Yesterday was hot (39C 102F) and today is even hotter (43C 112F), but hopefully, despite the heat tomorrow, the forecast thunderstorms will bring some heavy rain to the city/state.
It’ll be much cooler next week thank goodness. In the meantime, I am in Hibernation mode and keeping off the computer for the most.
I spent 2 1/2 -3 hours last Sunday cleaning up after the previous week’s dust storm and the repercussions on my back/hip/knee pain are still around, so despite a lovely afternoon with visitors for lunch on Wednesday (who I hadn’t seen for about 7 months), I’m keeping a very low profile indoors, just moving every 15-20 minutes so I don’t get too stiff.
I had to scrub every pebble in the large saucer I use for a birdbath last Sunday. In fact, where the dust had collected in the corners of my balcony, or under the potted plant saucers, I had to get the scrubbing brush out. The rest of the balcony I swept and then mopped 2-3 times which removed the loose dust. While you can’t see it in the image below, the pebbles were caked in algae and red/orange dust.
My friends were saying they hadn’t attacked the dust on their verandah or garden pond.
I guess they’re hoping the rain might do the job for them as they travel a lot and have very busy lives. They live in a southern bayside suburb and it seems they received as much dust as the city and my western suburb last week. I might add, a heavy rain shower didn’t clear the dust as expected – it only caked it on harder 😀
Still, the big clean-up is 97% done on my Balcony I’m happy to say, well, except for a few leaves still showing signs of red dust on the edges, as my friend’s son pointed out when he checked out my herb garden – the Sweet Basil and Tomato plants in particular.
By the way, most of the large tomatoes are still not ripening so I’ve cut them off and brought them indoors to sit on my desk and ripen that way (I hope 😀 ).
My friends were amazed at how well my Herb & Veggies were growing and I assured them it needed constant attention, especially this Summer 2019/2020 – watering each night, pruning unruly branches and keeping the whole lot neat and tidy. My balcony is relatively large for a modern apartment block, but small for the amount I grow on it, so pruning regularly is mandatory 😀
Actually, looking at it just now, 2.30pm Friday, nearly every plant is hanging its wilted leaves in exhaustion. I think I’ll have to water again at Dusk, despite tomorrow’s weather forecast for rain all day.
I think my new Sage seedling is going to die. It’s choked with dust on its leaves and while I’ve watered the tiny seedling several times, the dust continues to lie in the tiny leaf furrows, but the rocket and baby spinach seedlings in the long troughs next to it are ‘hanging on’ in the heat. In general, compared to 2017 when I had bumper crops, this year’s harvest has been mediocre at best.
The heat hasn’t helped. But it was probably the lack of Winter and Spring rain in 2019 that normally mark the start of the growing season that has played havoc for the farmers, residential urban gardeners, as much as my balcony area.
The poor birds have been wilting in the heat as much as me. (despite me having my air-con on as low a temp as it will go, each afternoon and evening indoors. (I can only guess at what my next inflated electricity bill will be).
After getting their thirst quenched in the freshly washed water bowls, they usually jump down to stand in the shade of the potted plants for a while. I put iceblocks in their water a couple of times yesterday and hopefully the re-filled ice cube tray is ready to dump some more iceblocks in the water bowls today.
I feel deeply for their ongoing thirst and well-being and I can clearly see their constantly fluffed up wings trying to get some air-flow and opening their mouths very wide ‘panting’
It really is a hit or miss affair in trying to photograph the birds on my balcony.
Sometimes, the more I try to hold the heavy telephoto lens still, the more likely I am to wobble and miss the shot.
There must be hundreds of photos lying on my cutting-room floor (see below).
But when the birds DO stand still for a length of time, I’m rewarded with a better opportunity (below).
I had a very unusual experience last week. My older brother had sent me an email regarding our Father’s memorial service and I started feeling very sad again and couldn’t help tearing-up and having to grab a handkerchief.
All of a sudden a whole lot of House Sparrows came to visit and stood on the balcony fence railing (or Tomato bamboo stakes) in silence, looking this way and that. Not stopping for a drink as usual, just standing in silence as though to cheer me up.
They looked up, down and all around – even at each other, but not a drop to drink.
I was deeply touched by their appearance and after about 15-20 minutes when I’d regained my composure, they all flew away.
On another ‘bird’ matter, I’d noticed a larger than usual pile of bird poop on the balcony railing recently and wondered which bird had paid me a visit.
I hadn’t seen any other birds (besides the House Sparrows) for quite some time, despite several species visiting me last Summer…….even on very hot days last February.
Lo and behold a Spotted Turtle-dove landed on the fence and walked quickly along the railing as fast as it could go, then turned and dashed back again. I just had a thought, the metal fence is very hot. Maybe the metal was burning its feet (to account for the swift “power-walk“). Not having any cameras on my desk at the time, I scrambled to get the long telephoto lens out of it’s the overnight padded bag and quickly held it up to try and capture the sight. I only managed one shot before the Dove quickly turned, walked quickly down the rail a third, even faster time, and promptly flew away.
So it seems I have been receiving other avian visitors lately, just never when I’m sitting at my desk with the block-out blinds pulled up.
It was hot as a Sauna indoors and on the balcony garden at that time.
The last few nights at dusk have brought some soft pale pinks and mauves into the sky above the construction site across the road, but as I’ve said previously, this building is now blocking my beautiful sunsets almost completely.
I’m feeling a little claustrophobic these days now the various apartment levels are being completed and the construction building is towering over where I live 0n the lower side of the cliff face.
I might just have to move apartments again! LOL 😀 …..especially if the local Council allows the Consortium of Owners to build another 250 townhouses and apartment blocks next door on the large open field (left). They’ve submitted an application to Council, but many us, already living in the quiet green belt along the river, have protested. It’ll have considerable impact on the local indigenous flora and fauna and certainly impact Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve behind my apartment building. Here’s a reminder (below) of what it might impact.
On another note, after sharing images of the Red Flowering Gum in a previous post, my younger brother sent me a iphone image of his own ‘orange’ variety of the same plant.
It’s a beauty.
Well folks, that all my news this week and remember……
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow
I’m going back into Hibernation mode in the Heat and staying off the computer.
I believe in living Mindfully, taking pleasure in the simple things in life each day, but dare I say………………I hope Autumn comes soon 🙂
Blessed are they who see beautiful things
in humble places
where other people see nothing.
~ Camille Pissaro ~