Heatwaves, Fires and Gardens

Decorating the Shopping Mall Food Court

After the two mini-heatwaves things have not only died gown they have gone downright silly. This last week – the last days of spring and the first days of summer, have been cold, wet, dank and generally miserable. I mean it was only touch and go that I wear gloves when out walking with Benji first thing in the morning. However, I did have a heavier than usual jacket on. The fires are still burning in Queens;land and New South Wales while in other parts of the states – there being a drought there is nothing much to burn. A former Moderator died  and  the service was last Wednesday. Annabell was unwell and I  spent the day looking after her, so I was not able to go down to Adelaide to the service. Then on Friday past, one of our oldest members – 97 – died. He was a member and his wish was that the funeral should be at the church. His two daughters are charismatics and  they insisted that the funeral  be at their hall.

The others all bounced away.

This is not what he wanted but their argument is that they are family and their wishes prevail regardless  of what we might “think” he wanted. But it’s not something you argue about, so his daughters had their way and since they had no idea what they were doing – and didn’t ask anyone for advice, it was not perhaps the  the best run service. The oldest daughter telephoned us at 9:30 (the funeral is at 11am) and asked if we would do the introduction and open the service. They didn’t even consult with their own acting pastor, nor tell him what they were doing. He was as much in the dark as we were.  Anyway, we got through it in a decent / respectful manner – which was important.

Thursday and my car is going for a minor repair. The rear light is not working and it seems it needs a part replaced. It arrived yesterday so the mechanic is going to do the repair this morning. Shouldn’t take long. Took Benji out for his walk this morning and was surprised to see lots of kangaroos at the  far end of the walk.

These, however seem more skittish than usual and took off as soon as I came into view. A braver than the rest stayed and I did get one (not so great) photograph. Since there has been some rain there should be still some food and water left out in the bush.  I have  started laying out food for the birds but not near the house – not with all these cats around the place. Mostly for the Magpies which are big enough and strong enough to  chase the cats off.  If you have never been swooped by Magpies, you are very lucky. I have and let me tell you, it’s not fun.  During the breeding season they are fierce in defending their nests and their territory and  they can cause serious injury. However, there are no trees up this end – no nests – no swooping – reasonably friendly Magpies.

I said – years ago – when we moved here, that my house was the last house in town and that beyond me was bush. Of course that is no longer the case and there are many houses that

Same garden other side of the driveway
One of the few gardens

were build  beyond me to accommodate  the  “Mining Boom”demand for accommodation.  Not very many of the houses are privately owned. There are very few gardens – mostly the front area is covered in gravel and is a car-park rather than a front garden – sometimes between 6 – 8 cars, SUVs or mining vehicles. There are a few gardens but “few ‘ïs about the right word. I’ve never taken a photograph because it would be too time consuming to open Photoshop and  scrub out all the individual  registration numbers and, in some cases, the mining identifications of the vehicles that are parked on the gravel.

The fires continue in New South Wales and Queensland. Over 40 firefighters have arrived from Canada to help our firefighters battle the  fires. The City of Sydney is not immune and the dust and smoke from the fires drifting over the city are causing more than a few problems, and the photographs from Zambia showing the drying up of the Victoria Falls, is more than a worry. The temperature today was 46c

Toward the final curtain G

It was suggested that since the disruption – whatever it was – at the hotel,  did not really affect me, it seems a little excessive to be changing hotels because of that.  Well, yes, up to a point that’s true, but I stay there because it is conveniently  close to the road leading directly to the South Eastern Freeway.  Mount Gambier is five hours

and that’s what matters
I miss my dog when I am away.

away. A long drive on a country road after the freeway exit. Not the sort of roads you travel when you are sleepy. (no road is!!)  Not getting enough sleep before setting out and getting tired along the way puts me and other road users at risk. I need the rest, so if my Little Park Bench is not providing that, I need to be somewhere that will. As for Mount Gambier itself, I have already decided on a new hotel. I have had a few problems with the present set-up, so It needs to be changed.

The weather since I came home, has been cold, wet and windy. All the work that I did, before I left for Mount Gambier, clearing up the leaves and a general tidy up, has all gone for nothing and the place look just as untidy as it was before I started. The next few days, with a combination of high temperatures and north winds is not looking too great.  I have the feeling that the lady’s coffee morning on Wednesday may well be called off. Annabell is talking about not going to the hospital tomorrow afternoon, which is fair enough. It is for physiotherapy and not really a medical necessity.  I also believe that I was right and the  Coffee Morning on Wednesday  is  cancelled – oh well, so much for my quiet time :o)

The morning began well and Benji and I went for our morning walk without any concern. The temperature was fine and we completed the walk  and back home for a treat and coffee ( the coffee for me!) . It is supposed to be 37c today (Tuesday)  but I expect that will happen sometime during the day. But at the moment (11am) I really don’t see it happening, but you never know with this weather. It was not bad enough for Annabell to not go to the hospital, but we didn’t linger and came directly home.

