Friday, 8 August 2008


Today I did a most unusual thing and took my own advice! The advice that I gave a day or two ago in the post 'Sowing and Learning' was to begin sowing the seeds of tomatoes. capsicums, eggplants and okra. I did all except the tomatoes as I am hoping others will sow the tomatoes for me and give me a few nice, strong seedlings when I get back from the Vegetable Vagabond trip. It is particularly cold just now and it has been raining on and off for weeks, it seems, and summer vegetables seem like something from another life. But, by the end of August when the Royal Adelaide Show starts, temperatures can already and suddenly be in the 20's.

After sowing the seeds and putting them into my seed frames I went off to do some weeding in the vegetable garden and I discovered a tiny bird sitting quietly on the path. It is always lovely to see baby animals because you can get up close to them without them running or flying away. I chatted away to this fluffy little noisy miner, asking it to please not grow up to be like its horrible parents that chase away any other bird that comes near my garden and actually go to the nests of other birds and destroys their eggs. If I could wave a magic wand in my garden I would wish that all the noisy miner birds would suddenly disappear and never return. While I was talking to it, it waddled over onto the driveway and, as I was expecting Roger to drive in any minute I picked up the fluffy ball, looked around for its parents and shifted the tiny thing to a safer place. A minute or so later one of the parents was there at its side and I noticed later in the day that the baby bird had progressed very well in its flying ability and I bet it will be sleeping well tonight, dreaming of flapping its wings and soaring up to the dizzy height of at least 2 metres off the ground!

All around me today there were signs of spring being around the corner. All the birds must have been waiting for this fine day to begin flying lessons for their young because the parrots families were out too, in the big gum tree in the chook yard. It was a very noisy kind of peace in the natural world today, topped off by the groaning and growling of koalas in one of the gum trees next door. Soon the kookaburras will begin laughing heir heads off at some joke only they understand but it always makes me smile and even laugh to myself when I hear them. I mean where else on earth does a bird laugh - and so raucously and with such vigour and duration - besides here in Australia?

There are several patches of soil in the vegetable garden where dozens of tiny seedlings are germinating, somehow knowing that this is their big chance at life. I don't know what they are yet, but probably they are self-sown vegetables. The plum tree's buds are swelling and soon will burst, the lemon tree is beginning to flower and the bottlebrushes are shooting out with new growth. Even though we have had fog and drizzle on and off for ages, days are lengthening and those in tune with the seasons are beginning the shift from winter to spring, here in Adelaide.

If you look at a map you will notice that there are few cities as far south as Adelaide, on other continents. It is a nice feeling to be surrounded by so much space and so much sea and to think that our prevailing south-westerly winds travel across the most pristine areas of the world to reach us, standing with our faces into the wind in the garden or on the beach.

This time of the year everything seems possible. It is difficult to believe that before long those hot, dry days will return and with them, all the problems of water. Almost everyday I read blogs of people who are enjoying their summer gardens, in the northern hemisphere and I think one day I too am going to go and live somewhere with less severe summers.... somewhere where the grass stays green all summer, there are no bushfires and the light is softer. Only in NZ can you have all this and space and a relatively pristine environment, with mountains and rivers....oh dear..... some day, some how I will find a few acres of paradise..... somewhere.


Unknown said...

I wish it was spring again in Kentucky - the temp was 98 degrees today! August in KY is my least favorite time of the year.

esmeralda Williamson-Noble said...

I did a double take for a moment when I read "spring is in the air" thinking that i was reading some older post, but then I remembered that you are "down under".
Well, here we are under a thunderstorm watch until midnight, but as it is not actually raining at the moment and the laundry is already inside, I shall go and pick the handful of ripe cherry tomatoes in the garden.
Bye for now and come and visit me.

Anonymous said...

There is a renewed excitment in the air isn't there? I spotted an amazing fat little bird I haven't seen in my garden before, like a new holland honey eater but bigger.. all yellow in the breast with a black head and a little white throat... I watched it eat a worm and then disappeared under a bush searching for more. I was pleased but then wondered if perhaps I was lucky to see this creature because it had been displaced by further expansion of housing estates leaving nowhere for it to go. Thank goodness some of us have eco sysyems to help sustain these lost creatures. Yesterday evening my daughter and I popped over to the neighbours on dusk and I could hear a strange sound from the tree out the front of my place. I noticed a crow and wondered if it was feeding a baby or something. On our return home I looked closer and found the crow was attacking a smallish Koala and the strange noise was the koala screaming.. so off I ran growling and flapping my arms to scare this nasty crow. This morning they were at it again although the Koala had moved trees so I spent the morning running down the street ( no doubt amusing neighbours) flapping and growling every 10 minutes when they returned. Persistance pays off.. they eventually gave up and I watch this poor Koala nibble gum leaves with sore hands from where it had been pecked while protecting its eyes.. It was awful to watch the crows on the koalas back trying to peck its eyes. Animal rescue get so many calls regarding Koalas in the suburbs now that they will not come out for a koala unless the Koala is injured and low enough to rescue. How is our wildlife coping with the mess we are making of the environment? Good luck Koalas... and other native species struggling to survive. Lets hope this summer is a little kinder to our plants and animals.

Maya said...

We have two birds that laugh here: the raucous pileated woodpecker (have you ever seen the old cartoon Woody Woodpecker? They actually sound somewhat like that.) and the spooky, maniacal loon, which has been around northern lakes since dinosaurs roamed the earth. However, neither the pileated nor the loon will sit around laughing for hours on end like your kookaburras, immortalized in song. The pileated is more of a brash interruption as it streaks across a clearing in the forest, and the loon can send shivers down the spine in the dark of a wild, lakeside night. Stephen King gets his inspiration from somewhere (he lives in Maine)!