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Thursday, April 30, 2009

No chainsaw

It sure is cold down here now. I went into town and collected a big bunch of straw bedding for the pigs yesterday – luckily. It was about minus three when I went out to feed them this morning and they were all snuggled under big piles of the yellow. Tiberius was still sleeping when we put the feeds out and had to be called before he noticed we were there.

Although there was 100% cloud cover we still had a frost. So it’ll just get colder from here on. I’ll probably need to find more fire wood soon as well; I’m not leaving that till the last minute this year.

Rosie had piglets last night. She only had four – which is good. In the torch light I couldn’t see any white on any of the piglets. My first thought was that they had been sired by the wild boar, I was dreading that. But the Cook went out and had a look this morning and luckily they had white stars and feet just like their mum. So I was doubly glad I had packed their beds with straw.

The Cook has gone into town today to pick up some posts for a new weaner enclosure. The weaners need to be kept separate from the new mums, specially this time of year when the piglets need everything they can get.

I adhered to the advice of the women I asked about what to get for the Cook. She seemed very happy with her jewellery and pyjamas. So maybe I can scrape half a brownie point in there – I would still have liked to get her a chainsaw or a new crowbar.

With the cold comes the shorter days, it’s hard getting used to being inside before 6pm, we seem to sit around for hours waiting for dinner. Still gives us all time to catch up on what each other did during the day and homework.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First snow for the year

First snow for the year; and it’s only April. Hopefully this means a wet winter – but that will have to wait to be seen. On Sunday we had a major wind storm with gusts over 100kph, luckily we all survived. I don’t think any of the piglets are hanging in the trees – inside joke, we don’t have any trees.

So apart from a wet and wild weekend – over 20mm of rain, it was pretty quite.

Of course there is always something – I ended up on the side o the roadside again this morning. Fortunately I had a rescue team on hand – The Cook; and I was able to continue on with the chores and arrive at work in time to get a park. So what happened this time – I ran out of petrol! Cruising down the highway – I wanted to stop at Michelago but it was closed so I kept going, just didn’t get far enough. Luckily the Cook had left only five minutes before me. I was a little stressed out because I had no credit on my phone, so I dialled up and used my credit card – but that takes forever….. I was sweating on the Cook not reaching work before I had a chance to call. Luck was on my side! I got her just before she reached the car park and was able to convince her rescue me – now; of course, I have to include something really nice for an anniversary gift. I did see a great pink crow bar on another web site – I wonder if she’d like one of those?

I know she wants a new stove – don’t we all. And she muttered something about a new Bathroom. And I’m always getting the new kitchen and a dishwasher grumble – I don’t have a tractor, so you don’t need a dishwasher. Last time I said that the Ambulance man asked me if I was crazy or looking for a medal as he put in the drip.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I was visitor 4444 yesterday!!!
After a long wait, we have finally landed our first bum nut. One of the chickens has started laying, we don’t know who yet, but it is very much appreciated. It has taken a while and a huge effort including incubation, feeding and midnight fox alerts.

All of the neighbours’ cows are on our place at the moment as well. The Cook was wondering why they hadn’t been disturbing the water hole over the last few days – this explains it. She also had a meeting yesterday with the Catchment Management Authority Ranger? I’m not sure what they are called. They seem keen to work with us to remedy a major problem we have in our large gully. But we will wait and see.

The animals are all doing well, we’ve had a flush of green since the rain and everybody is getting as much grass as they can before the frosts start. Normally we would have been having regular frost by now, usually by ANZAC day its brass monkey weather; but so far it’s been rather mild.

I’m off to the Grasslands Field day tomorrow so I may not get to the Blog until really late – if at all. If not, remember ANZAC Day and what its really for – Lest We Forget.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mad dogs and Englishmen

I went down to pick up the mail this morning and was surprised to find a parcel had been delivered. It was wrapped in brown paper and had white string holding it all together. There was a note on the front saying the string had been recycled – I later realised that this was a pun.

The parcel was from Andrew; he had made it all the way to Melbourne on his bike -1165km in 9.5 days and was letting us know he had arrived back in Sydney safe and sound. The string was the string he had used to hold all his gear together on his bike. A fine memento!

The Cooma Monaro Express published my letter to the Editor about the Chakola mine. Hopefully I won’t get to much grief from the locals about resisting the development.

