The rain it falleth on the Just

Nice Rain Clouds - these ones didn't amount to much but the others did.
Nice Rain Clouds – these ones didn’t amount to much but the others did.

On Monday the tree people came and had a look at the White Cedar and gave me a quote for trimming it back somewhat. Tomorrow (Wednesday) they will come and do the job. I am quite pleased about this because I really am tired of spending hours on end every other day sweeping up these  “berries”. Once this is done I can then think about how I am going to cover up the crazy paving so that Herself can walk on it with safety.  The Sturt Desert Rose has taken off again and I have masses of blue/purple flowers. They are very delicate and do not last long, but there are a lot of them and they are constant during their flowering season.

I am convinced that weather people make up the forecast as they go along. Yesterday they promised heavy  rain and even thunderstorms for today and up until now (6:46pm) it has been a lovely day – nice – not too warm – just nice. Not a whiff of dark clounds. This is good in one respect – it means that I can continue to work at clearing all the gravel  ( cheap stuff) that the previous owner laid down. But in other rerspects it’s not so good because my knee is killing me and I need a break – a day off – so I am equally unhappy with the less than accurate weather forecasts.

Benji continues to settle down but there is still that accusing face at the window if we go out without him. There was a RFDS Barbecue at the weekend and I took him down to let people see him. They made a fuss over him, which he loved,  and he got free grub.  Bummer – I had to pay for mine   :o)

The long predicted thunderstorm finally arrived and it was a beauty. I was delighted to see that Benji gave not the slightest attention to the noise of the thunder and the heavy rain.  Reports are that there is a fair amount of flooding and structural damage across the peninsula. The thunder started about 5pm followed by  more, heavier thunder lightening

These chicken samwishes, look nise, daddy..
These chicken samwishes, look nise, daddy..

and the heaviest rain I have seen here for a long time. I believe there is some damage to the shopping center. I’ll have a look at that in the morning.  It’s almost midnight and it’s still raining – not as heavy as it was earlier, but still raining. It did go off for a while and I managed to take Benji for a quick walk, but the rain was back again before we got home –

not too wet  :o)

Heat, Fires and the RFDS

It’s 4:35am and I am sitting here hot and sticky. The temperature has been hovering around the 46c mark for the last few days and will continue for the next few days with a cool change coming in at the weekend. I was in bed at 11pm last night so I guess five hours or so in this heat is fairly good. I do not have an AC in my bedroom, only overhead fans – which I find are only really effective in moving the warm are around, not really cooling it. Still, it’s better than nothing. The Man finally crept out from under my bed at 10pm last night.  The  dry thunderstorm (no rain) sparked off a number of fires (200) in South Australia, one of which is only about 50 klm. east of the city. Water bombers have been brought over from  NSW and Victoria to assist. As the high temperatures continue the possibility for bushfires increases., but I have to say (although Chienne would not agree) the light show last night was quite spectacular.

This is not ours, but it gives you an example.
This is not ours, but it gives you an example.

I bought three Pencil Pines when I was in Adelaide, but because of the heat I have not planted them. They should be safe enough remaining in their pots under cover and well watered until I can get them out. Normally I would do it at the weekend once the cool change comes in, but this weekend I am busy with the Royal Flying Doctors and fundraising. On the subject of the RFDS, we are bringing a 10 meter simulator into town at the end of the month. It’s coming from Central Operations and we  will have it for four days, so we will make the best use of it we can. With 557 landings here in the last 12 months, I think many people would be interested to see what the inside of an RFDS aircraft looks like and what range of medical  equipment it carries. We can’t take an aircraft out of service, so the simulator is the next best thing.

There are still fires burning out of control across parts  of  South Australia as the temperature shows no signs of letting up at the moment. Some places further north have recorded  temperatures of 50c – and – would you believe – 11 incidents of  people leaving children in a car and 4 of a dog left in a car. True one of my dogs will be in a car today, but the Man will be with me and you may be certain that the AC is on at full. We will only be driving for about ten minutes – to the groomer – and a further ten minutes when I collect him.

