Catching up

I started this post a few weeks ago and still never found the time, or interest I guess, to complete it. As a follow up to the last post outlining the drought we are in I will give a few more facts and figures. The first picture is one I saw on Twitter. The numbers are from June 1 to August 31 and were posted on 8/6, I believe. We have all seen some rain since then so the graph is not current but still relevant.

Our own number to compare with this graph is 5.94" The day after the last post (7/23) talking about the drought and posting our local records we received  3.19". See the radar of that storm below and notice the white dot amongst the purple cells. Red on the radar is scary enough. To have received only rain and not massive wind or lightning damage with purple and white is lucky indeed. The rain was a blessing but the numbers become skewed. Most of that type of rain simply runs off and its greatest benefit would be to fill a pond, if we had one. The point is prior to this storm we were at 2.75" compared to the 3.02" in the graph so our deficit is still quite real. The few rain events we received were helpful and the only reason we are not in the same drought category as Boston.

massive storm in july. we are just east of the white cell
irrigation leak on abandoned galvanized pipe attached to 1936 main line
All things considered the course and staff had held up well. We had a visit from President Obama, our first in a couple of years. He even played 18 holes, a first. The crowds are starting to dwindle much like the amount of daylight. We notice it since we start so early that what we were able to accomplish with good visibility just a few weeks ago are now being done in the dark. I assume cooler temperatures and lots of precipitation are also in our near future. Both will be a welcome change.

POTUS and Ray Allen. adding up the scores

Drought: by the numbers

3rd hole

2nd hole Mother and babies
The course is starting to show the signs of the weather we have been having. I put together a couple of pictures to illustrate the data. The first shows the last four years of local rain totals from the weather station on the gazebo with a 21 year average. I arrived in the Fall of 1995 and starting tracking with a manual gauge before we purchased the station. The monthly totals are always interesting but do not show the entire picture sometimes so the second sheet is directly from the weather station.

The second graphic shows the daily data. I highlighted with red arrows any rain event over two tenths of an inch. I labeled it .1" but a tenth is a drop in the bucket once you are dry. Since May 13th there have been 5 events. They were fairly well spaced out and each was a life saver when they came. The rule of thumb for irrigation or rainfall for cool season turf is 1-1.5 inches per week. Our rainfall came about every two weeks and none of them were even 1 inch so that spells deficit right there. We make up the difference with irrigation but as the pictures of the course at the beginning of this post show the system does not have perfect coverage. If we use the conservative number of 1" per week and the picture highlights 10 weeks and we have only received 3.6" the deficit is 6.4". Simple math right? Unfortunately grass doesn't do math. Once the ground is extremely dry the water just runs off and does not penetrate. We could get all 6.4" tonight in a Thunderstorm but most of it would run off and flood the low areas. The one thing data and experience has taught me is that the average for the year is pretty consistent, so eventually it will rain again. Meanwhile we just have to enjoy the different colors, textures, bounces and lies this weather pattern has created on the links.

6th hole

Fire in the sky

What are all those brown spots?

Well we finally received some rain. This allows us to drag the washboard out of the roads which is caused by cars traveling too fast when they dry out. Everyone tells me if you go fast you don't feel them as much, but that just makes it worse. If we all drive 15 mph we might never see a washboard and make the speed bumps unnecessary also.

dragging tine harrow on roads

Of course the rain does bring it's challenges. The fungal disease known as dollar spot usually grows out of control after a rain event. It gets it's name from the silver dollar size brown spot it leaves on the turf. 1 or 2 is no big deal but hundreds or thousands and it becomes serious. When active it has a white cottony mycelium seen in the picture below in the rough behind 6 green. We use the Bioject to brew up a naturally occurring soil bacteria and then we spray it on the fairways. This approach has worked since 1998 and allowed us to not use synthetic fungicides on fairways to control this fungus.
active Dollar Spot fungus

viewing platform

water view from platform

real estate pamphlet at platform
Some of you may have noticed the new wooden structure in the woods to the right of 8 approach? It is a viewing platform of the nice water view we have from number 8. One of the few remaining empty lots left in Mink Meadows is on the market and they think this will help sell the lot. Of course if you want water views there is actually a water front lot for sale also. Both pond and Vineyard Sound front to be exact. I will say it is a nice place to live with some amazing sunrises over that pond and sunsets over the sound.
Mirror-Mirror on Mink Meadows pond at sunrise

sunset at beach July 4th      Nature's fireworks