When it rains it pours

I can’t believe only a month ago we were highly concerned about how long the super-dry hottest summer on record was stretching out. The tanks were all dry – all 120 000 litres of them – and we were nursing the town water but still ramping up a scary water bill. Within four weeks that whole scene has completely been flipped around. This morning I had to wear an all-weather jacket and water-proof boots to face the 8C temperature and the driving rain to feed the chooks and ducks.

It’s our goal now to keep all feed out of all the coops – to reduce the wild birds and mice getting in there, but this morning I had to feed the chooks inside the coop. It was just too wet everywhere outside and the rain would just have instantly spoiled their food. Besides, spreading some of the feed in the coop’s run will make them turn the deep litter over. And hopefully that will keep them busy under cover while it is still pouring down.

Towards the end of last week we had over 25mm of rain. On Saturday, despite still nursing a painful kidney inflammation, I had to get out and shovel some mulch into the renovated coup’s run. It was a total mud bath and combined with the chook and duck poo it was fast turning into a cesspool. You literally slipped around when you fed the chooks and ducks. It’s amazing how much difference a layer of mulch made. By Sunday the bad smell had totally disappeared and you could walk comfortably around the run. In retrospect, I’m happy it forced me to get going again.

Pour - duck mulch

A bit better to work on than the mud – not sure that the ducks agree

This week, the rain started on Sunday night as we put the kids to bed, and by mid-day Monday it still hadn’t stopped. By Monday when I returned from my day-job we had had over 40mm of rain. Provided we didn’t have any spillage – which I now regret not checking in the middle of the night or as part of the morning rush – we should now have another 40 thousand litres added to what is already in the tanks. (And Monday night we had a further 5mm.) But the result was that everything was flooded. We’re supposedly in the rain shadow of the great Otway ranges, but this rain just ignored the “shadow” and came pouring down on us.

The area where we keep and prepare the chooks and ducks feed was like a swimming pool. The lids of the food containers were all filled with icy cold water, and everywhere you stepped was just one big puddle of water. I really have to add a cover over the area, but I will have to add a gutter as well, in such way that the additional water does not run off the roof and accumulate even more concentrated on the ground. Besides, every drop of water needs to be saved for the next summer. Maybe I should just bend down and put some brick paving on that whole area. We have a pile of bricks. As if we need more projects!

Muddy work area and lids full of water

However, with all the recent rain, the overflow “pool” (where the runoff from the ducks waterer inside the coop collects and then seeps into the loquat’s trees roots) had totally flooded and overflowed. Apart from some serious underground plumbing, which will make it a nightmare to clear the pipe when it gets clogged with straw strands, I don’t think there is much we can do now but let it sink in and then clear it all once it is dryer. We have to clear the outflow pipe more often than we get rains like this, simple maths.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo when the pool was flooded.

The pond totally overflowed onto the lawn on the far side. No harm done there – just great to see so much water in an otherwise dry area. I just hope the fruit trees’ roots don’t start rotting.

Pour - pond

The pond hasn’t overflowed in a long time, and this time it’s not because I forgot the hose on

I know this is nothing compared to the deluges and floods some people have to deal with regularly, but we are just not used to dealing with so much water at a time, neither are we  properly prepared (yet). Of course, it points out our weak areas and what we should do about it – observe and interact. However, above all we are so grateful for the rain – hopefully everything that almost died towards the end of the dry hot summer will recover and not go rotten either. It’s such a relief to just hear thousands of litres pouring into the tanks – music to the ears. If we can manage the tanks well this winter, we should be OK for next summer. But we still have to install two huge tanks over at Dreamland and get them filled before the rain season ends – that’s where the largest water consumption is. And not all the Dreamland house’s gutters are connected to the tanks yet. Big project, that one.

About martin@muchmoremulch.blog (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...

3 Comments on When it rains it pours

  1. janesmudgeegarden // June 4, 2019 at 5:28 pm // Reply

    You’re so lucky with the rain. I don’t know how far we are away from you, but we had 5mm🙁

    • martin@muchmoremulch.blog // June 4, 2019 at 5:42 pm // Reply

      We’re just on the Melbourne side of Geelong – we normally get that, where it pours everywhere else and we get a few drops… so we were lucky this time round!

      • janesmudgeegarden // June 4, 2019 at 5:47 pm //

        Oh Victoria. Yes, we just had a holiday down there and were surprised to see it was quite green. We’re having a green drought, the paddocks look good, but we wouldn’t have seen creeks run for about three years.

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