A trip to the family farm in central Kansas last week offered many views I have rarely, if ever, seen.
Ponds have become nothing more than holes in the ground. Pastures have become bronzed wastelands, cattle nosing around for anything even remotely edible.
Any corn that isn’t being irrigated has already surrendered to the hottest summer in decades. Wheat stubble that likely would have been plowed under following harvest is being left alone, likely to protect the topsoil.
Day after day, it seemed, the thermometer at the farm showed 109. Activities slowed to a crawl in the searing afternoon heat, which meant being up early and staying up late to tackle outdoor chores.
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After spending most of two days outside when the temperature approached 110, I could honestly tell a difference when the high was only 102.
The phrase “Go drink some water” was a common refrain throughout the day, every day, and it was directed at all ages.
When it’s this hot – and this unrelenting – summer becomes an ordeal. And, to be honest, I can’t remember a summer like it since 1980. Those early predictions that 2011 could echo that scorching summer have proven to be pretty accurate so far.