03 February 2014

How Hot has it Been!

I've been out of action for three weeks. It's been the longest three weeks of my life. I'd think I was on the mend and then down I'd go again, coughing and spluttering and wheezing.

And it has been hot. Very hot, with temperatures in the 40s on some days - yesterday was 41.7 degrees here. Tomorrow is a little cooler, then back up into the high 30s again. Thank goodness for pools, sarongs and fans!

And all this has meant that I've not been in the garden, other than to take a quick walk around to have a look.

I've just come in and I would really like to know how weeds can thrive in a heat wave, but my beautiful tomatoes and lettuce and zucchini and beetroot and beans and cucumbers, that are well mulched and watered wilt?

There are weeds in the paving. Vinegar and boiling water will fix those up, perhaps first thing tomorrow morning before the heat (only 25 degrees here tomorrow).

There are even weeds in the pots! They pulled out easily so I'll tackle them this evening, when the sun is off the backyard.

The zucchini are still flowering and I am hesitant to do this, but I really need to pull them out and get their spot ready for autumn planting. I have 30 packets of grated zucchini in the freezer, about 2 kilos dehydrated and thirteen 500g jars of pickle made so we're covered until next summer as far as this versatile vegetable goes. It's the idea of wasting food that stops me from pulling them. But they have to go.

My poor tomatoes need a good pruning and tidying up. They've gone a little wild while the kids have been tending the garden. We're not getting too many vine ripened, but the windowsills are full of tomatoes that Hannah is turning each day and they're ripening up. They still have plenty of flowers on them, so they'll keep producing for a while yet, hopefully long enough to get more sauce and a few jars of chutney made.

Cucumbers! The cucumbers were so slow I put in another two plants just before I came down with this bug. I knew it was tempting Murphy - we now have cucumbers to spare. We've been giving them away, eating them as a snack (those little baby cucumbers are so sweet and tender you can just munch them like an apple) and made jars and jars of bread and butter cucumber - pickles on your burger anyone?

Hannah called this the Siamese tomato!
The boys have done a champion job of keeping the deck and pergola area swept and tidy for me. Thomas even washed down the tables and chairs because they were quite dusty. Hannah has been watering and picking whatever's ripe.

Oh I just have to share this, it made me laugh! She was out watering one evening last week and we heard a squeal and then "MUM!"  Out we all raced to find her, hose in hand, up on the deck. She was watering the tomatoes and turned the hose under the last bush (as she's been taught, to water from the bottom of an evening) and there was a rustle and a little squeak and a mouse ran up the tomato bush onto the fence - followed by a small cat!

Where did the mouse come from? No idea, probably next door's bush garden or the bush behind us. And we've never seen the cat before, it doesn't belong to any of our near neighbours.

I have to say we all laughed at the sight - it wasn't that she's scared of mice or cats, just that she wasn't expecting either in the garden. The look on her face was priceless.

Hannah hopes she doesn't find them again. I hope the mouse stays outside!

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