Hot and dry spring

It is hot and windy. The spring winds are dry and the earth is parched. Some rain is definitely needed at this stage. Some plants are already suffering as we can’t attend to the watering of all of them. We are on tank water hence restricted to a certain extend.
What I have noticed in times of stress is all the bamboos that we planted are shedding their leaves. The lawns are full of dried leaves. In our area it could be a fire hazard and can be quite scary.

it is a funny thing to say that all is dry, it is in a way, but our valley is green very green. There are, I was told by old timers around here, countless springs running underground. it is not too far from the truth, because our dam is always full even in times of dryness as it is at the moment. Sure, it does go down a little but never dries out. hence, yesterday Peter used the pump to fill the big tank for the vegie garden. This tank is only for our vegetables and a few plants outside.

The bottle brushes are in blooms and the parrots and there first thing in the morning to sample the first appearance of nectar on the flowers. They squawked all day long and fight with the native Minahs to steal this honey on the trees. Huge amount of turtle doves and crested pigeons have their home around here also, but I suspect very strongly it is because of the chicken run and all the grains that they can scavenged when they enter the coop. They don’t even fly away anymore. Just walk nonchalantly a little way and come back as soon as we go.

The bougainvillaeas (Boogies) are all in blooms and look just stunning and resplendent with their new leaves and flowers. They are a delight and add a superb colour to the garden.

Boogies in Bloom
Boogies in Bloom

Salmon colour boogie

Boogies in bloom
Boogies in bloom

One big mother hen (Lady Grey) a grey Wyandote has hatched a few eggs and we have 4 little cuties running, cheeping, and eating as fast as they could. As if they could not wait growing up. They have found a way to get out of the double wire fence and they mix quite happily with the rest of the flock. As soon as they see me coming they run right back inside. We are just worried that the local python will make a nice dinner out of them one day, so we are vigilant.

Stretching for a drink
Stretching for a drink
Lady Grey and her chicks
Lady Grey and her chicks
Half of the flock running around in the garden.
Half of the flock running around in the garden.

With the planting of massive amount of trees when we first arrived in this valley, we have noticed also an increase migration of native birds. Grey and white pigeons are nesting in the bamboos, rails are frequenting more openly the area of the dam which is lush with native vegetation, the swamp hens have really decided to nest also on the huge clumps of sedge around the dam, the ducks arrive in the early morning for a dip and a flutter in the dam. The other day a huge goanna scampered around the cows. This big lizard is common around here but had not been seen it for quite a while. Cows were not fussed.

Yesterday saw the arrival of the local dingo. The swamp hens , the birds, the ducks made a raucous commotion and started hounding him away. Even our dog got into the chase and the dingo ran across the fields and onto the neighbour’s paddocks at great speed. Poor dingo not a hope around here. He was safe in the other field as John always feeds him.The animals have become very territorial around here.

I know that our little pet Butchie is on a few eggs at the moment. She knows when the dog is being fed and arrives just on time for her evening meal. The only one at the moment. But she is here everyday at 5 o’clock on the dot.

So, yes, spring is here and with it a renewal of flora and fauna. Superb sunsets and the early mornings mist are a feast to the eyes. The days are longer and longer, the air is sweet of nectar and perfume. The crickets have started they nightly din which can be quite deafening at times. The frogs are also croaking more prolifically no doubts looking for mates. As long as they are not cane toads, the scourge of this area.

In all that the body and mind just witness the manifestation of renewal, the beauty of nature, the infinite gift that we are given to see all of this with all our heart and soul. No fights, no lies, no quibbling, no politicians, no crisis, no wars, just a spectacle of natural beauty unfolding in front of us with all it has to offer for us to blend in and enjoy. A true feeling of joy, serenity, calm and peace. If only our mind would keep quiet for a little while……

Till next time.

