Op-ed by Jim Koweek
August 2020
Why I Am (Trying to be)  Happy About The Drought 

Feels like June 87th out there or is it the June 93rd? I know it is hard to keep track. What I do know if that it is HOT and DRY. Very DRY. To my recollection this is the driest so-called summer rainy season in the last 30 years. I asked my good friend, neighbor and longtime rancher, who just had his 90 birthday and was raised here, if he remembered a worse summer.  His response “might have been one but I can’t really recall when that might have been.” His name is not mentioned to protect him from being associated with anything I say here.

So far we have had less than 4” for both July and August combined.  In many years, most of us  would complain about  only 4” in either month. We need moisture and we need it now. This is starting to remind me of 2002, the Year of the Ryan Fire and about a 12” in total rainfall here. Being that my entire work reputation is based on moisture in SE Arizona (I know, brilliant career move.) the weather is starting to get to me. I have to take action. So, like in 2002 I have completely stopped looking at weather forecasts. They are just a source of constant frustration. If the local news is on and, if the weatherman comes on I stick my fingers in my ears and leave the room acting  like a 3 grader who didn’t want to hear what he was being told. Maturity is not a strong point.

  This strategy has not been enough to pull me out of the blues so here is the next step.  Fred Franklin, Ben’s 3rd cousin once removed, once said “If something is bugging the crap out of you make a list. Won’t do a thing for the problem but now you have a list to go along with it” * So, as a public service, here is a list of “10 Reason Why I am Happy About the Drought”.

  1. Less Skeeters- Please remember that many AZ mosquitoes breed in wet grass so there are less of them. They are not gone all together.
  2. Less Weeds – Like we were really going to pull them anyways. 
  3. Less Chiggers – As much time as I spend out in the grasslands I am usually a walking habitat for chiggermanity at this point. 
  4. Don’t have to figure out what to do with all the zukes .– I have a zucchini plant that is as big as a Volkswagen. It has produced about 6 fruits this year. Guess they like rain.
  5. You don’t have to listen to folks complain that their neighbor gets all the rain – Mike Crimmins, a U of A Climatologist, recently published an article that said rain doesn’t have favorites. It doesn’t matter what church you   go to.  Things average out. Areas by the mountains get more moisture and the flatlands get less. If your neighbor lives in the same geographic or topographic   area as you do you probably have gotten the same rainfall that they did over the years. 
  6. You don’t have to listen to anyone say, “I don’t have a rain gauge but there was 4 inches in the wheel barrel”
  7. Wooden doors don’t stick. – Every summer when the humidity goes up we have doors that stick.
  8. Not kept up all night by sex starved horny spadefoot toads doing their mating calls. – Yes, I know they have been burrowed underground since last year but still, get a room. This ain’t Bisbee.     
  1.  Have I mentioned skeeters? How about chiggers? 
  2.  Dang it, I can’t even fake 10 reasons why I am happy about the drought. 

 Hopefully by the time you read this, things will have changed, we have picked up some fall tropical moisture, and this article is obsolete. Maybe it is a cool moist fall night and you are using this list to start a warming fire. I think Fred Franklin would have liked that.

* This was probably made up by Jim.

Jim Koweek has worked with rock, plants, and seed in SE Arizona for several decades. He is looking forward to the day when he can be found playing mandolin at local watering holes again.  His latest book is “Grassland Plant ID For Everyone – Except Folks That Take Boring Technical Stuff Too Seriously.” It is available at local Health Food, Feed, and Hardware stores.