Umbria, the green heart of Italy, is suffering from a severe drought. Mere drops of rain have fallen since May and temperatures have soared well beyond 95° F. every day all summer! Everywhere, creeks are dry and rivers are reduced to trickles. The sunflowers were totally blackened and sadly drooping long before their useless harvest. The corn crop, much of it abandoned and still on the fields, is crisply brown with “roasted” husks and scorched cobs. For the stoic rural population it has been so discouraging to hear predictions of rain…rain that never materialized. Despair is palpable as farmers have lost their entire season!
It is likely that the rains will eventually come…too late, however, to save the crops this season. At best, they would render less dramatic the loss of the later superstar crops of grapes and olives. Farmers often refer to farming as an “open-air factory” – a factory truly at the mercy of the elements.
For so many who proudly carry on the Umbrian rural tradition, those who never even think about vacation weather, this summer will be remembered with despair for the Dramatically Discouraging Drought!