I'm pretty sure it rained every day in August — not a lot — just a sprinkle, which along with the ceaseless westerly, meant it was virtually impossible to get washing dry on the line.

September started with the same pattern, and the rain got heavier. That's a good thing because, at the end of August when I took the dogs for a walk out the back of the farm to the dam which supplies the nearby town's drinking water, I was amazed at how low the water level was at a time you'd expect it to be full.

I must visit again to see if September's deposits have made any difference to the level. If groundwater levels are running at the same levels as the dam, water will be a rare and valuable commodity this summer.

September has so far brought its share of stormy weather and interesting times. The other night before heading to bed I checked the weather and noticed a massive storm cell heading our way, one of the biggest visible around the globe. Around 3am, a blazing flash and a crack of thunder woke me, so I decided it to go through the house unplug all the appliances I'd like to keep.


Satisfied all my favourite electronics were safe I went back to bed (with earplugs). The storm passed through quite fast — and several people (including our son Angus) slept right through it, saying the next morning "storm? What storm?" which almost made me doubt myself.

Maybe I had imagined the whole thing? Proof I hadn't just dreamed it up soon arrived, in rather dramatic and expensive fashion. The next day when someone checked our mob of 2-year-old heifers, eight were dead. Death by lightning, the vet pronounced. As they huddled together near the top of a hill, one strike took them all out. I posted it on my Facebook page and, amid the sympathy, some of the comments raised questions I hadn't thought about — like, did we have any other injured cattle? It's kind of hard to tell if a cow is hurt if their injuries aren't visible, because they can't tell us.

There may possibly be a couple with hearing issues after what must have been a mighty clap of thunder, or in need of counselling, but on the whole they seem quite content and unfazed that several of their number died suddenly in their midst.

We have had better luck with our sheep this year at least. This time last year I was bottle feeding about 10 lambs and had found foster homes for at least that number as well. This year, we've had a mere three abandoned by their mothers and needing adoption, which has been a breeze — Snow Queen, Lemon and Baabara are all thoroughly spoilt little lambs.

One wears a silk bow around its neck, which is acceptable, while another wears disposable nappies and a striped onesie. By the time we get them back, they will have forgotten they are supposed to be sheep and we'll have to put them in with our flock of other misfit pet sheep.

We didn't put a ram with our pet sheep this year and that's one of the main reasons we've had so little mismothering — pet sheep in general seem to be horrible mothers.

At the other end of the scale, I'm wondering if ex-farm dog Bex is losing her marbles. She's only 9 and her mother Jess is still going at 14 (not going strongly, she's stone deaf, and often looks quite puzzled about where she is and what she's doing — the vet assures us she's quite healthy).

Bex has ruined her health with multiple doses of slug and rat bait and is lucky to be here at all. She's never forgiven Bruce for the last time he had her stomach pumped and refuses point-blank to go on the farm with him any more.


But the other day a friend called and said "Have you lost a dog? There's one beside the main road outside your place."

Bex, for that's who it was, began running down the middle of State Highway 1 but luckily responded when my friend whistled to her. I drove down and picked her up and asked her what she thought she was doing, running around on the road and dicing with death. Bex wagged apologetically but unsurprisingly didn't answer. Wouldn't it be great if animals could talk?