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Farming on the Blackland Prairie

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  • Susan Rektorik Henley
    What a year this has been...no real rain since March and now 12.5 inches in three days! It goes to prove the old Farmer s adage: You can t make it start
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 1, 2001
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      What a year this has been...no real rain since March and now 12.5 inches in three days!
       
      It goes to prove the old Farmer's adage:
       
      "You can't make it start raining; and, you can't make it stop raining!"
       
      When it rains this much down here, I always start to think about how it was back in the early 1900's when this happened.
       
      One of the reasons why the are where Robstown is located was chosen for a town site was it was relatively free of brush.  Well, it must have been a dry period then because at other times it used to stand water for months...thus the no brush.
       
      The land is so flat down here that most of you wouldn't even notice the "hill"  that I live on...but that was one of the main reasons Grandpa Louis (Alois) Rektorik chose this home site.
       
      And since this land is so flat, one doesn't really notice that this area starts the watershed for Oso Creek.  Last September when we had 6.5 inches of rain all at once, I was driving through Robstown and the headwaters of the creek really do reform and flood major  highways.
       
      It was not until the 1920's that a series of large drainage ditches were created to help move the water.  Several older local Czech folks remember when water would stand under and around their houses for months...before the ditches were put in.
       
      And, in town, the "streets" were just packed soil for many years.  Later gravel was put on top and when it rained it worked its way down into the soil.  I have an account of how the wheels of wagons would sink into the muck. 
       
      Also, years later when the City was redoing Main Street, a good number of shoes were found in the grated up street.  The sticking, oozing mud had claimed may a shoe from a pedestrian over the years.
       
      So now I look out over acres and acres of farm land under water and think back to the old days.  I am pleased to have a paved road in front of the farm and the drainage ditches.
       
      There is another old Farmer's saying:
       
      "It is easier to make a crop with too much rain than it is with too little!"
       
      And this is true.  This moisture will sink deep and be held over the winter.  This rain may save local farmers next year.  It was that 6.5 inches last September (and my cousins prudent farming practices) that carried our farm through the drought of last year.  We had no rain after March but the moisture was there to finish the milo when in many other places it literally fell over from the lack of moisture.  The cotton made a bale to the acre.
       
      When the Texas Czech pioneers chose the black land prairies they chose wisely.  Their choices still pay off today.
       
      Of course, I will spend the next week slogging through the muck, enjoying the aroma of grass decaying under water, and fighting off the mosquitoes...but this the way it has been for a long time too.
       
      Susan
    • John L. Mikeska
      Susan, Whenever I go through Robstown, I think of the hurricane in 1947 (did not think I would ever forget it s name!) and I handled many flooded auto claims
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 1, 2001
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        Susan,
         
        Whenever I go through Robstown, I think of the hurricane in 1947 (did not think I would ever forget it's name!) and I handled many flooded auto claims in Robstown.  I recall the 3' high water marks on all the walls of the Chevrolet dealer downtown.  That is some flat county around and near the 'Sparkling City by the Sea'.
         
        The rain gauge at Lamar University, Beaumont, registered 6.5" up to 9 PM last night and still raining.  Would not be surprised if it did not register 7" for the 24 hour period.
         
        Sir John
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2001 9:24 AM
        Subject: [TexasCzechs] Farming on the Blackland Prairie

        What a year this has been...no real rain since March and now 12.5 inches in three days!
         
         
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