Thursday, September 2, 2010


The abundant rainfall that fell on Blue Jay Barrens earlier in the year has disappeared. Except for some brief showers that only dropped a few hundredths of an inch each time, we have been rainless for the past six weeks. Most of the soils found here have a very low moisture holding capacity. Heavy rains don’t benefit these plants because the soil is not capable of storing more than a few days worth of water. Drooping leaves are beginning to be the norm in all of the fields.

A few weeks ago, the leaves on these Wingstems were so full you couldn’t see between the plants. Now the leaves hang limply along the stalks. The primary functions of perennial plants at this time of year are to produce seed and store enough energy to survive until the next growing season. Maintenance of the leaves is discontinued in favor of the other priorities.

As moisture starved leaves begin to droop and curl, the color of the prairie becomes more brown. Green will return if we get some rain.

Bare ground is dry and cracked, a normal condition for this time of year.

There’s no moisture at all showing in the pond. All of the puddling butterflies have gone.

Even the deepest holes in the creek will soon be dry. Raccoons have cleaned the last of the fish from these pools.

Most of the greenery on the forest floor has turned brown. Drought stressed trees are beginning to shed leaves.

I found this turtle walking one of the dry ridges. It’s a stressful time for Eastern Box Turtles. Their weight drops significantly as they begin to dehydrate.

At least I don’t have to spend much time messing with the lawn. I like to refer to this as crunch time, because the grass crunches whenever I step on it. This is a normal condition for Blue Jay Barrens in September. The early rain is what was really unusual.


  1. Hi Steve ...Looks like you did not get that bucket of rain I sent ,it must have dryed up on the way there....I did recieve the bag of butterflies but less than half of them made it!! ; }
    That sure is dry there! In spite of the lack of rain my lawns are pretty green but I have noticed some plants and even some trees suffering from the lack of water!!
    I fell bad for the poor turtle, I guess when I think of turtles I think of water!!
    We may be getting rain this weekend from hurricane Earl they haven't figured out what else yet !! I didn't run out and stock up on batteries, water, flashlights, none parishable foods ,duct tape and etc. so you may never hear from me again!! ; }

  2. grammie g - I think those other butterflies came back here. I'll post more pictures for you in a few days.
    We're sending a cold front your way that will push Earl right out into the Atlantic. Hopefully, it will get there in time to make survival supplies unnecessary.