Ah yes, the dodgy days of early 90’s electronic dance music are personified for me in the massive hit from the Belgian dance act Technotronics with their song: Pump Up the Jam (58.5 million YouTube views can't be wrong).
With the benefit of hindsight though, I can recall those days as being a bit of a pain. Seriously! I worked full time and studied at University two nights per week and by the time Thursday, Friday or even Saturday nights rolled around, the last place I wanted to be was at a club gyrating away with dance moves from the Peter Garrett (of Midnight Oil fame) school of dance moves (if you know what I’m talking about, you just know what I mean by that last sentence. Nuff said).
By the time the bells of midnight tolled, all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep the sleep of exhaustion. Sneaking off from friends and heading home to catch some quality sleep became a lifestyle choice for me. The questions from friends less burdened than I with responsibilities were easy to dodge too: Great night man. Yeah, must have lost you lot in the crowd.
Fortunately for me, they were usually inebriated so recollection of the details was always a bit fuzzy.
The girlfriend was a much tougher customer though. In situations involving late nights and thumping bass beats, ditching the girlfriend as midnight arrived was not an option and that meant unavoidable late nights.
What was generally amazing about those days was that I never once fell asleep at either work or University. It is worth noting that 2 hour long economics lectures can be dreadfully dull and had I gone to sleep, perhaps the lecturer may have enjoyed my feedback on their lecture technique in the form of my gentle snores?
The whole fandangle quickly became something of a deal breaker for me. It is instructive that most of the people I still know from those days now live quiet, sedate lives and I doubt very much whether they have the stamina to put in a hard day’s work at the farm here, or to rip up dance floors into the small hours!
Why are we discussing this obscure subject? Oh, that’s right, it rained this week. The rain was quite heavy and a small tornado even threatened the outskirts of the nearby city of Melbourne. It was an impressive storm and that is generally how a lot of the rainfall falls onto the farm over the summer months.
Heavy rainfall can test every single system too as that water carries with it a whole lot of energy. And if that heavy rainfall is delivered in a short period of time, then its destructive force is that much greater. If your infrastructure has been boogying away all night on the dance floor (and thus a bit tired and worn out), that infrastructure is probably a bit vulnerable to damage from system shocks such as heavy rainfall.
|The recent heavy rain caused a bit of erosion next to a recently installed water tank|
Most of the infrastructure here handled the heavy rainfall quite well. One problem was that the most recently installed water tank (attached to the wood shed) which holds 4,000 litres (1,050 gallons) of water, had not yet had an overflow installed. That water tank was already full prior to the heavy rainfall and so the tank simply overflowed onto the ground. The photo above shows that the collected water off the small shed had the power to cut a deep channel into the clay. That was only the water collected from a small wood shed, so imagine just how much water is collected from the very much larger roof space of the house during all of that heavy rain.
Thus, adding an overflow to that water tank became a priority over the past few days and I’m glad that the overflow is now installed.
|An overflow to the recently installed water tank was connected up over the past few days|
I haven’t yet backfilled soil over the trench with the large white water overflow pipe because over the next week or so I’ll connect up a pump, garden tap and bushfire sprinkler to the water tank, and some of the pipes will run in that trench.
Observant readers will note in the photo above, the corrugated steel sheet which houses the pump. Eventually, that same pump will lift water to a garden tap in the area above that small shed. The tap will be used to provide water to a yet to be constructed terrace of strawberry beds. Strawberries are a very productive crop here and as well as using that fruit for fresh eating and wine, I also produce strawberry jam. You could say that the water tank and pump will be used to: Pump up the Jam! (edit - nice tie back!)
The storm put on a spectacular show and I took a few photos of the sky because it was such an amazing display:
|Red sky at night the evening before the storm|
|Fog settles in the valley on the morning of the storm|
|The sun eventually broke through the thick clouds as the storm drifted off to the east|
The new berry enclosure (for blackberries and blueberries and also temporarily housing the tomatoes) is almost complete and the final concrete stair step into that enclosure received its final finishing touches on the day before the storm arrived.
|The final concrete stair into the new berry bed received its final finishing touches this week|
Earlier in the week, I received an email from Robert at his shop: Bee Sustainable in Melbourne letting me know that the ordered bee colony was finally available for pick up (I receive no benefit from mentioning this shop). Bees are sold in a nucleus hive box (which is a fancy name for a small bee box with only five frames rather than the usual eight or ten). The bees are feisty little critters and they were busting to escape the nucleus box and explore the farm. You can see their proboscises protruding out of the air vents on that nucleus hive. It probably goes without saying that it is probably not a wise move to put your hands or fingers too close to that entrance.
|Look closely - Bees proboscises protrude out of the air vents on a nucleus hive|
It was a bit too cold and breezy the day of delivery to transfer the frames across to the recently completed new experimental bee hive. In such a situation you can simply place the nucleus box on top of the experimental bee hive and open the door on the front of the nucleus box and the bees can come and go as they please. The bees will be fine in the nucleus box for a day or two as you can wait for more appropriate weather to transfer them across to their new hive. As a general rule, the bees don’t like having their entire colony exposed to cool to cold weather.
|The nucleus box is in place on top of the experimental hive and the door has been opened so that they can explore the farm|
The above photo is an action shot because I had to employ some of those Peter Garrett funky dance moves (edit - if you don't know what Chris is talking about, check out Peter Garrett Dancing Compilation 125,000 YouTube views can't be wrong) to quickly spring back and out of the way to avoid being stung by the now very annoyed bees. The next day was warm and still so the whole colony was transferred into their new experimental home.
|The new colony was transferred into their new home on a warm and still day|
Whilst I was at the bee shop I noticed that they were selling some funky new roofs for bee hives and I splashed out and bought one. The existing bee hive scored that new roof and another (third) box with eight additional frames for them to lay brood in. It was a good thing that I replaced the roof as I felt that the original flat roof maintained too much humidity as it was quite damp inside the hive box. As a fun fact, the bees spend a lot of their time and energies maintaining conditions inside the colony so that it is perfect for both storing honey and rearing brood. If the inside of the hive becomes too humid the honey can possibly ferment. Fermented honey is otherwise known as the drink: Mead. I like mead, but unfortunately it is not good for the health of the bees and they can become very sick consuming it.
|The original bee hive received a further brood box and a funky new roof|
And speaking of funky disco moves, a brand new bird turned up this week at the farm shaking its booty in its rave cave gear for all of us to appreciate: A King Parrot. I have never seen one of these birds in this area before and it amazes me that as the diversity of plant life increases here at the farm, so too does the diversity of bird, insect and animal life.
|A King Parrot has decided to become a guest of the farm|
The local marsupials hit the clubs the other evening for a dance off too. Well, it wasn’t really a club, it was actually part of the orchard where a very fat and comfortable looking wallaby faced off against a much smaller and younger kangaroo.
|A very fat and comfortable looking wallaby and young kangaroo enjoy the long herbage in the orchard|
When it comes to the show ponies of the plant world in this mountain range, few plants can compete with the orchids here. I spotted this spider orchid a few days ago after the heavy rainfall. Please note that the orchid is dressed in a muted colour scheme so that it can nick off at midnight without the other flowers noticing!
|A spider orchid has appeared in the mown herbage after the recent heavy rainfall|
The temperature outside here at about 1.00pm is 28.2’C degrees Celsius (82.8’F). So far this year there has been 682.6mm (26.9 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total 632.6mm (24.9 inches).