We have more kids sleeping over, which is good – increases the labour force by 33%. I’ll be able to hitch them to the old horse drawn plough and turn the sod on the lower fifty this afternoon.

It was drizzling this morning, very heavy drizzle, which is terrific. Even small showers of rain are welcome here at the moment. Someone from out at Jerangle told me they’d had 32mm over the past week, which is a little less then what fell in Bredbo.

The three little pigs are still terrorising the farm. They followed me into the house yesterday and stood in the kitchen demanding food. I had to chase them out with the broom and close all the doors.

I still haven’t worked out what to get the Cook. I only just remembered it’s Mothers Day shortly as well – I’ll have ulcers before long.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How many is enough?

A slight misunderstanding left me with no workers last night or this morning – which was a real pain. I didn’t get into the house until 9pm last night after feeding and preparing the feeds for the morning. The Cook was at work, and I could half sense the smugness in her voice when she heard what had happened – BUT I STILL LOVE YOU…..

It’s our wedding anniversary in a few days and I still haven’t worked out what I’ll get her. It’s only been twenty years so it’s not a big one. I’m thinking about getting her a new broom or maybe a ……- better stop there, I don’t want to give away any secrets.

I hope the kids are back tonight – they do a good share of the morning and evening chores and you sure do notice when they aren’t there. Of course it’s Tuesday so I had to pick up bread this morning. It was raining when I left home, not a lot, but enough to keep things fresh.

Ben starts soccer again in May, which means Saturday mornings are pretty well written off. But it’s the only sport he likes so it’s good to see him doing something active and in a team environment.

There are so many things to do sometimes I don’t know where to start – we should have had more kids! I can’t seem to talk the Cook into doing more child bearing, which is a shame. I’m sure she’s not past it yet. (I’m going to be killed for this – just wait and see). Nine would probably be a good number, then we’d have three for out side chores, three for farm work and three for house work. I could go to the pub! I wonder if I took the Cook to the pub?

Speaking of the pub – you guessed it; Archer ended up there on Monday. The Cook was supposed to go to the Field Day on the TSR; unfortunately she let the dog off and he did a runner. She found him on the front veranda of the pub half an hour later – he’d obviously forgotten it was closed on Mondays now.

There is another Field Day on this Friday across the river. I should go; it’s for Friends of the Grasslands and local grasslands expert David Eddies is speaking. I think the theme for this one is sustainable native pastures so it will probably be of some benefit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Three little Pigs

Three little pigs have taken over our lives. It’s not good enough that I feed them separately, give them special treatment or let them spend the first few weeks of their lives in the nice warm house – now they have thrown the dog out of her bed. Every time we go outside they come running out from the shelter looking for food. They follow the Cook around like puppies and it drives her nuts.

This morning I had to feed them under the trailer because Maya the pony was trying to nick their breakfast. When I reappeared to do a couple of chores the three of them where sound asleep on the dog’s bed, poor old Shadow was lying on the cold concrete.

The Cook and I took a quick trip up the gully last night to check out one of our project areas. First we had to escape the piglets, and then George chased the car along the track for about three kilometres. He kept up well; he did better then the dog. He stopped at the dam and waited for our return, Shadow kept following us at her slightly slower pace. After a bit of an inspection and a wander about we headed back. At the dam, George leapt out in front of the Jeep and wouldn’t let us past. The Cook decided to get out and opened the back of the Jeep and both of them jumped in – if I ever doubted he thought he was a dog; I don’t now.

I was going to collect acorns this weekend but the weather was less then favourable, so looks like next weekend.

I finally finished the chicken’s fence on the Saturday with the top row of wire going up. I put over 1000 wire clips on the fence with pliers – and have the blisters to prove. Hopefully this will stop the fox for a short time.

We had another visit from the wild pigs on Friday night. At about 9:30pm I heard a sudden eruption of pig noise come from the river side of the pens, I raced out and grabbed the spot light from out of the car but by the time I got to the paddock all I could hear was a pig yelping down along the river. I wasn’t sure until the morning exactly what it was, I had a dreadful thought that maybe a piglet had been taken by a fox. But after roll call at breakfast I had accounted for all the piglets. I think what I heard was a wild pig that unexpectedly hit the electric fence.

