The wintry west extends his blast,
And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
The blinding sleet and snaw:
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
And pass the heartless day.
- Extract from 'Winter - A Dirge' by Robert Burns (18781)
A couple of years ago, in August 2006, South Africa was struck by an unusual phenomena, snow! It is something we rarely experience and it therefore always creates great excitement as well as hard-ship. Especially in the farming community, as livestock is always at risk because of the vast sizes of our farms and the large numbers of livestock we farm with - no barns really big enough to house all of them. No protection against the freezing temperatures and also a great problem with feed supplies. Luckily, people like us on smallholdings (8.5ha, which is 10 morgen or 21 acres), have fewer animals, making winter much more manageable, but still not worry-free.
After having a LOVELY warm week filled with sunshine, Wagtails starting to prepare their new nest and plenty of signs that Spring is on the way, it started snowing all over the country, sending temperatures plummeting to -2°C! Roads are closed in the Free State and KwaZulu Natal and TV and radio reports are telling people to hold off on travelling for a while. So while Lin Frye is suffering in 'UNRELENTING' heat, we've been pushed right back to the middle of winter! Isn't Nature just amazing...?
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 12 x 8"