Rain and fog

I recently learned (due to a whim of curiosity during the morning commute, and the availability of Google at all times of day, except for one stretch along said commute which has no mobile phone signal) the difference between mist and fog. Fog, apparently, is ground-level cloud, while mist is something that rises from the ground (or bodies of water). Now, every time I see one or the other I have to hesitate for a moment while my brain refreshes and I remember which is which. Currently, this is every morning – it’s been a misty winter so far.


Our rainfall for June was slightly below average, May was about average, and April was almost double the average (69 mm against an average  of 36 mm for the month). It’s an unexpectedly wet winter for what was predicted to be an El Niño year (although the current outlook says it’s El Niño neutral in the Pacific ocean, with a negative Indian Ocean Dipole emerging -0 all of which indicates that we should expect average or above average rainfall); our rainfall for the year to date has been 496 mm, and the annual mean is only 663 mm.


I’ve always been interested in weather and climatic patterns. In primary school I learned what the different types of clouds look like and what they mean, and how to read a weather chart (high pressure systems, low pressure systems, fronts, etc.), which was fascinating. As an aside, I seriously think that geography/social studies for kids should include this stuff, and I think it’s real shame that the current Australian curriculum doesn’t. I remember being bitterly disappointed with social studies (aka history/geography mashed into one subject) when I arrived in Australia at age 12 and started school here.


Having a farm makes that interest more personal. Having a farm with no mains water connection makes it deeply personal. The length of my showers and my decision to put in a composting toilet rather than a water-guzzling flush toilet (the average Australian toilet uses about 20,000 L of water per year in flushes) have a measurable effect on how much water I have left for everything else for the summer – and I get to decide how to best use that water.


So the last few days of wet weather, we’ve been watching the rain with this warm, contented joy as it hydrates the soil, waters the trees, and fills our water tanks. And then with increasing concern as it completely fills the water tanks, overflows, and starts washing away the soil near by. (Overflow control is now in place! Trenches dug, pipes laid, overflow connectors of weird sizes connected, and the overflow from the big tank piped off to the empty small tank. Which is already two thirds full – so more piping and trench digging this week.)