Next week I’ll need to finish the pig houses. Drainage is going to be the next little problem I have tot deal with, and I need to build up the floors in the mother’s shelter.
Then I’ll have to think about putting in another fence around the river side of the pig yards.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We had an amazing dust storm last night, we couldn’t see for more then 500m all afternoon. And wind, the wind was blowing between 25 and 40 knots all afternoon. I think some of the geese lost all their feathers. Luckily the pigs a re low to the ground and rather heavy – sort of like me.

I checked in on the piglets at one stage – luckily they had attached themselves to their mothers by the use of suction and at last count w hadn’t lost any. It’s really Autumn here now, all the trees have started turning yellow and red and we are being greeted by frost each morning. It was thick today. And of course the fire is going on each night.

The Cook headed off to the Lovegrass Field Day down by the TSR and at last report there was about 22 people in attendance. She said it was interesting but nothing ground breaking.

The dogs saw off a fox last night, unfortunately Shadow is still to slow and Archer to silly to catch one. Some of the chickens are escaping in the morning as well which I will need to fix on the weekend.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Above average - at last!

I felt like a Roman Emperor returning from Gaul last night. Being a Tuesday I had a trailer full of bread on the back of the jeep, as I turned into the driveway across the TSR I could see the goats standing atop the rocky hills behind the house. They must have seen me drive in and started racing down the side of the rocky hill. As I pulled up at the gate both Shadow and George where waiting for me and followed me up to the house, by the time I got there, the goats had arrived and the pigs had all come in out of the paddocks. Everybody loves me!!!!!

Yesterday afternoon bought more rain and by 5:00pm we had received more them 20mm for the 24hrs. This takes our monthly rainfall above the average for the first time since June 2006.

So – next it’s the cold. ANZAC day approaches fast and officially that’s the start of the cold weather. All the farms around us have been busy planting the last few days in preparation and the past couple of days’ rain has paddocks starting to turn green already.

Tomorrow the DPI are running their Love Grass Field day on the TSR next door. I can’t go unfortunately, but the Cook has volunteered.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Tall Blue Bell

This is not the ACT's floral emblem - it is the Tall Blue Bell, Wahlenbergia stricta (Campanulaceae), and there are hundreds growing across our paddocks at the moment, they just look beautiful.

I was only gone a minute

I’ve only been out for a week and whilst catching up I stumbled across this article on the Cooma Shire website;

Gold & Base Metals Mine (including open cut mine, ore stockpiles, treatment plant and private road)

Property Description 188 Chakola Road, Chakola
Lot 37//DP750568, Lot 66//DP750568, Lot 9//DP788585, Lot 1//DP976760, Lot 105//DP750568, Lot 18//DP750568, Lot 19//DP750568, Lot 20//DP750568, Lot 41//DP750568, Lot 102//DP657899, Lot 6//DP788585
Applicant's Name Capital Mining Limited
Application Number 132/09/DA
A development application has been received in respect of the above property. The proposed development is considered both Designated Development under Section 77A and Integrated Development under Section 91 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The full Application and accompanying documents may be inspected at Council's Environmental Services Division at 81 Commissioner Street, Cooma during normal business hours, or at the Department of Planning's regional offices at Wollongong (Level 2, 84 Crown Street, Wollongong) or Queanbeyan (Suite U107, 1st Floor Riverside Plaza, 131-139 Monaro Street, Queanbeyan.

So what does this mean to me – a lot, Chakola is only 5km south of us. An open cut mine of approximately 66km2 will have untold effects on the ground water resources of our area, not to mention the damage a spill from a slurry pit could have on the Murrumbidgee River.

What they are looking for – or have found, as well as gold is tellurium. For those not familiar with tellurium it is used to make a lot of modern day items including Solar PV panels. If I’m reading things right the vein runs 14kms north towards Colinton, which means it runs strait through our property – just dandy. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

We're Back!!!

Well, we’re back. We all took a break over Easter after a couple of hectic weeks before. So where did we get up too? I attended the AGM of the Bee Association, at which I met the famous Mrs Duck Herder. A lovely lady, we had a chat about her bees, compost and bio dynamics, shared secrets about the location of various apple trees and the best acorn places in Canberra. It was nice to meet a fellow Blogger face to face. On the way home I nearly skittled a dozen small deer on the highway, a learner driver in front of me slowed down – I thought it was so I could over take; but in fact it was to let a herd of deer across the road.

