The horses really enjoyed the storm last week. Caked in mud from hip to hoof, they were happy to spend most of the day under cover, the rain strumming on the corrugated iron roof. Horses and humans are not so different. I stood with them in the stables, watching the welcome weather roll in.
The chickens stayed out in their coop in the rain, wet and bedraggled, rather than keeping under cover in their den. I decided I may as well let them out to roam. They ran down the hill to scratch in the horses’ hay pile – their new favourite spot.
Once the “big chickens” had evacuated the coop, the Araucana bantams beat their wings and hooned around, happy to have the space to themselves. The little Araucanas do get picked on a bit by the Australorps, but they are becoming more confident in the flock and I hope to let them out to day range with the others soon.
We got 24mL of rain in 24 hours. I’d forgotten how quickly heavy rain can wash away our gutless sandy topsoil, revealing the gravel and rock underneath. Luckily we’ve established a lot more groundcover since this time last year. Run-off from the driveway and the bare dirt run collected downhill in the pasture, slowed down by ryegrass stubble and strongholds of kikuyu. Not much we can do about losing dirt from the run, unfortunately. The run is our sacrifice area for the horses while the pasture grows. We’re getting there, slowly.
Our dam has only been about a foot deep all summer, and it was a relief to see it fill to the brim, if only briefly. The landlord routinely drains it to top up his own enormous reservoir and keep his vast lawns green – just a few hundred metres further down the valley from our struggling pasture. He’s a businessman, not a farmer. I find it frustrating facing someone who has all that we so badly want, and more, yet he doesn’t take an interest in caring for and improving the land he has. Especially given he has the money, the staff and the equipment to do what we do in a fraction of the time and with far less effort.
Just one of many reasons I can’t wait until we have our own property. What I could do with a few more acres, and free rein!
It is hard living in such a beautiful place, yet in less than ideal circumstances. I find myself constantly stamping down my Scottish temper.
I try to remember that the things that are holding us back here are forcing us to become more resourceful and self-reliant, which will serve us in the long run. Until then, the rain does a good job keeping my temper in check. I can’t stay angry on a proper kilt-wearing day.