I struggle living in the country, but I didn’t grow up here, I married to be living here. Most of the days are great but with drought brings a whole new load of challenges, ones that only those who live it can relate to and survive it.
It brings with it challenges one has never thought about, when we see dust storms in Adelaide or capital cities one never thinks about where the dust comes from do we? When we see them in places like Birdsville, the United Arab Emirates we know they come from the deserts. When we see one in Adelaide where does it come from? sadly it likely to be the top soil of a or many farmers paddocks. This is caused by lack of rain, soil erosion and lack of growth on the ground, so when the wind blows so too does the top layer.
When I drive around the country at the moment this is happening in most paddocks where there is no pivot or naturally occurring grasses that have grown over summer, contrary to the climate change people, it is not new it has been happening for as long as time itself. The ground is dry, brown and in need of a decent rainfall.
Why do they call it a dust storm when it really is a dirt storm? I have no idea but on the days when the dirt blows it unsettles the animals, farmer and the environment in which one lives. It can turn a rational outdoorsy farmer into a brooding inside man in an instant. Luckily these days are few and far between.
When it comes to achieving anything on one of these days it is next to impossible. We have satellite TV which can flicker in and out as the wind blows and rocks the dish. We also have satellite broadband which is slow and almost useless when the wind blows or if we have gone over our allowance, we will be shaped – which means slowed to a stop until the next billing cycle.
On the days when it’s like that farmers still have to go out and check stock, waters and find jobs. Mine is good at indoor things, identifying jobs, doing them and then pointing out he has done it.
We have been without an oven door for three or more weeks, one of the hinges broke, he went to fix it and I called the supplier and they offered to send a new door with new hinges attached. This was generous of them as I discovered my old oven door was in multiple pieces. It came the other day by post so the farmer went about putting it back on, he asked how I clean the metal wire components inside. I told him I do them in the laundry sink, saves on mess and I can leave them soak. The next thing I hear is the sound of an angle grinder going.
Unable to find steel wool to clean it, he went to the shed put the wire brush on the angle grinder and came in and did the oven wires racks. I walked past him in the laundry and didn’t say a word, I couldn’t. He also has ruined a toe nail from years ago when he dropped an engine on his toe (lucky it missed most of it or it would have amputated the toe) But it killed the nail bed so it grows up instead of out and when it’s too sore for his boots he grinds it down, I know, there has been the occasion where he has taken skin off but I figure at 50 he’s a grown man and if he doesn’t want to see a podiatrist I can’t make him. If he amputates the toe, then he really only has himself to blame. They can think outside the square these farmers and have solutions one wouldn’t dream of.