Friday, 24 August 2012

The Weather

According to the calendar, those of us in the northern hemisphere are in the dog days of summer, technically referring to Sirius the dog star (stellar body, not canine actor of course). These days are associated with hot, sultry weather, which I understand you all in the US are enjoying, or at least coping with, at this moment.

Not here in England.

I'm not sure if climate change is already affecting the gulf stream, which the UK depends on for its relatively balmy climate. Perhaps it's merely an anomaly. All I know is the thermometer is reading 12 degrees C, and the constant rain and wind storms are making it feel worse. I've given in and lit the wood stoves. On August 24th. Summer.

The cup of coffee and book are there to distract me from worrying about this year's hay crop. It's cut and on the ground and was dry, but we couldn't get it baled before this storm came in. We need a least three dry, preferably windy, days in a row to bale it or we'll lose all our winter fodder and have to buy it in. I have some of last year's still in storage but a bad winter will see that gone by Christmas.

Even the livestock look fed up. Chickens began their summer moults, and now have to take shelter under the Land Rover.

The pheasants are holed up in the woods under shelter too, possibly evolving webbed feet.

Checking the sheep takes longer too; they are the same colour as the fog. I'm nearly driving over them by the time I spot them. They get checked twice a day now minimum as their pregnancies develop. A few days ago I found N1125 on her back in a tractor rut, unable to roll over. She was stuck fast, legs in the air, like a wooly bug. (The scene reminded me of Gregor Samsa waking up after his metamorphosis.)
I turned N1125 right side up, but it took her some time to recover, and I had to help her onto her feet. Losing a sheep to pneumonia is one thing. Losing a sheep and her unborn lambs to a misplaced roll in the grass in another thing entirely. 

The outside dogs are piled up together in their dry, straw beds. The indoor dogs have found the lit wood stove and laid beside it. I just picked up the mail, including this month's National Geographic with its headline: What's Up with This Weather?

My sentiments exactly.


Hazel said...

So much for being in the balmy southwest- your weather has been even worse than ours in the middle of England. Not that it's been exactly summery here either, but we haven't had to light the stoves yet.

I'm sorry about your hay crop- fingers crossed for the weather you need.

BilboWaggins said...

Glad you got to N1125, hope no lasting effects.

Hazel, it's not been much better in NW Cumbria either :{

On the way back from some grocery shopping a couple of hours ago (kept putting it off but eventually realised it is just NOT going to stop raining today) I was wet, cold and found myself thinking longingly of the woodburner . . . I haven't given in yet but it's touch and go. This is August Bank Holiday for goodness sake!

Jennifer Montero said...

Hazel & BilboWaggins - I think we're one storm away from forming a support group...

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

My condolences on your weather. Could it be that you're having a banner mushroom year? That's always the upside of a rainy summer season for me.

Do the outdoor dogs ever apply to be indoor dogs? One glimpse through a window of a dog sleeping beside a roaring wood fire, and I figure the outdoor dogs are going to unionize and demand indoor conditions.

My best to N1125, henceforth known as Gregor.

BilboWaggins said...

Dear Support Group,

Please bring firelighters. I caved in and the woodburner is lit . . .

Maria said...

Fingers triple crossed for your hay. I am currently in the lake district for a week with my family. While it's gorgeous to be here, and to be on holiday, I'm struggling to dry anything overnight in time for the following day!!!
Woodstove lighting sounds good, albeit you'd rather start (a lot) later in the year.

Jennifer Montero said...

The group hears your need for firelighters BW, and we don't judge you for it. The first step is acceptance...

Jennifer Montero said...

Every cloud has an edible fungal lining. I will be monitoring the horse paddock for signs of field and horse mushrooms. Our apple harvest is a washout too, but blackberries look promising.

Oh yes, applications for indoors always accepted. And retirees given preferential spot in front of wood stove.

Gregor is recuperating, though now displays an obvious melancholia. I think she is pondering the absurdity of life.

Karen Douglass said...

Mark Twain objected to weather in books, but it's getting to be a major plot line in our lives. Here in Colorado we will see 97 degrees and yet another wild fire. Ugh!