Some much needed rain has fallen here over the past few days, filling up the dams a bit. We’ve had lightning storms too which aren’t quite so welcome. This summer, there have been lots of lightning storms with no accompanying rain. Very scary. I used to enjoy storms when I lived on the coast – the winds whipping up spindrift and the distant sight of lightning connecting sea and sky. Not so since we moved out here. When storm clouds break on the hills, the whole sky cracks open right above your head. The wind rakes the trees until they thrash and groan. There’s no escape from the rolling echoes of clouds smashing against one another. You can understand why ancient civilisations made special tribute to appease their gods of thunder. I wonder how the horses aren’t afraid. Usually they face it right out in the open. If I stable them, it’s more for my own peace of mind than theirs.
A huge fire started in Bindoon (about 80km north of Perth) this week from lightning strike. There were flames twenty metres high. People had to decide whether to evacuate their properties or stay and defend. Living on a rental property, I know what I’d do: take the animals and leave. The horse community has really come together to help out horse owners affected by the fire, with offers of horse transport, agistment and even health checks. It is so touching. There is a fantastic facebook page dedicated to Western Australian equine emergencies, where you can find updates and offer help. It is wonderful seeing the horse community so strong and supportive during tough times. I hope that when we have a float and our own property, we will be able to help out in situations like this.
Thick smoke billowed through our valley one morning this week. That really got me panicked. It turned out to be smoke blown south from a bushfire burning nearby in Whitby Falls. No immediate danger to us, as the fire crews were excellent. There have also been a few smaller fires just north of us, in Jarrahdale and Byford. I think the big fires we’ve had in recent years in Western Australia, as well as massive destruction due to flood and fire over in the eastern states, have really had an impact on emergency services planning. Special effort is being made to control bushfires, to keep them from burning out of control through national parks, where there is such a high fuel load and access is often limited.
Our horses have been enjoying the rain and mud, it makes a nice change from 38° heat and dry dust. The Araucana chicks were not so thrilled – we have recently moved their pen outside and as far as I know, its the first time they’ve experienced raindrops. They cheeped and squeaked their disapproval all through the storm.
The first day they went out was lovely and sunny. The little chicklets were so happy! I brought out their brooder box in the afternoon so they’d have somewhere sheltered to sleep.
I am so looking forward to autumn, those lovely crisp mornings that wake you up motivated. And finally an end to that constant low-level anxiety that doesn’t leave you until fire season is over.