Sadly I know too much about drought

Bessie Blore is a wonderful journalist, a girl from the city who married a boy from the the bush and I am so proud to know and work with her as one of Art4Agriculture’s Wool Young Farming Champions

Our place “Burragan” is 110km from the nearest town, 200km from the nearest supermarket, and 330km from the nearest major centre – Broken Hill. When I’m not out in the paddock helping with sheep work, I like to write, keep up with global issues, and uncover the strange secrets of our beautiful bush landscape.

Bessie writes a wonderful blog Bessie at Burragan where she shares the highs and lows, the laughs and the not so funny moments with her readers

I have been away for a week and the drive up the hill on Friday tugged at my heart strings.

The front paddock tells it all, the cows rotate around the farm every 14 days. It is 14 days since they were in this paddock and whilst it has a green tinge there is nothing for the cows to eat.

On my travels last week I went through Tamworth on my way to Gunnedah – there is no feed in the paddocks for the cattle there either. It was depressing and unfortunately those  farmers are not alone. Much of NSW and a great deal of Queensland are once again in drought.

Unlike me Bessie is new to the ravages of drought but she tells it so like it is in this wonderful blog post

I don’t know much about drought. Even when I saw her face, I didn’t recognise her.
Years before I moved to Burragan, we visited ST’s mum and dad one summer. Their house yard was a true oasis in the middle of a desert, in every sense. Outside the confines of the garden fence, they were feeding hay to cattle and saving animals from of empty, muddy dams. At the time, I didn’t realise that was what she looked like.

I don’t know much about drought. But I know that she’s inevitable.
I am lucky – or perhaps unlucky and lulled into a false sense of beauty and romance – to have moved to Burragan in the middle of several great seasons. This year, we’ve already had our annual average 11-inches of rainfall. We are thankful for that. And yet it’s dry. It’s dusty. It’s only getting hotter.

I don’t know much about drought. But I can feel her creeping up on us.
The signs are there. Selling stock. Buying hay. Blowing bores. Boggy dams. Empty tanks. Moving stock. Fierce winds. Thunderstorms that are no longer viewed as salvation, but instead, as fire threats. Those afternoons that smelt like rain; but when they came, they looked, and felt, and taste, like dust. Perpetrations for a dry summer.

I don’t know much about drought. But I know she’s more than a lack of rain.
She’s stress. She’s suffocation. She’s the haunted eyes of men whose strength is buckled by the weight of the world, and women who wish they could take the load off.
I don’t know much about drought. But I wonder if we will recognise each other, when we meet again.
I know we can’t be friends, and yet, to survive in this environment I cannot view her as the enemy.
We might have to learn to get along for quite a while.

Clover Hill one day in paradise

How I long for the farm to look like this again and for farmers everywhere to see drought pack its bags and go into hibernation

One thought on “Sadly I know too much about drought

  1. Oh thank you for the incredibly kind words Lynne!
    One day when you get time you should come for a drive out to Burragan, we’d love to have you! x

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