Monday, 23 January 2012

summer evening on the verandah

Another row of hot dry days, and the garden is suffering.   The other issues that I've had to attend to mean that I've had little time to take care of any of it.   These things happen.  I will get back "on top of things" later.

This evening, as the sun is setting (8.30pm) I am sitting on the verandah feeling sorry for my garden if not myself, though there is little I can do until it rains again.

The view from the verandah is very dry.....   buddha is sometimes hidden by tall watsonia and weeds, but not now....
 The ground is dry, the bushes sparse and the trees are dropping their leaves as they do in the summer here....
 The wormwood is thinning, and the jade plant has dropped its leaves and those that remain are soft and wrinkly....

Gertrude has seen me photographing the yard, she has some kurrajong leaves and water, but would like some company.   The house behind her was not here when I moved in.  The previous owner built it and moved on, leaving me with neighbours who run the air conditioner at night in the summer and so opening my windows has become unpleasant, though it is the only means that I have for cooling my house.  I love it when the electricity is interrupted! Gertrude has cactus plants beside her pen and they are flowering now....
 ... as I took photographs, the bees were still attending the flowers....  I can see one in this photograph.   This is the perfume that I smelled in the night last night....  I don't suppose the airconditioned neighbours even know about the perfumed air around their house.
 The sun was setting as I photographed the front yard....
 ... and then I saw a troubled rosella... ready to fly......  and it went.....
 No wonder,  the galahs, en masse, arrived, noisy and arguing.....
 .... there are about 50 galahs that sleep in the gum trees in my yard.
 The sun is gone,  but the glow in the west remains with fiery colours iin the clouds, but still no rain.
The galah sounds have changed... still a few squawks,  but a few of the cooing contact calls as they settle into their positions for the night.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Artichoke flower and my break in communication

After posting most days, or at least weeks since I began this blog,  I have had a break of 20 days...  nearly three weeks.   I have had a patch of family issues and  and a  stressful patch leading to a lack of energy to post or communicate very much at all.  I am not an orphan here....  most people go through patches like this, whether it's health related, emergent disasters or just weather or environment related...  this is not new.  Families and communities have always had to deal with surprises of all sorts and all kinds of disasters.

I haven't had the energy to communicate with anyone,  let alone my blog readers.

At first, I thought I'd be "back on track" before anyone noticed.... then I thought I'd limit my absence to a    respectable holiday period" and then I realised that I would need to say something about the gap in posts....  As most of my regualr followers know,  I am really concerned with being as self sufficient as I can be.  This summer,  with the family issues and the hot (no... scorching) weather, I have not been able to keep up with my usual garden production and planning that I am usually able to do.   While this is disappointing,  it also leads me to think about these issues in other times and other places.

It is all very well for any and all of us to plan to be self sufficient, and this is really good....   but what happens when there are family emergencies and regional disasters of all sorts.

My thoughts are always to go back to the "olden days" and... what did people do.   Community is important.  Friends and extended family were the first assistance, and the local community have always been the first backup.  In modern times,  the community has diminished in importance.  If our means of support when things are difficult is disapperaing, then what will happen as our means of support becomes even more precarious.

I am lucky that I live in a relatively small community where I have significant help from friends, neighbours and even some formal agencies (because I know the individuals who are there) but what of the city friends who live anonymously as "cogs in a wheel" and who will help them when something goes wrong?

We need to re-think the anonymity of life in the modern world and what happens when things go wrong.  I am hoping that I am getting "back on top of things" and I will be resurrecting much of my garden in th next few weeks...  yet another interesting patch, for I am not the first person to lose a crop when things went terribly wrong.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Hot days

It is new years day,  asdn while this is mid summer, and we expect summer weather, the last few days have been very difficult.  The past two days have been in the mid 40's (around 110F) and the garden is not doing well.
After the new year's celebrations, it's been necessary to be up early in the morning (to water the garden and to bring Gertrude out) and then to remain up late until the weather cools down,  to water again and to make sure that the livestock (however minimal ) is ok.
Days are long...  it is midsummer... and so the hours of work are longer.   This evening I cooked pasta primavera (my own version) for dinner, medicated Gertrudes eye, watered the garden and "retired to the verandah" for the evening.  It is still over 35C out here,  but there is a breeze and the air feels fresh.   the prayer flags are blowing in the gentle breeze....
 ...   the currajong trees have dropped many leaves ( a aummer survival strategy) and it is the first time today that these trees are quiet... they usually hve so many bees at the flowers that they are "loud"....   these photographs are taken at night as I sit outside....
Tomorrow will be another hot day ... apparently around 40C,  and it will be the time to begin the garden repair after this heat wave. The Bureau of Meteorology does not give an optimistic utlook for some time.  I can only look at this as a "learning experience"  for what did my grandmother do when vegetable crops were devastated by a heat wave.  Gardening for food,  when it isn't merely a luxury or an indulggence is a whole other pursuit.  Days like today bring this urgency home in no uncertain terms.