For National Poetry Day:

Rain by Hone Tuwhare.


Soggy enough, now for some sun


It was raining when we left home on Sunday afternoon.

It carried on raining for the two days we were away.

Our 5:30 flight back from Wellington yesterday evening was cancelled, we got seats on a later one and it was nearly 8pm when we left Christchurch.

We phoned a friend who operates a trucking business for an update on roads and were told there was surface flooding but we should be okay on the main road.

I checked the Waitaki District Council website and found a long list of cautions and closures – including at least one on all the shortcuts we would use to get home.

We opted to go the long way and came across some deep puddles but no flooding.

However, the lawn is very, very soggy and I hate to think what the paddocks where cows are will look like.

Three weeks ago we were considering having to start irrigating this month. That won’t be necessary.

But now we’ve had more than enough rain would it be greedy to ask for some sunshine?

Good rain


A total of 70 mls with no damage, that’s a good rain.

UPDATE: Good for us but further north, in South Canterbury, they’ve had far too much of a good thing:

Torrential rain caused flooding across South Canterbury yesterday and by 10pm last night the Te Ngawai had reached a 50-year flood level, flowing at 1000 cumecs.

Wet conditions are forecast for the rest of the week.

Much of the region experienced more than 90 millimetres of rain – significantly more than the 75mm average total rainfall for the month. Rainfall of 180mm was recorded in some areas. Most rivers experienced flows of 10- to 20-year return periods. . .

Some roads are closed and the forecast is for more rain.

Rain gauge overfloweth


Yesterday’s post lamenting too little rain was premature.

When my farmer went to check the rain gauge this morning he found it had overflowed which means we’ve had at least 40 mls and this comment from Raymond reports even more further north.

That’s the first significant rainfall we’ve had since early May and very welcome.

Farmers in the high country who have just started lambing won’t be so happy, especially those who got snow as well.

Our rain gauge overfloweth


Our rain gauge holds only 25 mls.

My farmer tipped out 20 early yesterday evening and it was overflowing first thing this morning.

At Five Forks just over the hill  and Totara about 10 kilometres as the crow flies, they’ve had 80 mls. Glencoe on the eastern edge of the Kakanui Range, above Waianakarua, has had 100 mls and  there’s been 120 at Weston which is about half way between Oamaru and home.

The Kakanui River is rising at a rate of about 45 mls  mms an hour.

Recent rainfall softened the ground so a lot has soaked in but we’re starting to get run off. The radio is broadcasting advice for country people to stay at home and State Highway 1 is closed at Deborah.

I don’t need to use that stretch of road but there are a few spots between here and town which flood.

I’m supposed to be MCing the Enterprising Rural Women Award presentations at the Rural Women NZ annual conference in Oamaru this evening.  I’ll make a reconnaissance  this afternoon to see if the roads are passable. If they are I’ll take  the precaution of packing a toothbrush and change of clothes with me in case I get there then find I can’t get home again.

Not wanting this to be seen as a sign of ingratitude, I’ll declare the drought over and be grateful that we will now be set up for good spring growth.

So far so wet


The weather forecast is warning us we’ll get 200 mls of rain today.

That’s nearly half what we get in a good year and not much less than the total we get in a bad year.

We woke to light rain which slowed to little more then mizzle – misty drizzle – by mid morning.

However, it’s now raining heavily and we’ve now increased the odds on the forecast being right.

Grazing The Long Acre


The rain which fell a couple of weeks ago was enough to enable us to stop irrigating.

It wasn’t, however, enough for much growth on dry land and one of our neighbours has been grazing the long acre to save what pasture he’s got.

It’s not a lot of fun watching over your stock on the road verges. When I stopped to chat to him a couple of days ago he was understandably worried and desperate for a follow up rain.

Today he might be getting it. My farmer found 4 mls in the rain gauge this morning and it’s still drizzling.

Baby it’s cold outside


We woke to our second frost in a row this morning.

We’d had reasonably warm weather after the last rain which was letting the grass grow.

But two frosts in a row is a warning that soil temperatures are dropping and with or without more rain we’re not likely to get much more pasture growth until spring.

It’s raining


We left Wanaka in rain yesterday but the further east we came the drier it got.

When we got home there weren’t even any puddles.

But it started raining late last night, we measured 10 mls this morning and it’s still raining.

It’s not pouring. It’s just a steady, heavy drizzle which is exactly what we need.

If it continues we’ll be able to stop irrigating for the season.

It rained


We got 15 mls of very welcome rain last night.

The near-empty irrigation dam shows how much it was needed.

Now the pressure is off the irrigation and we might be able to stop watering for the season.

Last night’s fall brings us to a total of 27 mls – just over an inch in old money – for the month and about 50 mls this year, though still only 336 mls in the last 12 months which is well under the annual average of around 500 mls.

