Â Â Today is the second of our articles in the mini series: “Through Their Eyes:” ~ real stories of real people who are seeing things first hand where they live, with drought, storms, grocery prices, etc. I know we all hear a little bit about it on the nightly news, but these people I personally know. We have talked, laughed, shared recipes, prayed for one another…..and to be honest, after compiling all these stories, I cried and prayed for my friends all over again.
We have seen the pictures. We know the drought is enormously bad. We know that crops and fields are being turned under in an effort to put something back into the soil. We know this will affect grocery prices in a time when few can afford to cut anything else to add to the grocery budget. For most Americans that is where the cut goes in the first place so we can pay bills. Which drives us to eat more processed foods, since they have been cheaper (in a sense). More convenient so we can work more hours.
And now even that avenue is going to really significantly change in price.
Read their stories, and please, feel free to share yours or chime in at the comment section. Ask for prayer. We love to hear from you………
Â Â Tennessee:Â This is our second year gardening. We have a medium “backyard garden” which we started a bit late, really mid-May. We planted squash, zuchinni, cukes, carrots and turnip greens from seed in mid-May. The carrots were a total flop, and the turnips were marginal. We also did tomatos, strawberries from plants, in early May. First week of June we planted corn and melons. Until mid July we had unusual heat and it was very dry. I was watering daily which seemed to sustain the squash, tomatos, and cukes well. Melons and corn are doing ok. The first week of July our temps were 100-105 followed in mid July we have had a week of virtually solid rain and thunderstorms. The week of extreme heat was hard on the plants and scorched some even inspite of the watering. Then the storms have damaged many of the plants, particularly the tomatos. Also, the dry temps and hand watering caused some tomato cracking and I am really having to watch for rotting after the pooling water from last weeks rains.
Question: So percentage wise, how much of your garden have you lost to the drought and storms, and how has that changed your plan for canning/perserving and setting aside food for your family for the cold weather months?Â
I live in Cross Plains, TX….been gardening for years, do lots of container gardening…in old cow troughs….LOL…plus we plow up part of our big lots for corn, okra, and BE peas…We are a little town with the biggest heart in TX. What a day….work to no end…had a thunderstorm and it knocked out the small freezer…I became lazy and usually check the red light on the wall every night to see that it is on, but so much work, and so little time, I learned last summer after losing two freezers of food to dehydrate most of my veggies…or make jerky…the drought took a toll last year on all our gardens…no pecans, no fruit…we did buy watermelons at the farmers market…this was to be a better year, spring rains, but then the golf ball hail came…knocked off the fruit, broke the tomato plants an peppers. The lakes around us are so low…unreal, could not even launch a boat last year for some. I know He will always provide what I need, that little mustard seed is planted deep within my soul, and I still have dehydrated food if I need it..DH asked me, “How long do you think we could feed the town ?” I laughed and told him, “We could all eat vegetable soup for a month and have fruit leather for dessert.”
I appreciate all your saving mixes, Heather…Thank you…you work hard ….
Our town has had a tornado, been flooded by heavy rain, and we lost 116 homes and two lives in the fires that swept the town several years ago, we have all learned hard lessons….but generous hearts and people put it all back together again…neighbors share, the wild garlic grows, and blackberries and wild plums can be found in the bar ditches…You learn…..Hugs…Gaynelle
I’m in Arkansas. The gas is around 3.09-3.15 . Food prices are rising. I’m shopping at 3 stores to get the best deals. I don’t know how the farmers are going to make it. The drought, and insects are taking a toll. Right now our water is only on a time restriction. We came water our garden after 10 am until 5 pm, or after 10 pm to 5 am. Thanks to an early spring I was able to get a fair black berry harvest, and I hit about 30 lbs of tomatoes so far, but everything else ( green beans squash, even the potatoes) are giving up. It’s rather bleak.Â
Questions: I am wondering a couple of things: can you tell me how long you have been gardening, how much you rely on that for either fresh eating or preserving, or both?Â Also, have you had any storms there recently or tell me more about the insects issue—are you having lots of issues with bugs destroying crops?
