Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 2013 Flood

Around 8am yesterday we ventured out to see how things were. We had been notified the night before to be prepared to evacuate and could hear the river roaring like an ocean from our home, yet no further word had come. This spot is about nine houses away from our home. The river had broken it's banks on the far side and stretched for many 100's (maybe 1000's) of metres/yards across.

The big black hose is water being pumped out of storm water drains back into the river.

As you can see, the water wasn't far from the top of the levee wall and some spots are lower than this. The water was still rising....

From there we walked towards the bridge. The children sometimes go fishing at the jetty at this spot which was under about six metres of water by now. Here is one of several national news cameraman doing his job.

This is the usual vista, taken half way down the grassy embankment which fronts the river, vastly different to yesterday's scene.

 Now on the upstream side of the bridge you can begin to appreciate the volume, height and speed of the river.

This is how it usually appears, often still and effected by the tides of the ocean.

Hydrographers measuring this flow at the peak estimate the flow to have been 1.5 megalitres a minute, probably an Australian record. At that rate it would fill Sydney Harbour in 7 hours.

The top of one of the pylons.

As the river normally appears.

The building with the blue roof is the sailing club (which is riverside of the levee) taken around 8am yesterday from the pedestrian walkway on the edge of the bridge - I didn't walk any further along the bridge. 

I took this photo as we drove (husband driving) home from church around midday Sunday. The river was hardly up at all, all the sailing club building is visible. There is less than 48 hours between these photos, the river rose so quickly this time.

Zoomed in to the other side of the river - there is a levee wall between the river and those houses. Lots of debris can be seen speeding down the river.

Soon after returning from our walk we were ordered to evacuate (text messages then door knocked). We returned late in the afternoon after the peak had passed and all looked safe again.

On our evening walk we could see the top of the wall had been reached in places by the peak. Residents (yes, many live right on the levee wall) and emergency workers had been very busy filling and placing sandbags to extend the wall height and contain the river. In places seeping/overtopping  water had been pumped out of  front yards.

The usual expanses of park-like riverbank lay completely submerged.

This is a big river, currently much bigger. As I write this the river height has just dropped below 6m after peaking around noon yesterday at 8.09 m, about 20cm higher than ever recorded before. We were amongst 2000 residents evacuated from our area of town as a precaution for no one knew which way this flood was going to end. If you view my previous post, you will see the desperate measures which were taken to help strengthen and raise one particular weak/low spot of the levee.

We are very grateful for the many emergency workers and residents who watched over the levee through Monday night (I could hear their vehicles) and throughout yesterday. If it wasn't for their efforts and God's mercy I wouldn't be sitting here at home today with life almost back to normal.  Many thanks for those around the world who have prayed and expressed your concern. There are other areas of Australia which are still facing record flood levels due to the same storm system which effected over 2000km of our east coast and extended over 500km inland.

In our town most of the school buses will be running again tomorrow and many local schools will be open for their first day of the school year, which otherwise would have been today. We will begin slowly on our homeschooling also. The third January flood in a row for our town, but this one was definitely the biggest.

Sharing at Weekly Top Shot, Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Did This Save Our Town???

Yes, we were ordered to evacuate today, our town had its highest flood peak in white man's history. We returned late this afternoon and took a walk to see for ourselves some of the weakest spots. Without this effort and more, it may have been a very different story. The water is still high but it was overtopping the wall in places at its peak.

More to tell soon, for it is now very late, we are all tired and my husband and Master J have made it safely home from Sydney also. Thank you so very much for all your prayers and thoughts for us and our town. By man's efforts and God's mercy we are safe and dry.

Sharing at Project Alicia WW.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Windswept and Waterlogged


A little windswept and waterlogged, our area is weathering the current conditions well ....see updates below. Some other regions are experiencing tornadoes, torrential rain and flooding. We have much to be grateful for. A big thank you for all those who have prayed and expressed concern.

Driving home from church yesterday we could see the water pooling but nothing to be concerned about.

Sections of our garden this morning are enduring a bath as the light but steady rain continues. It looks like the rain will ease up later today.

Yesterday our twins returned victorious from a few days of playing cricket in Sydney, only their finals were washed out. Early this morning my husband and Master J left for the long drive (about 8 hours) to Sydney for a schooling commitment. We are hoping the roads will be flood free for their trip down today and their return also tomorrow night.

Saturday morning I thought I had finished sewing the quilt top together, however as I spread it out on the floor in daylight I could see the white I had used in the large setting triangles wasn't true white. I have spend several hours unpicking little stitches and replacing the not-quite-white with a whiter white.

Two triangles done, two to go. There is one of each white above - too hard to notice the difference until you see them in daylight. I knew it was a bother and would take hours to do but I also knew I would regret it every time I look at the finished quilt if I didn't fix it properly.

My weekend has been filled with lots of wind, water and white - but not snow! I hope your weekend has been pleasant and productive.

***Unfortunately the river is rising and rising, higher than expected. We will have to wait and see what happens. We may need to evacuate in the morning.....We have moved many things higher, especially precious items.

*****9pm We have been told (texts to our mobiles and automated call message on our landline) to "prepare to evacuate" our area of town and wait for further will be touch and go.

****** 11:30pm I'm heading to bed. There's been no call to evacuate yet. Hoping for good news in the morning. River predicted to peak at 9am.

