The August wind blows, as it should. The cold south-westerly marks this month with a freeze brand, just when you thought you felt a warm breath of spring on your face. August winds and the Ekka are part and parcel of a Queensland childhood; from my childhood I recall women in thick tweed suits and smart felt hats crowned with feathers from birds I longed to see. Dressed for the season and the occasion. Looking at the Ekka crowd now, I think you would be hard pressed to find a thick tweed suit, perhaps my grandmother’s generation used tweed as armour to keep that Ekka flu at bay?
Accordingly, we have been enjoying some ‘local raised dust’ for our Channel Country weather report this week. I wonder if our local dust is a better quality than the common or garden variety blow-in you get from further afield? I do feel obliged to saunter out in the afternoon, stand squinting against the sun and grit and nonchalantly sniff the air to check that the dust is indeed local. Perhaps the colour test on the floors and furniture would be an identifying character? How fabulous if we could market this to tourists: our very own locally raised dust, you can even taste it in the honey.
I am going to take advantage of this cold weather to clean out the feed shed and my garden shed before the September winds arrive with their warm north-westerly bluster. It may a be false security however I am hoping this cold snap is enough to dampen the rising spirits of any localised reptilian visitors whilst I re-organise and sort out areas that I am reluctant to visit come November.
This will mean anything I have casually parked on the floor of my garden shed, quite a bit if I’m honest, will be sorted onto shelves or dispatched. I need to address the bottles assorted, too numerous to list section as well. Moccona Coffee jars are just so handy for so many things, however there is possibly a limit to how much handy you need in your life and I feel I have rapidly approached this limit. Do let me know if any of you are short of handy and I will send some your way… they are great for outdoor candles I am told. I think I have enough to light up the airstrip.
I have already sorted out my potting section, I need to be in a ruthless mood for this. Plastic pots are essential for cuttings et al. Rather like the coffee jars though, unless you are considering re-foresting the Amazon, there are only so many required. Ditto foam eskies and upturned plastic milk bottles for creating that perfect micro-climate. Once again, they do an excellent job, but my potting area resembled a recycling depot for a dairy. At least that is all in hand now, with only a few scrambling lizards to report. I think we surprised each other.
I have also been brewing a potent sheep-chook manure concoction, it is bubbling along happily as I write. I call it my Kompoocha, it will be a superb booster for spring growth. I shall bucket out gallons of Kompoocha tea until the hot weather dampens my enthusiasm. Eye watering when you first take the lid off, I stir it around in my witch’s cauldron (a 44- gallon drum) with a big old stick, tossing in the odd thistle, cackling as I stir just for effect. I really should not have written that sentence… the broom cupboard here at Moble is referred to as the Flight Centre, being where Mother parks her flying machines. Brian and the girls find this endlessly amusing still. As I have mentioned before, there is pleasure sure in being mad that none but madmen know (Dryden).
A week of fabulous visitors brings the usual swapping of information, both interesting and far-reaching. I can therefore pass on a recommended Bird App, for those of you whom, like me, are still longing to recognise the feathers on their Grandmother’s hats: The Morecombe and Stewart Guide to Birds of Australia. I have it on good authority it is a cracker.
Not to forget my cousins who have just arrived, bringing boxes of recycled jars for jam (yes please) and Moccona Coffee jars (no thankyou). It seems I am not the only one drawn in by their beguiling shape and myriad of potential uses. The carbon footprint of the coffee jar must surely be balanced by the many and varied uses it has post-brew.
Think I shall go and have a cup of tea, there’s no more room for coffee around here,
The Moble Gardener.