Thursday, 7 January 2010

Another heatwave.

I have been reading about the weather online.  While northern hemsiphere weather is producing records in cold, snow and all of the related problems (I have lived in Newfoundland and on the prairies in Canada for a number of years, so I do understand those problems!)...   the weather here in Australia has been very hot.  It seems that all year we have been having new records, longer heatwaves and now,  to top it off,  2009 was the second hottest year on record and the last decade is the hottest on record.  
We are watching global warming, and its associated climate changes.  Apparently the cold northern weather is related to the melting polar ice and its effect on the warm currents that modify the climate in many northern countries. "Global warming can induce a colder climate for many of us."
As we continue with business as usual, we are accelerating the process that seems all but unstoppable now.  The climate is changing and we are having to get used to it.

Today, in Kapunda,  the temperature reached something more than 36C.  I check that online too... here, as Roseworthy is the closest recording location in South Australia.  We are expecting more than 40C for the next four days, at least.  So, what to do?

The house has begun to warm up already.  With walls that are about eighteen inches thick (thermal mass!) it takes quite a few days to warm up (or cool down) and once again the inside temperature is 30C already.  Each night, as soon as the temperature goes below that (and it is supposed to get to about 23 tonight) we open all of the windows and doors that have mosquito wire on them...  and close these all in the morning.  There are blinds and curtains to close... and once all of this is done and any watering (vegetables only) is completed, we head inside until the late afternoon.  It's not unlike staying inside, in the warm, during a blizzard in the Canadian winter,  and no more or less life-threatening.  

These periods of hot weather....   
  It is 6.15pm and the fire siren has just sounded.  This means that the volunteer firemen will be out at a fire.  In this area,  these are often "only" grassfires, but scary neverthless.   I don't like the sound of the siren."
....  as I was saying,  these periods of hot weather have always occurred.  We had heatwaves when I was a child...  hot weather that was more than 100F  (we used fahrenheit in those days) for days in a row.  Anyway,  here we are with a whole new view of the world... the climate is changing and the politicians don't seem to be thinking much about it.  The kind of people who are successful in that life are "looking after number one" and there is not much point in trying to persuade or pressure them... it is not in their immediate interests... I can't afford the kind of bribes that are required to change the minds of politicians.
I don't want to sound cynical,  but this is the way that I see it.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have to deal with the real problems... without the benefit of an adequate income and without the  advantage of political influence.  In a real emergency (and that is what we are facing) one's local community is the only way to go. I think that there is a real emergency.   One might not agree with every little thing that is supported by people in the  local community,  but this is where the real support comes from when  "the chips are down."   However strange the non-conventional or different people in the community are,  these are the people that you have!  Get used to it!  This is the way that the world has been in the past.  Even 'village idiots" were included.  We have strayed a long way from any kind of inclusiveness that would have been recognised in past ages.

So where to from here?  Sorry to say,  I don't have any answers.  
However, I do think that encouraging self sufficiency and helping people to be more accepting of the unconventional people around the place might be the best strategy.  Who knows whether growing vegetables, encouraging bees, re-roofing houses, constructing rainwater tanks or reclaiming fuel sources is the way to go.  I don't know, but I am prepared to consider it all.  Community is the way to go... and whatever people in your community are doing,  it is time to support them.  If the local tradesman costs a few dollars extra,  perhaps it's a few dollars well spent!  (My rant for the day!)

No news yet of the fire, and no bad news either... 
Just checked the CFS (fire dept) website and they have a "grass and stubble fire'  still alight with two local depts in attendance (must have been quite big.)  (10.00 pm)
I started this off with a consideration of the latest heatwave.  Yes,  it's hot.  Yes, the garden suffers. But I am optimistic enough to continue to grow my food,  experiment with the climate, different crops, different strategies... and make sure that I use my local tradesmen and suppliers,  including the local grocery store (many people travel to the next nationally advertised supermarket... for no real advantage)  and I intend to live in and be supported by my community indefinitely.  
This is how people have managed for decades and even centuries, and through comparable crises with this one.

In these next few days of extreme weather, we'll keep our heads down,  stay inside,  avoid trips to the various events that are enticing... check the vegetables and survive very well....

I have made a drawing today (of course!)....

... this is a funny glass jug... amazing shape, not transparent,  unusual texture,  made of glass.... that I found some time ago in a second hand shop.  The only other painting that I've done of it was done in candle light... and it looks quite dark.  I liked painting in candle light though... I'll put some more here soon.  It is a funny old artifact,  and I haven't inlcuded the strange patterns (though that is an interesting thought too...  not conventonal)...  so I need to make a photo of it and show you the real thing... I like the shape and the suggestion of unexpected colour too.  mmmm!

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