Tuesday, January 6, 2015
The temperature gauge rises and the promised thunderstorms do nothing more than echo around the hills. The grass withers and the pumpkin leaves look forlornly up at the blue sky. It is time to water or all the effort so far will be burnt to a crisp.
Our main veggie garden is caged. It has to be or we would lose everything to hungry bowerbirds, wallabies or wombats. Around three sides of this is a further caged area with stonefruit, guavas and grapes. This cage of chicken wire and boundary fence is held up by wooden posts cut from the property and provides an ideal place to attach an overhead watering system. Sprayers are placed to get complete coverage and when the pump is firing a fine mist hangs over the garden and blows out onto those plants fortuitously placed on the perimeter.
The water is pumped from a dam some distance away so one problem is small pieces of dam detritus blocking up the sprayers. The best solution is to twist out the sprayer, suck or blow on it to release the blockage and then twist it back in as the water sluices down your outstretched arm and sodden your shirt.
We have a selection of other sprinklers that have the dual purpose of replenishing the plants' moisture content and cooling and amusing the children on long hot days. They never seem to tire of the anticipation of being hit by a jet of water and shriek and squeal every time.
Our main orchard has a ground based watering system. This is a complete pain because when it is spring and the rains keep coming the grass grows and the pipe disappears. Finding it again makes mowing the orchard a slow process. Whipper-snipping is safer but the whirling string wreaks havoc with the sprayers.
Today was one of those days when despite the rising temperature the orchard just had to be mowed. Slow as it is, mowing is so transformative it inspires a determination to complete the makeover regardless of the streams of sweat or the regular stops to slake thirst. Once done there is the satisfying sight of manicured lawn. Now the watering system is ready to flesh out the apples and pears. Roll on harvest.
The Orchard Mid-Mow