We had a few small thunders storms a couple days ago. I think maybe 3/4 of an inch so far this moth. The farmers to the north of us are dealing with grasshoppers and blister beetles. I’ve sent you a couple news links so I don’t get the facts wrong. I hope it helps. ~Theresa
Her links were:
We are in Illinois. Illinois produces a large amount of corn and soybeans. We are not farmers, but we know and are related to many people that are. The corn and beans in a 10 mile radius of where we live looks pretty good. But drive just outside that and there are fields with corn that is a foot tall (it should be five feet tall by now). There are fields that have four inch soybeans plants. They should be full grown and close to harvest by now. Other fields are completely bare. We are in a drought, but Southern Illinois has had no rain at all. A farmer we know from there has said that he will be lucky if he can even sell his corn as feed corn.
Every time we have a chance for rain, it either goes around us or dissipates before it gets here. We had a terrible storm come through out area about a month ago with straight line winds. Many people were without power for a week or more. Trees and power lines were down everywhere. Most of the trees were literally pulled out of the ground, roots and all! It took almost a full month for the storm damage to be cleaned up.
We have had a garden every year for almost 15 years. We have planted the garden twice this year. All the plants in the first planting died from the extreme heat, even though we were watering everyday. The second garden did take, but we are not getting much produce at all. All of our tomatoes have blossom rot (we haven’t had rain and have to water by hand). We planted 24 pepper plants, all different varieties. We have barely had a handful of peppers. Normally, our garden feeds 30-40 people throughout the summer. We have had a few meals from theÂ garden, but that is about it. We used to take a wagon around the neighborhood and let neighbors pick what they wanted, but not this year. There isn’t enough to feed my family, let alone anyone else.
We have had extreme heat for months. We have had reading of 110 for weeks on end. We had a slight break in the heat (down to 90) for a week, but now it is right back over 100 again. I cannot even begin to imagine what our electric bill will be by the end of this, or how we will pay for it.
Our food prices are getting higher by the day. Even shopping at Aldi, my bill is $25-$40 higher then it was last year, for the exact sames items. We have been cutting back on what we buy because we just cannot afford it. Our food pantries are at risk of shutting down. People cannot afford to make donations like they used to. There are three times the number of people waiting in line to get food, but they just do not have the food that they need to hand out to them.
Question: I know that you said you went through the storms and were without power for a few days. I also know from our conversation that you have felt the need to be prepared for quite a while. How did your experience go being without power, and what are your thoughts on being prepared for something even bigger, like this catastrophic loss of so much of our grain crops?
We were very lucky with the recent power outages. We were only without power for two days. Of course, it was over 100 degrees those days! But we kept the house closed up tight and spent a lot of time in our unfinished basement. People just down the road from us were without power for over a week. Others closer to the egde of town were without power for two weeks. Power lines were down everywhere…trees pulled out of the ground roots and all. A state park (Lowell Park) that is only about a mile from us literally lost hundreds of trees. It looks like a tornado went through there.
I really don’t think there are a lot of people in my area that are ready for what is coming. Maybe I am wrong and they hide it well. I felt the calling to be prepare back in 1999, although I didn’t listen to it then. I was still a Police Officer back then. The lengths that our department went to prepare for 2000 was unreal. I have seen people at their worst, and it isn’t anything good. As food prices rise and people are deciding whether to pay bills or buy food, I cannot even imagine the desperation they will feel. We all know the saying “desperate times call for desperate measures”. We are about to see that in motion.
As we prepare to go into the fall and winter months ahead, I am really praying for God to be with us. I purchased a large chest freezer two days ago (it should be delivered next week). I am buying 1/2 beef fromÂ two different people (a whole beef in total). We have also purchased a whole hog that will be ready in November. Of course we are going to buy a generator, just in case. I do plan on canning as much of the beef as I am able to. We have more then doubling our wheat storage. I plan to purchase around 200 lbs. of popcorn before prices go up. I am going to the farmers market twice a week to buy as much as I can afford and canning it. I am watching sales at all the stores in our area. I stock up when I find something we use. I buy a case of something every time we go to Aldi’s. We are not wealthy people by any means. This is stretching our budget in ways that I could never have imagined it would, but it needs to be done.