When I was a boy I went camping, fishing and hiking in the Scottish Highlands with my Dad. After my Dad died, I went off hiking on my own and an kept up the fishing. No. 3 GF came hiking with me but we are talking about the late  1960s in Scotland, so camping was out and we stayed in B&B – separate rooms, of course and if I went in to see her, the room door had to remain open.  Even better – she liked Sinatra!! I get slightly amused with the term “relationships”because we never had “relationships” which seems to me to be a fairly modern term. You either had  Boyfriend or you had a Girlfriend – there was no relationship – or what moderns would consider a relationship. Yeah, but what about the 60s, Woodstock, Hippie Generation, Free Love and all that – yes certainly in America, possibly even to a small extent in England, but  in Presbyterian,  Conservative Scotland – I think not!?! After  herself and I were married we went back to the Highlands and the mountains for a few carefree years before the twin adventure dampeners  of mortgage and family.  After the first son was born we did spend some time in the North and my family looked after the child. When he was about four, we introduced him to Loch Earn. We even took him out to Rannoch Moor for a walk. Not really knowing much about Australia I assumed that I could go for long walks and to off fishing. The bulk of Australians fish from the Jetty and that really didn’t appeal to me. The nearest river was the Murray – about 100 miles away and the nearest trout fishing was in the Australian Grampians which are cold enough for trout. I didn’t get used to the flies and still have not, but I missed my highlands so at weekend for the first year or so we were here I very selfishly took off to the upper Flinders Ranges. It wasn’t too bad walking through the SA High Country because we seemed to be out of the way of flies. I don’t think I will ever get used to them.

Coming and Going

chairzz
No words necessary

It’s 3:27 am on Friday morning – the storm has finally passed and Chienne has settled down. Not a great storm as storms go, more a light and noise show than anything else. However, enough to keep Chienne’s stress levels up. There was some rain once the light show started but not as much as I thought there would be. I have switched off the alarms and put the phone on silent.  I need some sleep. Trouble is, I am now wide awake although I cannot promise that I will be by lunch and I really have a lot to do including medical appointments for herself.

I should have an early night but that wont happen. I will be too busy crying to be sleepy :o) No,  not because my team lost  – if they won I would be too stunned to be crying – but because we have a big barbecue in the morning and I will be cutting and slicing onions for a good part of this evening.

Saturday

The Fete went very well and I think we  cleared a reasonable amount. Sadly, the barbecue did not go as well as expected  but I think we just about broke even on that. Things that were not sold we donate to Lifeline to sell in their shop. Anything we consider to be  close to the “Junk” side we  donate to the council rubbish dump. Surprisingly enough not a lot  is “donated” to Council

Sunday and I headed off to Adelaide again. We will stay overnight and see the Specialist in the Morning and hopefully be back on the way home in the early afternoon.

Harbour-Town-Adelaide
Stock Photograph – mine didn’t turn out.

All being well we headed back on Monday and yes, I did make a slight detour at the Harbour Town Shopping Centre. Spent about an hour there before heading back home – ariving at 17:40. Was a long day and glad to be home to play with my  Associates.

Thunderstorms, dogs and sleep!!

I think a lot of the problems we have here is that we lack imagination. Let me qualify that! When we leave Europe and come to the  far flung fringes of the Southern Hemisphere, we tend to bring our ideas of gardening with us. So, we plant the flowers we are used to, we plant good old European Lawns – in essence we seem to make every attempt to recreate the kind of garden we left behind – the kind that our parents lovingly tended and we, their children,  spent our youth in. So we plant our garden ,  watch things die and come to the conclusion that the problem is not enough water, so we water the plants and lawns with copious amounts of water  morning and afternoon. However, with the drought of recent years and water restrictions  the cost of continuing with this has become prohibitive. I have gotten rid of  lawns and replaced it with weed matting and treated coloured pine bark (red)  I have tried roses without much success and out of the dozens that I bought three are hanging on for dear life. I have planted  other pants and watch them burn up and die in the sun – despite watering mulching and soil treatment that didn’t work. So, native plants it is. I have started with two Sturt’s Desert Roses and two Sturt’s Desert Peas.  I have also planted four  silver leaf Eremophila – two out front and two  at the back. I will wait to see how these all survive before I do anything else. A neat European style garden and 40c heat just don’t go together.Not up in this little corner of the Commonwealth. And it’s only taken me 20 years to figure that out!

