Today I’m as tired of politics and covid as everybody else. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing a bit more than a zephyr, less than a howling gale. The grass is growing as we watch and the air is humid. Welcome to a Queensland summer with a La Niña thrown in.
La Niña is a part of the Southern Oscillation, one of the many cycles which determine our weather in this part of the world. You can read the details here but essentially, it means we’re going to have a wet summer with a higher likelihood of storms.
That forecast is already coming to pass. Large parts of the Outback, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and much of Queensland is already drenched. In our little piece of paradise, we have recorded 361.5mm in our rain gauge for the month of November. That’s a bit over 14in in the old measure. We have surpassed our own annual average, with December to go. While the grass is growing so fast you can watch it, mowing is fraught with danger. Our ride-on would probably disappear into the quagmire. Pete has ventured forth to trim the edges but that will have to do for now. A couple of days of dry weather is needed before he can risk mowing without getting bogged. Pity the couple and their two young children who moved into their finally completed home over the road last week. Their yard is a swamp.
This little video will show you what it was like at our place. Our block has a gentle slope toward the road and if it has rained for a time, this is what happens. It’s our backyard on the right hand side of the house, looking up. Just as much water is pouring down the other side of the house down to the road. One of the first projects we undertook 14 years ago when we moved in was to make sure the water diverted around the house, which is what it’s doing here. That was after we spent half the night not long after we’d moved in sweeping water away from our back door. Ah, the memories.
However, like most things, the bad comes with the good. Across the country most farmers (the ones who didn’t have their soon-to-be-harvested barley and similar crops drowned) welcomed the filling of dams, greening of pastures, and filling of aquifers. We welcomed the filling of our local dams that supply us with drinking water. Stage three water restrictions are off. For now. Here in Oz we know that this year’s rain just brings us a step closer to the next drought.
That’s how it is. Catholic priest Patrick Harrigan, whose pen name was John O’Brien, wrote a poem about it back in 1919. It’s called ‘Said Hanrahan’ and I remember hearing it in my primary school days. Read it here. Some things never change – despite the fact these men had never heard of the IOD or the Southern oscillation index.
One thing that happens when it rains at our place – the lorikeets come back. There are times when none of them visit at all, although we usually have some regulars that stop by. But when it’s raining they come in for food and shelter. Bread is not specially good for birds (although we buy them multigrain) but I think it must be a good source of needed energy in the wet. And it’s not just the lorikeets. We have crested pigeons, the occasional pink and grey, blue-faced honey eaters, miner birds, butcher birds…
I’m glad to say I’m close to writing ‘the End’ on the first draft of The Search for the Crimson Lady. I’m quite looking forward to the editing phase, when I fix up the mistakes and the plot holes. It has been a hard slog and I suspect this will be my last book for the foreseeable future. After all, at my time of life, if it isn’t fun, why do it?
Have a fun December, wherever you are in the world. As usual, our Christmas will be (in the words of Elmer Fudd) ‘vewy, vewy kwiet’. But that’ll be another blog.