Last week, I wrote: “probably won't cool down much more overnight due to the cloud layer”. As soon as last week’s blog entry had been published the thermometer started to drop. Eventually it settled on about 2 degrees Celsius (35.6F) and as the dark of the early evening settled in, it was probably a little bit cooler than that.
The stars put on a good show that night, with the Milky Way being clearly visible as a twisting streak of cloud light across the sky. Even the Large Magellanic Cloud was visible as a much smaller cloud of light. Still it was a cold clear night – for here anyway.
The next morning, the beginning of a week-long storm rolled in. The morning found me inside pretending to work, looking outside at the storm. By about mid-morning, I went outside because I couldn’t believe it. It was actually snowing. Nothing settled on the ground, but it was definitely snowing.
Snow is a bit novel Down Under, so I rugged up and jumped into the trusty old Suzuki and drove up to the ridge on the mountain range doing a bit of snow chasing – purely for research purposes, of course. The main ridge of the mountain range is about 300m (about 1,000ft) above the farm so I’d expect it to be about 3 degrees Celsius (5.4F) cooler than here and there’d be a good chance of snow settling on the ground. Again, purely for research purposes, I took the camera along and here is what I saw:
Oh yeah, the research also included a cappuccino and a very excellent pear and cinnamon crumble muffin at the local café / post office / general store along the way. Truly, it was a hardship that had to be endured, purely for research purposes, of course.
Anyway, I estimated that I’d be up and back within 40 minutes and no one would be the wiser. A cunning plan! Needless to say, that I’d completely under estimated the impact of the high winds and recent rainfall on the trees here and my path back to the farm had been cut off because of the very large trees which were now lying horizontally across the road about 2 kilometres (1.24 miles) south of the farm. Not good.
So, I drove right around the mountain range and approached the road from the northern end only to again get within 2km (1.24 miles) of the farm on the northern side. This was due to more fallen trees.
It was at this point that I realised that heading out on a really windy day like that – purely for research purposes – without the chainsaw and recovery gear was a really dumb idea.
Fortunately, I was rescued by a neighbour who was out clearing trees off the road with his chainsaw and using his vehicle to drag the cut logs off the road. I was also fortunate enough that he brought up a spare pair of overalls, gloves and hard hat. That’s how I ended up hauling trees off the road for an hour or so. The hard hat was a particularly good idea as a small branch fell on my head at one point. Trees were literally falling down around us as we hauled logs off the road.
Needless to say, the lesson to be learnt here is that in dodging work – for research purposes – you may just find yourself – through no fault of your own – having to do even more work!
Breaking chicken news: 9 of the 14 chickens are now happy to use the new vestibule exit into the orchard. Egg production is still only about 1 egg per day and it is Araucana and the Silkie_chickens who are providing these. In the colder weather, I leave a layer of their bedding straw on the floor of their shed so they have an area to scratch around in on cold wet days.
The excavations are continuing too and you can now see the flat area where the new water tanks will be sited. Another stump was removed during the process of the excavations too. You can see in the photo the soil line on the stump itself. The stump was like the iceberg that sunk the titanic and the axe was used quite a bit that day.
Due to the continuing wet and cold weather, in the past few days the under-cover firewood storages were completely refilled too. The firewood had been cut 3 years ago and despite being quite damp, it burns very hot.
Right now outside it is 6.5 degrees Celsius (43.7F) at about 6pm. So far this year the farm has received 424.6mm (16.7 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week’s total of 385mm or (15.5 inches).
Some of the animals here love the wet weather. One of them is the Kookaburra. This bird is very similar to a Kingfisher and has a huge and very sharp beak which they regularly sharpen on the trees. You definitely wouldn’t want him to take a peck of your hand. He loves the wet weather because the worms and grubs come to the surface of the soil for a bit of a breather and then he swoops in and eats them. Kookaburras are also very partial to tree frogs (which spend an awful lot of time on the ground given that they’re meant to be tree frogs). The bird lives in a small family unit and they keep a close watch on each other and call out with a distinctive laughing call when danger is lurking close by. They are amazing flyers and can speed through thick forest as if there were no obstacles in their way (the x-wings of the bird world, apologies for the dorky reference!).
I like having them at the farm here as they’ll call out when there is something unusual going on and it would be unwise to ignore their message. They also catch and eat snakes, which is fine by me.