"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Consequences of Insane

I'm not meaning to harp on the topic, but just want to show you the consequences of below average rainfall last winter, and non-existent rainfall this summer...
8 January 2017
The pic above was taken on the 8th January 2017 - a very sad looking dam indeed. 
There is evidence of nocturnal visitors in the exposed mud
A week later...
The state of the dam on 16th January 2017
What was interesting was to see what nocturnal visitors had left a sign of their visit / search for liquid refreshment in the wet mud.

But, it's not just the land which needs some moisture.  There is another very important part of the equation which is suffering.
Bees - clamouring round a rapidly drying lump of clay on what used
to be the bottom of our dam - seeking any moisture they can find
 Even the bees are battling to find water.
Bird bath / water bowl below the lemon tree.  In times of
 plenty it is a bird bath.  In times of drought, it is merely
a water bowl filled with anything to help retain moisture
 for the birds and the bees
 I have a "bird bath" / water source positioned below a lemon tree - the bees are making use of that.
Close up of the bird's water bowl - I added bits of wood
 chip to aid the birds access to the water, and to try and
 prevent excessive evapouration
Taps, which recently spewed out water, are being requisitioned for whatever remnants recently passed through the damp spout.
Damp taps - another important source
 of moisture for the bees
 This is the state of the land: 
Crisp and dry and depressingly brown... :(
 And, as for the dam...
The state of the dam on the 23rd January 2017.
The white which is visible on the bottom is no longer water,
 but is an indication of the bentonite which we added to
the dam to try and help seal the dam floor
A different angle of the dry and cracked dam floor
The dam is in a very bad way.  It has not run dry since we added the bentonite.  Now - it is a cracked mud hole in the ground.
These cracks in the mud at the bottom of the dam are at least 7 - 10 cms deep
At least the dried out cracks allow us to see the bentonite we added way back in May 2013.

The birds - they're fine.  I have various water bowls scattered around, as well as the sugar water bird feeders which we ensure are always topped up.

Our 8 X 5000 lt rain water tanks?  They certainly helped, but we'd need a 300 000lt reservoir to provide us with enough water to see us through a summer.

Following below average rainfall for quite a while and the distinct lake of manna from heaven this summer, the Western Cape is in a full blown drought situation with less than 40% water left in the dams which supply our towns.  That equates to less than 88 days of water left for the inhabitants of the Cape Town metropole.
Rainfall graph from November 2013 to date

Prayers, rain dances, whatever rocks your boat - please do any of them.

We need rain - urgently...!


Sue said...

Oh Dani, how frightening. You don't know when the wells will run dry.
I'm happy that you're thinking of the bees, etc. Nature is harsh...and depends on the kindness of folks like you at a time like this.
Keeping my hopes up that you will get some badly needed rain.

Dani said...

Thanks Sue. Unfortunately our 10 day weather forecast aren't showing much promise. I can only hope that they've got it wrong...
Birds and the bees - where would we be without thrm? 😉

Chickpea said...

Oh that's scary, poor creatures trying to find water

Harry Flashman said...

I'm really sorry about that drought. We just got out of "severe drought" status here ,and I know what it's like worrying about water. But even then, we still had some water in our creeks and lakes. I sure hope you get some rain.

Leigh said...

That was us last summer, and I dread to think it might happen again this summer. Right now we're getting an insane amount of rain and I'm so thankful for our rain tanks. I hope things get better in your part of the world soon.

Rosemary said...

Frightening ...... our reservoirs in Rheenedal (Knysna) are running dangerously low - at the shop and at home.

Our local bee man says the bees here are taking a lot of strain. He is harvesting honey at the moment but is leaving one third in the hive to help the bees through this drought. He has also put up water points by all his hives. We had rain yesterday and again this morning and are hoping there will be more.

We rode through Swellendam over the weekend and it is very dry, all the way to Worcester. Very scary.

possumqueensa said...

You're not exaggerating, it's very worrying. Promising clouds come over and wow, five drops total. I hate it when ants invade my kitchen, but it seems to indicate rain is coming, so I quite welcome their pesky presence.

Jayne Hill said...

That's frightening Dani, our weather patterns are changing all over the world. After dreadful floods last year we have had a particularly dry winter yet Australia has record high temperatures. It's a huge worry where this will end . . .

Dani said...

Chickpea - the creatures of this planet get the worst of what man can do...

Dani said...

Harry - You're lucky you still have water in your creeks and lakes. Here - they're all drying up...

Dani said...

Leigh - Thanks - I hope so too :(

Dani said...

Rosemary - Everything is so incredibly dry. We had three veld fires near us in the last week. Thankfully, they were brought under control relatively quickly.

Dani said...

pqsa - Yup - we also has 5mm - between drops :( 1 - 5mm of rain does nothing except clean the dust off leaves.

Dani said...

Jayne - Very, very worrying. And "people in high places" are still denying there is a problem...!!! :{

kymber said...

Dani - you know that there are 2 nekkid canadians outside in a rainstorm right now...dancing our faces off!!! we have such plentiful water (something we are very grateful for!) that we will dance for you and all of south africa! we will not take pictures as it might scare some of yours, and our, readers. but just know that we are doing it!

sending much love! your friend,

Dani said...

kymber - Now THAT would be a pic to light up blogosphere :D

Thanks my friend.

1st Man said...

Dani, this is just so sad. Weather patterns are changing everywhere and it's truly frightening. We had a terrible drought a few years ago here, went a year with virtually no rainfall. If there's any hope, it did come back, and now you'd never know. And California and much of the SW had a terrible drought and it's been wetter than ever recently (though they are still behind and the aquifers are still lower than normal) but here's sending good vibes into the Universe for some rain your direction. Hugs from Texas USA

Dani said...

1st Man - It's heartbreaking! Thankfully though our mulch has been an absolute winner, and is keeping our plants / trees alive.

Crazy, crazy, crazy - when is the 1st world going to wake up to how much damage they are doing...?