Drought in Massachusetts

We’re currently in the midst of a drought here in Western Massachusetts – the first we’ve seen since moving here. And, I’ll admit, one aspect of it has me baffled. The lawns. Very few people are watering their lawns.

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Which, of course, makes sense. But, it does surprise me. I grew up in the arid West where, even in drought, most people watered their lawns – at least as much as they were able, given water bans, etc. In fact, lawn watering was a huge part of summer there. If you didn’t have a sprinkler system, your days were divided by trips outdoors to move the sprinkler. I earned spending money as a teen watering the lawns of people on vacation. I put out food for their pets, too, but watering the lawn was the important thing!

With that in mind, a sprinkler system was high on my list of “desirables” when we moved East. I didn’t want to be tied to a hose all summer. Imagine my surprise when none of the homes we looked at had anything of the sort installed. It seemed in this part of the country, there was enough rain to take care of lawns and gardens in the summer. Nobody watered. Amazing! For nine lovely years, I enjoyed a lush, green lawn without ever having to set out a sprinkler.

But, now, here we are in year ten, and everything has changed. The papers tell us we are at least six inches behind what we ought to be in rainfall. A “moderate drought” they have labelled it. And still, very few people are watering. The prevailing attitude seems to be, if there isn’t going to be any rain, there isn’t going to be any grass. Businesses and homes, alike, have yellow lawns. Behold, Town Hall:

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It makes sense – it just takes a bit of getting use to.

Meanwhile, at the pond, the “deep” end reaches just over my knees. There is Ginger, at center, standing in a spot that, in years past, reached over her head.
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When the girls took their swim tests this year, they had a heck of a time not scraping bottom. A friend of mine, whose family frequents another pond, says they can practically walk out to their docks.

So, at this point you’re wondering about our multiple ponds and all of those green trees in the picture, and you’re thinking the drought can’t be that serious after all. And, I can understand that. By Western standards, we are still lush. There is green to spare. But, by Massachusetts standards, we’re pretty parched.

From the dining room table, admitting that one benefit of the drought has been a lower mosquito population this summer,

Mrs. Smythe

6 Comments on “Drought in Massachusetts

  1. Does that mean less lawn mowing? It’s hard for me to picture your area not lush and green! Hope all those beautiful trees survive.

    • Yes! that’s been one of the strange benefits. I’ve only mowed twice the entire summer! Unbelievable!

  2. I have been watering my flower/veggie gardens, I hate to think what our water bill will be like!

    • I never give our water bill much thought – but we’re thinking about it this summer!

  3. My sister lives in CA where she collects rainwater for plants and never dumps drinking water. It is such a precious resource and frequently taken for granted. I remind myself grass is a perennial… We’ll see next year.

    • This summer has certainly made me more aware of how much water we waste around the house. I try not to dump the leftover tea kettle water down the sink – I use it on plants instead. Or even just leftover drinking water. You’re right – grass is perennial. It’s dormant, not dead, right? That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.