As we contemplate the potential impact of this historic drought in the Southwest, it might be well to recall what earlier droughts were like. Our place is in Hall County, Texas, one of the sites that provided some of the Farm Security Administration's iconic photos of the Dust Bowl era.
My father told me that among his jobs as a displaced Okie during those years was building new fences on top of old fences than had drifted under dust dunes. The way this works, for those of you in friendlier climes, is that the weeds blow and grow in a fence. Then the ground starts blowing and the wind stops it, and, before long, you have a drift.
This would seem to be a picture of such a fence. On one side is an old cotton field now in CRP which is being grazed under the drought program this year. There are heifers and heifer bulls on that field. On the other side of the fence are real bulls. They like to stand by the fence and paw and trash-talk each other.
The other day, the top of fence posts were beginning to show up, and yesterday an old rusty wire that must have been the top wire on a long-buried fence, which, judging by the height of the dune, may not even be the original fence. It looks like there is room for another one under it.