Did I say it was dry last month? What was I thinking? Without so much as a drop of rain for around six weeks the definition of dry has taken on a new meaning. A few drops fell last week but you could practically count them on one hand.
• Dairy farmers dealing with drought: Animals and people doing it tough
• Far North drought costs expected to rise
• New Zealand drought: Rain on the way this weekend but not enough to end drought
They hit the ground and sizzled into nothingness without doing any good. In fact, those few drops probably just tickled the dormant facial eczema spores sitting on the shrivelled grass into sitting up and thinking it's time to party.
It often seems to be the way – with an approaching high payout, something ghastly happens. Usually a drought, but sometimes the entire world economy falls apart. This time we have a drought plus the threat of a global pandemic as a bonus extra.
I believe in East Africa they're also facing a plague of locusts, so I guess we should be grateful that's not happening here. We have a few scabby crickets, but not enough so far to do serious damage. A cricket found its way into our bathroom the other night and serenaded us for hours. He died.
We're not as badly off when it's dry here as some farms – clay soil and kikuyu can make for some horrible winters but in summer we hold on a little longer in the dry and the cows at least have a little something to munch on even if it's not terribly nutritious (in a previous season we have had a cow die of starvation with a full belly of kikuyu, it's full of fibre and not much else).
And Bruce set us up beautifully for the summer with crops of chicory and turnips, plenty of grass silage and a good crop of maize growing off the farm.
Farms on sand or peat are looking particularly sad and brown. The grass is so brown and crackly you wonder if it will ever come to life again. Visiting an area on the west coast, I saw the saddest little maize crop you'll ever see, waist high and brown, not a cob in sight.
Whoever planted that just lost everything it cost them to put it into the ground, because no animal is going to eat that. Even the voracious army worm, the scourge of many a fruitful maize crop, would give it a wide berth.
Speaking of pests, we've been besieged by birds – a big flock of paradise ducks think we have planted chicory just for them. We didn't, so we wage a constant battle against them.
Rural ramblings with Julie Paton: Heat, pests and the neighbour's smoke
One of our main weapons to keep them at bay is a gas-powered bird scarer which sounds terrifyingly like a shotgun being fired. Our neighbours for miles around apparently hate this machine, especially when whoever was meant to switch it off at the end of the day doesn't.
Depending on where it is, we sometimes don't hear it until we go to bed and then realise Bruce (no, definitely not I) must get up again and venture into the dark to turn it off.
Sadly, while our bird scarer alarms small ducks and our neighbour, it does nothing to deter our regular visitors, a 100-strong flock of Canadian geese which chow down on any remaining pasture in the back fields.
These birds are huge pests and their numbers are expanding throughout the country. Four geese eat as much pasture as one stock unit and produce as much if not more crap, plus they scare native birds out of any area they claim.
That movie Fly Away Home movie made them seem cute and maybe they are fine in their native country, but the bright spark who introduced them as a game bird here in 1905 really didn't think ahead.
When we watched that movie about the plane landing in New York's Hudson River it was no surprise to find out that a flock of birds which brought the plane down were Canadian geese.
Honestly, they're evil. I like hearing the bird call on National Radio every morning but to hear that distinctive honk on the radio at 7am the other day felt like a slap in the face. Why would they feature a Canadian goose? I felt personally attacked.