The “to-do” list has been getting longer and longer in the last few months.
A couple of stays in hospital (including the heart attack early in October) and then my Father’s final weeks on this earth had been the start of a period lacking in energy.
The main task was to (finally) get around to moving the potted plants and sweeping up the remnants of Winter leaf litter and cobwebs on my Balcony Garden.
It was a real mess. As I leave the pots without plastic saucers during Winter to allow the excess rainwater to drain away, there was a mixture of dried leaves, dust, bird poop and even, the remains of the sawdust which had blown across the road from the construction site in the Gale force winds from a few weeks ago.
I don’t know whether it’s something to do with living next to a Nature Reserve and 400 hectares of green parkland up and down the Maribyrnong River (behind my apartment building), but there’s always lots of spider webs and other insects, including mosquitos, on this balcony and my bedroom and lounge windows.
I had so many mosquito bites overnight the first summer I lived here in 2016, I have been forced to close my bedroom window each night. I am very fair and it seems a tasty morsel for the mozzies and spiders.
I normally do this task regularly, about 7-8 times a year as a minimum, and don’t let it get out of hand, but my Spring cleaning plans had gone awry before Spring even began this year.
I was determined to get this done before the stinking hot day yesterday. At least some rain was forecast with the cool change last night, but the day……….that heat was stifling.
……and as soon as I started moving pots, the first thing I did was drop the blue ceramic birdbath on Saturday at dusk.
This was the second ceramic birdbath I’d dropped and I didn’t want to go to the Hardware and Plant Nursery for just one item so I had to do some quick thinking.
I then had to re-arrange the pots as I discovered some foliage was blocking my view of the birds from my desk chair where I sit.
I know long-time followers think I have a very tidy balcony garden, but the truth is that the potted plants are artfully arranged to give a clear view of the visiting birds for photography purposes.
Apart from a bit of Companion Planting, placing mutually agreeable plants with their best friends, the pots are arranged so there is a clear view from my desk.
I finally resolved the House Sparrows need for water by bringing out the old metal seed bowls from my previous apartment (which unfortunately don’t fit the top railing of the balcony fence in this current apartment).
I nestled one bowl in the soil of the tall square Mint pot which I knew the birds always visited for grazing – just visible near the rim of the back square pot above. (did I mention a couple of weeks ago I made the birds some Peppermint Herbal Tea for the birdbath on a particularly hot day and after an initial puzzled look on their little faces, they ‘dived’ right in and drank the cool herbal tea with gusto)?
The next bowl was hung off the rim of Tomato #3’s pot.
The third on the tiles under the shade of the Perennial Basil which would keep the water cool and allow them to rest in the shade after morning ablutions and a refreshing drink.
The final water source was the enormous grey plastic saucer I’d bought a couple of years ago in an attempt to reduce the seed spillage when the Sparrows were fighting over the grains. I’d filled it to the rim with fresh water on Sunday night and it was nearly empty yesterday morning so that goes to show how warm it had been overnight.
Oh, I almost forgot, a small green plastic saucer seemed to balance pretty securely on the old ceramic birdbath chains. (sorry, the shot of the bird was blurred below, but you get the picture).
I did about 3/4 of the task on Sunday at dusk when the heat of the day was over.
First washing with a mop & bucket and then, when the worst of the stains wouldn’t come off, I got down on my hands and knees with the scrubbing brush. This was downright exhausting which is why I only did about 3/4 of the task. Of course, then I had to get up again, not easy with a stiff back and so on.
For all the noise and inconvenience of the apartment building construction across the road, the height of the building DOES mean my balcony falls into shadow a couple of hours earlier on a hot day, so that’s a welcome change.
Yesterday, Monday, 44C (approx 112F) and gusty winds do not make for a happy day in my ‘diary’, although rain was forecast with the cool change last night so I took a chance and didn’t water the garden.
