Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hay Is For Horses

And for cows. After the hay is baled, it's loaded up and hauled to storage to feed the livestock over winter. This year, like last, it may not last that long. Parts of France are suffering from a serious drought (sécheresse) and some farmers have had to dip into the winter feed stores already since the grass has dried up in the pastures.

Other farmers from the wetter parts of the north are asked to send fourrage (that's the hay) south to help out their compratriots. This, of course, reduces their winter feed stock.

Locally, our rain has been spotty. July was wetter this year than last, with more rain than average for this area. However, the rest of the year has been drier (with the exception of a wet March) than average for here. How do I know this? Well, retirement gives you time to do lots of web research! We also have a rain gauge out in the back yard, which is what we use to measure our local rainfall. It's not perfect, and the averages I got from the web are for Blois (about 30 miles north of us), but it's a ballpark kinda thing.

What we've noticed is that in the summer, it's dry. It makes sense since we live in a wine region - grapes like dry summers. However, the rest of the year is on the dry side, too. Our town has been toying with the idea of banning burning (in your yard) between April and September, but I haven't heard if they've actually followed through. Most everyone around here burns yard and garden waste. When they clear the brush in the woods, they burn it. When the vintners prune the vines in winter, they burn the clippings. We burn leaves and yard waste in the fall, too.

Oh well, we shall see. In the meantime, we actually got some rain yesterday. Not much, but a little. The yard is looking much greener since July's storms.

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