering can instead of a hose. I turn the water off while brushing my teeth. And while I cook, I fill a bowl with water and rinse my fingers in it rather than under the faucet. When I\’m done I throw the contents of the bowl into the pond, to replenish it. Need I say that our toilet tanks are equipped with water-saving quart jars year round?
So far, our Vermont well has never failed us, but who knows what lies ahead in this era of morphing climate? Like, for instance, right now the rain has stopped. The patio is dry again and the hens have come out to hunt for whatever micro-fauna emerge after a shower. My hopes are dashed. The drought is not averted. It will be sad to watch the gardens slowly die, the Holsteins in the fields grow gaunt and skeletal…
But wait! The hens just ran inside! It\’s sprinkling again, and the frog in the pond just croaked with joy. And so did I.