Portuguese millipedes and flooding

Portuguese invaders
Funnily enough, I never imagined my most exasperating first challenge here at Crumbleton Manor would be millipedes. Thousands of them. They're Portuguese, (thanks guys!) and they have no natural predator. (for some reason our chickens find them distasteful and horribly smelly). Ever have that feeling something is watching you? I was sitting in bed reading and looked up to see small black moving lines on the ceiling, climbing up the doorframe, over the top of the windows and along the skirting boards, over the cream carpet. Everywhere. (shudder)

Spraying makes you sick
I battled every night for a week, spraying, vacuuming them up, getting very little sleep, because they emerge after dusk and spend the next ten hours invading the house from every single nook and cranny. By 1am they are at their peak. I then have used surface spray and fly spray until I feel nauseated and headachy then fall into a restless slumber crammed with nightmares. Urgent action was needed.

To poison or not to poison?
I read up on these creepy creatures and asked around as to how others have handled them. From Perth Western Australia to the east coast and down to Tasmania they are commonplace on properties where there is leaf matter and rotting wood. (Er, crumbling manor surrounded by rotting railway sleeper garden beds might be a problem).

I was concerned about the chickens pecking at poisonous granules I might put down and tiny frogs getting covered in ant dust, but in the end we had to do something as the numbers escalated daily, despite me vacuuming up at least 1000 PER DAY. Apparently they live in the earth and emerge at sundown, so by putting a line of defence round the perimeter of the house I had a chance to control them.

I take no prisoners. I doubled up, using ant dust as well as surface spray at the point where the wall and ground meet, all round the house. To my disappointment, many were still getting in, but they could be living in the walls... There are some dodgy looking skirting boards.

Next morning - CARNAGE! So gratifying. (sigh) Still had to vacuum them all and the stink is revolting, but success! Last night I went to bed without spraying anywhere except a stubborn line of defence at my bedroom door. I slept well and woke to more carnage, especially in the porch, which is a kind of outer room at the entrance.

From Critters to Floods
Then the storm arrived. We were sitting having coffee, deciding what task to do first today when the rain came in horizontal sheets past the windows. (which incidentally, have no eaves, so the ledges are rotting. Who designed this crazy thing?) The room looks fabulous from the inside, but it hasn't weathered well. So at some point we will have to rethink the roof line and DO IT PROPERLY.

I went to the front bedroom to get something and heard the dreaded sound - dripping water. The window was the tiniest bit ajar at the bottom because the sash cords are too short (OMG it goes on and on) and the rain was slashing through all over the carpet, bedside table, books etc. Towels! Lots of towels later we had it mopped up and the little blow heater has been dutifully drying it out every since. This is why windows, especially those facing the brunt of the weather, must have proper window protection. These Federation (Early Colonial Australian) houses were designed properly, with an awning (small roof) over each window, in either shingle or tin. It wasn't just to look pretty, folks! For some reason ours are missing.

So that's an immediate task we need to get onto pronto. Otherwise winter is going to be a disaster.
When I checked outside, I found garden furniture had been picked up and thrown all over the house paddock. Seriously. Big chairs. The chickens were bedraggled but seemed to have found shelter somewhere. They weren't interested in following me into the shelter of the polytunnel, even with the promise of food.

On the upside, the dogs and the cat are curled up indoors, snoring peacefully while the wind rages outside. And now it's time for a cup of tea and a rethink of the front windows. Blinds? Awnings? Shutters? One thing is for sure, it will have to be soon.
boss of the house, snoozing after his exhausting work