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Hi!

Following is from Steinbeck.

The sun flared down on the growing corn day after day until a line of brown spread along the edge of each green bayonet. The clouds appeared, and went away, and in a while they did not try any more. The weeds grew darker green to protect themselves, and they did not spread any more. The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale, pink in the red country and white in the gray country. In the water-cut gullies the earth dusted down in dry little streams. Gophers and ant lions started small avalanches.

— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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In the underlined part, the earth..... does it mean, dirt without water, or dirt mixed with water?

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There is no water-- it is dry, dry, dry!
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Hi,

It means dirt without water.

The point is that everything is very, very dry.

Best wishes, Clive,
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Thanks, Clive!