Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Whoo-ee, it's hot out thar.

A beautiful yaupon, right by the driveway.

We have just emerged from the hottest weekend of a very hot summer. On Sunday, the temperature was 108 F on my porch, and 111 F on the north side of the house. It was the hottest day we have experienced at this house.

The oddest thing about these sweltering days was the quiet. My assistant and I were out hanging laundry midday on Saturday (105 F) and noticed how eerily quiet it was. The sound of cicadas was muted. The birds were quiet. No dogs were barking, or children shouting. No neighbors were busy with weekend projects – no hammers banging rhythmically, no chainsaws revving up and down, no lawnmowers growling back and forth.  No wind. Just . . . quiet.

It was as if all of Hays County – man, beast, plant, even the earth - were conserving energy, just trying to survive.

We retreated inside to watch a movie.

Unfortunately, this heat is administering the coup de grace to many plants on my property. I will have lots of opportunities to try new plants this fall (if it rains) or next spring (if it rains).  Every time I go outside to water, another plant is gone. Heartbreaking.

Even worse is the loss of trees. Eight live oak trees (that we know of) are gone, and three more seem to be on the way out. It happens so fast: The last three were fine last week, but are not fine today. Almost all the yaupons have turned brown. I’m afraid to go look at my huge Texas redbuds behind the house; from here all I see are brown leaves. Texas mountain laurels are turning yellow. Flame-leaf sumacs are dying. Hackberries are suffering terribly. I'm hoping many of these will be resurrected by rain.

The heat will subside. We know that to be true. There’s a chance of rain this weekend. But we are so beaten down by drought and heat that we can’t believe it. We will get excited when the drops are pounding down on our heads, and not before.

Dead oaks and flame-leaf sumacs.


  1. The dead trees are truly a sad sight. Sorry you have lost so many. We have lost several - very big ones, too! It's hard to keep optimistic when it's so depressing. I hope we all get lots of rain soon - and maybe the trees will be able to make a come back this spring.

  2. That's my biggest fear...the death of trees.
    On my way back from San Marcos yesterday, I cut across Fulton Ranch Road. It goes up high over the valley, then down across the Blanco River. There were a lot of dead cedar elms and liveoaks. Most of the liveoaks were small. I'm hoping the big, old ones survive.
    The river is still flowing, but is VERY low.
    Let's hope this is over soon.
    Stay cool.

  3. @HG - Come on, rain!
    @Linda - That's a great road, but perhaps depressing to drive right now!