Lots of rain in Tasmania. Not just the East Coast but all over Tasmania. One minute we are experiencing droughts and now floods. Fortunately not too much damage todate but certainly slows down the work program. Oh well such is life!
After a particularly dry spring we are now having a very wet spell with some flooding last week.
The wet weather here last week is certainly a mixed blessing. Obviously you do need rainfall especially as the dam empties which happened last year. But once I get my
irrigation going in many ways I can do a better job supplying water than coping with such heavy downfalls. The sandy soil we have here is so erodible particularly when ploughed.
But there is so much happening in spring and most things at that time of year depend on steady weather conditions. A major set back this year is the lack of pollination and hence poor fruit set due to trees blossoming in wet or cold conditions. These sort of circumstances keep the bees away.
Another thing is there will be so much grass to mow once I can get my tractor out on the paddocks once they dry off. And all our tomatoes were damaged with weeds taking over especially oxalis which must be the worse weed around. The leave look much like clover but it puts out millions of bulbs all of which sprout the following year. The more you try to move them the more they spread. And the worse thing is there is no herbicide other than maybe fumigation which will get rid of it. Just have to let it lie fallow I guess for a few years.
Wallabies seem more determined than ever to get into out paddocks and eat the things we don’t want eating. They don’t seem to eat the grasses but concentrate on the young trees which after continual denudation give up. Not so long ago I decided that my fences need another update as the wallabies were ignoring the electric and getting in. It was obvious that they were not jumping in but going through the fence as the trails went right up to both sides of the fence. So in the end I contacted the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and was fortunate to have discussions with Mr. Robbie Gaftney. I had envisaged Baiting as a last resort but he supplied many tips some of which I will explain to you now.
As I said they were getting through the net. Apparently they can open the wires up with their paws and use their tail to propel them through between pulses. He recommended that the hot wire system be replaced with wallaby wire. That is both an expensive and time consuming operation. What I have done seems to be working. The idea came to me when I was repairing the cherry netting which these same varmints had punched holes in. So I am now in the process of attaching birdnetting over the hot wires. The theory is that this will impede the roos pushing through the wires as they are still active behind the netting. As they are polyester they are not conductive and in dry weather the fence behave as normal.
We have had some great help come to us this year. Last week we had 5 helpers come to us via Helpx. The picture below shows Michel (Holland) and his girlfriend Ludi(France) who came for a week. Also shown is Mizuki from Japan. Mizuki is here for a while and seems to like most things on the farm and might I even say it is getting used to weeding.
We had several more floods mainly after I arrived back from India. Anyhow it didn’t take much to get run-off as the land was saturated. It did however give us an opportunity to see how well the modifications to the spillway stood up to these overflows. You can see from this photo that the spillway is still in reasonable shape.
This is further evidenced by the clarity of the runoff.
However it still wasn’t quite right. Some wear and tear where the uppermost concreted section hit the gabions at the first drop and also in the intervening region to the second drop. Both these areas were not fully blanketed and some water was creeping around the right wall. (looking at the picture above)
There had also been some subsidence in the blanketed mattress area in the foreground. This meant that the water was not being spread over the entire area.
Solutions: I gave some thought as to how we could improve matters and was looking for simple solutions whereby the changes could be made mostly manually. It didn’t look advisable to take any vehicles into this area as the surrounding ground looked to be still soft.
What Lisa and I did in the end was to collect more rocks that remained in our small quarry at the bottom of this spillway and cover any exposed blanketed areas in the top sections. We also reshaped these sections moving rocks from obviously higher areas to sections that had shown wear and tear when the spillway overflowed.
Then we used the mesh from two spare gabions to re-inforce the levelled first set of gabions. The gabions on the left were from a much earlier attempt at building this spillway and were in bad shape. After we had meshed everything in we then spread another two and half cubic metres over this mesh section to tie it in with the concreted area above.
The pictures probably help you better understand what I have been trying to explain with words. There is still a little work to do on the second section which is the area between these first two gabions and also right at the bottom where the mattresses finish and the overflow rejoins what used to be the old creek bed.
It may look like Lisa did all the work but someone had to take the pictures!
19th February ground already saturated from previous deluge. Another 100mm in about 4 hours caused a repeat of the damage of the first flood. Further damage to spillway although cleanup in anticipation reduced the damage in surrounds. Roads a mess and stonefruit have great trouble with brown rot especially the late nectarines.
380mm of rain in 36 hours or over 200mm in 12 hours. I have never seen so much rain. We go to bed after some rain all day but nothing extraordinary and wake up to find the valley flooded.
All the apricots not picked were destroyed.
Most of the internal roads had developed major gutters.
But the worst damage was to the dam’s spill way which was cut with a major gully and large rocks have been carried down stream