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It Wasn’t Always This Way

Sat, 19 Aug 2023, 09:37 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

It wasn’t always this way in Austin.

Thirty-five years ago, if you planted a big tomato in a sunny spot, the bounty was great — many plump red tomatoes to slice and more to give away. But today, they don’t ripen before scorching summer sets in. And it’s not clear whether cherry tomatoes justify the effort and the water. 

Thursday, the high temperature was 109. The thermostat in my car read 111 as I pulled out of the parking lot at school. Our drought tolerant yard is super crispy. The Oaks and Elms and Persimmons and even the Possumhaws are sad. 

The trees need water. 

Like the Chickadees puffing themselves in our one-a-week watering. Like the Titmouse in the branches of the Lacy Oak celebrating the sprinkler. Like the Hummingbird flitting in the Flame Acanthus as the water droplets fall. Like the Anole Lizard climbing out of the leaf litter under the Agarita to enjoy the shower before we turn it off. Like the Spiny Lizard drinking from the puddles on the rocks. Like the Dwarf Salamanders that slither between the sticks at the foot of the Coral Honeysuckle whenever there’s any moisture. Like the American (?) Toad in the front who basks in the ground-level bird bath in the morning. Like the Leopard (?) Frog in the back whom we’ve never seen but can hear in the evening as it sings from margins of our tiny pond. Like all nature’s things, the trees need water.

So water your trees, even if only once in a while. Otherwise, the Chihuahuan Desert awaits.

© jumpingfish by David Hasan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License