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Posts Tagged ‘El Nino’

Summer Forecast 2014

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

As grass fed beef ranchers, we are not only concerned with the health and growth of our cattle. We also try to keep our eye on weather patterns, amount of rainfall, etc. This summer experts are predicting an El Nino effect over the Atlantic Ocean.

Therefore, they are looking for less hurricane and tropical storm activity. Experts are only looking for about one major hurricane this season. However with that low prediction, they keep reminding everyone that one storm is all that it takes for disaster to strike.

Hurricane activity does impact us to a degree. We get winds and rainfall. We always have the possibility of a tornado spinning from the atmospheric imbalance of the storm. However, we are far enough from the coast where we do not feel the complete devastation of the hurricane.

Rainfall throughout the summer is what mainly concerns us. Drought has effected us for years now and we are finally out of it. With it fresh in our minds, we do not want to slip back into that devastating pattern. We need the proper amount of rain for good growth in our natural grasses for our cattle.

Last year we had pretty good rain. Our pastures responded including our hay fields. We are hoping for a repeat.

It looks like because of the predicted El Nino, we could definitely enjoy a wet summer without a lot of hurricane activity. Not a bad forecast. Now if only the prediction comes true.


Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Stacking logs on the ranch.

Stacking logs on the ranch.

After the exceptional drought last summer, one observable consequence of the lack of rain has been the numerous dead trees standing naked, stripped of their leaves, this spring. Stands of dead trees are visible throughout the wooded pastures on both properties of Cross Creek Cattle Company.

A timber company was scheduled to come early spring; however, ironically they were unable to do their job because of our heavy winter rains. Now it is dry enough for them to come in, take the timber, and get out without destroying the land.

As a mother of four boys, I have learned how excited a male can get over machinery. My sons get excited about a tractor or a bulldozer. Timber companies bring very cool machines onto the property. My husband is completely interested in watching the big machine stack the logs. His attention is pulled away only if the skid steer arrives dragging large logs behind.

We have yet to see the feller buncher at work, but I am sure that would be a safety concern. What your eyes cannot see, your ears can hear. The sound of saws slicing through wood followed by the loud crack and sound of splintering wood fills the air.

Even though they have only been here a few days, there is a noticeable difference in the landscape. Looking as deep as the eye can see, the woods are green again. The bare, brown sticks standing amongst the foliage have been removed. The timber company will continue to press into the heart of the woods until all the dead timber is removed.

Since my husband just finished repairing and building the perimeter and cross fences on the new ranch, he is especially pleased to know that the dead trees will not be falling onto them as they begin to rot. Removing the trees professionally will save our fences, but more importantly will be safer for human and animal alike.

Even though it is a blessing that the timber company can do their job based on our dry conditions, we are still praying for rain. We don’t want a repeat of the last few years. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, our area is no longer in a drought per se. Instead, we are categorized “Abnormally Dry.” At the same time climatologists are announcing the end of the La Nina cycle, which they blame for the drought conditions of the past two years.

Not being a climatologist, I cannot well explain the differences between La Nina or El Nino weather cycles. If they foresee more rain in our future, then I will rejoice in that news. Until more rain falls and we are completely off of the Drought Monitor, we will continue to pray for rain. While we wait for the rain, the sound we will hear for awhile is “Timber!”

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