Our supplies and storage are lacking in so many areas. Water is the first, and we will be addressing that immediately. Medical supplies and BOB’s are the second and third. Home security is the fourth. I have read so many people talking of all the ammo they have and how they will kill people. I couldn’t certainly protect my family if need be, but to “kill people” just because you have ammo? That thought is so insane it just rocks me to my core. Are people really going to forget their Christianity? Will they forget that they will have to stand before God? I guess we will have to wait and see, but I surely pray that they don’t. Holding a gun to someone isn’t like playing a video game. It is real. It is scary. As a Police Officer, I did it many times. It isn’t something that many people can do. Surely not something that I want to do again anytime soon. I pray every single day that it never comes to that. But, desperate times call for desperate measures.
I really appreciate you writing on this subject, and I pray that it opens people’s eyes. It is coming, whether they like it or not. They cannot depend on other people to take care of them. ~Anonymous
Her shared link was:
Pennsylvania: The prices of foods are going up and the garden isn’t faring as well as last year but it’s doing ok, we have our health, and the man’s job is secure. We are blessed this year. ~Heather @Preserving Nature’s Bounty Facebook GroupÂ (love her attitude, by the way!)
Food prices are definitely higher. Our crops are looking terrible with hardly any rain and very high temperatures, we have burn bans here as well in Wisconsin. Elise @ Gods Amazing Blessings
Virginia: There was article just posted the local newspaper that was discussing how bad the heat is hitting the east coast farmers. One stated bushels of corn were just $5 two weeks ago and were now up to $7.78.Â We had a serious heat situation, which has meant it was too hot at the wrong time for the corn. Along with no rain at the same time. From the looks of driving through the countryside, you wouldn’t see it, but when you pull back the husk. My GF’s crop got rain at the very last minute, otherwise she would have lost her entire crop along with the melons. ~Jennifer
“The heat wave that has blistered corn in the Midwest may help some local farmers, but others worry their crops will fall to the same fate.
Two weeks ago, corn was selling for about $5.50 a bushel. Earlier this week, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 30 percent of the corn in the nation’s 18 top producing states was in poor condition, prices on the Chicago Board of Trade soared to $7.74 per bushel.”
(quote fromÂ the article she referenced)
Our garden has drowned. Had to replant twice now. Giving up. Pacific Northwest.~Judy
Tennessee(2): We were lucky with our first sweet corn. We got rain at the right time in the growing stage, despite the hail damage to it. We got very good corn. The farm had rain every day last week, so it looks like our late corn will do fairly well, too…despite having gone 5 weeks without rain and having triple digit temps. Will be interesting to see what it does.~Jody
Â Â As you can see, dear readers, there is a lot of heartache, and a lot of people wondering where the food for our nation is going to come from if so many of those states represented have a bleak outlook on the crop harvests. Dont be fooled, I could have listed just as many more who wrote in and told me their story, but for the sake of not making you get up and get another cup of coffee to finish reading this post, I chose an assortment and posted their comments. Pray for the many who were brave enough to share even the smallest amount, and for the many I just simply did not have enough blog room to post about. I was up until 2 am last night tossing and turning, thinking about many who will be facing terrible choices this coming winter. I am NOT trying to be melodramatic in any way. I know too many who are already stretched to the max, and can not take anything else changing in their budget with facing some sort of certain financial collapse.
Â Â I plead with you, today is not too late to get started on a good strong pantry supply for your family. Do you have pets? Their food is largely corn based. Stock up on those items now. Look at your budget and see where you can trim or even cut something out to put more food into storage for your family.Buy a couple metal trash cans and stock up on wheat and corn–then get a grain mill so you can have fresh wheat flour when times get hard. It may come to a time that wheat can actually be bartered for other things. Dont believe me? Well, the Romans did it with salt, and besides that, the Bible, which I believe whole-heartedly, says there will come a time when a man will work an entire day just for enough grain to feed his family. This may be the beginning of that, or it may not. But sooner or later it will happen.
Â Â Look at your lawn, or the railing of your apartment balcony and consider what you could grow there. consider purchasing some growing lamps and seeds…after all, what can it hurt? At worst you can grow amazing herbs for cooking with, at best you can grow food to feed those you love when you cant afford to buy it in the grocery stores. At the very least, familiarize yourself with the local markets, farmers, and businesses, and develop relationships. I don’t know if you heard the most recent news today, but now it looks like Ukraine is also in the midst of a drought and will only be producing HALF of the wheat crop it normally exports to feed the world.
