We had had dust storms all day. Dust storms in July are unheard of, but coming out of the drought, there were still plenty of empty paddocks and dry dirt roads for the winds to whip up into a dust storm. Later in the afternoon, the dust storm turned into rain. With the amount of dust in the air, it was more like it was raining mud that water, but at least the dust was settled. Then there I was sitting in the lounge room, thinking pleasant thoughts about the wind and rain outside when all hell broke loose. The child like storm outside had whipped itself up into a fully-grown, vengeful mini tornado. The house began to groan in protest. The window flexed and made that scary noise windows make when they are on the verge of shattering. Our corrugated iron roof joined the party, making noises like a roof about to leave the party.
I not unreasonably decided that my spot on the lounge near the windows was not the best place to be. I quickly joined Graeme and Justin in the kitchen where we waited until the violence abated before doing a quick check of all the windows in the house, before Graeme checked our roof for damage. The roof held up well, but when I went in to check our bedroom, I found a small rivulet of water cascading down the wall, adding a water feature to our room causing our bedroom to be soggier than I would have liked. Mum-Puss and Guinevere had been sleeping on the bed during the tempest, and as soon a I walked into the room Guinevere made a dash for safer environs. Mum-Puss, the stoic old lady that she is, toughed it out even objecting loudly when I forcibly removed her from the bedroom to give Graeme and Justin elbow room to staunch the flow.
Apollo and Shadow were locked up in the laundry and only Billy was roaming at large. Apollo wants it stated for the record that he wasn’t the least bit afraid. These violent weather phenomena are meat and drink to a brave guarder of the sheep (even if he is retired). Shadow was just grateful not to be face to face with the storm and also to have that Rock Of Gibraltar, Apollo for comfort. Billy wasn't sure, but he thought the end of the world had come and took off around to the side of the house, when various items stored on our back porch were sucked out into the garden. We managed to coax him back and I coaxed him into the kitchen with promised of a safe harbour until he calmed down. Graeme quickly laid the dining room chairs down to provide a barricade thus locking Billy into the confines of the kitchen where he proceeded to make a mess of the floors with his great muddy paws. Thank goodness for Graeme’s quick thinking.
Let me tell you, you don't want an over-anxious St. Bernard confined to a kitchen, especially once he's discovered that his arch nemeses, the ferrets are taking shelter there too in their inside cage!! Miette and Albus galvanised into their regular Billy repelling stance and dared him to start anything. Billy, who’s quite used to this reaction when he wanders over for a chat with the ferrets ignored their blatant threats and continued to try to find a way into the 30cm and 150 cm cage. He thought he'd found heaven when he looked up from inviting the ferrets to come out and play and saw Guinevere and Lancelot sitting under the dining room table on the other side of our makeshift barricade. To Billy’s credit he didn’t attempt to scale the chairs to reach the cats. It wouldn’t have even been a challenge for his long legs, but he dutifully stayed on his side of the chairs and tried to entice the cats to join him in a game of chase. Needless to say the cats declined to accept his offer. The only problem now that he knows where all the fun animals live is that I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep him out of the house in future!
My poor garden seems to have taken the brunt of the damage with large amounts of trees are lying all over my front garden. It was only just getting back on its feet after the drought. The rest of the farm came off relatively unscathed. It appeared that the true violence was confined to the house yard and its environs. I don't think God wants me to have a garden at Spring Rock. I don't know why He has taken this attitude, I've always built lovely gardens at my other homes, but every time I begin to get the garden where it looks more like a garden than a disaster area, something comes along and wrecks it. I just might have to stop trying now. If God is going to send mini tornados to stop me gardening then I hate to think what He'll send next time!
The sheep weathered the storm in their normal calm, cud chewing manner. Only one set of twin Suffolk lambs became separated from their mother. Graeme braved the elements and reunited this little family. He returned to the house looking very much the damp hero and I’m sure the Suffolk mother was eternally grateful that she didn’t have to venture out from the safety of the flock to retrieve her young. Graeme conducted a damage assessment of the farm the next morning. He found that no damage was done further a field and that Mahala was calm and in charge of the situation. Mahala had been my biggest worry now that her mother Christie has died. Mahala always looked to Christie for reassurance and protection in trying times. By the way, next day Billy looked like he has been swimming in mud. I don't know how he's managed it, but there is hardly a clean spot on him. He's spent the day after the storm sitting at the back door waiting for us to go out to the toilet and then he waylaid us. We come back inside looking like we've rolled in the mud ourselves. The sad part of this is that Billy needed a very thorough grooming to restore his coat to its usually glossy appearance. And you know what grooming Billy entails!