******* 6:30 am. We are still here, still waiting. The river is 7.83m and still rising, very slowly now. Hopefully it will peak soon. Our section of town has some sagging areas of levee wall and old infrastructure, both of which have caused trouble in previous slightly smaller floods. I slept with windows shut so I couldn't hear the roar of the river, but I could still hear the many vehicles driving around, keeping a keen eye on potential danger zones. I deliberately didn't go to look at the river yesterday (not pretty). Today I plan go for a camera walk (when the peak passes) and post as I can.

********* The order to evacuate for our area of town came at 8:30 am. We left and spent the day at a friend's place out of town, with clothes etc packed in case we needed to stay. Thankfully the river was contained with sandbags, ramps and  boards where it rose higher than the walls - it was a record flood, the highest in over 100 years. At 4:30 pm we arrived home safely. The river is very slowly dropping. We have MUCH to be grateful for. Thank you so much for all your prayers and thoughts.
Tomorrow we will work on returning the house to normal order.....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Summer Showers

Dwarf Snapdragon

Bird's Nest Fern - underside of frond

Bird's Nest fern - top centre



Love the colours of this daisy!

Light summer showers have brought relief to people and garden alike as a look around my garden this morning shows. Thankfully many of the areas in our country recently devastated by bush/wild fires have also received some rain. Very refreshing, even though the days are still very warm and humid.

All photos except the third taken with my Raynox macro attachment.

*** I have just checked the weather forecast for the next few days....we are expecting 40-80mm or above 80mm on each of four of the next five days due to an ex-tropical cyclone heading this way. Our area is now officially on flood watch again for the third January in a row.....   :(

Sharing at I Heart Macro.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Exciting Stage

So what was my last post about? The photo was a pile of cut threads and frayed threads from this above. Now if you look below..... will begin to see what I'm talking about. As some of you guessed, I've been busy with an ongoing sewing project - a quilt to be specific. This is one of four sections I have been slowly working away over many months. I have cut and meticulously sewn 2100 small pieces of fabric together to construct a total of 700 little fabric blocks for my Flying Geese Quilt. 

496 of these blocks, as well as some end blocks, have now been carefully arranged and sew together, along their short sides, into 32 rows. I made four sections of eight rows each - just like the one above so they could easily be stored on a coat hanger.

You can follow the story of this quilt from it's beginning in May 2011 if you click on "Flying Geese Quilt" in the label cloud on the right.

Yesterday I sewed the four sections together in order to complete the centre panel of the quilt. This morning I finished cutting all the thread tails and removing the loose fabric threads (another pile of colourful threads).

Then I pressed the panel, stood back and admired the result....sigh...

Now if you have read carefully or if you are a quilter, you'll be wondering about the other 200 flying geese blocks - right? Right! Well, they are for the border of the quilt. They have also been precisely sewn together, along their long edges, into four rows, now trimmed and pressed, awaiting the final construction.

It feels fantastic to have finally completed these sections. Now I need to cut and add the large setting triangles and sew all these components together to finish the quilt top, then the back needs to be pieced,  all layers basted together and work out how I'm actually going to quilt this large quilt on my little old Janome.....

The time and space required to do all this will be a challenge as our school/homeschool summer holidays are nearly over and I sew on our dining/schooling table - but where there's a will there's bound to be a way. Hopefully it won't be another four months until I can give you the next update.

NB This quilt design is called "North By North East" as found in the book "Quilting From Little Things" by Sarah Fielke. Sarah is a wonderful Australian quilt designer, quilt maker, hand quilter and author. You can see some of her book in my original post about this quilt here.
Sarah's website.

Sharing at Sneak Peek Friday.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Lots happening but I've made time for an ongoing project. More to share soon, hopefully.....

Sharing at I Heart Macro.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy Birthday May Gibbs!

136 years ago, January 17th 1877,  Cecilia May Gibbs was born in Kent, England. Four years later she sailed to Australia with her family. Going by the name May Gibbs, she is one of Australia's best known and well loved children's authors, illustrators and cartoonists.

Her creative tales have stirred imaginations and delighted readers over several generations. She lived into her 90's and her works, still in print, now benefit several children's organisations.

I remember reading "The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie", my first "big book", under our pine Christmas tree as a young child. Her illustrations still stir my heart and have encouraged my love of our Australian fauna and flora throughout my life.

My book, printed in 1971, first published in 1946, contains only four coloured pages. The remainder of the book is printed with brown words and illustrations.

You will find many uniquely Australian flowers and fauna sprinkled through her work as the main  characters.

May Gibbs has left a rich legacy. Today Google's Australian home page honours her birthday also. Happy Birthday May Gibbs!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Very Promising

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."
                                                                                                                           Proverbs 25:11

We may have a nice apple crop this autumn.......for the first time.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Still Vibrant

It's 32C/90F at 6:30pm as I hear thunder rumbling rumours of a distant storm. Like our teenagers who played competition cricket all afternoon, these flowers have boldly withstood today's afternoon heat of 42C/107F and are still vibrant!

Sharing at I Heart Macro.

Friday, January 11, 2013

First Night in a Big Girl Bed

Earlier in the week we bought another set of bunk beds, this time for Miss V and Miss O. Now there is room for Miss E (4) to have a "big girl bed" instead of sleeping on her cot mattress on the floor. We are all happy!

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