Dry year?

colokid(5)April 18, 2012

I just saw this some where. records from the "dust bole" days. Fort Collins I think.

Year Jan.-Apr. Precip. Annual Precip.

1933 2.8 inches 15.64 inches

1934 3.24 inches 8.87 inches

1935 2.4 inches 15.91 inches

1936 2.31 inches 11.77 inches

2002 2.4 inches 9.22 inches

Avg. (1980-2010) 4.45 inches 16.1 inches

2012 1.05 inches (through Monday) 3.59 inches (projected amount, based on current rate)

I was there, KennyP

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david52 Zone 6

Ah, Kenny, what was it like?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:36PM
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What was it like? I was a kid and didn't know any better. I thought that was the way every body lived.. Pancakes, Cows milk and jack rabbit burgers.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Wondering the same thing myself!

I've seen dust bowl stories where the people were desperately doing whatever they could to plug up all the crack around windows and doors to TRY to keep the dust/dirt out, and still had so much inside that everything was covered with it--and they had trouble breathing! Also situations where vehicles wouldn't run because there was so much dirt in the engine/carburetor. Do you remember anything like that?

How old were you? You must have been very young yet!

At least the farming methods are (allegedly!) different now, so all the topsoil shouldn't wind up blowing into the Atlantic Ocean! And we *shouldn't* see something like Black Sunday again!

Tell us more, Kenny!


Here is a link that might be useful: Black Sunday

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:31PM
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The big difference is farming methods. Example now is winter wheat. When the crop is harvested in July the stubble is left on the ground. Next year the ground is what we call "summer fallow" nothing grown and weeds are killed with chemical or undercutting. Leaving the mulch on the ground. then planted in September. 2 years moisture to one crop. In the 30'S beans (pinto not soy)was the cash crop. When harvested in August the ground was scraped bare and left that way all winter and spring till the next year.
I was in NE Colorado and we did not have the air full like you see in the movies. Tractors and machinery drifted over with sand to 4 or 5 feet deep. I now have a farm where the corral was hog wire that drifted level. If I went out there with a bull dosser, I could uncover it. It's grassed over now. Jack rabbit were thick.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 2:46PM
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david52 Zone 6

Kenny, did you do any of those jack rabbit drives?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 6:29PM
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The last 4 year span here in my area was the driest ever on record. Drier that any 1,2,3 or 4 year span. And drier than any span during the Dirty Thirties. Like I just posted the other day the farming methods are better. But even at that they can only do so much without rain falling from the skies. I had buffalo and gramma grass die that had been here for around 50 years. The bermuda around here died also. We had several dust storms this winter and spring before the moisture fell again where you couldn't see the road in front of you. We are ahead of average on moisture. Just hope we can keep it up.When your average is 16 inches and 3 out of the last 4 years has been less than ten with last year around 5 it makes it tough to raise anything. Jay

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Its funny that you mention the dust bowl. I wan't there, but last week the wind was blowing so bad that they showed satelite views on the news that the dark cloud and dust over my house was actually from the sand dunes. Wonder what created them? Dust bowl?


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:35PM
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The 19th century American explorers called the area The Great American Desert. There were active dune fields in areas that now seem like typical western Great Plains.

If it happened once, and so very recently (geologically speaking), it could easily happen again.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:35AM
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david52 Zone 6

Here, the average precipitation is 13 inches a year, most of that falling as snow. In the 2001-2002 'exceptional drought', it was down to 1-2 inches.

Killed the pinion trees (along with the beetles), lots of the scrub oak, and the rabbit bush and sage brush was dying.

We got a few dust storms coming in off the desert that were so dark it looked like a thunderstorm, and I never did get all the dust out of the window frames.

Sort of a mixed bag, the Navajo reservation is so badly over-grazed that dust storms are fairy common. But then again the best farmland around here is loess thats blown in over the millennia, so I guess its nothing new.

My neighbors whose parents/grand parents homesteaded around here have talked about those drought years in the 30's, the Dolores river just about dried up and people were taking wagons way up the river to fill containers and drive them home, 30-40 miles oneway. And the same thing happened with the collapse of the livestock market and no pasture/hay, the Gvt was buying cattle at $1 a head to slaughter.

As these folks pass on, we're losing a treasure of how to preserve food and survive off what you and your immediate neighbors can produce.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:32AM
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