Drought Series #1: Perspective

G’Day Mob,

We have had a week of winter rain here at Rocky Springs, which has meant we have been house-bound. That has given me plenty of time to reflect on the cycles of Mother Nature. Areas of Australia and many regions of the USA are experiencing drought conditions at the moment. At Rocky Springs we are having a good season but we realise this is as much a part of the circle of life as a drought.

Four years ago we were in the depths of a bad drought and in empathy for those still looking hopefully to the skies, the next three posts of the Rambles will be a drought series. May the rain soon fall to those who need it.

24th November 2009

You know things have been hot when the temperature today was 38o and everyone thinks it has been a cool change. This last week can only be described as a heat wave. The temperatures since last Monday have been 40, 43, 43, 43, 44, 43, 42 and 42. For my American readers that means not a day under 104F.

It is not so much the high temperatures that pose the problem but the relentless build of pressure and cumulative effect of no relief. Even at night this week the lowest temperature was 25o (77F), which means sleeping with wet sheets, a fan on high speed and a thousand mosquitos clambering for your blood. A trip to town becomes a popular activity – at least the ute has air conditioning. The Camry has air conditioning but once again something, either reptile or rodent, has crawled into the air vents and died, so to have the fan on means a constant stream of pungent aroma.

Pep struggles. About 3pm each day he is taken outside and hosed down. He evens stands for the hose. Bandit also struggles and the weight is dropping off him.

Brian and I joined a Prograze group this year which is run by the Department of Primary Industries and involves meeting at different properties and assessing pasture. The first meeting was held in June in 6o (42F) with everyone shivering. The last meeting was held at Rocky Springs last Tuesday in 43o (109F) in a shearing shed. Sweating was a popular activity.

When no-one else is around Brian and I hold business meetings in the bath where at least it is cool enough to think. We’ve also found ourselves quite often at the Wallaroo, but only because of the air conditioning. Brian went to the cattle sale at Goondiwindi on Friday and bought 14 cows and an air cooler, and I think I may just chain this to my ankle and tow it around for the rest of summer.

Sunday was just a wretched day. It does not look like we are going to get rain any time soon so we have increased the rate of de-stocking in order to preserve grass. In 43o we spent the day in the yards mothering Brahman cows and calves for sale. These are breeding cows that we have had for a while and as such have attained a level of sentiment that does not accompany trading stock. It was a hellish day – emotionally and physically draining.

So here I sit, watching an old dog and an old horse struggle, feeling sad about the sale of some cows and rueing the drought like everyone else. Then perspective hits. On Sunday, towards the end of that wretched day, we saw a neighbour who had also spent the day in the cattle yards weaning calves down to five weeks old. We had the usual whinge. Then he told us about his 15yr old daughter who has her first boyfriend. The day before the boyfriend found his younger brother dead at the bottom of their swimming pool.

We have nothing to complain about. Perspective.








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