Too much of a good thing

  • Posted on: 4 October 2016
  • By: MrWurster

Ok, I've had enough.

It has rained and rained for so long now. The road to our house is a nest of pot holes. The gateways have been churned to a bog, just waiting to catch me with a load. So far I've been bogged only once, but any day now its going to happen again.

The goose compound was underwater. I had to trench a way through for the excess to drain off. Its working, but can't keep up with the endless rain, so its just as underwater a week later, with the trench practically a stream. That was urgent, I thought, as we had three goslings hatch, and the mother was dragging them through calf-deep water. It didn't help. Over the week she managed to lose them all, one by one.

The poor sheep are soaked. At night the lambs huddle under shelter, but during the day they stand out in the rain, or next to their mother, drenched and hunched. We separated out the ram last week. I was going to park him in the second top paddock, but he demonstrated, when we were rounding him up, that he knew how to bust through the tight wire fence. So he was relegated to the cattle pens, which are more secure. But two weeks of rain, and a restless ram trotting up and down, and the yards became a quagmire. I spend a day in the rain setting up a new, temporary yard for him. I wouldn't say he's happy with the arrangement, but he's certainly better off than he was.

The cows were being fed over winter, and I stopped a couple of weeks back when the grass started growing again. I had to start up feeding them again this week. Its been so cold and miserable, and they need the fuel. They are pretty morose about it all. Last night I left a gate open by mistake, and they didn't even find it. Normally they'd be through it wreaking havoc within minutes….I hope to build them a shelter of some sort by next year. Sounds like I'm spoiling them, but I'd need to feed them less if they didn't burn off so much energy in the cold and wet.

A team came through last week and trimmed a few high gum tree branches that overhung the powerlines that cross the river. They politely cut the lengths into 2 metre logs and left them there for me. I haven't had time to cut them smaller, and they are too heavy to lift. Half of them have floated off this morning, the river has risen more than 5 metres and flooded the second deck of the embankment.

It's another 4 metres to the next level, then there's a 100 metre plain before the last rise to the house. Its just as wide on the other side of the river. It would have to reach biblical proportions to get to the back door, but I think some of our neighbours might be closer to the edge of the rising water.

The summer fruit will be affected. The apples and stonefuit blossoms have been knocked off or rotted in the wet, and the bees have stayed at home all week anyway. Bizarrely, the massive paulownia tree next to the house has hardly dropped a stick. Last year it dropped very big branches, four or five trailer loads. This week one small branch, while in front of the house a tulip tree is a nest of smashed timber suspended up high, waiting to drop on someone.

I've been out a few times today, but its so miserable, its hard to do more than the bare minimum. I thought I'd double-check the rainfall figures just to see if the gloom has made me exaggerate....last month we had twice the monthly average rainfall...over 200mm. In the first few days of this month we've had half an average October rain.

(And as a post-script...the river flooded a few weeks later, with extensive flooding further downriver from us. We were 10cm away from having out bottom paddocks flooded. The Great Alpine Road was closed, for a couple of days, due to water covering the road 500 metres from our place.)