Wednesday and the temperature is forecast to reach 44+c today.   The temperature didn’t reach the forecast 37c  yesterday and peaked at 32c. Today over 100 schools have been closed in South Australia  today due to

temperature of 44+c and high winds leading to a “catastrophic” fire danger.  We are not included in the school closure list, so none of our schools will be closed for the day.  I took Benji out for our walk this morning. I re-set the alarm from 5:45  to 5:30, and 15 minutes can make a great difference –  and it did today. We were on the road for 5:45 and, although it was light, the sun didn’t show his face until we were less than 100 yards from home.  It is now 10;30 am and I have stopped working outside. Not that I am too concerned about the sun and the heat but I am concerned about Benji. I go outside – he comes outside and, really, it is far too hot for him to sit in the sun, and it’s too risky with the wind to put the shade umbrella up. So here we are.  And before you suggest it, yes I could close the doors and not let him come out, but given he is my dog and he likes to be with me, it is not really a solution. Better I stay inside and let him keep me company  :o) . At the moment it is about 36C and the wind is starting to build up somewhat.  Given that it is a hot wind I expect the temperature to exceed the forecast 44c  ( it did!)

Thursday:  Good walk this morning. I have gotten into the habit of feeding the Magpies. I  bought a box of oat biscuits (cookies) and when I pass the Magpies I crumble a couple in my hand and drop the bits for them. I look back further on and see them eating. We also saw two kangaroos – a big one ( and I mean BIG) and a smaller one further

Dust storm further north (not my photograph)

on. First time I have seen kangaroos in the area for a while since the rain has produced sufficient feed and water for them out bush although it is starting to dry up now. I get  comments when I suggest the temperature “crashed” to 23c, but I  suppose I could just say “dropped” but that really does not convey the massive change in temperature that occurs. Wednesday 46c  – Thursday 21c and 21 is cool –  less is cold and the wind changes to the south – which is a cool to cold wind.  It all be verra confusing…  LOL

Monday is Washing Day!

The new Hoist in place.Been a sort of busy day. I finally cleared the remains of the cement block and have started to put the new Hills Hoist clothes line system into place. In the morning I will  clean the area out and cement it into place. Once it has time to cure and settle I’ll  start to bring in the river sand to  spread across the place and fill in all the nooks and crannies. I hope that it will present a smooth surface for herself to walk on.

Also tomorrow I’ll get stuck into the front again and hope I can get that finished by the weekend. Next week I can look at setting out the inside section and look for rose bushes;  clean up  and restore the birdbath. It would be nice to have some birds other than Magpies and Crested Pigeons.

I also spent some timeout front and laid down a few more sleepers before the light faded. I think I have about 16 of the 22 meters laid in, so it should be a cinch to finish the rest by the close of light tomorrow. I was out most of the afternoon with my boys, before one takes off up north again in the morning. I wanted a new bike so the boys Some people call them 'Top-Notch" pigeons.decided to get me a new bike this afternoon. In the mornings, when it is fairly quiet , I can go for a ride in this area until I get used to riding a bike again. Then I can start to go further afield and get adverterous – but not too adventurous yet.

All going to the dogs!

Likes a nice bed!In all of the organised confusion (chaos) that goes on around here at the moment the dogs have been very good. ” There is a lot going on but the sun rises and sets, daddy takes us for walks and we get fed every night, so all must be well with the world, despite the  confusion”  At least if they could think – and who knows what goes on in a dog’s head – I should imagine it would be something along these lines. Today they will be inside for most of the day. Apart from work being done in the front, the temperature is to be around 38c and generally when it gets as hot as this we let them in to the cool of the laundry and I put down beds for them.  I like my dogs but my long suffering wife tolerates them – she’s not really an animal person.

The backhoe – and driver – came today ad cleared most of the bark (about 97%) – or at least as much as he could get at. Over the next few days I will start the tidy up and levelling out ready for laying down weed matting and the new edging. I’m not sure if I should go with the treated pine sleepers or do as my wife and I discussed, ask someone to come and do concrete edging. I might get a quote for it, but I think I prefer the less expensive option – treated pine sleepers. I have already decided to reduce the inside area , which will make for easier maintenance and take away that little sliver of ground at the far side of the main area. I have not decided what to do with that yet but I have been thinking of rose  bushes with the bird bath back in place at the centre – although the only birds we seem to have at the moment are Top-Notch Pigeons and Magpies.A few minutes walk from the house