Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rain at Last

The News from Windrush Farm—it rained!

Oh frabjous day, it rained at last, and buckets and buckets of the wet stuff.  My rain gauge was broken last summer by the ever-so-curious buck Elvis, since departed, so I can only judge by the depth of the feed buckets I had to overturn before feeding the pellets this morning to all the hungry, waiting animals.  It looked to be at least three inches, which seems more than generous.  I called my friend Barbara Dornan who lives out the Tomales end of Chileno Valley Road and who is an official rain measurer.  Unfortunately, her rain gauge was fastened to a post that went over in the high winds, after registering one-inch plus.  So, I am sure that I am overestimating the quantity, but I know it sure did rain. What a joy.
The grass seems to vibrate with relief that the thirsty roots can now swell with water and drink in nutrients, and that neon green that comes with well-hydrated plants is starting to almost visually hum.  I couldn’t believe the intense color of the moss on my little brick patio that faces north.  
This rain will wash out the fleeces for the shearing in February, and the pond is definitely filling up.  Tomorrow I will need to go out and pull up the boat, before it floats away.  

Still, the pond needs lots of filling.  You can see in the picture a white pipe that funnels the water into the pond from the gutters on the south side of the barn roof.  In the first very rainy year after I had the pond fixed for leaks, it rained so hard the pipe was covered.   That must have been five years ago, and a feat never repeated. You can just see a depression along the edge of the pond marking the height the pond was last year, so I figure the pond needs to come up at least five feet, and that is quite a lot of rain.  Since the pond has no creek flowing into it, the only time it really fills is when the rain is so hard or so steady and the ground so saturated that run-off fills the ditches we have created to bring water into the pond.

Everyone looks wet, but wool can be totally wet and still work as an insulating force for the animal.  Don’t forget that sheep have an internal temperature of 102F, unlike us poor cold humans with body temperature set at 98.6F, so sheep run at a higher temperature and the wool wet, even wetter, helps keep them warm.  

I went to check on the rams and was delighted to see that they were all getting along together. Yolo seems to miss being with his ladies the most, while the youngsters don't even seem to notice.  

So time to be indoors, cleaning closets, knitting, and reading, at last.  By Valentine's Day, the fruit trees are in bloom, so that doesn't give me much time off.  Especially as I need to prune all the fruit trees, and have on my list setting in bare root plants of strawberries, more asparagus, and some Asian pears, morello cherries, kiwi vines, and some horseradish roots.  There are also summer-blooming bulbs to be planted and the large containers should be repotted. Well for now, let it just continue to rain.

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