Anyone with eyes to see, knows that Triffids are easy to out run. Those predatory plants with the toxic stings, just aren’t all that fast on their feet. Zombies on the other hand, and fast zombies in particular, they can ruin your whole day. One minute you’re happily pulling weeds from the garden bed, and the next the undead are upon you biting, clawing and tearing at your delicate innards. And before you know it, you don’t ever have to go to work again. There’s a certain sort of appeal to zombies.
The hated alarm went off just after dawn. Sunlight poured through the bedroom window. The birds cheeped their cheery songs. Five weeks to the winter solstice and it looked like the day would be fine. The warm-ish air blowing through the open window at this time of year, wasn’t natural. Promises of coffee was the only bright note, and it wasn’t enough. The blankets were pulled higher to blot out the horror – early mornings are for other people.
Sandra was also tired. We’d spent the previous day painting the timber on the new greenhouse. Unfortunately for me, Sandra was resolute. Today was the day, we were to put the second coat of paint onto the greenhouse. Oooo! Was that a zombie lurking outside the bedroom window? No, it was Ollie wanting to come back inside the house again for his breakfast. Alright, alright! And thus another day was launched.
With only five weeks out from the winter solstice, the timber on the new greenhouse required painting. The hungry beast of a project also required a second coat of paint. For those who don’t know, the quality paint we chose does not cure in temperatures under 10’C / 50’F or when humidity is high. That description matches winter conditions here perfectly. So with time running out, the weather Gods chucked us a solid: Two glorious sunny and warm late autumn days. So we painted both days.
Now of course, earlier that week we’d been closely watching the weather forecast and trying to interpret what was to be for the conditions here. Proving that models are not the reality, the nicest forecast day ended up being the worst of the lot. A day of carpentry work on the greenhouse in the drizzle would have scared the average zombie, but not us, we soldiered on – like what the cold and flu remedy advertisements used to advise. Spare a thought for the two Kelpies, they got soaked crashing through the wet garden beds chasing rabbits and other varmints. Ollie hid under the cover of the solar panels safely out of the drizzle and curled up into a small ball, which is quite the feat for a large dog.
We’d manage to finish off the carpentry work and clean up the work site as the sun went down that day. It was still drizzling. We decamped into the house, lit the wood fire, had a coffee and Anzac biscuit, fed the dogs, dried off and all was good again with the world.
But then weirdly, the drizzle ceased and a warm wind began blowing down from the tropical north.
Overnight, with the constant warm wind, the timber on the greenhouse dried. From the bedroom window, the wind could be heard calling a promise of dried timber: Ah-whoo! Ah-whoo! Or was that awful noise a zombie? Dunno, but whatever the case, the next day was glorious and warm and we were able to do a bit more carpentry work and paint the entire construction. Oh! And one of the windows in the greenhouse had to be moved, it was in the wrong spot and somehow just didn’t look right.
Staying up all night is hardly a difficulty, but getting up early, now that’s a challenge. Certainly this character flaw stymied my career at the top end of town. Take it from me, asking the hard question: Why is the start time 9am? – that’s what is technically known as a ‘career limiting move’. Whatever, after a day of painting the greenhouse I was tired and alarmingly, went to bed early.
The next morning proved to be another glorious day. Disappointment is peering out the bedroom window hoping for zombies, but not finding any. We got up early again and painted a second coat of quality paint onto the structure. With winter rapidly approaching, the timber on the greenhouse is now protected from the weather. And we can now take a week off that project and enjoy a well deserved break.
Zombies by comparison, don’t require well deserved breaks or sleep. And I’d imagine that sleep might be needed this coming week because events should prove to be rather interesting:
- Australian Federal Election (of both houses of Parliament): Check
- Dodgy economic news: Check
- Oil over US$110 a barrel: Check
- New news of supply shocks (Indian wheat export ban): Check
- Old news of supply shocks (Still no Monoammonium Phosphate imports): Check
- Where’s my new tyre for the trailer? (still no sign): Check
- Climate change: Check
- Zombies: Nope – well, that’s some good news at least! Have to get to work then.
The above photo displays a rather typical winters day here: Thick cloud, rain, drizzle and generally all round cold weather. But we’re made of tough stuff, and despite the horror, we worked outside all day long in it.
In the more or less constant drizzle we listened to the music on the radio, and also installed the windows and did plenty of other items of carpentry on the new greenhouse.
We’re beginning to get an appreciation for the size of the greenhouse and have begun chucking around ideas for the internal layout. At the moment, the plan is to have three raised beds for permanent and annual plants, shelving for bags of fertiliser and shelving for seed raising.
Observant readers will note that in the above photo, the large window next to me. It was moved to the opposite end of the greenhouse. The location of the window in its original position negatively affected the overall composition of the building.
The next day of work involved further carpentry, relocating the window, and then putting a first coat of paint over all of the timber. The timber it should be noted is treated timber so it is quite resistant to rotting in the first place, but the paint will further protect the timber from moisture and the sun, and plus it just looks better. You can’t argue with that logic! Aesthetically sensitive readers will note the juxtaposition.
Another days work in glorious late autumn weather, with the music rocking and the north wind blowing, we put another coat of paint on all of the timber. The paint looks very solid and we applied quite thick coats. It’s now touch dry, which is good because there is rain in the forecast. The structure required 9L / 2.4 gallons of paint, which was a lot more than we’d anticipated.
Time off any work has been in short supply of late, and next week I hope to do very little – maybe. In the past fortnight I’ve had one day off work and we took it pretty easy that day and just kept things very local. As part of this quiet day we explored a walk at the local Mount Charlie Flora Reserve. It’s over in the eastern (and even less fashionable) part of the mountain range. The forest at the Flora Reserve was very different to the tall damp forest here because the more exposed aspect receives more wind and sun than here. The trees were shorter, the soil was thinner, but conversely the ground covers sure did contain more flowering plants.
After the walk, we had a delightful lunch and then headed up to the main ridge of the mountain range to what must be one of the best lookouts in the state. We had the place to ourselves, except for that mountain bike rider who whizzed past at high speed.
It’s a terrific view and you can see (from left to right) Mount Charlie, the longer and wider Mount Teneriffe, and then the lower Mount Robertson. All very impressive looking. For those who are interested, the farm sits high up on the mountain saddle to the fore of Mount Teneriffe almost in the centre of the photograph.
Being in the centre of the mountain range has proven to be quite a protected location from the worst of the weather. Up on the mountain ridge, the wind blows constantly, and you can see how it dries out and burns the vegetation not clumped into the protective forests. It’s been a year or two since the timber was harvested and regrowth of anything there has been slow.
The difference between that location and ‘more protected from the elements locations’ are quite marked as the next photo clearly shows:
Observant readers will note the naturalised exotic Linden trees and their beautiful autumn foliage display.
The constant shifting between the wet and dry, cold and warmth, is perfect conditions for fungi. And they’re all over the place, and probably very toxic.
Onto the leaf change:
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 9’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 376.6mm (14.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 365.4mm (14.4 inches)