Stoic in the face of summer stress
When I look back a few years, living in the city was pretty stressful.
The traffic jams on the way to work. One I was involved in resulted in an eight-car pile up as everyone perved at the bikini-clad chicks on the side of the road in a radio station promotion.
Trying to find a park, failing, and resorting to hiring one so I could get to work on time, only to find someone else parked in it at least once a week.
Someone stole my beloved Toyota Corolla from outside my house and burnt it out, and I came home from a holiday once to find someone had broken in and trashed the place. I was rather affronted to find they had rifled through my knickers’ draw but hadn’t taken any. I know they weren’t the flashest things out, but what was wrong with them?
Since moving to the country, things have been stressful on occasion too. Tackling the drive to work in snow or frost can be challenging at times, as can making sure you have water in the tanks and firewood in the shed.
My house burnt down rather randomly while I was away one weekend, leaving me with just the bag of clothes I had with me.
If you’ve always thought buying a whole new wardrobe would be a dream come true, believe me it’s not if you’re starting from scratch and keep thinking about all the stuff you’ve lost.
What was surprising was how my new community rallied around to help. Kids at the local school wrote letters, people dropped off food and furniture and everything you could think of to make the going a bit easier, for which I’ll forever be grateful.
Now they’ll step up again to help their farming neighbours through a drought, which is about the most stressful thing a rural community can live through.
Floods recede and life returns close to normal once the river drops, but droughts can last months. This uninitiated former townie is learning now that the hot weather might make it easy to find that annoying leak in your water scheme, but watching your profit go down the driveway in a truck because you’ve had to destock isn’t pretty. Coming back up the driveway might be another truck carrying baleage, which like everything costs more than it should when you need it most.
Ever heard of the Argentine Stem Weevil? Porina? Did you know sheep can get pleurisy? Me either, but they’re just some of the consequences of the Big Dry.
Probably the best word to describe farmers in my neck of the woods at the moment is stoic. They’ve got one eye permanently on the heavens and the other on the forecast. Most have been here before, but few are admitting this is the worst they’ve seen it.
They’re still out there every day in 30+ degrees, willing their winter crops to grow and keep their stock hydrated.
That’s something they’re struggling with themselves - the swimming hole’s getting shallower by the day and the local pub is struggling to keep the beer cold.
Farmers have one eye permanently on the heavens and the other on the forecast.