Country works subtle changes upon a person. Nowadays, the serious young man who strove with earnest zeal at the top end of town, is gone. Where to, we’ll never know. What’s left over, is what remains. Plus an accumulation of the many strange experiences which come from living in a wild locale.
The early morning coffee focused the mind. Unrelenting rain. That sure is a lot of rain out there. Plans to work outside were quietly ditched, reality had other plans. The pantry stores had been running low in relation to honey. There are only a few trusted suppliers, and seriously wet and windy weather is no time to visit the lovely old hippy couple living way out in the forest. They sell the best honey around. There’s no better, except when the weather is filthy wet.
Why not head out to refill the pantry when the weather suggests so? The second best supplier is another (sort of), home based business in a town an hour north of here. Of course industrial CNC cutters are probably necessary when a business needs to scale up, plus a very big shed. But the honey is still sold from the house, so home based it is.
9kg / 20 pounds of honey stored easily in the rear of the Dirt Mouse Suzuki. Dodge the rain. Head on home again. Except with maybe a stop off to pick up a very tasty coffee scroll and lamington. The tasty treats were enjoyed walking around a very soggy looking botanical garden. Squish, squish, squish the leather boots spoke as we pretended that the weather was better than it was. The cakes sure were good though.
Travelling more than an hour from home makes a person hungry. Cakes didn’t fill the guts. Another stop off and a gourmet pie soothed the hungry beast – that was me. All the good food was bringing on a food coma, and I’d been working hard recently, and yeah, sleepy. You drive, and Sandra drove on home from there. I may have stayed awake, maybe.
About a two minutes from home, a huge tree lay across the road. A large white vehicle was on the other side of the tree, waiting. Sheer force of personality is hardly enough to move a huge downed tree across the road. We swapped drivers, turned around, and drove another half an hour all the way around a quarter of the mountain range so as to get the two minutes home. Dunno what happened to the large white vehicle, probably not a smart idea to wait there, for where one huge tree has fallen, another may do so.
There being only three roads which cross the mountain range, it is no quick trip to cross to the other side of the huge downed tree. After a lot of unnecessary mucking around on mountain roads, and about five minutes from home, we noticed a different ‘nother large white vehicle stationary on the road, possibly taking a phone call. What is it with these large white, but this time muddy, vehicles? Are white vehicles cheaper? Are they the new Tribble?
This time, that large white muddy vehicle was known. The little Dirt Mouse Suzuki sidled around the much larger vehicle, and headed up the road homeward bound. Before too long, the large white vehicle, travelling at considerable speed on the forest roads, caught up with us. Pulling over and indicating to let them know that we knew something of what was ahead for them, the large white vehicle misconstrued the intention.
Beeping the horn merrily as if to say thanks for letting them past, the large white vehicle shot past, at speed – to an uncertain future. Surely you want to see what happens, don’t you? This was suggested, and affirmatively answered. So, we headed past our road, and further up the forest track. And there it was, the large white vehicle stuck on the wrong side of the huge downed tree.
At a distance you could almost sense the level of dismay among the flashing lights of the emergency services folks hard at work cutting up the huge tree. That wouldn’t have been a quick or easy job, and there was little room for the large white vehicle to turn around.
People sure can be strange. Years ago as a volunteer local fire fighter we had to cut up and remove storm damaged fallen trees over roads. And I can’t forget the numpty in one of the cars urging us volunteers to hurry up. Apparently they had somewhere urgent to go, as if that is excuse enough for such behaviour.
You learn a lot living in wild and remote locales. You learn a lot living with huge trees. And you learn a lot from gardening. Years ago, the brains little light bulb went off in an ah-ha moment. So obvious from hindsight.
Plenty of people get super excited about intensive edible gardening. It works, so why not? Except it doesn’t work all that well when you can’t bring in whatever minerals, composts and soils to keep it all working intensively. If ever you’ve watched the soil level fall in a raised garden bed, well it’s alarming to see soil turned into plants that rapidly. The forest doesn’t have access to all those easily imported minerals and composts. When conditions are OK, the intensively vegetated forest can survive well enough, after all the forest is very dense here so the facts speak for themselves. But when conditions aren’t good, you know, too wet, too dry, or even too windy – that’s when trouble begins. Due to the sheer competition, the plants just don’t have the deep root systems to be able survive the more extreme conditions. And can they then carry the weight?
The forests here were worked for over a century since about 1850. In fact this area was named “Cherokee” by forestry workers from the US who tried their luck in the gold rush. Failing at that, they then turned their hands to their old occupations, and the rest as they say, is history.
They left a lot of mess here. A whole lot of mess. And slowly over the years we’ve been clearing the mess up. Some of the felled logs are huge, with rotten cores. Makes you wonder what the forest used to look like. Such logs are not good firewood, and they’re hard on tools. And a few logs are larger than our tools can work. Those get burnt off. It was wasteful to drop the trees in the first place. Only the oldest and largest trees have hollows that the forest critters can live in and if we don’t look after them, the forest will get quiet.
The fire burned for a few days. Even the heavy rain failed to quell the fire. Now there is only ash which will be spread around the area as a fertiliser.
Between the large shed and the greenhouse heading downhill, we constructed a set of timber stairs. The whole lot was made from scrap timber. We made up the design of the stairs as we went along, and they ended up looking pretty good.
Earlier in the week, two mornings produced 0’C / 32’F temperatures, but bizarrely the only ice to be seen was on the roof of the Dirt Mouse and Dirt Rat Suzuki’s.
Hopefully, the blossoms on the fruit trees weren’t affected by the frigid weather. Time will tell, but so far it appears not.
The rain on the other hand must be having some sort of effect on the fruit trees. There is standing and surface water on paddocks, and that is impressive given the overall slope of the land.
Despite the rain and wind, spring is slowly progressing. The many raspberry canes moved to the garden terraces have begun to (dare I say it?) spring into life!
The garden is full of blossoming fruit trees, and the bees do venture forth to do their stuff when the sun occasionally shines.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 6’C (43’F). So far this year there has been 833.4mm (32.8 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 777.8mm (30.6 inches)