Living in the roaring forties….

13 05 2016

As I think I  have mentioned here several times already, I was warned Arve Road was a wind tunnel…… but last night outdid itself!  With wind gusts of 109km/h, living inside a tin drum (aka the apple packing shed) is challenging.  I was woken up by such a sharp jolt that shook the entire building so much, I could have sworn a vehicle had hit the shed!  From then on, I was lucky to snatch a few minutes of sleep at a time.

Tasmania is of course in the roaring forties.  All places in latitudes of between 40 and 50 degrees, whether South or North, are very windy places, highly suitable for wind power, but also very uncomfortable in exposed areas like Geeveston that is in an E/W aligned valley.  The westerlies come roaring down this valley, with few obstacles to slow it down, my shed being the sole exception!

Screenshot-1

The current weather map (above) shows isobars very close together, and they mean lots of wind, with that arrow saying 45 knots (83km/h!), and I expect it’s the average speed.  Those blue lines are cold fronts, and at the moment they are queuing up and arriving here every second day or so.  It’s snowed down to 700m a couple of times already this week, though today the wind has blown the clouds clear through to New Zealand…. where I notice the wind’s even faster at 50 knots!  The Huon Valley and the Channel area bore the brunt, with trees blown over roads, powerlines and houses damaged, while the Huon Highway was blocked in both directions after a tree was brought down over the road.

The good news is that it was announced last night that Tasmania is once again running on 100% renewable energy as some of the higher dams have filled up to overflow.  The Tamar Valley gas fired station has been shut down, as have all the diesel generators recently imported.

overflowing dam

Cethana power plant

The goose tractor at the Fanny Farm has been blown away, again, this time four rows of apple trees. I will definitely have to decapitate this device, it’s way too tall for the windy conditions, and I can’t have it rolling all over the orchard if I’m going to fill it with ducks.

Observing all these conditions is of course part and parcel of designing an appropriate permaculture plot.  At least the house site is well chosen, the wind there and above it where the market garden will go is far slower than anywhere else on the farm…. even bearable!

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7 responses

13 05 2016
Justin Gan

Put the duck thing on rails!

On Fri, May 13, 2016 at 9:57 AM, Damn the Matrix wrote:

> mikestasse posted: “As I think I have mentioned here several times > already, I was warned Arve Road was a wind tunnel…… but last night > outdid itself! With wind gusts of 109km/h, living inside a tin drum (aka > the apple packing shed) is challenging. I was woken up by suc” >

13 05 2016
Danny

time to consider a wind turbine?

14 05 2016
13 05 2016
Danny

would some sort a dirt mound ‘channel’ wind upwards above house line?

13 05 2016
philgorman2014

Mike,

I wish you every success and I am sure you’ll make it happen. What precautions will you be taking to prevent wallabies and possums destroying your trees and other crops? You are probably fully prepared to defeat crop and chicken predation by the local wildlife but I offer the following account as a word to the wise.

A cautionary tale.
My partner Gillian was one of the world’s first graduates in environmental science. She and her late husband, a veterinarian, worked as researchers and policy developers for various wildlife services and scientific agencies in the UK, NZ and Australia.

They eventually settled on a 70 hectare small holding at Petcheys Bay on the Huon. Their land land was surrounded by mixed wet eucalypt and wattle bush. They worked extremely hard to build their house and establish a sustainable permaculture ecosystem on their land. They used ordinary post and wire fencing. The fence was electrified but keeping it clear of grass and other vegetation was very time consuming. In the end the predation of their food crops by wallabies and possums defeated them.

They had to go back to paid professional jobs. They also started growing blueberries, which didn’t appeal to the critters until they fruited, at which time they had to be fully protected by netting.

Possum, wallaby, and in ground devil and quoll proofing is essential and very expensive it needs to be factored in and budgeted for at an early stage.

I hope their experience proves useful, but you probably know all this already.

Best regards,
Phil

14 05 2016
mikestasse

Hi Phil……. am yet to see a wallaby or possum here. The only ones I’ve seen are the road kill! So far, I have lost one chook to a quoll (I’m guessing) and many apples to sulphur crested cockatoos, but I seem too far away from bush for other predators….

14 05 2016
philgorman2014

It’s a bit like the old tourist attraction story – “Build it and they will come”. If you provide rich pickings its not only the cockies and quolls who will be glad to grab a share.

You might want to test for the nocturnal presence of crop eating critters. Try leaving caches of a few carrots, vegetable scraps, or apples around your perimeter. If they’re disappearing over night borrow an animal friendly trap or two to see who turns up. You could also keep an eye out for scat.

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