Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Big Wet gets even Wetter

2010 is set to be our wettest year for 30 years. Over the weekend we had over 150mm of rain which makes it our wettest October since we started keeping records. Although this has delayed our spring planting for a few days, it has given us many exciting (and sometimes amusing) sights.

Not only are our tanks and dams all overflowing profusely, but every depression in the ground is now full of water and creating little streams of runoff. As our son Greg commented, there seems to be water seeping out of every nook and cranny. Our wheelbarrow gets extensive use shifting all sorts of materials and this weekend we even had barrowfuls of water to shift (but nowhere needed water).

Our jetty nearly went underwater

When we were first looking for a property to purchase, one of our dream criteria was a permanent stream or natural spring. Tenderbreak has finally given us our springs (temporary we think?? ). They are popping up everywhere, as water seepage follows channels below the ground till it eventually comes to the surface. These are feeding our gullies which have turned into small streams, our main gully has turned into a fast flowing creek, Pauls Creek has turned into a raging river (nearly washing out our access road and the Yarra River has turned into an inland sea down at Yarra Glen.

When the dam outlet pipe couldn't cope, the overflow went over the driveway

Now we have a new range of adventure activities on our property.....white water rafting, surfing, canoeing, riding barrels over waterfalls or for the more fearful having “boat” races using leaves, sticks or bark.

All this beautiful water has given us an opportunity to flush water out of the dam. We opened the gate valve on the outlet pipe open for several hours allowing stagnant water sitting at the bottom of the dam to flush out. The fresh, nutrient filled rainwater then topped up the dam. The fish should find this very refreshing.

Releasing water out of the gatevalve

Some more photos that give an idea of the sights that behold us.

Emergency road repairs!

Rapids in Pauls Creek

Horse "float" Parking

Yarra Glen Race Track
Surfs Up as water enters the Yarra River
Pauls Creek is now a river

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Murray and Vicki

Murray & Vicki have been staying with us since May. At the beginning they helped manage the place while we took a break, but once we returned home were happy to stay on (like long-term WOOFERS).

Whilst at Tenderbreak, they have been extremely busy gathering firewood, weeding, planting hundreds of onions, bushfire prevention work, helping out with tours, renovating our extensive network of garden paths, mulching and many other tasks. They have also used their culinary skills to create some wonderful meals and edible delights for us, including the Midnight Xpresso Chocolate Cake for Heather’s birthday and a wonderful cheesecake for Kathy and Sally’s birthday. On top of all of that they have entertained us with their recorded and live music.

Murray is a bit of an “ideas man” and came up with a unique way of using saplings. We laid them in a tight parallel pattern to make a raised footpath over a boggy area that had formed near the gate that leads to the chook pen. As you can see in the photo, it is not only very practical but also quite aesthetic, low cost and has low embedded energy.

Dedicated cook Vicki out in the rain collecting lemons for making lemon butter.
Vicki loves cooking and quickly mastered the subtleties of managing a slow combustion wood stove. She also “harvests” weeds with great thoroughness- our garlic patch has never looked better.

However what makes these long term stays memorable and special, is the bond that develops between hosts and visitors. As with our earlier guests, Murray and Vicki are easy to get along with, they blend in so well they are like part of our family. It is a real pleasure to sit around the dinner table eating delicious home grown meals with a glass of wine (or home-made ginger beer) and enjoying each other’s company. Thankyou Murray and Vicki, for sharing our journey with us.

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