Category Archives: Collector, NSW

January’s Been and Gone

Somehow all of January has been and gone. Stuart had his week away in Melbourne. I cleaned the house and watched another dust storm. Stuart got have safely and we had a nice pizza in Bungendore on the way home. The came a very hot weekend with jobs to be done around the house before Stuart’s last week at work pre his operation. The inspection came and went and was fine. I’d had a moan to them about the outstanding repairs, outstanding since the last inspection 6 months ago. That at least got some of them done.

At some point, we managed to have a meal out together. I forgot now which day but we did!

Then we had a night with the most stunning sunset. Usually we don’t see sunsets but this one was that good that it lit up the sky from horizon to horizon as far as you could see in any direction. I was meant to be locking up the chooks, but I couldn’t do anything except stop and watch it, and of course photograph it.

Since then, it has been in one word, hot.

We’ve recorded a new maximum here at home, 44.0°C. There’s been no more rain, though it is forecast for today in the form of thunderstorms, so I’m not holding out much hope. Currently I’m sitting on the old sofa on the veranda because for at least the first hour, it is cooler outside than in.

Yesterday was another of those “days”. Namely hot! We baled to the cinema along with many others. At least allowing a few hours respite from the heat. The chooks don’t get that but they were left with loads of water & food and frozen water bottles and damp patches of soil that in theory should be cooler but with so many of them in one space I fail to see how it can be cooler!

Coming have from the cinema, the dust was obvious in the sky. It had been quite wild whilst we had been watching the film “Midway”. Lots of new branches and several trees were down. A hazzard in the drought. Eucalyptus just randomly ditch branches to save on precious water.

Finally. we have 2 new favourite homemade vegan cheeses. One is made from almonds and lemon juice and then baked in an oven for an hour and is amazing. It resembles a feta cheese.

The other is a boursin replacement and is made from tofu, cashew nuts and coconut oil. You can’t tell and it tastes great! So good in fact, that Stuart has actually asked for both of them again!

Finally, and sadly, a large fire has broken out south of Canberra within the ACT territory. It crossed the main road south (to Cooma) yesterday and after only 3 days burning is already larger (50,000 hectares) than the Tallaganda NP fire (37,000 hectares) which is now officially out. some good news at least. ACT is though, officially in a state of emergency. If the wind changes direction it could and will, easily reach the southern suburbs.

Fresh Air

Well sort of…

Rather dry and partched
The view from the veranda.
Grass is a thing known only to those in the UK.
Even the wind turbines are visible.
We haven’t seen those since the start of December.

We’ve had a week of interesting weather. Let’s just call it that. Along witha few nice sunrises. Also something we haven’t seen since the beginning of December.

One such pleasant morning sunrise.
And still the turbines are visible.

Stuart went to Melbourne on Sunday night and to get me out of the house, decided we would have a meal out on Friday when he got home. Good so far. And with him out of the house and one of our 6 monthly inspections due at the end of the mouth, I thought I’d get on with some of the cleaning that was needed. Cleaning such as wiping down every flat surface, cleaning the vynl floor and hoovering all of the carpets, I mean really hoovering getting into all those places normally missed including behind as much of everything to get at the dust on skirting boards. Even cleaning the fan in the kitchen/dining room.

That sort of cleaning.

Then we had some rain. Not much, just a mm or two. But in it was hail. And this hail was big. And not only that, there was enough of it to cause problems. We were fortunate. Both vehicles get parked under a really big fir tree which in summer especially can cause a few problems of its own such as sticky resin dropping onto the vehicle. Give it a week or two and it will harden and became brittle, but until then you can’t do anything except accept it is there. It looks like you either have a crack or chip in your windscreen or that you have a water droplet on the car screen. But it keeps both vehicles out of the sunshine which not only protects them but keeps them cooler than them being out in the direct sun. It also protects them from hail stones big enough to dent the body work of your vehicle and smash windscreens. Yep, you read it correctly. Several hundred vehicles in Canberra didn’t fair so well, including vehicles parked at the airport in the surface parking.

That was Tuesday I think. I watched it from the veranda sitting on the sofa as the rain came down. What I didn’t know at that point was that the rain was also coming in from the roof down the extractor fan outlet for the cooker. I met it on the kitchen floor on its way to the fridge…

Time to call in maintenance.

Wednesday was a quiet day luckily and the weather wasn’t too hot, but it was hot. But it cooled down quickly in the evening and I was able to have the windows open all night with out problem. That hasn’t happened since the start of December!

Our neighbours alpacas came down to the gate.
I don’t often see them on my walks to collect the post.

Thursday started with a wonderful sunrise. It was giving away nothing in the way of what was to come.The heat that day was hot. But the air was clear and I was able initally to sit out with the chicks and let them explore. We even had a nice sunrise, one that I photographed because it had been a while since we had had anything worth photographing.

It was a great start to the day.
Lovely colours in the few clouds on the horizon.
Going in to the clouds on the right.
Coming to the end of the sunrise
and the entire sky lights up with every patch of cloud from horizon to horizon lighting up in pink.

That is until it got windy. And it really did get windy. Before I knew it the wind was really bad and out of nowhere. It was ahead of a cold front coming through and suddenly we were in a dust storm, a bad one with high winds tearing branches off trees, or just bringing them down fuIIstop. Dust was being blown into the house everywhere and I mean everywhere. And not just in the usual places. I started on the stuffing J clothes Into cracks routine trying to minimise the cleanup job…

The view vanishes without warning.
Visibility is as far as the road.
A gust of wind brings incoming dirt…
as it hits the windows
Things can change in a matter of moments.

It is still going to take a lot of cleaning up again. And that night brought much needed rain. 3mm. Not a huge amount, but enough. Luckily this time I was ready for it with a big bucket on the stove to catch the rain coming down the extractor fan and over the cooker…

This had been cleaned only 2 days previously.

And with those high winds came problems other than dust storms. The very high winds escalated a number of fires and also brought down power lines causing more fires and grounding all flights in to Canberra because of a new fire starting and being fanned by the wind. At one point the airport was closed to incoming flights with outgoing flights only in an effort to get planes to safety presumably. Then the airlines stopped all flights full stop. The fire and smoke from the fire were causing problems and at one point had crossed the road and was burning in the business park alongside the airport. For a while it looked bleak.

It is also a bad day with other fires. 6 in total were escalated to Red which is emergency and that very Australian line we’ve come to hear all too often just recently: “take shelter, it is too late to leave” basically you’re on your own getting through this fire. It also brought the sad news of the deaths of another 3 firies, this time in the loss of a water bomber in the Snowy Mountains.

We left Thursday not knowing if Stuart would get have from Melbourne, at least have to Canberra that was.

Friday was a busy day. I was in Bungendore in the morning and with quite a few things to get done it meant all morning.

Most of the dust in the atmosphere had settled following 3mm of rain overnight but you couldn’t see the wind turbines which always gives you an idea on air quality and dust or smoke ash levels. The guy came to look at the cooker and the extractor flue and did some repairs on the roof. The day only reached about 32°C so felt relatively ‘cool’. I was able to pick Stuart up off the plane and we grabbed pizza and chips at the Greek takeaway in Bungendore on the way home.