After the storms

Peter and have finally started to clear up the debris of the massive trunks and bamboos . As I said previously, the chainsaw managed to die the day we wanted it, so armed with a small hand saw we cleared the chicken coop roof. Two huge branches fell on the roof and they were Casurina pine trees. For some reason they are very hard and tough to cut. The wood is really compact. Legend around here has it that it was used by bakers in the olden days. Their hardness made them apparently suitable for burning long and steady. I can attest to the hardness that is for sure. It is one of the toughest wood I ever cut. That was a work out and half at the end of one hour we were just exhausted. No gym today!

The chickens were of course very curious and all gathered around us to see what they forage  from the fall out. They were happily pecking around as hard as they could and occasionally running away when a branch was cut. But back they were in a flash to get more juicy bits.

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After these efforts, we decided that we were going to wait for the chain saw for the other trees that had fallen. Among them, another big Casurina behind the house. Too hard work. We were in such a sweat after we completed this huge job. When we got back from the farmer’s market the next day, we decided to clear the huge bamboo that had crashed on the gate. That was a little easier. We just moved the huge poles away from the gate and onto the inside paddock. The water had drained from them a little and they were not that heavy to carry. I put a notice on our Nimbin Forum to see if they were some people that might be interested to pick up some poles. So, after all we may not have to do such a huge clean up if some nice souls decide to take most of them. That would be nice no?

The grass is now galloping and it is time to mow. Over the next few days that will be my job while Peter will attend to the huge operation of dismantling the outside of bathroom wall. Yes, we have no bathroom. No shower. But in the heat of summer, we have a nice warm outside shower. That will do the job for the time being. But I dread to think what he will find behind these walls. The whole plumbing section is just behind there. IS the plumbing really gone or was it the tiler that did not do his job properly? So, painstakingly he will attend to all that in due course. It never stops really. He has such patience it is unbelievable.

On my way to the Farmer’s market this morning I saw the extend of the damages that were inflicted on the roads. Huge branches and tree trunks lay scattered on the side of the road. Bits of road with big pot holes, the wind and water had inflicted serious erosion of some parts of the main route and care was taken to avoid any major accidents. People were driving cautiously. I guess everyone has some sorts of ideas of what a disaster scene looks like by now. It is so frequent all over the world, we could become almost blaze by it all. it is easy to detach one self from disasters around the globe, but when it hits home it is another story I thought. Until one is really affected by it,¬† then one realises that the world over is in the same predicament. Human suffering is the dreadful feeling that we all share.

Till next time

Water, water, water

A cup of tea by my side, I lay in a warm bed relaxed, warm watching the billions of drops lashing at the windows in front of me. The winds are fierce and gales of up to 50km are bending the bamboos so low I fear they might be uprooted.

Branches are falling everywhere and a mighty casurina branch just fell on the chicken coop. Then, Peter says I should go and cut it off. I look at him, “you are joking I respond with a tinge of anger and bewilderment in that rain and wind? ” I don’t mind he says, then I ignore him and continue knitting. He did not go out in the end. Commonsense prevailed. But he did go out to make sure that the tremendous amount of water that was rushing down the drive did not cause too many ruts. So in the rain he went, digging along it to ensure that if followed the path intended and cleaned all the bamboos leaves clogging it. All that in lashing rain…The chooks were fed and made secure. Yes, Peter, love the water!

The rain comes in an incline of 45 o steady, very steady. In fact it has not stopped for the last 72 h. I do mean non stop. No respite, not for one second.

The valley and the mountain across are shrouded in a blanket of white cloud. Opaque and impenetrable. The sound on the roof can be at times quite heavy. It resonates on the tin roof and is deafening.

