Saturday, 27 June 2009

I walked through the yard.

I walked through the yard today.  I wanted to see what needed to be done and what needed to be picked.. not a lot.   I did find some flowers.  
This first picture is of the drops of water on the rue.  This is a plant that I really like, though it's probably an "acquired taste."   It has a very distinctive smell and many people don't really like it.  I do, and the slightest touch releases the odour (perfume?)  and it always makes me feel happy.  I have no idea why,  it just does.  
The drops of water look amazing.
The wheat is up.  My crop might be small,  but I think it looks wonderful.  The barley is not as advanced, but I'll be checking it daily.
Lemon verbena (below)...  flowering at the shortest day of the year.  I would have thought is should be flowering when the weather was warmer.  The leaves all look a little strange.  They are funny shapes,  and I am sure that this is because the frost nipped them when they were all a lot smaller.  
During the summer,  all of the leaves dropped off when it was so dry, but here, in the winter the verbena has recovered and is flowering beautifully.
Another calendula... another one with a dark centre, though different from the one that I found a few days ago.  I should have a calendula collection.
Below is my seat in the garden.  It's too cold to sit here and read now, but next summer I'll be out there again.  Notice that the branches are growing out of the back of the chair...  the tree was cut down about three or four years ago, and the stump carved into this shape.... but soon enough the branches began to sprout again.   I will cut them down before the summer... they can dry for fire wood and they should fit into the kitchen stove easily.  This is a very tough red gum!
These are the tanks (below) at the highest place on the block...  so that they can "gravity feed" to the garden if the electricity supply is unreliable.  I am loathe to rely on the grid.   These are each about two thirds full now, making a total of about 12,000 litres of water up here.  If these fill before the rain ends this year,  I will add a third to the array.
The "house" tank (below) and the trusty pump that allows us to shower, flush the toilet, wash the dishes and the clothes and cook and drink and all of that.  As well as the pump supply,  I have a "gravity fed" tap in the kitchen so that we would have a water supply if the electricity was "off".  I check the tank frequently and it's good to know how much is in there... we have used a few "bumps" worth, but it fills up again whenever it rains lately.    Having a supply of water that you can actually watch come and go makes you much more aware of just how much water you are using.  
No matter how conscientiously you care for the supply from the River Murray,  there is nothing quite the same as having a tank sitting there, ebbing and flowing.  
This is the most urgent job (below) to get on with....  this is the wall behind a number of pictures of the broad bean patch.  I have been fixing it, though work has come to a standstill lately.  The house is built of large rocks from a quarry just a little way from here, on Gundrey's Hill.  The rocks are held in place by mud.  The brown "mortar" between the rocks in the picture is pure clay from the yard around about.  This part had broken because the water had got in, washed the mud out and some rocks had actually broken as well.  There are no foundations at all.  The whole house is built on the levelled ground.  I began the repairs from the bottom.  I used a limey mortar mix and in the lowest "course" I added an acrylic compound that makes it waterproof.  I have filled the washed out mud holes with mortar and stones and gradually worked my way up the wall.  In the photograph,  you can see the last mortar addition with grooves carved into it before it set,  so that I can add the next lot onto it and have a secure join. My concreting and plastering started out pretty rough,  but I'm getting better.  Several people have suggested that it isn't really straight enough (it's quite hard to make a right-angle corner) but since the rest of the house is a bit odd shaped also,  I figure that it matches quite well!  
This house has been here for nearly 160 years now,  so it will probably last for a few more years yet.  
I was looking up a quote from Chief Seattle today....  my father used to repeat this quotation to me when I was small.... 
“Only when the last tree has died, 
and the last river has been poisoned, 
and the last fish has been caught, 
will we realise that we cannot eat money.”

Chief Seattle (Sealth) died at the age of 80, in 1866.   My house was already here, and had been for some years.  This gives some perspective to the speed with which environmental damage occurs.
Seattles's fish are almost all caught (this year has marked the third salmon fishery failure in four years in the Pacific North West)  and we cannot eat money!

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