On Good Friday I went into town to collect acorns – I manages to get a trailer load, but because everything was wet I had to feed them to the pigs almost straight away. I had a nightmare time driving into town on the Monaro Highway so I decided not to go in again over Easter. That afternoon I saw a fox dash off away from the chook pen in the half light. A quick check of the chickens revealed some missing, so he was obviously busy

The fox didn’t get the Easter Bunny. Eggs where scattered across the farm Sunday morning and the annual Easter egg hunt was conducted with the full enthusiasm of all involved – and chocolate was eaten in large quantities for breakfast – but not by me. Funny how the Easter Bunny puts eggs at either end of the far and the clues all follow the longest route. That Easter bunny sure is a sadist.

We had good rain over the weekend, 15mm one day and 20mm last night. It started raining at about 9:30pm and didn’t stop until 5:00am good solid soaking rain. Somewhere between 3:00am and 5:00am the Cook and I had a good chat about my stupid idea to put a bell around one of the goat’s necks and chains on the others. All three of the goats had decided that the spot under our window was the best place to stay out of the weather and the “ding-ding” of the bell kept us awake for hours. When the bell wasn’t ringing, the other two goats would walk along the veranda dragging their chains – I can imagine roast goat will be on the webber tonight (still no oven).

The Cook had spent a couple of very long days in the garden, mulching, composting, weeding digging and replanting. It all looks rather splendid and with the over night rain should take off. I think she was looking forward to a good nights sleep. Today she has been in the garden harvesting the rhubarb and cooking it up – mmmmm!! yummy rhubarb strudel for dinner. She spent some of Easter bottling tomatoes as well and now we have almost a winters worth of those as well.

We have another piglet schwarm. A schwarm, for those who don’t know, is a group of about ten or so piglets that run around the farm in a small group – like a swarm of mosquitoes but more devastating. Luckily they have been pretty harmless so far, I think they have nabbed a couple of duck eggs, some lose acorns and the chook scraps. They are an absolute cack to watch and take on a character all of their own. The schwarm only lasts a couple of weeks, once they are too big to escape under fence of their pen it’s all over. It’s when the pigs are truly free to range, unless they go near the garden, then they are dinner.

I think I should check the compost heap if I don’t see the goats tonight……..

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Introducing - Andrew

It’s been unexpectedly busy the last couple of days. Tuesday night I was driving home down the highway just on dusk, on the other side of Prospectors Hill when I passed a bloke pushing his bike up the hill. It’s a notorious stretch of road; three people have been killed there since we moved here. Being Tuesday I had the trailer on the car, but I couldn’t pull over because of the traffic – so I waited till it was safe and chucked a U-turn. I pulled up and asked him if he wanted a ride into town, it’s not unusual to see people riding bicycle along the road – but not many are pushing.

So he tossed his bike on the trailer and I drove him into town. He wanted somewhere to stay so I took him around to the Pub. Astonishingly it was shut, I’ve never seen the Pub shut before, and there is nowhere else cheap to stay in town ( I now know due to new owners it's shut Monday and Tuesday). He had no sleeping bag or anything and it gets cold at night in Bredbo this time of year. So I offered him to stay at the farm, which he accepted. We had a chat on the way I found out his name was Andrew and he was an Architecture Student from Cardiff in the UK – and he was riding his bike from Sydney to Melbourne.

So I rocked up home with a stranger. Luckily the Cook was working and wouldn’t be home for a while. We fed the pigs and did the other chores and went inside for dinner. Of course the living room was half full of piglets – somehow that number has grown from three to four. I cooked dinner and we all sat down and ate.

Andrew told us a bit about what he was doing and we talked about the best way to go to Melbourne. He had intended to go from Cooma across the Snowy Mountains to Wagga. I suggested that that wasn’t a good idea with only one gear. I think in the end he decided to go south from Cooma to Sale then on to Melbourne.

The Cook got home a little bit later and we sat up for a while and chatted. Next morning Andrew packed up his bike, tied his bag to the back with a piece of string. The dog had stolen his piece of string and he had to steal it back it from her – covered in slobber, which took some effort. The Cook was amazed that he only used a piece of string holding everything together and cracked some joke about doing his trip on a shoestring. She made him a packed lunch and he rode off up the drive and headed south. Good luck mate.