Â Â I would encourage you to search through the blog and click on all the different posts about how to cook items from scratch, grow a garden…many many other things that will give you a starting point. I can only hope and pray that some of you, rather than paralyzed with fear from so much bad news in the daily headlines, take a moment to sit back, consider, and come up with a quick plan to give yourself some wiggle room for the months ahead. Now is the not the time to pretend all of these things that are happening will somehow be solved by someone else, and wait for them to knock on your door with your next meal.
As one of the poster said earlier in the article: “I really appreciate you writing on this subject, and I pray that it opens people’s eyes. It is coming, whether they like it or not. They cannot depend on other people to take care of them.” ~Anonymous
Â Â I am featuring a guest poster the next couple days who went through the Derecho storm ravaging her community, who had to rely only on herself and her family, as well as the preparations she had already been working on for a couple years. She is sharing it all with us–her story, the downsides and the triumphs, but more than anything, she is also sharing her breakdown of things she could have done differently.
Iâ€™m in Central IL and we are experiencing the heat and drought like most everybody else. The pasture is gone. The field corn and sweet corn have tassled but there are few ears and those wouldnâ€™t even make a good sized cigar. Hubby and I were talking last night about giving up on the garden. The 40 tomato plants are stunted and putting on just a few tiny green tomatoes, and those donâ€™t seem like theyâ€™ve grown at all in the last 3 weeks. The pumpkins, which were supposed to feed livestock this winter started out pretty good and have started a few pumpkins, but they are giving up to wilt and powdery mildew, and now the squash bugs are moving in. The watermelon plants are tiny, but theyâ€™re putting on a couple fruits. They are struggling with mildew also, but have been responding to treatments better than the pumpkins. So far the green beans, beets and carrots have only given enough for about one meal. I pampered, watered, and replanted the cucumbers 3 times, but they all died. Weâ€™ve lived here for 30 years and our well has never failed us. This year we are hauling in 250 gallons of water 3 times a week just to keep the animals watered. My goal to grow/raise 80% of our food to see us through to the next year is a dismal failure.
Things are definitely bleak, but one thing keeps running through my mind as I look around our place. Most everything I *want* to grow is dead or dying, but there is a ton of green in our yard. When I compare our land to the manicured lawns in town, ours has a lot of green while those all look like straw. The difference is that I have long been a proponent of letting the weeds grow. They add interest and texture I would always say. And my favorite quote, â€œA weed is just a plant growing where you donâ€™t want it to.â€ In the early days of our marriage, hubby would be lamenting the dandelions taking over the lawn and I would be praising the beauty of the sea of yellow. In the last 3 years as we have moved toward being more self-sufficient, I have come to appreciate these â€˜weedsâ€™ even more. And just this year I have started learning more about medicinal and edible herbs. I was quite shocked to learn how many truly useful herbs were the â€˜weedsâ€™ growing all over my yard.
Now I am noticing that these same â€˜weedsâ€™ are still green and some are even thriving in this drought. The only thing growing in the gardens and paddocks are lambâ€™s quarters and purslane, and theyâ€™re doing very well. I am ready to start my 4th cutting of comfrey and it just keeps coming back bigger and better. The chickweed makes a luxurious carpet except where the chickens have finally eaten it all, but it fed them well for quite awhile. The purple clover burst forth in profusion, although their season was shorter this year. The plantain is only now succumbing to the heat and drought, but not before going to seed for next season.
I am all about working with nature instead of against her and this drought seems to be teaching us which plants she prefers to grow in our area. I realize instead of fighting the drought, I need to spend more time learning how to use the plants that are growing just fine without my herculean efforts. Personally, I will be just fine if, when the rains finally do return, we find that the weeds have reseeded all of the barren areas left by the drought stricken grasses. Just maybe, if we give Mother Nature a larger piece of the pie, sheâ€™ll reciprocate by helping us grow the fruits and vegetables we want to raise.
Sherry—thank you SO much for sharing with us!!! I have begun making room in parts of my raised bed gardens for things like purslane and chickweed, or plantain and comfrey. They are valuable additions to any garden and often will produce edible items (or medicinal ones ) when other things dont make it. I am glad you commented and swung on by!
Many blessings to you