While the rain made a big difference to us because we’re irrigated, it wouldn’t have done much more than lay the dust on dryland farms and it was localised.

Totara, about 10 kilometres as the crow flies from us, received only 9 mls and our hill block at Waianakarua about 20 kms away got only 4 mls.

The downpour came with a thunderstorm which brought a lot of water in a very short time. We don’t complain about rain here so this is an obesrevation not a moan – it also brought a flood inside the conservatory which took three buckets and seven towels to mop up.

Memo to self: clean the spouting before it rains again.

A good start


We had 12 mls of rain in North Otago overnight and 17 mls fell at Millers Flat.

It’s a good start and got us over the inch mark for the year so far.

We don’t complain about rain . . .


. . . around here, especially when we’ve yet to register an inch for the year.

We’ll be very grateful if the rain that’s forecast for today arrives.

But we’ve got 80 people coming for lunch today to celebrate an 80th birthday so we’ll be even more grateful if it holds off until later in the afternoon.

Let it rain


We woke this morning to the very welcome sound of rain on the roof.

It’s still raining a steady, heavy drizzle.

It’s the first decent rain we’ve had this year and it’s long over due.

Summer didn’t turn up in North Otago until the end of January but the cool cloudy weather brought low temperatures without rain.

The benefits of irrigation are obvious at the best of times and even more so when we’ve had prolonged dry weather:

Too much weather


The problems cold, wet weather pose for holiday makers when it’s supposed to be summer are minor compared with the freezing conditions in Britain

While most news reports focus on the impact on people, Phil Clarke looks at the impact on agriculture.

However, he notes it’s not all bad news for business – sales of UHT milk are booming.

Back in New Zealand,  although it’s been unseasonably cold, Northland, the east coast and some inland areas are very dry.

We were happy to get 12 mls of rain in North Otago yesterday. Farmers in Central Otago also welcomed steady rain but the ODT reports that orchardists weren’t so happy.

There’s too much winter in Britain and not enough summer in New Zealand – altogether too much weather.



When you live in a drought-porne  prone region you don’t tempt fate by saying you’ve had too much rain.

But we’ve had enough for now.

It started raining late last week, stayed grey with drizzle over the weekend, poured on Monday and finally cleared up yesterday afternoon.

The temperature dropped with the rain but there haven’t been any reports of heavy lamb losses.

We turned the irrigation off on Thursday and after 60mms of rain should be able to leave it off for a while.

Brrrr #4


We had about 30 mm of rain yesterday which was very welcome.

But the temperature dropped, which wasn’t.

Friends who have a sheep stud nearby are in the middle of lambing. Wet and cold – a high of seven degrees – doesn’t give new born stock a good start.

It’s not the sort of weather that makes starting daylight saving a good idea either.

Mutter, mumble. Have I mentioned it would be a good idea to delay the start by three or four weeks?

I Day


Our earliest I Day – the start of irrigation was August 9 when an autumn drought had been followed by very little winter rain.

In a good season we can get through to November before we have to start watering.

This year, our neighbours who have more north facing paddocks, started irrigating at the end of last month and we started a couple of weeks ago.

We’ve had good spring growth. A wettish winter, by our 20 inch/480 ml annual rainfall standards, and warm weather in August was just what the pastures needed. It was also good for calving and lambing with none of the stormy weather which give new born stock a tough start. But no rain and some strong nor westers in the last few weeks have dried out the top soil.

It started raining quite heavily yesterday afternoon which led to a drop in temperature but not enough moisture to do much good.

A little more would be welcome – but not the 16mm in 30 minutes deluge which occurred  In A Strange Land.

Another lovely day


The phrase another lovely day accompanied by a forecast for continued fine weather sets farmers’ teeth on edge when they’re in depserate need of rain.

North Otago isn’t desperately dry, but we have been in need of a good shower so waking to the sound of rain on the roof, and still hearing it falling steadily now, makes this a really lovely day.

If only we could send some north to Hawkes Bay and Gisborne which are both battling drought and desperately need the sort of lovely day we’re enjoying.

24mls and still raining


The rain gauge had 24mls in it a couple of hours ago. That’s an inch in old money which is very welcome and it’s still raining.

The met service rural weather map shows rain forecast all over the country and, as is often the way some areas may get too much.

Yesterday morning RivettingKate Taylor  reported 40mm in the past couple of days in Central Hawkes Bay but friends in North Canterbury where it’s desperately dry hadn’t had enough to lay the dust an hour ago.

6 mls and hoping


The hot nor wester we woke to yesterday morning changed to a cold southerly in the click of a finger at about 8.30, blue sky was covered in clouds and late in the afternoon it started to rain.

By mid evening it had slowed to less than a drizzle and there was just 6 mls in the rain gauge this morning.

However the clouds are still low and there’s dampness in the air so fingers crossed . . .

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