On the Farm 06/05/2010
Well here we are in early May and we have set yet another record for rainfall in a season which is well above average to put it mildly. April had the highest rainfall for more than 35 years, and May is already above average after just one day of rain on Monday.
So far this season we have had 1240ml of rain as compared to the long term average of 880ml. that is almost 50% higher!
Well we are not complaining, but it has made life just a bit more interesting. We have got 2 bakkies stuck in mud in the fields and were not even able to tow them out with the tractor. We had been told that there were springs or seepages in the old lands but had not seen evidence – until recently that is; now we are completely convinced!
It does imply that the dreaded risk of veldt fires has been put back a bit, which is a good thing as we have not been able to cut our firebreaks as yet. But the farm is still very green so should not be too much of a threat - yet.
The horses are helping greatly, as they trample and eat their way around. They appear to like the areas where we have mown, and keep it very neat and cropped!
One other good thing is that we have been able to catch a lot of rainwater in our tanks as it flows off the roofs of the buildings. We can catch more than 70,000 litres this way and keep it in the tanks until we require it in winter for the herbs and vegetables in the gardens. The main farmhouse has just over 270m2 of roof area, and just one storm of say 50mm is sufficient to fill our main tanks, with the remainder filling up from all the other buildings.
It must be one of the easiest ways to conserve water, an increasingly scarce resource, it takes a few pipes, and the tanks are very long lasting. We gravity feed most of them to the various gardens, but there is one area we have to use a small pump to get the water to our crops. But the pump is much smaller and uses very little power compared with the borehole, so we are saving electricity even there. We combine this with mulching and direct watering to plant roots below ground to reduce our water consumption and thus electricity consumption to a minimum.