Blessings from Above

1 Comment

It’s been a nail-biting November waiting for rain. Massive dust storms have been a regular occurrence in the district and it feels like there hasn’t been a day without a howling wind. By last week the veld at Vastrap was looking very desert-like with no roughage or green shoots for the animals. Things were so bad that we started grazing animals in the road and calling in favours to get extra feed bales from the Cape. Worse than that, most of our earth dams had run dry. In his 16 years on the farm, Quentin cannot remember it ever looking worse. Don’t even mention the poor wheat crop!

I am very happy to report that things are looking considerably brighter since this weekend. There was a huge storm on Friday that brought hail and lovely drenching rain, enough to refill most of our dams, some even to overflowing! It will take a week or two for the veld to rejuvenate, but at least there is water for the animals to drink. The rain also heralds the start of the summer crop planting season, which in our district includes maize, sunflower and soya. Work kicked off early this morning with the tractors heading out first thing to get the planting started. It will be a mad rush now to get everything done by 10 December, the very latest that maize should be planted given the risk of early frost.

It was wonderful driving around the farm after the rain knowing that things will look different very soon with green shoots colouring the drab brown landscape. The cattle also looked very happy and clean. Livia just loves driving around the farm with her daddy and he took this video of her and a cute little Boran calf. She is totally fearless, a real cowgirl in the making!

Storm2 Day1(DeHart) Day1 (Skaapdip)

El Niño

Leave a comment

El Niño is well and truly with us. After the hottest October on record, a cold front rolled in on Sunday that took temperatures back down to zero for a night. Worst of all, there has been no rain in sight and virtually nothing is forecast for the next two weeks. Needless to say, the farm is looking bleak. Planting of maize and sunflower is on hold until it rains, and not just a little shower, we need proper rain to make up for last year’s dry summer and the current drought. The wheat crop is looking dire and is heading for complete failure. Livestock grazing is running out quickly and we are already well into our emergency stock of grass bales. It’s a major challenge to provide a sufficient supply of water to areas where there is still grazing. Our Boran cattle do relatively well under these conditions, but it’s certainly not an ideal start to the breeding season.

The photos below tell the whole story. The first two were taken in mid-October when it was already looking dry. The last two were taken this week in the lands that are waiting to be planted. Not a blade of grass in sight!! It’s hard to see how my farmer love can keep his spirits up in these conditions.

DSC_3449 DSC_3453 IMG_8397 IMG_8398