"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A cut-off low...

We discovered on Tuesday that a severe cut-off low was going to develop along the southern / south western coastline of South Africa on Thursday / Friday - a sure sign that we were going to receive fairly hefty rainfall on Friday / Saturday.

We did :)

It started roughly 3.00p.m. on Friday - and was coupled with a gale force south easter wind, and, strangely for this part of the country, lightning and thunder.
Miranda and Kris - making the best of the very
inclement weather
I felt so bad for the Alpaca's.  Getting them into the stable was not an option as they're resisting all our attempts to get them in there since their first night with us - obviously the stable does not have good connotations for them...
The water is anke deep - everywhere
So - they stayed out in the tumultuous weather...
We developed a leak at the top of our bedroom
window frame - why and how??
When we woke this morning it was, firstly, to a sodden carpet next to my side of the bed.  For some reason the main window in our bedroom started leaking - or should that be pouring?  We have been in our house for just over a year, and have not had a leak anywhere...!

Slosh, slosh - the squeegee worked overtime mopping up the floor, and the wet carpet was put out in the rain - may as well let the rain give it a proper wash whilst it's falling.
Now - that is a full dam!
But, it was outside that the result of the cut-off low was most apparent. The dam was more than over-flowing...
Scallywag inspecting the overflow - and where
has the half log bridge gone...
... it was washed away.  Those logs were so
heavy I was unabe to lift them, but the water just
lifted them like a feather
... the overflow had, itself, become a river.
A close up of the overflow - you can see the
velocity of the water streaming out of the dam
Once again the jetty is submerged...
The jetty - submerged again...
... and the water still continues to flow towards the dam.  This is due to the surface run-off as well as our overfowing rain water storage tanks.
As you can see, the water is just streaming down
and towards the dam
Mid-morning we decided to make our weekly trip to town to get our provisions for the next seven days...
Our flooded entrance gate
... and discovered that the entrance gate had it's own river too.
Oh no!  The dirt roads have taken some
serious punishment
Our poor dirt road - the husbands (all four of them) have just finished fixing it up, and now we have huge donga's in it again...
A close-up of the donga which is being eroded
by the run-off rainwater
... and there was even a river where we have never seen one before.
If you click on this pic, you'll see a silver snake in
the centre - neither RMan nor myself have ever
seen that before
To give you some idea of the amount of water that fell.  This photo below is of the Buffelsjag River (trans: Buffalo Hunt River) - firstly the view to the south...
The southern view down the Buffeljags River
 ... and, lastly, the view to the north.
The northern view up the Buffejags River
Normally the water-rounded rock strewn river bed is visible, and the width of the river is half that of the "white water" section visible in these pics.  And normally, it also takes a while for the rain from the mountains to fill the river. This time it is apparent, literally, as the rain is falling!

Our rain gauge registered 95mm of rain - which fell between 3.00p.m. Friday and 10.30a.m. Saturday!

That's hectic!  But, we're not complaining - I don't know about the alpaca's though.

And at 4.00 p.m. the sun came out.  Thankfully we'll get a couple of hours charge into our solar batteries before night falls :)


  1. Hmm. This is a big one. Not sure whether it is good or bad. That is. Being in ZA where it is generally arid... but the volume of water.

    I am going to go with Positive this time around! :) Hooray for full batteries and rain collection!

    After all, you'll have your summer soon enough. ;-)

    1. The window. I would say it is wind-driven? Going to need to look up 'cut-off' low. Do not recall hearing that one in my aviation meteorology class years ago.

    2. TSAHG - Where we ar we have been known to have good rainfalls, but this was excessive.

      Yeah, summer is on the way...

      For more info on a cut-off low: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_(meteorology)

  2. Wow. You got some serious rain there. Sorry about the leak in the window, but given the volume of rain coming down that's actually not bad, just to have that one thing and some caulk will fix that. The Alpacas must have a reason for not going in their shed, maybe they got locked up in something one time or other.

    I don't know what a cut off low is either, does it mean a frontal boundary?

    1. Harry - Nah, I think it's because they associate it with the arrival here - the day they left all their mates behind...

