The price of the heat

“An innocuous piece of timber wall” that sits behind our clothesline, you could be forgiven for thinking.

IMG_1334Well, as I hung out the clothes yesterday morning I was greeted by a swarm of flying insects. Thinking they were bees merely visiting the flowers on the bush nearby, I calmly brushed them aside.

Obviously my eyes are to all they could be these days, as suddenly they started attacking in droves. Belatedly it occurred to me (and upon closer inspection), that our latest uninvited guest is a nest of European wasps. Just the place for them (not), between the timbers of the wall under the clothesline.

This comes at the time when we have been rejoicing in the departure of the green beetles, and the possum attacks on our produce are lessening.

Still, as the song says, always look on the bright side of life. So while the temperature rose to a staggering 50 degrees outside (I kid you not), a quick inspection of the garden showed that not all is lost. The herbs are thriving, with the possible exception of mint that is not happy with the heat, nor the mystery insect that is decimating it.

However rosemary, oregano, thyme and the beautiful flowering bergamot are very happy. Other flowers such as petunias, carnations and snapdragons bloom on and the citrus trees, safe now in their protective cages, are showing definite signs of a bumper crop in the not too distant future.

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The tomatoes, though a bit jaded, are coping with the heat, and many self sown varieties of lettuce also are holding their own. The rhubarb looks almost cheerful again, recovering as it is from the green beetles’ assaults.

However, the paddocks are so devoid of vegetation that the sheep have had to be moved into the main area around the house. We’ve left patches un-mown so that they have something to eat. I keep telling them how lucky they are but they just chomp away and stare at me blankly.

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Although the heat and lack of rain are annoyances here, we are so thankful to have bore water, and it’s not so bad as for poor farmers and livestock that are not nearly as fortunate. Like everyone else, I wonder when this dreadful dry spell will break – watching those clouds on the horizon hopefully..

As if I should lament the inconvenience anyway, when you consider the plight of the wildlife. While I was hand watering the plants in the evening, I looked across the fence and saw a most pitiful sight. A little potoroo was looking longingly at the water that poured from the end of the hose. He looked at me pleadingly, or so it seemed.

We put water out for him straight away, and tomorrow will fill half a polydrum and put on the other side of the fence for any others who might be in desperate need of a drink.  I am ashamed that we have not done this sooner.

We don’t like the animals eating our garden of course, but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to realise the plight of the wildlife in these dry conditions. I think some organisation recently encouraged people to put water out for them and after seeing this poor little creature’s obvious distress, I can surely understand why.

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