Welcome to a weird sort of monotony.
Another day, another heatwave, another dangerous fire season.
Just like last year.
So far, on this Aug 3rd, we seem to be alright, but everyone in Central Oklahoma is watching the *fire weather closely. We have a television on a local station all night long, so we can listen to any late breaking developments regarding the fires and where they are going.
Tomorrow--Aug 4th, appears to be more of the same.
We survived the night, and now it's the 4th of August-Saturday. Things have been *interesting all week.
The other day I and a friend rescued a bird of prey. It was a brancher. It hopped out of the trees and got into the sprinkler. It appeared to be disoriented and began following my friend around the yard. It was so out of it's poor little mind with dehydration and heat stress, that it willingly came to my glove.
Normally, when you handle a wild bird of prey, they can go for the eyes or really tear any bit of exposed flesh up with a wicked beak and talons. But this poor baby was just too tired, too dehydrated and disoriented. We left the poor thing with some experts + a donation to cover expenses. Since the price of everything has already gone up with the mere *announcement of the failed crops, that money was pulled out of our vacation gas fund, because it could not be found in our regular accounts.
Today, my cat brought a cotton tail home. We are *holding it overnight for observation. So far we have not detected any injuries or signs of internal injuries. It is in a straw filled box with a bit of water and some fresh cut green grass. I was able to harvest some green near the vitex bushes, that I am attempting to keep alive. This rabbit is half grown. If all goes well, we might release it tomorrow. Luckily it's not what cats usually bring home, which are the teeny tiny babies that require a special bacterial laden cud from their mother to kick-start their digestive tract. Those babies often die of dehydration due to diarrhea.
As stated in the previous diary, we lost a chicken to the heat. It was suggested to me that we make a swamp cooler for the hen house. So a 5 gallon bucket with water in it [not full because chickens will drown] a sheet to wick the moisture up, and clamps to hold the top of the sheet to the inner roof in front of a fan with the end of the sheet in the bucket of water.
We are hoping this helps the birds get some relief at night. Reports from other neighbors indicate that some are loosing a bird or more a day to the heat and stress. I think the problem with that neighbor is he works, and there is no one to spray his chickens down during the day.
It's not cooling off at night. The coolest part of the early morning gets down to 84. That's better than the 97 at 10 pm, but still ridiculously hot for early morning. There is no dew on the ground at all.
With the fires, we have lost 46 homes in Oklahoma. Today, the 4th of August will be more of the same. We will have to be on the look out for accidental fires, and for arson fires. It was reported that the Turner Turnpike fires were intentionally set by someone throwing burning newspaper out their truck window. That is scary stuff. It's so dry out here, that fires burn so hot, so fast, that some of these fires actually created sizable cumulous clouds. Too bad it didn't make it rain. Everyone is watching that new tropical storm in the gulf, hoping it works it's way up this general direction and sends us some soaking rains.
Today I am extracting honey so long as we don't have to evacuate due to wild fires. I am filtering wild honey now, and today I am going to see if I can harvest from my own hives. I should be able to get some, though I will be very conservative due to the drought and dearth.
The other thing I am going to do today is to look for extra containers to water wild animals. Even as we speak, with my sprinkler on those bushes, jays, titmice, and catbirds and probably more bunnies are drinking what they can, and some are bathing too. I saw satyr butterflies, trying to puddle in that area as well.
If your animals are out in heat like this, make sure they have adequate shade and extra water. If you don't have trees, you can make shade with a tarp and some bungie cord if you need to. or a sheet. It is cruel to leave any living thing out in this heat. Even desert animals burrow underground to escape scorching heat like this.
And if it won't drive up your water bill, if you live in town, turn those sprinklers on for 10 or 15 minutes so the local birds and such can get wet and cool off. Conserve water, but don't forget to share it. If you have ice, dump some into your bird baths and watering bowls in the heat of the day and make sure these are in the shade as well. You don't want desperate animals burning their bodies or their mouths on water that is almost boiling.
Today is another fire watch day. I am not finished filling out my drought monitor report. And this will be included with maps. I think that mine will be long and I might snail mail it. I might also include some references to news stories with my own tales of rescuing heat stressed wildlife. And photos.
Last year we saw wild turkeys going into gated communities with their poults to drink from sprinklers. The drought had driven them from the woods. I was glad the water was available, but I cringed seeing those babies on those chemical lawns.
Last year in Texas, I saw desperate feral bees clustering in garbage cans trying to drink the left over sugar water in discarded soda cans. This isn't uncommon, except that there were no flowers anywhere and it looked like a whole colony had turned out to scavenge these gas station cans. The poor things wanted water and food. There were just so many of them and they were aggressive because they were dry as a bone.
If you are in a store and this happens to you, you can make a feeder and a waterer and put it away from your entrance, your cans and gas pumps. The critters will go to that instead and leave you and your customers alone.
If you are affected by wildfires, if you have lost trees, or gardens or crops, if your roads are buckling under the heat, if you have rescued wildlife or neighbors from heat exhaustion or yourself ended up in the ER as a result--you should fill out a report. If your well has gone low or dry, if you have been subjected to water rationing, if your water bill has gone up, if you have not been able to swim in area lakes due to a drop in water level and a rise in algae or bacteria you should file a drought monitor report.
Good luck to everyone dealing with drought and high fire danger. And sympathy and good thoughts to those enduring the clean up of their burnt homes.
6:32 AM PT: BTW, the Temp yesterday was 113.
5:15 PM PT: The temperature today is 113 degrees again. I am going to be mapping out areas for my drought report, showing roads lined with dead trees and including photographs in that report as documentation.
I truly believe that if enough "civilians" meaning regular citizens file these reports with pictures and personal accounts, that this could further the discussion about global climate change in our country from an entirely different direction. See link provided in diary above or in previous diary to file your own report.
Stay safe everyone.
"WASHINGTON (AP) — The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top government scientist."
This is for today, August 4th 2012.
More than 52,000 acres burned so far. We are expecting more hot weather today, with cold front bringing higher, shifting winds and potential lightning strike driven ignitions later.