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FROM READERS: Drought of 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | 2:15 p.m. CDT
John Hall's backyard is seeing the effects of drought, but the birds still come out to play.

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years.

My grandsons are already talking about the heat and dryness such as they have never experienced in their two decades upon this fruited plain. When they have children, they will be talking about the drought of 2012 and maybe beyond.

This year there isn't much being grown in the line of foodstuffs and flowers that are faring very well. A sure way to attract attention is to bring out the water hose and start hydrating the plants. The birds will come from every direction just to cool off, bathe and get a drink. The Goldfinch were the first to show up Sunday morning just before they went to church. I guess they meant to go to worship service since the south side of my house is located on Chapel Hill Road. First, the Goldfinch got into the cherry tree where the sprinkler was aimed and drank the water from the leaves. Then the bird hopped down on a wild sunflower and ate every seed on the 4-inch diameter head in less than an hour. Joey Chestnut, the hot dog eating champion, couldn't hold a candle to what the Goldfinch consumed.

Mom and pop Cardinal were also in the area. Pop is seen in a photo trying to hide from the camera and when spotted he gave me the evil eye. The butterflies are attracted to anything that blooms and has water nearby.

(If you can't see the slideshow embedded above, view it on Flickr here.)

One of the items that has hung on due to massive doses of water is the 2012 tomato crop. However, due to excessively hot nights and even hotter days they are showing a lot of stress and the blooms are no longer setting. Thus a very sparse late-season picking is expected. When I take my tomatoes to a local Italian restaurant, I'm now being stopped as I walk down the sidewalk and being asked if I will give away or sell my tomatoes. To each of those questions I answer, "No." I already have a market for every one I can coax to grow.

Gardeners are optimistic around planting time and a bit surly by the time late July and August arrive. A great surprise was experienced in the last couple of days when I spotted a never before seen scene in my yard. Photos depict an iris (flag) in bloom. The weather is so crazy not even the plants can figure things out.

The update on the sick camera is that an eye transplant operation will be done on it. Medical supplies are being "rushed" (sent by canoe) from Tokyo, Japan to El Segundo, California. The surgery is now scheduled for early August, providing the canoe with the new shutter doesn't sink in its trek across the Pacific. The junk from the Tsunami that hit Japan made a quicker trip across the ocean to America than that single camera part.

Sorry for the lack of photo diversity. However, if you like Goldfinch I have scores, scores and a few more scores of photos of those things. But, like droughts, when you've seen one you've seen enough.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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