We’ve got puddles

Farm Forum

“Praise the Lord! Can you believe it? It rained enough for us to have puddles. We’ve got puddles — right here in the yard!”

“We’ve got what?”

“Puddles. Can’t you hear me? We’ve got actual puddles in the yard. Just look out the window!”

Hubby’s immediate reaction to my enthusiastic declaration wasn’t very earth shattering. But after crawling out from under his cozy bed covers and reviewing the outside wetness for himself, his response to this monumental event was absolutely priceless for me. For he slowly and somewhat quietly uttered, “Well, I’ll be. Guess you were right, woman. It still can rain in South Dakota.”

Did you catch those words? He admitted that I had been right about something. Holy Moly! That never happens, but it did this time. And the story goes like this…

An almost unheard of experience

Yes, I said this rainfall occurred in South Dakota. And, yes, I said that this momentous water event happened in the month of July. And, yes, it’s a fact that it rained so much that we even had puddles. Big enough puddles that if I were a bit younger, I would have had to go outside and splash around in them.

Okay. Who am I kidding? I did go outside and I was barefooted and I splashed around in the water. I couldn’t resist the treat. It was so much fun.

Call me a kid, but I just had to have the joy of getting my feet wet. I exuberantly celebrated the fact that it had rained in July in South Dakota — an almost unheard of experience. And with that thought, I became so enthralled that I did a number of little rain dances in the water puddles. Too bad this dancing episode wasn’t caught on U-Tube—it would have gone viral, for sure. Ha!

It rained in Elrod, S.D.

July, South Dakota, and rainfall are three words that usually don’t go together; at least, not here at Elrod, S.D., where the great rain event occurred. No, I didn’t make a mistake about our address. Yes, I know that our present address is listed as Clark, S.D., but this area where we have always lived is still referred to as Elrod.

Sadly, the town of Elrod no longer exists as far as the map makers are concerned, but it’s still alive and kicking for the people who presently live here. Just ask them. Our residents will tell you all about this former thriving community when in its day boasted of having two railroad lines: the Chicago, Milwaukee line running north and south; and the Chicago, Northwestern running east and west. It also had four grain elevators, two livery stables, a blacksmith shop, a Hayes-Lucas Lumber yard, a two story brick school building, a general store, a bank, a hotel, etc. It was quite a place according to the history records.

Ah, me. Forgive me for the digression into history, but the connection between July, Elrod and rainfall remains the same no matter what you call the area. July is usually a dry month for us, but this year was different. We actually received some rain in this normally arid, bone-dry, parched, waterless month. What a miracle!

No moist; no crop

In 2016, this area had been without sufficient rainfall for an extended period of time. Add in the fact, that last fall was very dry here with very little snow during the winter months. We Elrod residents were suffering from drought conditions much like the rest of South Dakota.

For some reason, the usual June rains bypassed us and that spelled a for-sure crop disaster. The old timers were beginning to remember past dry years and grumble with the age old dictum: “No moist; no crop.” Notorious dry-time stories were surfacing about lost crops due to the lack of rainfall. With the mention of the year 1976, my innards begin to shake violently. Uffdah! That was a very bad dry year in South Dakota. I began to pray earnestly for rain. There was no way I wanted a repeat of the 1976 crop failure. Stress, stress, and more stress.

Ya just need a little faith

Thankfully for us, history did not repeat itself and some measurable rainfall fell in our area in early July. Maybe this July moisture wasn’t in the craved-for quantity, but it certainly was enough to give us some hope for a harvest. And what more can a farmer want than hope?

From the moment of planting until the moment of final harvest, farmers are always hoping for a bountiful harvest. Along with this hope, please remember to keep the faith when looking toward the skies. And HE will provide.

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. Email her at