We’ve had a few people looking a pigs the last week or so and I am running out of grower Sows. I can’t complain – having fewer big pigs over winter is a good thing. I’ll be collecting acorns this week as well, as I’ve said before it hasn’t been a good year, but Good Friday and Easter Sunday give me a couple of days with out cars in the car parks around Canberra to get as many as possible.

There is the Bee Association Annual General Meeting tonight so I better go to that. I also had a call from the NSA people last night about doing some work here in a couple of weekends – but I think that isn’t going to happen at this stage due to many reasons.

The damned foxes have taken a couple of chickens, they must have come into the chicken yard this time because I don’t remember some of them ever going over the wire before.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Where's my Karma???

Gosh, alot happened over the past couple of days. It started on Friday, Yvonne rang me because she was worried about the damage that Buzz's cattle where doing to our water hole. I rang him later on and asked him nicely if he could move the cattle away from the river. I ddin't feel very nieghbourly - but it's the only water we have. We ended up getting close to 11mm of rain that night.

On Saturday Ben and I travelled into town to pick up the new toy - it's red and it's supposed to suck up acorns! We took it for a test run down at one of the parks. It dosen't work the way we expected it too, but it does clear away all the trash so we can get to thet acorns alot easier, so the battle was half won. Plus the cook will get bags of compost from it.

Sunday I had an appointment to pick up some cheap feed at Royalla, so off I tottled. Got down the highway and decided I needed some fuel and pulled into the local independant fuel guy. I ran into a feelow I'd met earlier in the week who also owned a Jeep. He pointed out a leak under the vehicle and a cloud of white smoke coming form under the bonnet. We had a closer look and discovered one of the transmission lines had ruptured. I grab a couple of hose clamps and a piece of hose and we repared it right there - like something out of "bush mechanics". So off I went only ten minutes late, when I arrived I opened up the back of the trailer and the hinge broke - lovely. I finally was on my way home when I passed a mates place and noticed he had some sheep on the highway. It was half way up a steep hill so I couldn't stop. I pulled up at his driveway and walked the 2km up his drive - his kids where on the internet so the phone wasn't working. I finally made it home, a couple of hours later.

As I was driving up to teh house I notice a large pile of sand where our pump used to be. I went down to have a closer look - I couldn't for the ife of me work out what had happened. As I made it down to the water hole I could see it had been dug right out and a fence of cattle panels erected around it. The pump as sitting on a nice sand ledge and the hole was brimming with water.

The Cook had wanted me to clean out the water hole from teh mess the cows had made. So I went up to the house and asked her to come down and have a look. She couldn't believe her eye's. Buzz had come down the day before with a loader and cleaned the whole mess up that he cattle had made and fenced it off. The trade off is that he can keep his cattle on the river.

I drove around that afternoon and dropped off a bottle of wine and thankyou in appreciation for what he had done.

Others things happened as well, a run in with the snake, ducks and chicken stuff, I fed the pigs acorns for dinner which they love. The pig yard was quite for over an hour while they ate about sixty kg of acorns. More happened but I can't remmeber right now.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

'Failure of vision' on water crisis

The following is an article from today's Australian Newspaper - I think Ms Barlow nails it. Short term government means short visioned leadership.

AUSTRALIAN governments had failed the "vision" test by investing with "cult-like faith" in flawed technology to avert the national water crisis, a top UN adviser claimed yesterday.

Maude Barlow, a Canadian water expert who last October was named the UN's senior adviser on water issues, said the price for this lack of vision was being paid by ordinary Australians and farmers.

She accused federal and state governments of having "no overall plan" to save Australia's water heritage. Instead, governments had clung to a "vague belief in the magic of markets and kneeling at the throne of big technology".

"The only sectors being asked to make a sacrifice are home owners, who really make up a very small share of the water problem, and small farmers, who cannot compete with their larger competitors," Ms Barlow told policymakers and industry leaders at the Australian Water Summit in Sydney yesterday.

She said Australian governments "of all stripes are busy building expensive, energy-guzzling desalination plants".

Western Australia has had one plant online since 2006 and is building another, while NSW, Victoria and South Australia are building or planning to build desalination plants.

"Building big desalination plants, weirs and pipelines such as the Victorian Government's north-south pipeline also gives control over Australia's water to foreign water corporations," she said.