      Again, for more info on the cut-off low:

  3. I am astonished that your pacas are still afraid of the shelter. Is it 4 walls? Maybe they'd prefer just a roof, or a lean-to or a run-in shed. Doesn't seem like getting soaked and staying soaked would be healthy for them, but I don't know much about them so maybe I'll just stop talking now...

    1. Quinn - I have no idea. We have actually removed the "wall" facing the paddock, so now it's a three-sided stucture. We also have a covered pergola for them, which helps keep the falling rain off, but which becomes soaking wet on the ground. However, they don't even go underneath that when it starts raining.

      I did notice last night when I gave them their "maintenance meal" and Kris turned his head sharply, that the fur beneath was still bone dry - so maybe the rain is a relief for them - gives them a wash, so to speak :)

  4. Wow, that's our kind of rains, ha. Sorry for the alpacas. Does rain like this do anything to their hair that requires any special treatment? Like do you have to brush them afterwards or anything?

    Working in the insurance biz, as Cloud said, it looks like wind driven rain to me as well. The thing you want to check on as well is that if if is getting inside, you want to make sure there wasn't a lot that seeped inside the wall. I can't remember if they are solid or not. Hopefully that's all it was, wind driven rain, that most often occurs in one storm when the wind and rain is blowing just the exact right way, and then future storms don't cause it again.

    Stay dry!!

    1. 1st Man - I honestly don't know LOL Yeah, we have a brush for them - they are about to be shorn of their winter coat, and they have to be brushed prior to that - in order to remove any twigs, etc which could damage the shearing blades.

      Yeah - could be wind driven rain - it was howling. It was coming in, and out, at the same spot at the top of the frame, so I don't think that it will have seeped into the wall. RMan is going to check it out though.

  5. We had so much rain over the summer that I can more than sympathize with what you're going through. I hope it doesn't mean an overly rainy summer for you! Better than drought, but not by much.

    1. Leigh - Actually, we live in a winter rainfall area. Our greater fear is that these late rains, occurring at the start of the (wild grass) growing season, may result in excessive wild fires in mid-to-late summer...

  6. You got a lot of rain! Glad your water tanks got filled up. Your poor road...I feel sorry for your husband...he will have to fix it again.

    I do not know how you feel about all the rain but your pictures are spectacular!

    1. MsBeinda - We're very happy too :) Yeah - the roads - that's a l-o-n-g story...

      Thanks for the compliment :)

  7. Oh, what a gully washer!
    Glad you're ok. But wow-there is some work to do ahead.
    I'm afraid freakish rains will be more and more frequent in our future. Even here , we have had excessive rains all month----after struggling with drought all summer.
    Good luck to you

    1. Sue - LOL - love that term "gully washer"...

      Yeah - we're on the remedial work already - and not only the roads. We're taking preventative measure to try and ensure that the paddocks don;t get flooded in future either.

      If you glance around the world at the extreme weather / wild fires that are being experienced - the effects of climate change are happening. All the naysayers surely can't continue to dispute the fact...

  8. Hi! I've been lurking on your blog for about a year now :) Love viewing life in a different area of the world. (I am from Louisiana) It rains often here like you are describing. My own driveway gets a mini Grand Canyon in it at least every two years. We have started digging run off ditches parallel to the drive in an effort to stop the driveway from becoming the main path. It is working quite nicely so far. I hate to hear about your log bridge being washed out and your jetty getting covered. Have you thought about a pontoon design? Around here most docks are the floating style- usually with large amounts of styrofoam under the wooden deck or walkway. If it floods they just rise with the water. Of course they are anchored farther up by tree or ground stakes. Just thought i'd pass along ideas that work here in the swampy southern US :) Love your blog!

    1. Elaine - Welcome and thank you for "showing you face" :)

      A pontoon sounds a wonderful idea, but unfortunately, it would not work here. Firstly, we only have a couple of Black Wattles near to the dam, and their roots are notoriously shallow. Secondly, when the ground gets this sodden and "moveable", anchoring a pontoon to the tree(s) would probably cause them to fall down LOL

      Yeah - we are also in the process of digging a channel next to the alpaca paddock, to try and prevent them from flooding as badly in future...

      The roads - they need professional attention! That we are trying to get the local council to take over and fulfill their responsibilities. With "trying" being the operative word.


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