Birds are away, not a peep, where are they all? I am sure they are hidden somewhere, wet and bedraggled. Then, little cheeky butcher birds, the resident pet ones that I feed regularly…oh by the way they have have brought in 2 new babies. They chirp incessantly on the veranda. The four of them take turn to beg for food. In that storm that has been lashing out they come and perch on the veranda and just sit there dry and safe, a nice refuge. They do not want to move. They are not scared. They do not even want any food, just safe and protected from the water. They are wet very wet. So, they all comfortably standing, I look at the baby ones, they are just starting to take their own food, they are not sure what to do yet. Should they go on the ground to pick the little piece of beef that I just thrown, not sure of that one…waiting for mum or dad to feed them might not happen, so he just dives on the floor and chirping like mad looks at the meat…keeps looking not sure what to do. In the meantime, mum or dad, still perched on the balustrade watch and do not move, not a movement. Still stridently tweeting, he still hesitate looking at the piece not knowing how to proceed, but hunger gets to him and he hops closer and closer and still noisily is sitting 20 cm away. What should I do with this tempting morsel? Another couple of seconds staring at it, then finally it is not happening, nobody is going to hand it to him, so he precipitously pounce on it and flies away. He has made his first step in feeding himself under the watchful eye of mum who did move an inch, but just watched totally unconcerned or so it seemed.

The bamboos are now at a 90o angle and being lashed by the rain. It is coming down and down and down. The valley is totally under water which is gushing, transporting with it branches and debris. The 2 causeways along our road have broken their banks and water floods the road. Dangerous, as one does not see the dead trunks or other debris that are stuck in the middle of the bridge. One can get stuck quite easily.

Yesterday , as I was on voluntary roster duty at the local Nimbin Artists Gallery, (see our Facebook page) it was touch and go…will I close early? No, I’ll hang in there for a while. Then, Peter rings me and says that the bridge might overflow any moment and I might be stuck. I was still not decided. So, I waited for a a little while longer. Rain still pouring down in tons in the village also. A few hours later, another phone call, Peter was desperate, “Gigi. it is touch and go…” “ok said I.” It was 14.30h. Come and pick me up. I closed the gallery and we headed back home.

The water tanks are overflowing, the creek is over our little causeway is closing our drive, the cows are stuck on one side and they are not going across it….it is running fast. I suspect the calves will not attempt to cross, they might get stuck. But so far, the animals are safe but the drive is for the time being difficult to navigate just at the causeway. If the rain eases for a while it should be fine. But according to the latest forecast not in the immediate. Another 3 days of torrential lashing out of rain . The cows are very clever, they came up right to the top away from the flood down the property.

Well, as long as we are safe it is a good time to catch up on the little jobs around the house and a little more knitting and listening to a couple of audiobooks at the same time.

I was interrupted as we had more than 25h of power cut. Dinner by candle lights of course, plus heaps of candles everywhere. No water, not hot water, no shower…yes, we do smell a little. Heaps of frozen food might be perished in the freezer. Have not checked yet. Of course no internet, no phone. How weird to be cut off from everyone. but it was nice very nice as we relearned some basic ways of just being. Then, something happened the huge clump of bamboo by the entrance of the main gate decided to keel over and it did. CRASH! across the portal down the drive. and we could not get out. easy, peter said, let ‘s get the chainsaw and hack it down in pieces. There were about 40 branches. That was under torrential rains. The winds and rain were so strong that we seriously hesitated…but the chainsaw decided also to give up. It just would not start, so drove back up in the heavy rain and wind. I thought the mobile could be used and rang a friend who was not able to make it. He was also under water and could not get out of his drive. Tomorrow will do. There was nothing that could be done right now.

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Next day, still no electricity for the whole morning. We managed to get a neighbour with a chain saw and he debited the 40 clumps in a wink of an eye. Peter and I managed to lift the heavy pieces from across the fence and the gate. Free at last. Now we could at least get out of the house. The sun was shining but the humidity was intolerable. AT least dry for a while before the next phase of rain. Not today tho. The bridge down the road were also flooded with huge and massive trunks on the road. We could not lift any of that. No way ! But some gentle soul did it for us and for all the dwellers on our street.

In the meantime, the garden was being super productive. Zucchinis shot up after a few days of non stop rain and the bananas were ripe for the picking as well as the pimentos.IMG_0274IMG_0272

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The worse affected part of the country is 200 km north of where we are. Some parts of Queensland have been declared catastrophe areas. So many people in troubles with the rains, the fires, the tornadoes, these elements of nature are totally unforgiving.