When I was younger and lived in Florida, I was amazed with the condition of the lawns. They were virtually perfect. Early each morning the sprinkler systems on timers would erupt and the neighborhood became a cacophony of zip-zip-zip and whiz-whiz-whiz.
I know many of the lawns were probably Zoysia grass, which I also had in my lawn in Honolulu. I sank up to my ankles if the grass remained unmowed for any length of time, which it did because it always looks tidy, even if you forget to mow it. When it gets long it is like velvet, although how one mows velvet boggles the mind.
When I lived in California, it was so dry, I had a yard composed of some kind of Sedum or purslane (like Portulaca or Moss Rose which I think might be banned in CA these days). The plant was beautiful but apparently unwanted, although you can eat it.
I was young then, and I wondered why folks had concerns about lawns, but now I understand. When you are retired you can literally watch the grass grow.
The photos below show our little patch of grass this spring (Left) and now (Right). Obviously, we needed rain.
A gentle rain fell all night, so our patch of lawn should be rejuvenated. Joy told me all the grass in the north pasture at her farm was dead. I hope the rains bring it back to life. Supposedly, this is the worst drought since the 1950s, which I remember well because Dad was still working for the Agriculture Dept in those days.
The latest New Yorker magazine has a lead article on corn and its temperament. Our local weather guy says if they don’t get rain out on the Eastern Shore soon, the Silver Queen corn will be in trouble. That’s the lovely white corn humans like, not the yellow horse corn that grows in the Midwest farmers feed livestock. (Joy says they are feeding their livestock hay and corn to tide them over during the drought.)
Weather…everyone talks about it, but no one can do much about it.
My granddaughter Amelia who understands these things as she has now earned a degree in Climate Science, says the climate change we are experiencing is the result of a combination of things. Burning fossil fuels remains an issue for humans for many health reasons, but is not the sole or perhaps even the major cause of climate change. As a historian, I know the climate has changed over and over through the millenia and affected the outcome of many historical events.
Humans across the globe need to change the their energy usage because we may be making the climate worse than it would be otherwise. Sadly, folks in Japan are protesting the reopening of the nuclear plants while the Germans have closed their plants. But nuclear energy and natural gas may offer hope.
Here’s a thought: clean natural gas, while not perfect, has been around for a long time, and is much cleaner to extract and use than other fossil fuels. And many gas reserves exist all over the world according to the Economist magazine.
A recent issue (a “strongman” Uncle Sam on the cover) includes a feature article on fracking, the process of extracting gas from rock. Very interesting piece, and I recommend it, as it should put many fears about fracking to rest.
When I was growing up, my family depended on liquid gas for cooking. Everywhere we moved, we hauled a gas tank shaped like a hippo. It was a somewhat larger version of the propane tanks you see today, although it rested on its side and did not stand upright. Our tank was about 2-3 feet high and about as wide. We had it filled from time to time and I recall the tank was very cold when it was filled. I liked to lay over the top of it on a hot day.
I learned to cook on natural gas and if I had access to it today, I would use it. This is wonderful stuff. I also think if Climate Change raises our year round temperatures to Florida levels we may see more Zoysia.