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Jun 05

Tips for storm survival

River with white horse and eaves

Today - white horses and waves

Ice cream that’s been in a freezer with no power for 24 hours is like eating a vanilla-flavoured cloud from heaven.

That’s one of the lessons the farmer and I have been taught by storms. With wet, windy and wild weather upon us, here’s some more:

How to watch Coronation St during a power outage and a storm: Take wine to your solar and wind-powered neighbours’ home and drive through a raging river (this from a Coro St addict).

Have taps lower than your water tank:  Ours produced more than a healthy dribble throughout the power cut.

Make sure roof water goes into the water tank – the farmer’s repair to the spouting achieved this, terminating our water fall, however frogs will have to relocate during the next drought.

River with reflections

Yesterday a looking glass

Have a stash of firewood:  Another achievement by the trusty farmer.

I’m more useful than four border collie bitches even when plodding through sludge – especially when the dogs take off after the main group of bulls and ignore the stragglers.

Don’t wait for a day to wrap your freezer in blankets:  Everything survived, but it was touch and go.

You may make unlikely discoveries:  The farmer lunged inside shouting, “Taa daa!” while waving the purple chook bin lid lost months ago when it flew off his truck.

Check access roads asap:  Using his chainsaw and tractor, the farmer was tackling a massive tree that had fallen across the road near home when the saviour metre reader arrived. Had the farmer waited, the ambulance would have had to back track – somehow… if it couldn’t turn around, reversing four windy kilometres would have been tedious indeed.

Stay inside during storms because trees are heavy:  A large fallen branch impaled in the ground looked as if it had been punched in with a post rammer.

Don’t use your tractor bucket to hold down the cowshed roof:  A nearby farmer realised too late that oil will leak out of the hydraulics and cause the bucket to drop and seriously dent the roof.

Have a spare gas canister for your cooker, plus matches and candles:  By the time some people got to town they’d all been sold.

Know how to find your torch in the dark:  This lesson came compliments of the farmer’s aunt who fell over while searching.

Check on your neighbours asap:  Daniel the saviour meter reader found Rex’s aunt and carted her to hospital via the above-mentioned ambulance.  Luckily he was a St John volunteer.

And two final delights:  Go into town to make phone calls because the power and phone are sure to be out for many more days – this will cause both to click into action shortly after you arrive home.

Thank the amazing power and phone people, the Daniels out there, and everyone – including the farmer – who cleared the roads of debris and fallen trees.

About the author

Rae Roadley

Rae is a journalist, freelance writer and writing tutor. Soon after returning to her hometown to work for Northland's daily newspaper, she met beef and sheep farmer Rex Roadley. He lived in a historic home at Batley on the Kaipara Harbour and after moving there, Rae reported on farming then wrote a newspaper column, The Country Side. Her wryly amusing tales of country life earned many followers and led her to learn more about the local people, past and present. She tells the story of her new life in 'Love at the End of the Road: Finding my heart in the country'.

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