Friday, 11 January 2013

Too Hot to Handle

Billabong. Tabilk Winery, Australia

Gardening is spiritual, anchoring me to the earth and seasons – my form of green meditation. While I don’t apportion my time to gardening accordingly to its importance to my life, just wandering around the yard, pulling a few weeds here and there, spot watering and planning my next major activity are incredibly fulfilling and soothing. 

A worm on the 4th floor of Annelid House.
Part of my green landscape is my worm farm that supplies me with lovely, organic fertilizer while disposing of our herbaceous kitchen scraps. Harvested rain from the house roof usually manages to provide the garden with water until early summer. 
Bee-keeping activities have now ceased due to my allergies but I still delight in seeing bees in my garden foraging around in search of sweet nectar.  
So it is with a heavy heart that I have to report the death of the worms in the worm farm due to my forgetfulness.

The 4-tiered annelid-tower has survived in the shade for the last 10 years, through all weather - fair and foul. Kitchen scraps go into its top store, garden fertilizer and compost come out from the bottom– until last week’s unseasonal 41 o C. (106 o F). The weather was so uncomfortable that once I made it home from work and feed the troops, I just flopped around the house preparing the bare minimum for the following day, before collapsing onto my bed.
No thought was given to the new seedlings in my vegetable patch or to my wonderful worms.

Third floor worms
Suffering from the heat, I omitted to remove the lid off the worm farm to allow the tower to cool – a necessity once the thermometer hits 35 o C. My oversight became apparent when my little soil Trojans were to be fed during the weekend. As I approached the worm farm, laden with kitchen scraps, I noticed a cloud of frenetic flies. A foul odor hung in the air. ….. “Something’s wrong.” Removing the lid of the 4-tiered annelid-tower unleashed a sickening smell and revealed a sea of discolored, putrefying worms. Phew!  My supportive family retreated indoors amidst screams of disgust leaving me to deal with the product of my neglect. Not an easy task given the size of the tower, and the stench.

On our 12 acres in the countryside, huge eucalyptus tree branches frequently
fall during strong winds,  adding to our list of chores.
Their removal can consume hours of our time and test our patience.
Yes, lurking under my suburban exterior is an avid greenie – not one who hugs trees in protest, but one who hugs them out of sheer delight; inhaling the sent of their wood,  feeling the texture of their bark, observing the intricacies of their being and feasting on the hues and contrasts of the colours of their bark. Isn’t nature wonderful?