By Chris R.
The day started cloudy and still on Saturday the 19th of March – a welcome relief from the ongoing hot weather and strong east winds experienced over the past few months.
Light drizzle began to fall by mid-morning. Our dedicated volunteers continued with their work, enjoying the cool change. By 1pm, distant thunder could be heard and some spectacular lightening seen to the north and east, illuminating the darkening sky.
By 2pm, storm clouds had arrived. Overhead lightening cracked and we wondered which of the trees in the forest overlooking the Valley had been hit. Thunder shook the windows and text messages arrived from the local fire brigade, alerting us to the fact that the lightening was causing fires close by. Shortly after, power was lost, which in turn meant no phone or running water. Then the heavens opened. The rain was deafening, especially for the PVAS creatures, sheltering under their tin roofs. Lucas Lamb, residing in the lounge with Pearl, became highly unsettled. His loud baa-ing followed each bang of thunder. The chickens and roosters took cover in their night quarters. Flora the tawny frogmouth enjoyed the downpour, stretching out her wings and bathing in the rain.
The watershed from the west came down the hill in a rush, carrying much debris on its way. Pots, tool boxes, feed containers and hay were all washed with it, the surprising stream gaining momentum as the rain continued. Gutters overflowed and gumboots were needed to allow us to check that the animals were coping with the storm. Sheep in the paddock had water above their ankles. The donkeys evacuated to their shelter, most upset at the swirling, knee deep water flowing through it.
After half an hour, the rain softened, although the lightening continued. A large amount of debris was washed up against fences and gates. The eastern paddock fence bordering the brook was washed out, taking soil, leaves and even Digby’s soccer ball with it. Fortunately, his much loved ball was located down stream and retrieved for him to play another day.
The afternoon was spent fixing holes and regaining access to paddocks. The following day was also filled with cleaning around the house, grading fire breaks and driveways and attempting to fill in wash-aways in the paddocks. Despite our best efforts, Albert the donkey presented with a sore foot on Sunday evening, resulting in the vet attending Monday. It was confirmed to be a sprain, most likely from a slip on the newly altered surface.
Once many of the repairs and cleaning were complete, we took a walk through the Valley and noted that the dam had risen over 30cm. We spied pieces of wood on the roads where lightening had struck the highest of trees and the neighbourhood was a hum with road workers clearing and patching damage. Just five days later, a beautiful green hue can be seen in the paddocks, heralding the welcome end of a very long and hot summer.