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I woke at 2.30am on Sunday night with the noise of rain and wind. It was something else! But I felt like we were in some deep cave – the house was so still and solid. So different to other storms we’ve weathered in the barn. 🙂  But I still didn’t sleep after that – too worried about my horses out in the storm with very little shelter.

Chris and I donned our wet weather gear when it became light and went out to start rescuing the cattle (and canoes). The river was rising quickly and we knew the island and meadow would flood quickly. We shifted the big cattle first and then threw up a pile of firewood away onto higher ground.

Then we shifted the younger cattle. I had to herd them around the edge of the island to the paddock behind the barn.  There wasn’t a lot of space between the fence and the flood water and one silly calf jumped in and started swimming across to the island. Stupid thing! Finally it swam back and joined the others. Then another one dived in and did the same. 🙂

Meanwhile Fairlight (my little house cow/calf in training) had left the big cattle that she was with and had gone back down near the river calling for her buddies, the young calves. I knew she’d soon be trapped down there so began calling her – I didn’t want to try and cross the meadow because the water would have poured into my gumboots.

Luckily she decided to come and waded through the water back to higher ground. We managed to herd her towards the gate leading into the horses paddock. But then she careered off and dived into the water into the gully and started swimming away from us. Poor little thing was freezing when she got out! The wind was incredible. Trees whipping around in a fury. Didn’t feel too safe under the big macracarpa tree!

The power went off at 9am. Chris told the kids to get the canoes and go and rescue all the firewood that had floated away. One of them (??)  needed a bit of  persuasion to go out in the torrential rain but we assured them they’d enjoy the adventure. 🙂 We laughed as we watched them crossing the flooded meadow. Jake was standing in his canoe and poling it cos he had no paddle. Angel was swimming beside him. They loaded their canoes with wood and then pushed the jolly things over to high ground! Jake was almost up to his neck in water! Apparently there were hundreds of beetles and spiders looking for the ark. 🙂

Jake poled across the meadow. See if you can spot Angel’s head as she swims near him. She couldn’t bear to be left out of the fun.

He takes pity on her and puts her in his canoe.

I rescued the gig from the meadow. Don’t want to lose that!

I texted some new friends of ours in the morning – had been worrying about them in the night. They’re living in two caravans on their new land. They have no running water, a generator for power and a long drop. Offered them a dry place to sleep for the night and hot showers and meals. They texted back saying they’d love to come – their caravans were leaking badly, all their bedding was wet, the generator was wet and had stopped working and their long drop had flooded. Oh boy. It reminded us of earlier times. 🙂 The kids and I went down and checked the road flooding. It was still passable at one end of the road so I told them they’d get through to us if they came straight away.

The power had just come back on when they arrived, so we were able to do all their washing and dry it in front of the Homewood. Had a lovely time together. A great day for doing more preserving – lots of peaches! Yum.  The rain kept coming all day, but the terrible winds began to drop off in the afternoon. We had 189mm of rain – two months’ worth in a day. Another Northland storm.

The view from Ellie’s window

View from our lounge – the river’s rising!

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