“Out on the patio we’d sit,
And the humidity we’d breathe,
We’d watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think that this is Australia”
Sounds of Then (This is Australia), GANGgajang, written by M. Callaghan, released 1985
I love this song. To me it encapsulates the feeling of summer in Australia. That refrain particularly. I can’t articulate why or how, but when I hear it, images flash across my mind, fleeting yet intense, all hot and sultry. Cotton, sweat beading on skin, heat that means you can’t move, the click of a ceiling fan in motion, icey drinks. For me, it’s evocative and takes me some place else.
Recently though, that some place else has been here, and now. This summer. It’s been hot and sunny. It’s been the kind of summer that reminds me of my childhood. It’s probably unrealistic to think that every one of my Aussie childhood summers was endless, sun-filled and perfect, but that’s how I remember them.
While it’s been a fun summer with lots of memory-making, there are of course down-sides to these long, hot months. Now, living in the country I realise the No. 1 down-side of cloudless, sun-bleached skies, is the lack of rain. Our Vegie Co-op, which, just a few months ago, was brimming with enthusiasm, excitement and big ideas has taken a battering. Since our last rain, the strong winds have dried out any moisture in the ground. Check out the differences in these photos: firstly, my vegie patch during a summer of good rains; and then, how it looks today. Pitiful.
Bec C had somewhat inferred that my level of enthusiasm towards my garden meant that I was successful at the act of gardening. Sure, when the times are good, I’ve been able to grow quite a bit of produce. In fact, I mustn’t forget that my rhubarb was awarded, ahem, First Prize at last year’s Nabiac Show (when of course we were flooded in. Ah, the irony). But oh dear, you should see it now. Turns out enthusiasm counts for nothing when you ain’t got enough water.
We’re not to be deterred though. We will battle on and hopefully as the weather cools, and the rains come, our gardens will awaken and things will grow. I sent
a threatening an encouraging email to the other Co-op members just this week, begging them not to quit reassuring them that we can make this thing work.
Bec C and I seem to spend a lot of time talking about rain, or the lack thereof. We might need to consider a name-change for our blog. “Two Becs Bore Their Readers Senseless with Non-stop Whining about the Lack of Rain, Near-Empty Tanks, Flailing Vegetable Patches, Fading Gardens, Having to Buy Water, Oh Stop it, Stop it, Just Shut Up, would you?, SHUT. UP!” But I don’t think it’s all that catchy for a blog title, do you?
Two Becs in a Paddock will have to suffice. We just won’t whinge about the lack of rain so much. I promise (but I do think we’re about to order our first truck load of water. Ever. Do you know, we had 276mm in January of last year and only 11mm so far this January? It is sooo dry again. OK, enough, enough).
Thankfully, there are so many upsides to a great summer. Alfresco dining is a big positive of the warmer months and we’ve been indulging in that most nights.
Being in the mid-north coast ‘hinterland’ we’re lucky enough to be able to access rolling green (or brown, as the case may be) hills as well as spectacular beaches and swimming holes. We’ve been making the most of our location this summer.
Last week we had a couple of days where, for the first time this season, I had to put a jumper on in the evening because the temperature cooled. I thought perhaps Summer might be on her way out. But no. The forecast for the next 5 days is: clear skies and temperatures around 40 degrees. It’ll be back into the water for us. And I’ve saved the water delivery guy’s number in my phone, just in case.