The hailstorm turns Warrandyte green, not all of it good

The hail storm that ravaged Melbourne, and in particular, Warrandyte, was so furious, it literally stripped the branches on the exposed side of the gum trees and piled the debris all over everything. That debris, which is highly flammable, now carpets my block and that of all my neighbours. Cleaning it up is a nightmare.

These are the in-progress pics of the Great Clean Up and the fresh green grass that’s growing up from underneath. Clearing the area directly around the house and the fire fighting pumps has been my first priority:

The concrete and metal pump house with waist high berm in front
Step 1, rake, rake and rake some more
In the background is the corrugated iron, walk-in bin we made

There’s a bit of green pretty much everywhere, but the lushest green is on the terraces near the house where grey water from the laundry has soaked in, keeping the grass from completely drying out. The melted hail, and the good rain that came after, did the rest.

The largest terrace was created from the clay and rock excavated for the site cut. The site cut is literally a flat spot dug out of the slope of the hill to make space for the house.

The pic below shows the set of field stone steps leading down from the top terrace to the ‘orchard’ area. Much of the debris came from the steps themselves and the banks on either side:

Field stone steps

And finally, a close up of the ‘bin’ we made out of star pickets and left-over corrugated iron sheets.

The walk-in ‘bin’ for the debris

The inside measurement of the ‘bin’ is 1.5 x just under 3 metres, so it’s big. Even so, it’s about 1/3 full already and may not be big enough to contain all the debris from the house area, let alone the rest of the block. We can make it a bit bigger, but I don’t want to bring such a huge heap of flammable material any closer to the trees [in case a bushfire goes through and turns it into a bbq].

Once the bin is full, I’ll close off the front, plant a sprinkler on top and keep everything moist until the fire season is over. Gum leaves don’t compost very well so I may have to burn them off in bits over winter. Joy.

Thanks to my neighbour’s house acting like a shield, the hail didn’t cause as much damage in the front as in the back. If we’re lucky, and nothing bad happens before Easter, I may be able to get rid of most of the debris in front via the weekly green bin. It’s not very big, but as I don’t have a trailer or even a car that could tow a trailer, I have no other way of getting rid of the green waste.

Thanks for your great generosity, Nillumbik Shire Council. <<biting sarcasm>> One of the richest shires in Victoria gave us one extra green bin collection to help us reduce our fuel load. I’m sure it bled their coffers dry.

Anyway, time to take up my trusty rake and get back to work.

cheers

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

36 responses to “The hailstorm turns Warrandyte green, not all of it good

  • DawnGillDesigns

    The rule for composting here (according to the expert who lectured at my mum’s village garden club) is to keep it moist and hot, with a variety of components to aid with biodiversity, so add some of your kitchen waste to the leaves, cover and keep as damp as you can manage. He said it’s worth turning it occasionally, but that if one has space, it’s easier just to have 3 compost areas, and to move one into another every 4-6 months, by which time the first will have had a full year of composting , and most can be used to mulch / enrich. He also said about ‘seeding bacteria’ by including some of an already functioning heap in every new one started.
    I hadn’t realised your plot was so big. It looks huge in these photos. And how did I not remember / know you have llamas (or are they alpaca?)

    Like

    • acflory

      That all rings a bell. There’s a gardening show here on TV called ‘Gardening Australia’. It’s been going for decades, and I watch it when I can but…just at the moment I’m not sure that hot and moist is a good idea. It’s going to be 41C on Friday again so I think I’ll just keep a sprinkler handy in case something starts in the area.

      Yeah, my block is almost country. πŸ™‚ The alpacas have been at my neighbours getting supplementary feeding coz there was nothing for them to eat. We let them back in once there was some green to be had. lol I think they ate non-stop for three days. Like kids in a candy story.

      Liked by 1 person

  • D. Wallace Peach

    Hail. What else can possibly hit you all? Despite the raking and raking, it does sound like you’re being proactive. I hope you get a great big drenching rain.

    Like

  • anne54

    Sorry to hear that the hail has added to your problems. We didn’t get the hail here (inner Melbourne), just the lovely soaking rain. My sister is Glen Iris way and told me stories of broken car windows, smashed carports, skylights etc. It certainly has been a wild and crazy January (but of course well all know that climate change is crap! Thanks Tony.)

