Possum Valley Heat Wave

Today is the hottest at Possum Valley in the 42 years I have been here.  The temps in the last three days have been:- 32C the second hottest day ever, 33C equalling the hottest recorded over a decade ago, and today 34C for a new record.  That is outrageous, especially as it is still October and technically still spring, not that season names or periods imported from Europe have much relevance here in tropical Australia.  It doesn’t bode well for the coming summer.  Nor does the BOM outlook bode well, with an El Nino developing and less than average rainfall going into Jan at least.  The ground is so dry and crunchy underfoot as many of the trees look limp and stressed out and have shed a lot of leaves.  

bring back the leeches

I have responded to the searing temperatures by not doing much, which works for me.  Unfortunately I didn’t have much warning and didn’t get enough books from the library for some serious lazing about.  To compound the problem, I have also completed the 880 Times cryptic crosswords from the books I ordered a few years ago.  In desperation I have looked back through them to fill in some clues I couldn’t get the first time around.  Two weeks ago I put in an order over the internet for another 800, and saw estimated delivery time 3-4 days.  I had a good chuckle at that.  Perhaps, maybe, if you live in a capital city which company websites and even government websites assume you do.  If you live in a rural town you can double that and if you live at Possum Valley you can read it as 3-4 weeks.  It might be a week between me checking my mailbox which is a modified beer-brewing barrel stuck on a fence post 4 km away at a windy road junction.  I only get a delivery service once a week, so if me and the dear lady who delivers are out of sync, that’s two weeks blown right there.  And I’m not even out bush! 

I just had a flashback to the early 1970’s when I caught a goods train from Port Augusta to Alice Springs in a carriage straight from an old western tacked on to the end of long long goods train where the engine was a distant rumour over the horizon.  It slammed to a stop in the middle of nowhere.  The slamming was the distant engine coming to a stop, but there was enough slack in the chain connections for it to take a minute before the message got to the back.  You could hear it coming as each carriage crashed into the stationary train with increasing force.  Enough warning to brace yourself except when deep asleep and I got thrown out of bed a few times. On this occasion we stopped we stopped in a bare desert that went forever without tree or bush or blade of withered grass.  The only feature was a post with a barrel on top, right by the tracks.  The guard stepped out of the last carriage with a handful of letters and a dozen eggs.  I have no idea how the engine driver over the horizon managed to pull up the train so the guard could just step out and put them in the barrel.  The trip took 3 nights and 4 days with BYO food and drink, or die.  The connection in my mind was the barrel on a post and erratic deliveries.

It is not quite true that I have done nothing in the last few days.  On the first day of the heat wave I woke to a temp of 10C.  At 6.30 am I actually needed a jumper so decided to use a time with no guests and very moderate temperature to do a bit of hard yakka and make the world hideous with noise.  So I made a selection of a couple from my extensive range of chain saws and went off to chop and haul some logs from fallen trees in the rainforest.  It was a good move to get going early as the temp soon pushed on to 32C.  Such a temperature range is rather unusual.  The wood is for the sauna, but it requires chopping, humping, stacking, splitting with an axe, re-stacking and drying for six or more months before it is good to go.  

I have on several occasions taken my grandsons, 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 along when I do this macho power stuff with the chainsaw.  Also their father on the farm does the same for firewood for the house fire.  It is not surprising that they both have adopted toy chainsaws when they stay with me for the day.  Henry uses a bit of junk I think might be an insulator for an electric fence, but does have some resemblance to a miniature chainsaw, and Philip nominates a back scrubbing brush from the bathroom but insists I detach the brush from the long handle before it is fit for use.  They then go off into nearby bushes to go to work with very realistic buzzing sounds.  The good news is that they respect work and are doing their best to emulate their elders.  The bad news is that unless I can educate them in the appropriate use of chainsaws, I may have created eco-monsters.

Speak Your Mind