The drought, especially here in the Midwest, is a daily topic of conversation, and now, concern. It has been unbearably hot, sometimes ranging into the triple figures. Looie the Schnauzer and I walk early in the morning or not at all. Some homeowners have given up on saving their grass and are concentrating on shrubs and trees. When the town we live in replaced the sidewalks, they tore up the grass by the curbs. They laid down new grass and have watered it every day but even it doesn’t look all that good: full of weeds. Lately, we’ve had a drop or two of rain, but mostly, the storms have gone around us leaving us to smolder in the heat.
In the surrounding countryside, corn, a major crop here in Kansas, is drying up, burning crisp, or being plowed under. The Mississippi river and the Missouri, major highways of transportation for grain products (and coal) are so low, that sandbars are slowing traffic and raising costs.
Refineries use over 1.4 billion bushels of corn a day, and thanks to their creative innovations, we now get corn in almost everything including jams, jellies, sodas, bologna, canned vegetables, toothpaste, paint, glue, cosmetics, soap, vitamins, ethanol for our cars and textiles for our clothes. Most of the meat we consume comes from corn-fed animals and birds.
But wait. Maybe we’re not listening. Perhaps nature is pointing us in a healthier direction. Maybe we should give a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables a try. I’m not giving up meat, but I guess I can buy grass fed beef and free ranging chickens. Just a thought.
At any rate, expect to see a substantial raise in the price of anything containing corn.
Yesterday, Looie, who has been feasting on the big cicadas flopping around on the sidewalk, and I noticed inch round holes in the dirt at the park. The ground is so dry that even though they have strong front legs, the poor cicada nymphs, which had been hovering a foot or more underground for at least two years, had to work hard to get out.
When they emerged, they fluttered up to something like a fence post, a tree, or an American flag, and shedding their skins, began their lives as adult katydids (that’s what we called them when we were children out collecting their shells.) Then they serenade each other and us by vibrating their membranes or some such. Maybe it’s because of the drought, but this year seems to have produced a bumper crop of lusty vibrators. Have you noticed?