In the heat of the moment

We saw it coming days away. It was all over the weather forecasts, with warnings broadcasted on all the radio stations and a total fire bans across the state. 43°C with a hot dry northerly wind at 30km/h. However, despite the fore warning, on the day you still have to deal with it.

With the plants, there’s not much more you can do. We irrigated everything the previous day and the crucial bits again in the morning. Now we just have to wait it out and hope they all survive. But the animals are a different story.


The worms seem quite content, and cool, in their shaded worm farm. Tick one.

Worm - plus trimmings


Our bees have steadily been working hard, and we have recently expended both hives to two boxes. We put a temporary shade cover – made from an old pallet covered with shade cloth – over the hives for the day. We also made sure that in addition to the pond next door at Dreamland, there is enough water for them close by. On our regular checks they seemed OK.


The poor chooks was another story. They were outside in the shade under the trees in the renovated coop run. Although they are only sleeping in the brooder nowadays – because they are basically getting too big for it – we brought them all back to the brooder at about 11:00am when it hit 38°C. We constantly put ice in their water, fed them cold liquid foods like watermelon and put our makeshift “evaporative cooler” in front of the brooder. At times we left the back door open so that the cool aircon air could float out across the brooder, which is right on the patio by the back door, for whatever little bit that might have helped. Despite all this, they still lied down panting most of the time. Throughout the afternoon we had to keep replenishing the ice in their water and the water in the evaporative cooler’s bucket.

Heat - evaporative cooler


Of course the blazing hot day had one advantage – it started solarizing the front lawn, where we plan to make space for a French style vegetable potager garden.

Heat - solarise

It’s a pity the hard north wind ripped some of the plastic sheets from underneath the hundreds of bricks under which they were packed – right on the day when I needed them to stay in place. It was just too hot to go and cart more bricks from next door to re-pack it all.

Heat - wind damage

Unfortunately I haven’t scrounged enough sheeting either to cover the whole lawn yet, but it was good start anyway. Even though half of the lawn was still open, it would still be scorched quite significantly by this heat. Now to find more sheets…

Day’s end

It is now 6:00pm. A cold front has just swept through and within an hour the temperature has dropped to 26°C. All the chooks have survived! They’re still lying panting in the brooder, so it’s not worth while moving them back to the run for only an hour. Besides, the concrete paths are still as hot as coals – they’ll burn their feet. Better to let them recover and tomorrow they can be back on the range. Phew, we made it!


About (207 Articles)
My name is Martin Rennhackkamp, I now live happily in Lara, Victoria, Australia with my wife, two children and two dogs. My interests, apart from the obvious Organic, Biodynamic and Permaculture Gardening and Farming, include sustainable living, surfing, horse-riding, a wide variety of music, dancing, nature, birds, reading, Christianity and a few other things which I never get to...

4 Comments on In the heat of the moment

  1. Wow….43C…I would never have survived heat like that!! Wishing you guys some cooler days..

  2. Wow. Wishing you all a nice cool breeze!

  3. The poor chooks! At least the sun and heat are helping your potager preparations along, if not the wind.

  4. Wow loved your innovative worm farm and heat minimization strategies, well done and thanks for sharing.

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