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    • acflory

      Yeah, it’s been weird to say the least. Apart from several leaky hoses, dimples on the Offspring’s car, a broken sensor thingie on the hotwater heater, and the debris, we seem to have escaped the heavy duty damage. I really feel for those who’ve had damage to their houses and cars. Even if insurance covers it, repairs don’t happen overnight. I hope Tony’s cringeing under a rock somewhere. :/

      Like

  • Candy Korman

    I don’t know how to respond except to say, “oh my!” Time for all of us to adapt to the land. I’m not entirely sure what that means for me in New York City, but I’m working on finding out. From using sustainable materials in my apartment renovations to insulating to minimize energy for heating & cooling. We’re all a long way off from the relationship between the land and its indigenous people.

    Like

    • acflory

      Yeah, you face a very different set of adaptations, living in such a huge city. I remember when you were without power for…weeks? After the Sandy hurricane?

      I know it sounds alarmist and silly but…I’ve started stocking my pantry with things that will last. We don’t have compulsory evacuations here, but once you leave, you won’t be allowed back in so my squirrel brain is putting nuts aside. And yes, I probably have been reading too many post apocalypse stories. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Widdershins

        I think you’re looking reality squarely in the eye and saying, ‘I am NOT going to act like a chook with my head cut off and stuck in the sand. ( mixing my metaphors, I know πŸ™‚ ) Just starting with a few things puts you streets ahead of 90% of the people around you.

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        • acflory

          I know, and I do feel safer for it, but I keep wondering how much worse it has to get before the other 90% decide that maybe they should do something too. This planet is like a leaky life boat and we’re all fighting over the one paddle.

          Liked by 1 person

  • cagedunn

    They do compost faster with the mow-over method (use a catcher for less raking post-mow) and adding dolomite (I also add a vinegar mix – 1/2 cup vinegar to one bucket of water once a month. My method varies with the toughness of the leaves). Luck.

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    • acflory

      I can mow over atm because it’s shin high with branches, large and small, but I will get some dolomite and see if sprinkling it over my Mt Everest helps. I’m assuming the dilute vinegar is for proper compost heaps?

      Liked by 1 person

      • cagedunn

        I have no idea what a proper compost heap is, but if I don’t have someone who can add urine to the mix, I use vinegar to help feed the things that break down the veins … at least, I think that’s its purpose.
        When I was on the farm, composting was putting a big pile together, whatever was around went into it, but I learned that to make it break down faster, I had to give it air (usually a few sticks or star-pickets that can be wriggled around a few minutes a week – the lazy person’s strategy) and an acid, but with a bit of dolomite or similar to keep the worms coming back. The wet stuff was usually mowed green weeds, duck/goose droppings, cow-pats (neighbour contributions).
        I also learned that compost heaps can ignite if the conditions are right – check out how hay-stacks ignite sometimes: https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/10/22/3872278.htm

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        • acflory

          omg…bookmarked for further study. With my luck all the ducks would line up in a row and my prevention would be worse than the disease. 😦
          Now I don’t know whether to wet it down or leave it very very dry. Will have to do some more thinking. Thank you!

          Liked by 1 person

          • cagedunn

            Wetting it down and getting air into it and never letting it compact – that’s what I was told. Scared the [ducks] outta me when it happened to a neighbour’s stack.

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          • acflory

            Ugh, I’m compacting it as much as I can because there’s so much of it. Luckily the woody branches should keep some air circulating. I think for now I’ll leave it dry. 😦

            Liked by 1 person

  • MELewis

    Glad to see you are rallying to the severe weather challenges in your parts! A bit of ingenuity and lots of elbow grease will hopefully see you through until cooler days. So lovely to see the green coming back!

    Like

  • bone&silver

    Wow, what a summer! Glad you’re ok and have a plan you can follow πŸ‘πŸΏ

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks. We’ve escaped pretty much everything so far, but I have this creeping fear that fate is saving the best [or worst] till last. I didn’t want to say too much on your sea change post, but I’d want a bunker as option of last resort. Just in case everything else goes pear-shaped.

      Liked by 1 person

  • robertawrites235681907

    I heard the rain storms were vicious and there was also flooding. Your climate is similar to ours except ours is not quite as hot and our fires don’t become firestorms [South AFrica]. Good luck with your clean up.

    Like

  • daleleelife101.blog

    Once it breaks down a bit it will make nice mulch.

    Like

  • Audrey Driscoll

    No silver lining without its cloud! At least you have a plan and a means of executing it. Gum trees are native, aren’t they? I guess they’re sort of designed to burn, but with population density and climate change that’s not good.

    Like

    • acflory

      Yes and yes. The eucalypts and many of the lower storey plants have evolved to germinate after a fire. That means they burn really well. In fact, the gum leaves contain an oil that turns into a volatile gas when it heats up.

      The Indigenous Peoples used to manage the land. Then white settlers came along and messed things up. Now we get these unstoppable mega fires. Not good.

      Liked by 1 person

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