Thursday, May 12th, 2011 by tamara
It’s hot and its dry I think we all can agree to that, we seem once again to have gone from winter right smack dab into summer. Young trees are in wilt during the middle of the day and in some areas even the mature trees are showing those signs also. One thing that I have notices over the years in the groves is the lack of rattlesnakes. Used to be when it was hot and dry like this and you were irrigating groves you always ran up on a rattlesnake or two during the summer. I haven’t seen one in quite a while now.
Used to every time you saw one you did away with it then you loaded it up in the truck and drove to town to show it off. Either at the drug store or more often the gulf station where more of the old timers gathered in the afternoon. One of the favorite things to do with a snake was to coil it back up in your truck bed and then ask someone to get a shovel or hoe out of the truck bed and bring it to you. Now you didn’t do this unless there were several folks around to watch the show. Reactions were mixed. They ran from getting a genuine cussing laid on you to someone running away to just plain passing out.
Getting back to the dry weather and grove conditions as you have heard me say many times it always rains when you need it most; well we need it most now. The price of fuel has continued to rise and growers are stretched pretty thin. Thinking back how our weather patterns have changed… Can you believe we use to grow oranges without irrigation? When it got this dry, growers would bring out their old ACME harrows to pull behind and bring up what little moisture was there to the feeder roots of the trees. (No this was not a device fashioned by Willy E. Coyote).it was in fact a pull type harrow that instead of disc blades it used long S shaped blades that more or less just moved the dirt back and from to aerate the dirt between the rows.
I remember one year when it was drier than can be and I had just started with Mutual. I was working in the Volusia County area. Now most of the industry were a little further along with technology that some old timers in this area. I drove up to Mr. R.L. Cooper’s house and he had been pulling an old ACME, of course he had dust from one end to the other. I said Mr. Cooper looks like you have just about had all the dry weather you need. He looked up from a glass of tea he was drinking and said well son I’ve had all I need but obviously the good Lord aint. All you could really see of his face was the pink on his lips where the tea has washed off the dirt. It was quite a sight.
It is dry and growers all over the state are feeling the pressure of high fuel prices and increased label cost trying to keep all the pumps running because right now when you are trying to grow a crop you need plenty of water. Let’s all remember that it doesn’t hurt to ask the man upstairs for help now and again and thank Him when he gives it to us.