I yearn for rain. Where has all the wet stuff gone? Our winter here at White Stone Farm has been very mild. Our heavy clay soil that usually gets so inundated in winter is barely moist. Every rain shower that we do have brings on a happy dance, with the tap tap tap of rain on the roof mimicked by my tap tap tap of happy feet on the floor boards.
You see, here at White Stone Farm, we have found that we sit in an unfortunate rain shadow. Clunes doesn’t get much rainfall to begin with. But up on the plateau, just 5kms out of town, we get even less. We will watch rain falling on the township and not get a drop as the clouds change direction and part ways before getting to our parched landscape. Our beautiful view of Mt Beckworth to the south-west, that I absolutely love for its changing colours, diversity of landscape and forested beauty also has the ability to alter the course of the weather on a very local scale.
In the end, we made a big decision to invest in a bore last Summer. Just before Christmas, we pooled all of the cash that we had from our wedding gifts and instead of spending it on a luxury holiday, white goods or home furnishings, we put it towards an investment in water. I had a few issues with tapping into artesian water. If too much is drawn up it can cause problems with rising ground water and salinity. But then we put it in perspective for ourselves. We’re not the local potato farmers putting in hundreds of bores to draw out gazillions of litres. We aren’t going to be drawing huge megalitres of water from the earth, it’s a little extra assistance to help us keep the water troughs topped up and water some trees. The investment in consistent water as these trees get established will allow us to create microclimates as the trees grow, which will slow the wind and desiccation and enable us to use less water in some areas. Once the trees are established, they will require less water. It’s more of a jump start on a property where water is our biggest restriction, particularly when rainfall is low. It will also help to keep a large pond topped up for the local endangered species, the Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis). We are so fortunate to have these frogs present in this one waterbody on the property, but they need water all year round, so the bore will assist in keeping water in that pond and provide important habitat for our native residents.
Above all, it’s our safety net, for when rainfall is non-existent. We haven’t lived through a drought here yet. I’m not looking forward to when we do.
So we called in the Murray family – the local bore diggers and they dug and dug and dug. And dug and dug, through layers of clay, bluestone, redstone, yellow, quartz, grey, red-brown and the eons of Earth’s creation were brought to the surface for display.
At about 74 metres of digging, they found water. And the dirt became an amazing slurry of gorgeous clay, rock, quartz and water. It looked like melted neapolitan icecream…
It was fascinating watching the process and realising that I was seeing and touching clay and rock that had not seen the light of day for millions of years.
I also considered just how much this sort of mineral rich clay would be if I was at a Day Spa…so I did my own White Stone Farm Day Spa there in the paddock (after the drilling boys had gone home of course!)…
Although we’ve had issues with the solar pump that we connected and have since had to switch to AC to get the pressure and oomph that we require to get the water from deep underground, we are only using it sparingly and are grateful for every single drop. Particularly after such a dry winter and hot summer to come.