However, a spokeswoman for federal Water Minister Penny Wong, who is in the US until tomorrow, last night said Ms Barlow's "assessment is inaccurate", pointing to the Government's $12.9 billion Water for the Future plan.

"As well as making the necessary investment in water infrastructure and efficiency to enable our cities and farmers to adapt to climate change, our plan also includes a massive investment in returning water to our rivers to improve their health," the spokeswoman said.

Ms Barlow will on Saturday visit South Australia, which has been gripped by a water crisis for more than two years, to visit metropolitan stormwater recovery sites and the stricken Lower Lakes.
Last night, she told The Australian people were suffering under draconian water restrictions and higher rates.

"The penalty for many years of bad judgment by various levels of government at state and federal level is being paid by ordinary people and farmers," she said.

She singled out industries such as mining, bottled water suppliers and non-sustainable agriculture ventures as contributing to the "national water emergency".

She told yesterday's water industry summit that in NSW, at least 16 river systems had been permanently damaged by careless mining practices.

"The devastation caused by long-wall and open-cut mining operations is as horrifying as it is widespread," Ms Barlow said. "The destruction of aquifers and heavy metal pollution of ground and surface water is nationwide, and a disgrace."

Hey boy's - come here for a minute....

Our pig tattoo arrived the other day, in the mail, at last. It is a frightful looking piece of kit. They are what is known as a slap brand. It uses our Property Identification Code (PIC) and we apply it by whacking it against the pigs hindquarter. The tattoo needles penetrate the skin and the ink leaves an indelible pattern. I think I will need to have a couple of practice runs with this first – Kids – Kids – where are you??? I need you for a minute…….

To get a pig brand in NSW, you need to first apply for a PIC thought the LHPA – this is similar to the NAIS that the Americans are fighting against currently. Once you have that, they’ll issue you with a certificate. You then need to send a copy of your certificate to a Rural Supplier who stocks pig brands and they’ll make one up and send it out too you. Other states may have different ways of doing this. If you’re sending your pigs to a processor they won’t be accepted without a brand – it’s also the only way you’ll know if you’re getting back the pigs you sent.

I might be picking up my new toy this weekend. I’ve found myself a push along motorised garden vacuum for collecting this year’s acorn harvest – should speed things up a bit. I’m hoping to collect a lot of acorn this year, enough to last until well into spring. This will see me back and forward into town for the next few weeks every day.

The Cook has invited a couple of guys from Bush Heritage over for dinner tonight. I don’t think she expected to be three hours late getting home last night either. The Bush heritage guys are sleeping in the Scottsdale Shearing shed so a nice dinner, in a warm house, will be a real treat for them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Don't let the crazy things scare you

There are days when I return to the farm and wonder just what has gone on. I arrived home yesterday, with the trailer and bread, and things were in full chaos. The Cook was trying to fill the pig’s giant trough with a small bucket, the horses and goats were trying to break into the pig pens, a couple of pigs had broken out, the kids were running around the dog was barking at something and piglets were squealing for food. I stopped and I looked; I took it all in and thought to myself – at least I was in the jeep, I could still lock all the doors and keep the crazy people out.

The piglets have been evicted. They have spent their last comfortable, warm, dry and well nourished night in the house. This will make the Cook very happy. Specially seeing we have dinner guests, or potential victims, expected tomorrow night.

Part of the problem yesterday was the electric fence wasn’t working properly. The problem, as usual wasn’t one single issue but a number of small things that accumulate until the energiser just cannot cope. I think I have convinced myself that I need one of those nifty electric fence fault finders. I have looked at these before and always baulked at the price – they are more expensive than some of the energisers, but I think it’s time to bite the bullet and stop trying to find problems by torch light.

We did have a little more rain this morning – if that’s what you can call it. Two days of drizzle and barely a single millimeter in the gauge. I’d love to be getting just some of the 500mm reported in some parts of NSW. Our total rainfall for March was 37mm which is about half the average. The back two thirds of the farm missed the 28mmm we had earlier so it was down to just 9mm – less then a quarter. There is absolutely no moisture in the ground, all around the district trees are dying and people who have plantations or orchids are finding new trees dying daily. It takes almost four years for ground water to catch up to rainfall so we are seeing the effects of the 2003-6 drought at the moment. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like in 2012 – but I know it will be far worse in Canberra then here. Their dams are at 42% and dropping and ground water is a significant part of their supply.