It has been a long few months, another year of drought has been seriously taking its toll on the land and animals, and despite the utter most efforts to harvest and conserve whatever water we could, by last month our natural dam was completely dry, and last week we emptied the last of the rain water reservoirs on the farm and all this while dealing with a borehole that has been knocking on bottom for quite some time, not the ideal situation for any farmer, I can tell you that much.
Over the past 6 years, our annual rainfall has been unsustainable and it has lead to the land and natural water sources including underground water becoming less and less, at first we were able to pull through with the water supply, but this past year has been the hardest so far. We are now at a point of having to consider getting rid of our goats after standing a lot of them off to death relating to the drought and the effects it has on the food supply as well as the rising costs of buying in food. The desperate goats has now turned their attention to the mango trees, and under normal circumstances the mango trees that is our main crop on the farm, has been able to recover from some light grazing from the goats are now unable to do so with the lack of water and over grazing that is currently occurring, so the circle of destruction is simply rippling out at this stage. And as much as it would break my heart to let them go, it might be something that I will need to do in order to save the farm in the long run.
On the lighter side though,
This morning I woke up to the pitter-patter of a soft moth-rain caressing the farm house's tin roof. It was just such an incredible blessing and although it was not much more than a cat-spit in the wind, every drop of water is so much needed and appreciated. the first thing I did was grab a quick cup of coffee and sat in the soft drizzle while looking out on the farm watching the dust being slowly washed off of the landscape, almost immediately the bush-veld came alive with birdsong and the sounds of animals and frogs alike as if nature in itself was celebrating the rejuvenating droplets.
Here is a little rain-frog happily perched on the safety trellis of the house
Over the past few weeks we have been quite busy on the farm, despite the fact that we have always been able to plant soft crops right throughout the year, one of the challenges that we face with planting during the winter months is dealing with birds as well as monkeys moving in on any food-source that they can find, and for this we started growing crops in a net-house structure, that not only helps keep small scavengers away, but also aids in water retention and this has proven to be quite successful. We started off with a smallish net-house, and then later on we built a bigger and more sturdy net-house, and recently we have needed to re-do the initial net-house that has become dilapidated with age. The wooden poles that we initially used to do the first trial net with had started rotting on ground level as we used untreated wood as the enforcement poles, so we had to dig those up along with the concrete blocks that set them in place, then we had to carefully detach the netting and wire mesh so that we could re-use that.
Slowly but surely it all started taking shape up until the point of completion. At this stage we have put in electricity cables in order to put a pressure pump onto the water line, and we added dripper lines from the main water line, in order to reduce water usage, this combined with an 60% shade cloth netting makes for great water conservation while maintaining a sustainable harvest.
The new net as you can see also has steel corner pillars, the same as the big net house now. This was steel that we got from a factory that was torn down and rebuild in the area a while back. the last photo above is the second nethouse where I started planting Serrano chilies in.
But enough about that, for now I am still basking in the idea of the small but much needed rain that we got - here is a little wild jasmine flower that seems to be enjoying it as much as I am