Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Showers

Tuesday morning we woke to the sound of rain…not the gentle showers usually associated with April, but the sound of a torrential downpour, that has become all too familiar. This sound is magnified by the fact that there is a plastic greenhouse attached to the back of our home. Thunder boomed as well. A peek out the window revealed Jed attempting to get UNDER the backporch. Interesting beginning to the day…

The plan for the day, prior to the rain, had been to take the old ewes to the stockyard. Prices are running pretty high right now, and a few less mouths to feed would be a good thing. The rain put a stop to that. It was doubtful we could get the racks on the truck and the truck to the loading ramp in the downpour. Unfortunately, if you don’t make the Tuesday sale at the stockyard, you don’t make the sale. There is a sale on Friday, but that one is generally cattle, and we can’t lose the time we could be harvesting. We will have to wait ‘til next week.

We are STILL trying to get the potatoes planted. The rain definitely postponed that job, too! A look at the forecast revealed that the planting may have to wait a long while!

The dump run still needed to be done. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not, you can almost always go to the dump! Farm bookwork is always looming out there, threatening to take over my desk. So, we wouldn’t be bored.

Tom has been wanting to put in another gate to the garden area. The rain-soaked earth will aid in that particular job. So, the plan for the day was to go to the dump AND get the supplies to put in the gate.

The rain let up some and we headed out to do chores. By the time we got to the barn (which is only about 70 feet from the house) the heavens opened. We spent some “quality time” in the barn surrounded by wet cats, dogs and sheep, waiting out the rain. Between the rain on the metal roof and the very vocal complaints from the sheep, it was a very noisy place. Thankfully the rain let up before we lost our hearing and our minds.

In the half hour that it took to do chores, we got another half inch of rain. My coveralls were STILL soggy when it was time to do afternoon chores! Slogging through the mud and rain is not my idea of fun.

The heavy rain made it impossible to let the sheep out to pasture after they had their grain. We are still keeping the sheep in the barn at night. The grass growth is still not robust enough to handle that type of grazing pressure. If we were to leave them out to graze all night, we would end up with paddocks of mud. I don’t think they were interested in going out anyway. They ate their grain and headed back into the barn.

When that rainstorm finally passed, I let them out to a new paddock. It’s funny when they go in a new paddock, the first one in just starts eating…right at the fence line. They all pile up trying to eat in the same little spot, until one finally breaks through and they spread out through the field. It’s kind of like a levee break when the water suddenly flows free.

All day, we had passing storms. When we looked at the “potato garden” around midday, there was water standing in the furrows. Definitely won’t be doing that job for quite some time.

There was yet another line of storms that rolled through about six o’clock. There were reports of hail with this one, although we didn’t see any. Hail is a dreaded weather phenomenon for farmers. You can lose an entire crop in a matter of minutes. So, we were grateful for “just rain”.

At the end of the weather event, we had over an inch and three quarters in the rain gauge. Everything is soaked; the ground is soggy and slippery. It will be days before we can consider getting back in the gardens. We need a stretch of at least three days for things to dry out enough to get those taters in the ground. Looking ahead at the weather forecast, I don’t see that happening, as more rain is predicted for the weekend. Big rain!

So, we’ll wait….we’ll do other jobs either inside or in the hoophouses, waiting for the rain to stop and the sun to shine.

One thing we will NOT do…we will NOT complain about the rain. Rain is better (in some ways) than drought. Although, we may want to start looking over plans for an ark!

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