Yesterday, I think it would be fair to say that it was fairly warm here. At 7.24pm I took the following photo of the weather station which displays the inside and outside air temperatures. For those that don’t use metric, inside the house it was 25.9’C degrees Celsius (78.7’F), whilst outside, the air temperature – in the shade – was 38.3’C degrees (100.9’F). Have I mentioned before just how much I love having the weather station here? Very observant readers will note the 0.3mm (0.01 inch) of rainfall recorded which was from testing the bushfire sprinklers that afternoon – which incidentally also has the added benefit of cooling down the sprinkler operator!
|Man, it's hot out here|
At one point in the early afternoon, she finally moved out of the direct sun and I took this photo of her partner in crime of Toothy, the black long haired Daschaund looking outside through a glass door at Scritchy and asking the hard question:
|Dude, what’s wrong with you? It’s really hot out there!|
Scritchy retired into the house at about the same time where she also proceeded to have a quiet nap.
However, this morning, Scritchy was not her normal exuberant self. She toddled onto the verandah, swaying slightly from side to side with her back arched in an unusual pose and couldn’t make it down the stairs on her own. At that point, I thought to myself: looks like I might have to get a new boss dog.
Anyway, I thought about what may be ailing her and put two and two together and realised that the dog was suffering from heat exhaustion.
As they say Down Under, Scritchy was: “coming down like a mongrel”! It is probably a fair thing to say that Scritchy felt this morning as if she had the worst hangover in history.
A good cure for heat exhaustion is to increase hydration and get some salts into the patient. In these situations, rehydration solutions work for me, so I thought I’d try something similar with Scritchy. Needless to say, dogs don’t naturally like to consume salt, so I had to bribe her with a mix of peanut butter and salt plus some beef jerky (which I keep on hand as a dog treat).
She appears to have now made a full recovery.
It isn’t all about dogs that have cooked their heads this week as the new shed is now in the process of being clad with galvanised steel sheeting. The photo below shows the new steel shed behind the white shed – which soon will become the farms cantina. In some parts of the world, a cantina is a Mexican bar, but here a cantina is the place where preserved goods and all of the miscellaneous equipment required to produce them are stored.
|New shed under construction behind existing white shed|
|New shed is under construction|
The above photo shows just how long the herbage can grow at this time of year. For the remainder of the year the native animals browse the herbage which keeps it short. However, at this time of the year, the herbage grows much faster than they can eat.
|Grey forest kangaroo enjoying the recently cut herbage|
Anyway, I also mow a bit of the surrounding forest using this chop and drop method. It is a great way to turn forest litter quickly into top soil. The results are interesting and here is one example:
|Results from chopping and dropping forest litter|
With an increase in the health of the top soil and the diversity of plants at the farm, so to have the insects increased in number and diversity. I captured a photo of this stick insect. She’s a big insect and you can see in the photo below there is a treated pine post to put her into some perspective.
|Massive stick insect near the chicken enclosure|
|Burn off of forest fuels in Macedon this week|
|Strawberries awaiting their awful fate|
How did I get here?
When I was a wee young lad, my grandfather used to take me camping up into the high country to a spot he and all his old World War II drinking buddies knew about on the Jamieson River. It was a very remote spot, far from any town. His mates were a rough lot too, from all corners of society (high to low), but they shared a common heritage and experiences. I suspect it was a form of therapy and ritual for them, and I was brought along to keep out of the way and fetch the water and firewood. My grandfather worked in the very top end of town, so he always had the final say on matters and I was tolerated.
It was a highlight of my youth because I could run feral, explore the bush and nobody seemed to mind – as long as I kept up the delivery of water from the river and firewood for the fire-pit.
The old guys put up a massive permanent heavy duty, all seasons tent plus outside all weather shelters, bedding and permanent fire pits. The state government in their wisdom demolished the site a few times as the site was on Crown land (i.e. government owned land). The old guys usually said to hell with what the government thought, so every time their gear was demolished, the old guys simply came back and just built a bigger and better site. They clearly felt that they were owed for their sacrifices and as a youth I was completely oblivious to these machinations.
So, running around the high country, like a complete feral, I learned to love the mountains and forests of this part of the world.
To be continued…
The temperature outside here at about 7.00pm is 24.4 degrees Celsius (75.9’F). So far this year there has been 732.2mm (28.8 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week’s total of 717.2mm (28.2 inches).