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 Sands of Time

The WaWa
The WaWa

April – a month that will live in infamy  – well not quite. After all some wonderful people were born in April – like me for example. However, April was when we acquired the WaWa, or rather, when we (I) agreed to look after the WaWa for a limited period. It’s almost January – nine months later –  and she’s still here. We have not heard a word from Sooha since she went back to South Korea. We have written to her and sent emails to the address she gave – all of which have bounced back. I do not know what we are going to do. WaWa is a playful, friendly and loyal little thing and  now that I have made contact with the new vet I will talk to her and see what we can do with regard to her attacking Benji and whether a .oo soft muzzle will help – at least it will stop her nipping at his back legs. And I really can’t understand this- I mean it has been eight months. I would really have thought that things would have settled down by now and she would have gotten used to Benji being around. Jealousness continues to be the main problem   She can be a real pain in the tuchus, but she has to stay – anything else, however well meaning , would be unconscionably cruel. I have no regrets about taking her –  I am being honest when I say she is a lovely dog, friendly, playful, loyal – I just wish we could sort out her jealous attacks on Benji and stop her barking at the least little shadow.

Aside from dogs, 2017 will be a year of change – changes that will be generated by me. There are some things I have let slide and I intend to change them. However, as the Rachel Hunter add

Mandevillia ( not mine - sadly)
Mandevillia ( not mine – sadly)

once said – “it wont happen overnight, but it will happen”. And here   I mention that  after months of pretending to be just a stick stuck in dirt (potting mix) the two Frangipani have started to grow. There are leaves and other bits sprouting – which I am very pleased about.  The four Mandevillia  are also growing well and the Poinsettia is still a vibrant Red. My Almond tree is good and I would like a Mulberry  Tree, which I will look for when I am down in Adelaide soon. This afternoon, the dogs and I, Benji and Yogi, went to the garden shop and bought new plants – two South Australian Natives and six Geraniums. I will plant them this evening when it is a bit cooler. I use raised planted beds and potting mix because my soil here is not good. When we moved here and I looked at an area with horrible black bark on it, I decided to clear it all off and turn it into a Rose Garden. I did all the things, prepared the soil, bought rose fertilizer  and spent a fortune on rose bushes at the garden shop. Every single one of them died. I tried other things and they died too. The soil, it seems had been poisoned – or sterilized – same thing really.  The White Ceder tree has taken off again, so this time I will really have it sorted out – no more being nice.

I’m still  having problems with the aftermath of the knee operation and have difficulty kneeling on the ground – or indeed kneeling at all. Still,  as a famous Australian politician once said,  “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”. And on that note it must be said that our current crop of  “fly by night” politicians are doing everything they possibly can to make certain that is how Australia will be under their watch – claw $2.5 Billion out of pensions – a crisis with Centrelink and millions $$  being demanded in repayments , which no one understands, but the good thing is a pay rise for politicians and government staff and the $2.5 Billion they ripped out of our Seniors’ Pensions should help to fund the  pensions, lurks and perks for politicians.

Sooha and Kongsoon - now called The WaWa
Sooha and Kongsoon – now called The WaWa

Since I started this, we have heard from Sooah and although she is well and still working with the Immigration  Department to achieve a return to Australia, there is no indication when that will actually happen. What this means is that the WaWa will be here for the foreseeable future. Yogi will be going home shortly as the friends return from Perth in Western Australia on Friday week and I will pick them, up from the Airport. The week after I head off to Adelaide and then Mount Gambier and  an extra-ordinary meeting. Oh come now, what’s a 1300 mile journey and three hotels for a three hour meeting between friends?  Still it gets me time to have a wander in Adelaide and I have  a pile of Bunnings Gift Cards to use and a Mulberry bush to find.

And finally – we are in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures hovering around the high  30s to the low 40s – what joy..