.........from a week of hell on earth. We saw the sun for the first time in a week on Saturday, and a more welcome sight I've never seen. Words can't describe the devastation, and it is so widespread in the bottom corner of the South Island of NZ, that no farm has been immune.
It wasn't just the severity of the storm - it isn't unheard of here to have a brief snow shower early in lambing - it was the prolonged duration of this storm that did the damage, a whole week with no reprieve from firstly the heavy snow, then hail, sleet, more snow, rain and freezing winds, and right in the busiest week of lambing. Newborn lambs didn't stand a chance, nor did many ewes, who succumbed to 'sleepy sickness' and other metabolic problems either late in their pregnancy or just following lambing. Every day was like groundhog day, knowing the storm was not going to ease, and knowing there was very little to be done to save our livestock. Our farm has a lot of natural shelter and of planted shelter belts, but this was little use once there was a foot of snow on the ground, with ewes not able to get out to feed, most of our dead animals were in sheltered areas.
The lamb losses on our farm are in the many, many hundreds, but some farms have lost thousands of lambs and hundreds of ewes. We probably won't know the true extent of the loss until tailing(docking) time next month. While dairy farmers may not have as many animals dying as the sheep farmers, some have faced a critical shortage of supplementary feed, and cows have suffered from the severely cold conditions.
We've been cleaning up for the last few days, and trying to get things back on track, for what is now left of lambing season. I will admit though, that my positive attitude from my last post didn't last more than a couple of days! It's been heartbreaking, and we will feel the effects of this storm for a long time to come, but farmers are pretty resilient folk, and we don't go down without a fight.
Will leave you with a few pics of what my garden was up to before the storm..........a few lettuce plants and some flowers starting to bloom ...............
Please accept my apologies if I didn't reply to your comments from last week, or get the chance to stop by and visit blogs lately, things will start to return to normal here soon. This isn't quite what I had envisaged for my 50th post, but that is just the way life is at the moment! Please know I love reading your comments, and the kindness and good wishes sent last week were very, very much appreciated and cherished.
Till next time, thanks for stopping by today ..............Nicky