Friday, November 25, 2011

Weather Worries

A little more than a week ago, the weather forecast in the Sacramento Bee said we would not need to worry - the weekend wouldn't be "ruined" by wet weather.  While I've written on this theme in previous years, I never cease to be somewhat offended by the idea that rain during the rainy season is an inconvenience.  Since our sheep rely on the grass that in turn relies on precipitation, rain doesn't ruin my weekend this time of year!

Since I rely on grass, and because I work outside nearly every day, I take a personal interest in the weather forecast.  While this autumn started out with favorable rain in October, the storms that have been predicted over the last several weeks have fizzled.  While we've just barely started into the wet season, I start to get nervous when predicted storms fail to deliver.  We've reached the point in the year when the days are short and soil temperatures have dropped enough to where the grass won't grow much, even if we get rain.  I think this year's new grass looks dry and stunted - never a welcome sight to a grass-farmer!

While it's much too early to panic, we do start thinking about drought strategies when weather systems fail to deliver.  Our drought tool box includes selling ewes (especially those that are not bred), weaning the lambs early, and buying in extra feed.  None of these strategies are pleasant, but they reflect the reality of our way of life.

In the meantime, I'm hoping for a few more "ruined" weekends in the near future - let it rain!

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