How bad can it be?

A few weeks I asked this question in jest in response to the winter weather conditions.   I now know exactly how bad it could be.  We have just been through a terrible storm and it would seem it isn’t called the ‘wild west coast’ for nothing!  Now I’m not naïve and I knew there would be strong winds, I just thought I’d have at least a couple more months to investigate the situation before winter conditions showed their hand.  It is very important when moving to a new location to find out as much about, not only the soil, but the climatic conditions and that was next on my list.

Rough seas
Some days it is like a mill pond out there and on the odd occasion it is like this. We’re not going to let a storm upset us – there are far more good days ahead.

But this week we have had a huge weather event, that seems to have even taken the boffins by surprise as there was little warning.  Either that or it wasn’t a slow new week, so their warnings were drowned out by the noise from other worldly events.  Somehow an Antarctic blast coming from the south became entangled in the lingering warmth of an exceptional late summer and got all excited.  There was thunder and lightning and heavy rain – although at least it wasn’t floody.  Most of the high places in the country were dusted with snow and for the rest of us, the temperatures plunged dramatically.  But what did the most harm was the wind.  My goodness it was wild.  Three days later it is still making its presence felt, but on Tuesday night it can only be described as terrifying. Especially when you live in a caravan!

wind damage
Our underfloor insulation is spread far and wide… you may find some in your backyard!!!!!

What makes it all the more terrifying is when your home-to-be is sitting up on thin metal jacks about 2 metres in air – facing the full brunt of the storm.  The highest gusts were recorded about 30 km up the coast from us at Manukau heads with a whopping 213 km per hour.   These were apparently only 10 km shy of the record for the highest winds we’ve ever had (well – since records began) So now we know – just how bad it can be.

wind damaged strawberries
My poor strawberries have been through a lot. I need to give them some serious love as it is still some time before they get planted.

The good news is, the house stood still and is a tribute to the Total Relocation Limited team.  They have worked so hard and tirelessly on the job.  But with our full support, work on the house has been put on hold until good weather returns.  It is very frustrating for us, as we are so close to the end.  But there are some things that just can’t be helped, and I would much rather have the team be safe and well than complain about our inconvenience.  What‘s a few more weeks in the caravan really, in the grand scheme of things?

Wind damage
I think I need to call ‘time’ on these peppers. There isn’t much point trying to save them when the season is pretty much over soon anyway.

But what it has brought to light is the worse case scenario, before we even begin to create anything.  This is a good thing.  As all the farmer neighbours have said in all their years they haven’t seen anything like it, I think it is safe to use this as a benchmark for any of my projects to ensure they are built to last.   I am rethinking the kind of greenhouse I will have as it clear an ‘off the shelf’ model just won’t do.   This turn of events makes the greenhouse project even more exciting and I am really looking forward to exploring options that will keep my seedlings safe in the spring.  But it isn’t just the greenhouse that needs careful consideration, the fruit cage, the orchard, even the washing line will need to be able to stand up to the conditions.

Wind damage
The tops of the grass have been windswept. Probably a combination of wind and salt burn. These lessons learnt early are important.

The general rule of thumb when moving to a new place is to wait a year before doing something in the garden to see what it is really like and to see what surprises pop up.  The surprises normally refer to the possibility of a magnificent display of spring bulbs, and not intending to mean devastating winds.  But I’m impatient and am glad I know now.  I am also extremely glad no real harm came to our home, our family and our team during such a terrible storm.

Come again soon – things will improve soon enough.

Sarah the Gardener : o)

17 thoughts on “How bad can it be?

  1. Wow! Am glad you are all safe and your house and caravan are fine. I’ve never been able to follow that advice about waiting a year – what gardener can wait a year? It’s good that you are able to modify plans now.

  2. Your poor plants! Glad you’re all okay too!! My peppers have decided to carry on flowering and producing fruit – there is one plant that has been going since 2016. We might have a bit of rain this morning 🙂

    1. I got to see the damaging effects up close and personal – that’s for sure! I’m now adding emergency wind strategies to my garden plan so next time a storm comes I’ll be able to offer a degree of protection to my plants. : o)

  3. Well it puts my ongoing moaning about spring being so wet into perspective, glad that it was only the underfloor insulation that was damaged and hope the weather improves so you can get into your house soon.

  4. Glad to hear you survived the storm and that your house is still standing. Fingers crossed for the return of good weather so you can get your house finished and signed off x

  5. My gosh, Sarah, those winds were brutal. I’m so glad all is well and good for you for delaying what I’m sure is a frustrating wait for the new house. I agree, that better safe then sorry. Best of luck with the strawberries.

    1. Hi Alys. That was a pretty terrifying storm, but it would seem it was very much a worst case situation so at least we know how to prepare to live here. There are so many advantages to out way the wind. : o)

      1. I’ve seen your view, so I’m sure you’re right: the pros outweigh the cons. I wonder if a back-up generator for power is something you would invest in so that you don’t lose power due to wind storms? You’re on a great adventure, Sarah.

        1. I don’t think that would be a silly idea at all. Having that terrible storm has helped us realise early on just how strong things need to be – before we build them! : o)

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