Chienna on her Futon.
Chienna on her Futon

Oh what a joy! We had a major thunderstorm last night. It started about 1:30 am and I was up and trying to comfort a dog who believed that the sky was falling. The vet had given me medication (ACP  10 mil.) to calm her down so I gave one  tablet to her. I also brought both dogs into my room so that herself would not be wakened. The little man curled up on my bed and went back to sleep. Chienna kept pacing up and down and stressing out. I really feel sorry for her and the combination of noise and pressure  really gets to her. The way she stresses out and the constant panting, I am surprised she doesn’t have a heart attack. But she doesn’t want to be comforted or reassured because when we try to hold her  she breaks free and continues her pacing and panting until the noise and the pressure stops- which it did around 4am but by then she had started to clam down.  She settled down at the foot of my bed and we all went to sleep until my alarm went off at 6:30. I gave them their sticks, let them out and went back to bed for an hour.

Round 2 begins

This morning dawned fresh and clear and until about an hour ago it was still so.  About then I started to see that the sky was dulling down and dark clouds were slowly moving in and sure enough, here we are in the middle of another thunderstorm. This is passing strange – we don’t generally have three in a row like this. Two in one day was bad enough but three in two days is trying the patience just a tad.  There are about 5000 homes without power – 100year old trees were picked up thrown over, along the main streets power-lines are down due to falling trees all of which I said yesterday, but this new storm, if it develops like the last one, could cause more damage. However, having said that, I don’t think it will. It doesn’t have the  same’ feel’ as the ones did yesterday. According to the statistics there were 120,000 lightening strikes across the State.  Anyway, Chienna is in the laundry on her bed and the little man is curled up on my bed. The reason for this is that he must have sneaked in and no one saw him. He was too quiet and it was only a few minutes ago that I went into my room and saw him. I didn’t have the heart to move him so he’s still there.   Yesterday was the first time I have ever seen him concerned during  thunder. Normally he’s not too fussed but yesterday it was very loud and the lightening was very bright.

The “flooding” was a lot of water on the roads, in gardens and elsewhere – it was NOT gushing through people’s houses, it did not threaten lives, it was at best ankle deep and apart from a few smallish puddles, it cleared away very quickly as the storm water drains caught up. The damage we did experience was caused by very high winds that threw down trees and brought down power lines. No one was hurt or injured, but it is interesting that this is the third year in a row that we have had a thunderstorm of this nature right at the very start of summer.

Winter is closing in – rain and cold.

Sunrise over Whyalla JenkinsGoodness, it’s been over a week since I wrote anything. It has been a very busy week, but not in the garden. On Monday and Tuesday I was away at a funeral, on Wednesday we had a thunderstorm at 3:30am – neurotic dog, acute hearing, had to sit up with her until she calmed down. I had a call on Wednesday but I was just too tired to accept. On Wednesday, workmen put a drill through the gas main. No explosion, but the primary school and the university were evacuated. It is now Friday and we are still without gas. Fortunately, I can take care of cooking by using the barbecue, washing and heating are different issues.  It took until Saturday afternoon before gas was restored to the west of the city. It is interesting how much we depend on services and we  have difficulty in coping when they are interrupted. As I said, I used the barbecue, the side burner and the two burner camping stove, so we were ok. Others were not so.

On Thursday I went through to Port Augusta to look for Standard Roses, as well as a few other things, but to no avail. I came back (152 klm round trip) empty handed. I did manage to get some special degreasing stuff that I will use on the driveway. I don’t think it’s been cleaned ever. I hope to be able to do that this coming weekend.

Tuesday:  Over the weekend I was not able to do much. The boys were over most of the weekend and the youngest was back from  OlympicDam – in the far north of the State. and with the gas not returning on Saturday morning, there was consternation on how we would feed everyone. I didn’t think it would be a problem since we had a barbecue, but as I said, the gas returned on Saturday afternoon and all was ok.  I still have not managed to get my Standards but I did buy four new rose bushes which I will plant  over the next day or so.

We have had a lot of rain over the last week and I have not really had an opportunity to do much outside and I really need a dry day to do the driveway. Certainly most of it is covered in but I need dry weather or the driveway itself would never dry – particularly the covered section – which is most of it. For example I took the dogs out for a walk the other morning and it looked like it was going to be a fine day. I was not long back in the house before the dark clouds came over and it was raining again. I think it’s going to be a long, wet, cold and damp winter.