Today is a day I assign to working around the property. It has been raining without let up for the past twenty-four hours. So it is work in the rain – one of the grandest feelings of all. Too many people put off outside work if it is raining or even looks like raining. – particularly if you work for our local council on road mending or the RTA. They will knock off if they even hear of rain storms in Russia or somewhere.
But there is nothing more cleansing and refreshing than to be working outside while it is raining. Most jobs are not dependent upon dry conditions. I tend to work in jeans and a tee shirt and it doesn’t matter if they get wet. They just end up in the washing machine, half washed already. My wife calls to me to take an umbrella with me as I go to the front gate to collect the mail, but unfortunately I did not hear too clearly. I hate umbrellas and rarely walk with one.
“When it rains, It rains on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust has stolen the just’s umbrella.” (Lord Bowen 1923)
But today the gauge tells me we have had 31 mm since I first ventured out. We have now had 225mm since January 1st – that is 9 inches on the old scale. With the high humidity and warm temperatures that means everything is growing at a fantastic rate. I have never seen the lawns and gardens so lush.
The tanks are all overflowing; the dam has water going ever the top. The swimming pool is two inches over the high point so it must have the level lowered. How different a few months ago while the drought was still dominant in our area. We pray that in your area steady soaking rains are doing good. And if the rain has spoilt your plans for beach or bar-be-cue, just be grateful that others are rejoicing that their properties or crops have been saved.
I have been round the dam in my gum-boots, dryzsabone and hat, rain drops on the nose and the hands wet from the wet handle of the spade. This is the time to clear all the in flow channels of leaves and silt, so that when the next rains come, we can save every drop we need.
I have just done my regular job in the chook house. Once a month I clear out all the shredded paper on the floor and have taken it out to the compost bin. Within a few weeks it will have broken down with all the chook manure to magnificent compost. The chook house plays an important part in our recycling program. Every night I end up with my large leather bag full of important papers that have to be read on state budgets, up coming legislation, and reports from statuary authorities. A few hours reading leaves some to be kept and filed, but the rest have to be destroyed. I shred everything, and then all that shredded paper ends up on the floor of the chook house where the chooks and ducks ‘foul/fowl)” it good. It feels good to know that all of Michael Costa’s hard work on the state budget planning to sell off the power stations, ferries, and the crown jewels, ends up shredded, covered with chook and duck poo and into the compost bin to fertilize every new plant or tree that goes in. The rain is so pleasant. Like Noah I could float around in it for forty days and forty nights. All sunshine makes a desert, but rain grows everything.
I have left my gum boots outside the study door and come in to write this to you on the computer. There is an email awaiting from a missionary we support from our church who is working in China. Marnie Hanlon writes:
“Each year, to celebrate the New Year, hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers head home from their factories to celebrate with family and friends. This winter is being said to be the coldest in about 50 years and the combination of cold and crowds has created incredible chaos and suffering. When much of the world’s most populous country grinds to a weather-induced halt, chaos quickly follows. When it occurs just before Chinese New Year, a time when millions of migrant workers rush home for their only visit of the year, the human suffering is difficult to calculate.
China is in the throes of its worst winter storm in half a century as ice, sleet and record snowfalls blanket the nation’s heartland. At least 50 deaths have been linked to the weather, including two dozen people killed when a bus plunged 130 feet off a mountain road in the southern province of Guizhou. The storm, expected to last several more days, has shut down at least 19 airports and brought traffic accidents, food shortages and power cuts. Millions are staying in makeshift shelters. In Shanghai, about 38,000 rail passengers spent Tuesday night in the main railway station, underground garages and nearby public schools when the train service was cancelled. The central provinces of Hunan and Hubei have been hardest hit, but eastern provinces are also affected. Houses and agricultural land have been destroyed, leading to economic losses totaling A$3billion.
In Guangzhou, about half a million people have been unable to travel because snow in Hunan has blocked a key rail link with Beijing. Officials were trying to accommodate the stranded passengers, who were creating camps around the station. Police and soldiers were also on the scene to control the crowd. Highways connecting Guangzhou and Hunan have also been blocked, with 20,000 vehicles stranded on one expressway. In one of them was a man taking 10 children to visit their migrant worker parents in Guangdong. ‘Today is our fifth day on the bus,’ he said, ‘Every day we each get two packs of instant noodles to eat.’ Tens of thousands more people were said to be waiting at stations across central and eastern China, while flights have been delayed or cancelled. In the short term, more snow is forecast for central regions in the next few days, making an early end to the chaos unlikely.”
Guess what. Harry Secombe is singing on the radio, “Some where the sun is shining,” and outside the rain has stopped and the sun has come out.
Rev The Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., M.L.C.