I'm sure that by now anyone reading this would have heard about the flooding that is happening in Queensland, New South Wales and now Victoria. And the bush fires in Western Australia.
I've got family in the south east of Queensland, Western Australia as well as Victoria. Fortunately, they are all well and safe and relatively unaffected, which I am thankful for. I look at a lot of the images in Brisbane and recognise places as where I worked, had friends, hung out, shopped, travelled to. It is sad and breaks my heart. As for Victoria, I don't have family in the currently affected areas, nor in W.A. I have online friends in some of those areas, some of whom we are yet to hear from. Naturally, they would have more pressing issues to worry about than online friends, so my thoughts are with them and I hope they are safe and well.
As for us in the Northern parts of Queensland, we have a tropical low forming and there is a cyclone way out to sea. Hopefully we will be spared heaps of rain. The ground is sodden enough as it is.
On a brighter note, the amount of rain we've had so far has given us an insight into the lay of the land here. This is our first wet season at the new house, so it's interesting to see where water flows or collects. I've learned that the chicken yard holds more water than I originally thought it did. Much of this water flows from the neighbour's property, we have to design some kind of drainage along the fence to channel the water away. It'd be a bit rude of us to demand of the neighbours they alleviate the problem when they've been there a lot longer than we have and it was us who decided to place the chicken yard where it is.
The vegetable garden is right beside the chicken yard and that is holding water in places, too. Eventually that will have raised beds so rotting roots shouldn't be too much of an issue. I'm just concerned about mosquitoes breeding in puddles. The Groom has been ringing around places that make plastic water tanks looking for seconds or faulty ones so he can cut them down into smaller rings and use as raised beds. So far, no luck. I got offered some older ducklings yesterday which I would love to have for in the vegetable yard, but that would mean we'd have to fence it to keep them safe from the dogs. The dogs are fascinated enough as it is by the chickens, so free-ranging ducks wouldn't fare well!
This morning the children and I raked out the hay on the chicken house floor (after all the rain we've had it's getting a bit smelly and yucky) and threw it outside in low piles. I also emptied all of the shredded newspaper out of the nesting box and threw that out too. Wearing a dust mask left over from demolishing the bathroom, and some latex gloves, I sprinkled lime all over the floor, nesting box and perches. The chickens have been scratching; I can't see if they have mites or lice, so I thought I'd play it safe and lime anyway. It was suggested to me by a breeder, but they didn't tell me how much to use! I erred on the side of caution and sprinkled a light layer over the floor. Hopefully that's enough. Then once that was done, I raked over the piles of hay and paper outside to mix it up a bit, put it all back in the chicken house and then threw more new and clean hay on top to build up the floor. The floor has had puddles in it from the rain, so I guess I'll have to do this every couple of weeks until the wet season ends. If you have chickens and think I'm doing it wrong, please let me know what you do.
While I was doing the hard work and sweating rivers (at 10am in stifling humidity), Little Man and The Princess stopped working to watch Ginger lay an egg in the pile of new hay. We've watched sea turtles lay eggs before, so they knew what to expect, but they were still amazed as how wet the egg looked when Ginger stood up. We waited a respectful minute or two after she left her 'nest' before collecting the egg. It wouldn't pay to accidentally step on her gift to us now, would it?