(Finally!) A wet spring

(Finally!) A wet spring

So, it’s been a little while since my last post about the El Nino season. We endured a difficult summer where we crossed our fingers for a storm and danced many rain dances. Here are some pictures that show just how dry we were in December, at the beginning of the summer dry period.

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Fencing in December 2015
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December 2015

You can see that what little spring growth we had was already dried off. As I write this, and look back through our pictures, I can remember exactly how hot and dry it was and how disheartening it is to be out fencing or moving stock when the grass crackles underfoot. These pictures look more like they were taken at the end of a harsh hot and dry summer, but we still had many months without significant rainfall.

The picture below was taken in April and shows a dam that is completely dried up. We were able to take advantage of this and dig out thousands of cubic metres of silt to double the dam’s water holding capacity. By this point we were desperate for some rain to fall and fill the dam up, with tanks running low and needing to buy in feed to support the stock.

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John and Tristia’s dam cleansing, April
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John and Tristia’s dam cleansing, April

Now fast-forward a couple of months to September, and what a change the wet winter has made to our properties! This is the best winter/spring rainfall we have seen since making the leap into farming five years ago. Seeing all the lush green growth in these images still gives me a huge sense of relief.

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Flooded creek crossing, September
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Dam overflow, September
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Whitehorse Creek, September

In the September school holidays, the kids complained very long and loudly about being kept inside all the time because of the rain. We thought back to when we were kids and it was normal to have days of drizzle in winter and spring. Now, I think it’s worth it to have children bursting to let of steam, knowing that our dams are filling and we’ll have enough feed to last over the summer to come.

That said, the constant rain did make our job during calving much more difficult as we had to cross a creek that we’ve never seen running fast before. You can see we improvised with a couple of gates.

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Checking the calves, September
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Checking the calves, September

Every evening that we hear rain on the roof above makes our step a little lighter, even if the house does look like a professional laundry, with clothes hung to dry on anything that stands still!