Drove across northern Missouri yesterday to get to KC. The overall impression is one of a giant mud puddle. All in all pretty wet places were getting inches of rainfall, and not all of it is coming down gently. In general this is quite a depressing and annoying weather pattern this year, and quite different from the weather of a year ago. Our field work is suffering, our gardens are suffering, and the grass is growing. Presently the prairie canopy is at about 1 meter, and we had to add our tall flags to plots so that they can be found fairly easily at least for another month or so. Does TPP have to mention that one of our treatments is nutrient augmentation? Oh, will this make things grow? Oh, yes! Our soil is on the heavy side and when it's wet it gets sticky, and you just shouldn't mess with it, but you still want to get some stuff planted. The windows of opportunity have been few and brief. It's been easier to keep up with mowing the lawn, and that's been hard enough. Farmers aren't just dealing with wet soil; they've got flooding. A lot of flood plain agricultural fields are way too wet for planting, or flooded, and if they have been planted, they will probably need to be replanted, but it's getting late in the season to plant maize. Because of the demand and the price, maize has been plenty popular, so lots of frugal farmers have bought their seed already to get a discount, so it won't be easy, or cost effective, to switch to soybeans. Planting early on flood plains is a bit risky, but the USA's crop insurance program basically assured farmers of getting 80% of their anticipated sale no matter what, so while everyone likes the idea of insurance to iron out the ups and downs, the current program seems to encourage risky agricultural behavior. These are the things you think about when driving across the great midwestern farm belt. Also observed some very poor conservation where rather steep fields were plowed without any contouring or other erosion suppressing practices, and torrents of reddish-brown water were washing off of them. Some farmers need a dope slap; why they treat soil like everyone treats water, as if it were an inexaustable resource. In one area the wind preceding a storm was kicking up clouds of dust, top soil, and even in flat places like these fine soil erodes at a rate of 5 tons per acre, yet many people fail to believe this is happening. And then another line of storms moves in, and you begin to listen to the radio in case of tornado warmings. About the time you think perhaps things aren't being so violent, you pass a wooded area by a river where the tops of all the trees have been snapped off, recently. So it was a bit of a surprise when the sky turned a funny color this afternoon, blue. Delightful, as the heat and humity soared. Welcome to the great midwest!