- Rest of Monday
- Forecast Icon
- 20 °C
When will it rain?
||Chance of any rain
|11:00 am – 2:00 pm
|2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
|5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
|8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
|11:00 pm – 2:00 am
||0 – 0.2 mm
|2:00 am – 5:00 am
||0 – 0.8 mm
I was astonished to hear on the TV news last night that the smoke from the enormous bushfires on the south-east coast of my state had reached 14 miles high and created their own weather pattern which included dry lightning and thunderstorms. I’d never heard of this phenomena before.
At dusk last night, there was a distinctly rosy hue to the cloud cover which had crept across the sky, even though I’m nowhere near any bushfires in central Victoria at the moment.
Early fireworks had set off a grass fire behind a northern suburb of Melbourne and many people had to evacuate. Many country and coastal towns have cancelled tonight’s fireworks due to the danger, but Melbourne is still set for the greatest light show in my state (of Victoria, Australia). Surpassed only by Sydney’s light show.
Seems as though the only topic of conversation and news is Weather & Bushfires on everyone’s tongue at the moment, but can you blame them. Must be over 1000 homes lost so far and several deaths. This is the worst start to the Bushfire season Australia has ever had. (I notice on the overseas news last night that parts of the U.S. are under severe snow storms too).
In the meantime, lots of images of the poor little birds in the heat, gullering (bird’s form of panting like a dog in the heat) and desperately looking for some shade below.
When I washed all the bird poop off the balcony fence rail on Sunday, the metal was so hot I had to get thicker cloths to finish the task. It was as bad as a hot stove, so don’t know how the birds withstood the heat under their tiny feet and claws.
I DECIDED PUTTING THE BOWL ON THE METAL PLANT STAND WAS TOO HOT, SO LATER MOVED THIS BOWL
GOSH, THOSE TINY LITTLE FEET MUST BE CLAD IN HEAT-PROOF SHOES TO STAND ON THAT METAL RUNG
DOWN TO THE WATER BOWL IN THE SHADE
BUT EVEN THAT HOT SPACE HAD THIS SPARROW ‘GULLERING’
EVENTUALLY, THIS HOUSE SPARROW GOT OFF THE BOWL AND WENT TO STAND IN THE SHADE OF THE POT FOR QUITE SOME TIME
ANOTHER SPARROW LOOKS DOWN AT THE NEAR-EMPTY LARGE SAUCER AND WONDERS IF IT CAN REACH
YES, IT CAN REACH, BUT THE WATER SURFACE WAS PRETTY LOW
MUCH EASIER TO DRINK FROM THE OLD SEED BOWL
THIS SPARROW SEEMED TO BE SAYING “I WONDER WHEN THAT HUMAN WILL COME AND FILL UP THE WATER AGAIN?”
A PAUSE FOR MORE THOUGHT, THEN IT FLEW OFF
Today, the House Sparrows, quite by chance, jumped into the water in the large grey plastic saucer and have been having the time of their lives, splashing and jumping around in delight (in the shallow depth).
I was just going to fill the large saucer up again and have now decided to leave it as is. Full of water, the saucer will be too deep for the small birds to play in.
The birds are having so much fun and I am filled with joy at the sight in the cool shade of morning. There’s been a cool change overnight and it’s about 15C degrees cooler than yesterday, so there’s a stream of Sparrows visiting my balcony to entertain me.
Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen any Superb Fairy-wrens (or any other bird for that matter). There was an enormous dollop of bird poop, too large for a sparrow, on the balcony fence this morning, so some other larger bird must have visited before I got up this morning.
Note: Apologies for the lousy focus and light (towards the end of this series below), but I dare not take my camera away from my eye to adjust the camera settings to Al Servo to catch the action better. Having said that, later today I’ll probably get some better shots now I’ve re-set the camera.
Anyway, must go and get changed and the camera settings ready for tonight. I can see the city of Melbourne and the local park fireworks in the distance and the first year I lived here, I got some surprising shots of the light show.