They say a little rain must fall into every life. As a metaphor for someone who lives in a rainforest, it is a bit lacking. As you know, between October and November, we easily had 100 inches - not a definition of "little rain".
However, we've entered the season of drought here. The dry season can be a week or two, or it can last for months. In 1998, we had four months of dry weather and a 2300 gallon catchment tank. I used to lie in bed doing geometry in my head - figuring out the dimensions of the roof and the tank and figuring how much rain I would need to fill up an inch of water in the tank. Figuring out how many gallons of water an inch in the tank worked out to be. It didn't make it rain, but it kept my mind occupied. That year, we did haul water in clean covered garbage pails; we had a trailer that made that task easier.
We don't have the trailer anymore, but we do have 10,000 gallon storage. It would seem like a much better situation, but the fact is, we have more animals, and the children are much bigger. We go through water alarmingly, these days. Some drier years, I am reduced to taking laundry to the laundromat to preserve our water at home.
We were getting a little low in the tanks last week, but we've had a few days of sporadic light rain. I am preserved for a bit from the dreaded laundromat runs, but the South winds and vog are back today - so we'll see about next weekend.
Catchment tanks are a life lesson. If we lived in the city, the lack of water is somewhat removed. You intellectually know the reservoir or aquifer is depleted, but you don't see it - it isn't your immediate responsibility. When you have your own water supply in your yard, that emptying tank is fairly immediate. When the rain is pounding down and my garden is washing away and the hooves of hoofed animals are getting mushy, in the back of my mind is the awareness that lack is also a possibility in the near future. I begin to wish that I had more tanks to catch some of the superabundance.
When the dry weather comes, you half enjoy the sun and the lack of mud on your floors and the shine of hard healthy hooves and half worry about that tank level. It's a judgement - when do we start taking minimal showers or take the laundry to the laundromat?
It seems like every week the morning news program gives away tickets to Las Vegas. I am not even remotely tempted to try to win those tickets - the water in my catchment tank in January is enough of a gamble for me.
(Update on Buddy, the lamb, for those of you who are interested: Against my expectations, Buddy is doing much better. He is still weak in the hind end, but he is determined. He gets himself where he wants to go, and I even saw him nursing! My husband had to go find him yesterday - like the Good Shepherd with his one lost sheep - he'd wandered quite far in his determination to move. If his heart isn't damaged, he may live - gimpy, but resolved.)