Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What On Earth Was I Thinking Moving to SW Kansas?

It's hot. Very hot. And dry...very dry.

I just checked the temperature today; 2:30 pm and it's 104 F. That's hot. And the thing is our long term forecast, along with many other states, doesn't show that it's going to be cooler anytime soon.

I have learned to love Kansas and all but sometimes this heat really gets to me. There are days when the temps are at 100 before noon and by afternoon there are only two options; be cooped up in air conditioning or go to the pool. We go to the pool alot. The heat feels like an open oven door radiating on all sides of you all the time. Sometimes the heat doesn't dissipate until after 9 pm.

I often wonder whether God intended people to live in Southwest Kansas. I'm reading a book called The Worst Hard Time. This book gives the history of the first ranchers, the homesteaders or "nesters", the wheat boom of the early 1900's but mostly the book discusses the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. The Dust Bowl and drought lasted for, I believe, about 7 years. Accounts of what residents of SW Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles lived through are unbelievable. Years after years without seeing any living green thing. Dust storms, dusters, that blocked out the sun for days. So much dust in a home after a duster that it had to be shoveled out. Food so scarce that some people resorted to canning and eating tumbleweeds. Animals died and when their stomachs were cut open they were packed full of dirt. Numerous days where temperatures reached over 110. The dirt drove farmwives crazy after battling it year after year. To read about the devastation this area went through during the Dirty Thirties can bring a tear to the eye.

I haven't finished reading the book yet but obviously things changed and eventually SW Kansas was put to farming again, largely by tapping into the Ogalala Aquifer and heavily irrigating fields. A great conservation effort went into changing farming techniques to preserve soil. President Roosevelt had millions of trees planted in an effort to block the prairie wind. As if the wind could be stopped, ha! This area was never meant to be farmed. It was meant to be a grassland with buffalo and pronghorns roaming it. With such a serious drought occurring here this year I often wonder if this area will ever return to it's original state. I wish it would. I wish that all the corn and wheat fields could be returned to buffalo grass. I wish that thousands of buffalo could once again roam hundreds of miles north and south. What a sight it would be to see what Lewis and Clark saw. The original prairie, the perfect ecosystem for this area. The perfect combination of plants and animals that would return after years of drought.

"I ascended to the top of the cutt bluff this morning, for whence I had the most delighfull view of the country, the whole of which except the valley formed by the Missouri is void of timber or underbrush, exposing to the first glance of the spectator immense herds of Buffaloe, Elk, deer, & Antelopes feeding in one common and boundless pasture."
– Meriwether Lewis, April 22, 1805

June and July have both been overwhelmingly hot and dry, there have been 10, 100+ degree days in the month of June, July is starting off very hot and we still August and September to go. That's kind of a depressing thought. I pray for rain alot, if only enough to be able to stand outside and cool off in it for few minutes. Kansas summer is tough. I've found myself yearning for the green of Indiana lately. Somedays I don't believe mankind was meant to live in a place like this. ThoughI think we are all too stubborn to realize it .


  1. Ouch! You are hardy to live through that heat. Wishing you all rain.

  2. It's been hot in Indiana too....but not that hot. Hope you get some relief soon!


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