You never really pay much attention to the weather until you become a farmer. Then your whole world revolves around it. When is it going to rain, when will it stop raining, is there a storm coming, or is the forecast for fine weather. Everything depends on the weather:- when you seed your pastures, when you harvest crops, when you put the ram in with ewes or the bull in with the cows or even when you dig holes for fence posts (hard, dry ground makes for hard, dusty work).
The most important aspect of the weather, seems to me, is rain. When there is too much of it your crops are ruined, your pastures are flooded and, in our case as a farm stay, it can effect your guests. When there is not enough rain your crops can be ruined, your pastures are dry with no feed and your water tanks get low, which effects our guests.
This year we’ve had a really dry summer and winter hasn’t exactly gotten off to a good start either. Up until a few days ago we’d had only 12mls of rain for May. In 2017 we had a total of 83mls of rain for the whole month of May and in 2016 a whopping 173mls in May. That first 12mls this year had got the new grasses growing but slowly they were drying up, the dam was dropping, our water tank levels weren’t the best and feed in the paddocks was scarce. We were forced to purchase extra hay, something which proved difficult and expensive. Many farmers who normally had hay to sell were facing the same type of dry conditions that we were and if they had extra hay they were keeping it to feed their own animals.
So Mark and I were hoping for rain. We were anxiously watching the weather report on the news every night and were looking forward to the approaching inclement weather. Then came the cold front. It was windy and squally and it absolutely poured. We were delighted. We could hear the water going into our tank, the dust in the paddocks instantly settled and the we sat inside smiling listening to that pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof.
Until we had to go outside.
At 5pm we had to put the ducks and the chickens away, take some feed out to our goats, our pigs, our ponies, our cows, our horse and our kangaroos. It was dark, it was windy, it was really cold and, of course, it was wet. Initially I didn’t mind. I was in my Akubra hat and my dri-z-a-bone and I was just glad that we finally had some decent rain. All of our guests were in a snug in their cottages and the water tanks were filling up. But then my coat and hat weren’t enough to keep the water out. My hands were numb with cold, water was dripping down my neck and under my shirt and every time I hopped off the quad bike to feed animals and then hopped back on again the seat was wet and so were my jeans. The joys of being a farmer!
The animals were wet too and anxiously waiting for their feed so I had to keep going. Lovely, romantic thoughts of rain on a tin roof were lost in the slashing rain and icy wind and I couldn’t wait to get back under cover into the warmth of the house. I tried to go faster on the quad bike but that just made the rain sting even more and, as the rain was coming in sideways, the brim of my hat wasn’t protecting my face and I could no longer see through my glasses. What I wouldn’t have given for a pair of windscreen wipers on my glasses!
It was only days ago that I was wishing for rain and now I just wanted it to stop! Given that we desperately needed the rain I knew I shouldn’t be complaining and it really wasn’t that long before I was back inside the house again. And, because of this rain, I was able to draw myself a nice, long, hot bath that I could soak away in before dinner. Once immersed in the piping hot water I was once again grateful for the rain as lay back amongst the bubbles listening to the lovely sound of the rain on my tin roof.