Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Winter Is Coming

Winter is coming or so the calendar says.
But last Wednesday it was 35°C (95
°F) which was the hottest April day on record.
Thankfully some normalcy now has returned and it feels a little bit more like autumn.
The exotic trees are just starting to change colour and will soon be dropping their leaves. The native ones never do. They are always green.
Winter around here is not so severe as in other places we have been. 

Yes, South Dakota, I am looking at you! 
It can be zero (32°F) in the morning and we do get a few frosts but never any snow. But it usually warms up to around 18°C (65°F) during the day
A really cold day is maximum 10°C (50°F).
So preparing for the cooler days and nights is not such a big task.
We make sure we have a good supply of firewood and that the combustion stove used to heat the house for a few weeks is in good order. This year we took the plunge and decided to get a new one. The firebox in the old one was getting pretty rusty and wasn’t worth doing any more maintenance on. I was surprised when going through the paperwork that it was 17 years old.
So our local hardware store will be able to supply and install the same brand and (updated) model.
We decided to replace the entire flue system as well.

It is also time to get the ride-on fully serviced as it appears grass growth is slowing down.
The mower centre in town picks it up and delivers it back within a few weeks good as new after a hard year's work mowing and sprayer towing.
We also have to look for a supply of lucerne (alfalfa) hay to feed the cattle towards the end of the season. Our paddocks are all native grasses and there is no winter growth at all.
Other jobs will include weed spraying eg. tussock, bracken, thistle and blackberry.
Of course we will be doing the usual burn offs. Reducing the potential bush fire fuel load for next summer is always an important defense strategy. Fire restrictions are usually reduced between April and September so land owners can get this done. However this year it has been so hot and dry, April still has restrictions in force. Big fines for non compliance although I have noticed that national parks and state forest authorities have already commenced controlled burns in our area, one even on the 35
° day!
There will also be the usual fence maintenance. The cooler days are great for getting stuck into that.
And of course the vines will need pruning.
Busy! Busy! Busy!

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