It’s raining………..

23 01 2013

Who would’ve thought that one day I would write a post titled “It’s raining………..”  I’ve got to say I have become obsessed with rain lately.  Or the lack of it to be closer to the truth.  On his Gourmet Farmer blog, Matt Evans writes “It’s dry. Very dry. Puggle Farm’s house garden, once watered by a pump, is suffering the worst I’ve seen. The pump now lives on our big farm, watering the vegie garden, keeping one small patch of green on the place. Without it, we’d have no food of our own, except meat.”  I don’t think Tasmanians have any idea what a real drought is like…….  lack of rain when it’s 24° is one thing, but when it’s 32°, plus a half dozen forays in the forties for two months straight, you can see your water just disappear.  And it did.  The garden tank, all 22,500L of it has been empty for two months.  When I last blogged about rain, woken up in the middle of the night by the now unfamiliar clatter of rain on the tin roof, we got 26mm.  The biggest rain event in over six months.  Yes it put some water in the tanks, but it was all used up in one day….

rainatlastTHIS is what real rain looks like…..  Ex Cyclone Oswald reformed the monsoonal trough that has been AWOL in the tropics all Summer so far, crossed Cape York, turned into a rain depression over the Coral Sea and is making its way down the Queensland coast towards us.  The forecast is for heavy rain over the weekend.

It’s the total absence of the monsoonal trough for so long that has caused the continental heatwave Australia has been experiencing.  Whenever a Summer high pressure cell sits on Australia, winds circulate around it in an anti clockwise pattern.  When the monsoonal trough is present, those winds bring rain to Queensland which rarely reaches southern Australia.  That’s why it’s wet in the tropics, and dry down South through Summer.  Like Tassie.  But without the trough, those Northerly winds are not cooled down by the rain, and as they blow over the inland deserts they get mighty hot, causing the worst heat wave on record.  This was not a weather event, it was a climatic one.  It’s the monsoonal trough that anchors the tropical (and our sub-tropical)  climate…. and it’s very very late.  Better late than never though, we avoided buying water by the skin of our teeth……

Unless you catch all your water off your roof like we do, you can’t appreciate the importance of a bit of rain.  Our catchment area of ~190m² (including shed) harvests 190L for every mm of rain that falls on it.  So to refill our 45,000L tanks, we need 237mm of rain, give or take.  Will we get that over the next four days?  We can only hope….  it would take all of that falling on the garden to replenish the soil to a decent depth in any case.  People who have lived in Cooran all their lives say they have never seen the place this dry, ever…

What’s really galling is that it rained so much this time last year we could have filled our tanks five times over as they overflowed at the sight of clouds.  Had I had any inclination of what was to come this dry season, I might’ve been tempted to stretch the budget and put a third tank near the shed somewhere to double our garden watering capacity.

And now comes the real question…..  will I be game enough to replant the garden with anything that will grow before Winter….  Buying food from the shops is really starting to piss me off, I gotta tell you…!  Fingers crossed.

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4 responses

24 01 2013
email

Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back at some point. I want to encourage continue your great writing, have a nice holiday weekend!

24 01 2013
gbell12

Holy crap, same up here in Beechwood (just enough east of Port Macquarie to not get any of that coastal stuff). Really crapens your mood when you watch three years worth of your plantings (trees and groundcover) die.

Our neighbour who’s been here for 30 years says the same: “never seen it dry for this long”.

What I said to my wife: Thank God we don’t have to garden for real.

(p.s. the above comment is spam)

24 01 2013
mikestasse

95mm so far…. bottom tank virtually 2/3 full, top one just over half… Could be full by tomorrow morning according to the forecast.
182mm so far (Sat morning) and the tanks are already full…. must recalculate the area of the roofs! Though of course the bottom tank wasn’t empty, possibly had 4,500L in it when the rain started….

25 01 2013
Don

Mike
I know the feeling. Maybe we have to have a drought to really enjoy the feeling as the tanks start to fill and we smell the beautiful aroma of freshly replenished pasture.

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