Heatwave, Flowers and Eagles

When the temperature hits the mid to high 40c it very rarely lasts for more than two days – three tops. But even those two days are enough to do a lot of damage. The north of the State,

Wild flowers grasses and Emus
Flinders flowers

the Flinders Ranges and beyond change from arid lands into desert landscape. In the spring these areas are alive with grasses and wildflowers – the area becomes a sea of colour – wonderful to behold. People come from all over Australia and  beyond to photograph the Flinders  wildflowers. Yet, within a short space of time, spring changes into summer, the sun starts to bight and burns up the grasses and the wildflowers and the dry, brown desert land returns. We are, the driest area in the driest state of the driest continent.  We have one river, to the west of the state, the Murray and that’s being done to death slowly. All the lakes you see to the north and west of the state are all dry salt lakes – so big they even have world landspeed races and records on them. Water is pumped from the Murry some 300 miles away and without that much of South Australia would simply cease to exist. The Murry Pipeline is the umbilical cord of the north on which much of the settlement of the state  beyond Port Wakefield relies. If we have a really warm and prolonged summer we start to eat into the water reserves and we have to ration water. No watering of gardens is allowed except under certain conditions. However since we have a spendthrift government, we built a water desalination plant – a couple of $billion, but who’s counting – which was put

More dead than alive

into mothballs because  in the time it took to build – delays, cost blow-outs, over-runs, usual SA Govt. project- we had several wetter than usual winters and the catchment

dying plants

areas were all at capacity so water was no longer an issue. But despite all the precautions and the special Mandevilla Fertilizer, a day and a half of  46/47c  heat is enough to undo all the careful tendering that you may have done over the late winter and spring to little more than dead brown leaves. Both the  Frangipani didn’t fare all that much better. Two days undid all the work and expense of months. I came home at midnight from Adelaide, played with Benji, had a chat with Annabell then close to 1am went out and watered all the plants before going to bed, but by then the damage was probably already done and the Friday was even hotter. I had great hope for the Mandevilla but I think they have gone too far to be saved now. – Update – I have been told by the garden people not to dig up or pull out what appears to be dead plants. I should keep on tending to them because it is very likely that the extreme heat has killed and burned the surface shoots and leaves, but it is  more than possible that the plant itself is still alive and will respond to care, attention and watering. Ok I can do that and we’ll see what happens.

At the moment it’s too hot to go wandering so although I have been thinking about the Arid Lands Botanic Garden (ALBG)and getting native plants that probably would survive the heat in this area, I’ll leave  the 150 klm drive off for the moment. I think I have said before that dogs are banned at the ALBG – which is understandable given the nature of the gardens and the native  small reptiles  ( mainly harmless lizards)  that roam freely around the place.

Wedge-Tail Eagle ( Not my photograph)

Not sure if  I mentioned this before but my son had to have a meeting with the Environment /Wildlife Officer of the  Mine. A few days before, he was called out for a problem at one of the areas and was on his way to the mine. An Eagle, chasing prey, mistimed and miscalculated its attack and flew into the side mirror of Andrew’s Vehicle, killing the bird and smashing the side mirror. The report was sent by the company to the Environment Officer and although no blame was attached  to Andrew it was considered unfortunate in that the  Environment and Wildlife people had been running a program to re-introduce the Wedge-Tails (Eagles) back into the area. The damage to the vehicle and the replacement of the side mirror cost over $700. Sad but at the same time fortunate for Andrew that it was not a fully grown adult – these birds are BIG with a wingspan of up to 9 feet.

The WaWa – all change.

Chienne when the world was very young,.

In all of my life I have only ever bought one dog from a Pet Shop. I have to truthfully say that I have looked and liked what I saw – but then, I didn’t know any better. I bought this dog from the Pet Shop, because I knew the owner, she was also a dog groom and she also ran boarding kennels. We called the dog Chienne – I know some people in France use this as an insult but to me it just simply meant what she was a Female Dog. This was almost sixteen years ago. She died at just over fourteen years of age. She never had a day ill in her life and the only time she had to wear a “Collar of Shame” was when she had been to the vet for “The Operation”. She was a lovely dog, dearly loved by everyone who came into contact with her, particularly the Love of Her Life – my youngest son, Andrew. She also helped to fill an interesting matchmaking role, but that’s another story. My reason for reliving all this, is not to inflict sadness on myself, but to state a point – and the point is this – in my life I have only ever had one experience of a pet shop and that experience was very positive. I do not for one second doubt that many

Puppy Farms are dreadful places and should be closed down. My heart aches  when I think of some of these poor animals. However my only experience was a positive one and it is very difficult to set that aside. Every dog, including Benji, was a rescue dog. Only Chienne was a Pet Shop Dog and she was one of the most lovable dogs I have ever lived with – and to be honest it took me a  while  to stop calling him and at times referring to Benji as Chienne. That’s how imprinted she was on me.

The WaWa and I have become quite close to the point where I can go to her,  lift her up and she snuggles into my  neck. In my  wild erratic fancy, I had visions of her searching where would be the

Hello peeple..
The WaWa

best point to sink her teeth into, but that’s being unkind  :o)  I can also sit down on the floor and when Benji is not around I can sit and play with her, scratch her ears and her belly and  pet her back and head. Tippysmom was spot on when she said that  it will be an incredible wrench if /when the owner comes back and I have to give her up. I never meant to get attached to her but I have – and that’s a concern.

I have been working outside – even in the high temperatures we have had this week – because I want to get as much of the garden finished as I can. At the moment I have completed about half of what needs to be done and I would like to get most of it finished this week.  For the  gravel I am using Granite Chips – not cheap but they look good and they hold their colour for a long time. Other stone chip seems to fade after a while whereas Granite does not. The Frangipani  are coming along well as are the four Mandevilla / white /pink and two red. All very nice and should last until about mid-May, which is when I head off to Mount Gambier for four days. I water and feed the flowers and plants before I go and hope that will be enough to last them until I get back. And before you ask, the answer is NO.

A post ago I used a photographs of snow in Neilson. The photographs was taken in the morning, and by mid-afternoon the snow was all gone. It didn’t last long apparently.

Still no word about what is happening with Arrium. As far as we know there are two  buyers interested – One British and one South Korean. The uncertainty is such that there are so many houses

For Tippysmom / My Back Yard

for sale around the town;  a number of houses foreclosed by the bank and I know of at least one house – a big house – where the owners just packed up and walked away, leaving everything to the bank. As I said before our major shopping Mall, once advertised as the largest outside of Adelaide,  has 18 empty shops. However on a positive note we believe that a large retailer will be moving into the larger of the empty shops ( 3 in 1)  soon. Good in that it  is a large area and will take away the empty look from that section and also that it will provide jobs.