We had major storms last night here in Melbourne. These are starting to get all the more common and while our place survived without any apparent damage a lot of places where hit pretty hard. We lost power for an hour and some places lost roofs and had trees fall on power lines etc and are still out of action.

I did a look around our garden and it stood up pretty well. The trees in the food forest are starting to work to shelter each other and this was shown by the few fruit I lost off the plums and other fruits. When I checked the neighbour’s tree while checking up on their chickens (they are away) I saw the effect of lone tree in the wind. Lots of fruit lost so the harvest off that tree is going to be far from spectacular let alone when we get another 4 -5 days of this weather which is forecast.

As I said my garden stood up well and I am happy with the way it is going and will continue to build on it.

One of the effects of climate change will be greater variability in the weather. If it is hotter or colder but consistent then you can work around it. But the reality is we are going to have great climate variability and this is harder to work with

 More storms, late frosts, thunderstorms, heatwaves and out of season heat/cool events. To me this reinforces that we are all going to need to work towards a higher level of self reliance and to build systems that can operate under these stresses.

It will have some challenges. A classic method of passively reducing energy input is to have deciduous or even evergreen trees around to shade a building summer and or shield it from the wind in winter. Harder to deal with when you have storms that can tear down trees and  large branches. If these become not one in 30 year events but every year it is going to need to be planned for.

My food forest will be kept low at the back and I use fruit trees that are low and not big enough to cause any damage if they come down. Being on a slope I am hoping that I will get a cooling effect dropping down to my house in summer and warming in winter even if only a little bit it will help.

 The shade sail has made a huge difference and allows us to drop it in winter for the best effect of light and heat and then put it up for effect in summer and is an easier safety issue to manage than large trees.

In addition I have smaller trees in large pots I can move around in summer to shade things and act as heat sinks, then move the away in winter. I also have lot trees acting to reduce some of the heat load hitting the house.

The protecting effect of the food forest on all layers and addition of perennials will aid us in great resilience in our food production. We will still have annuals.

Lots of annuals but the forest can act as can be bedrock of our production.

The changes in weather patterns will have an effect on the rest of what we all do as well. The power was off for an hour that was the third 1 hour plus outage in our area in the last 3 months due to weather and one of those was 12 hours. Friends in the USA 20 miles out of city of a hundred thousand lost power for a week last year in mid winter of 20 below.

So while we are in no way preppers as well as helping our budget and to be more sustainable we are adding a wood fired cooking stove to the house to heat it and also to cook. In outage it also will be handy.

I plant to dry as much of my food as I can this year and can/bottle as well. Freezers need power and while it is a very good thing to have I have seen my parents loose a full freezer of food not a good thing to have happen. Think it can’t happen. 98% of the power lines in Victoria are above ground. Poles and lines are very susceptible to big storms and high winds and that is not even thinking about the higher rates of bush fires.

Makes me wonder though when I grew up we had candles and torches ready now our neighbours have said they had to burn the decorative table candles for light when it was off all night 6 weeks ago. We had some solar desk lights and a bunch of candles, not very expensive to keep and very handy.

I suppose we had all better get used to being a bit more prepared and resilient on ourselves and those around us hadn’t we? Appears our government is going to do little to reduce the effect of climate change so we had all better start dealing with it and it s effects ourselves.


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