The sharp crack of a close-by lightning strike and immediate house shaking clap of thunder sends Miss Maggie the sheltie, skittering and whimpering from the couch to the safety of my feet under the desk – the boogie man can’t get her there!

That was way too close for comfort, so I shut off and unplug the computer and the television for safety’s sake.

Rain begins drumming down on the heat cracked soil, the result of this year’s drought. The moisture is most welcomed by people, animals and the thirsty soil and hopefully, it will prevent or put out some of the many fires we have been experiencing of late. Prairie fires are much feared here on the plains, as it’s miles and miles away from anywhere. The fire departments have to drive very long distances to reach the trouble spots.  Most of the ranchers and farmers in my area are members of the local volunteer fire departments, and all have filled water tanks on old pickups that can be utilized at a moment’s notice.

There isn’t much I can do outside right now, so I’m going to tackle some of those ‘before winter sets in’ type of jobs.  It’s a good time to clean out closets and dresser drawers.  I take everything out and put it on the bed, then I clean the space (wash down the walls and shelves and vacuum the floors of the closets and wipe out and reline the dresser drawers.  I use an idea sent in to me to use typing paper as drawer liner and put a little sachet or scented powder under the papers. By using several layers, I can remove and discard any damaged liner and still have lined drawers.

As I put things back in the closet, I check each garment. Does it fit?  Do I want to wear it again? Will it match/go with anything else I own? I pack away the summer clothing items in a closet box that lives on the top shelf in the ‘off season’ and get out the winter things. 
Then I decide what to do with the discards: give to charity, garage or tag sale, or recycle by taking off buttons and tearing into cleaning rags.  I see ‘no cents’ in tossing old t-shirts and then buying rags for cleaning.  My mother had a rag bag hanging in our back porch all the years we were growing up, and anything that could be used to wipe up spills, scrub a floor or help the handyman mechanic was put into the rag bag.

September is also a big month for canning and putting up food for many of us, and I’m no exception.  The few apples that managed to avoid grasshoppers, hail storms and late frosts will be picked and made into apple pies, apple butter and apple jelly and juice.  The apple jelly will be made in small jars and set on a special shelf for Christmas gift giving.  I picked some Buffalo berries in July and made jelly from those too.  If we don’t get a late hail storm, I will have a few tomatoes (what the deer and grasshoppers don’t get) and perhaps some squash and pumpkins. Again, the word is ‘maybe’.

This year with the drought and hail storms, the ‘pickin’s will be slim for a lot of folks and we will have to make do as we’ve done so many times before in agriculture.  It’s heartbreaking to see your crops and pastures burn up from 100°+ heat, lack of rain, a fire, hail storm or wind, but we will prevail and we will get through this as we have before. 

We shall ‘cut corners to circles’ and we will survive. Hope springs eternal, and  next year will be better!

 Note from Pennywise:
As always, if you have tips or ideas to share, send them to me at Pennywise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543 or better yet, email me at [email protected]
P.S.: Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond!