Smoke has filled the valley for two days. Across the mountains the fires are ripping through the farmlands. Its far enough away but I've seen how fast and far fires can travel. My mind travels back to my childhood and the fire raging across my parents homestead. It is a terrifying memory. Sleep evades me. Over the recent weeks sleep has been fitful due to the ongoing heat wave. We swim in our dam daily and have cold showers late at night but there is no break in the weather.
In our area everyone has a two way radio on the hip, a hat on the head and heavy boots. My boots are a small comfort that I will be safe from the venomous snakes. At the moment the radios are very busy with chatter about the fires. We've offered to help should the crisis escalate. Our days continue as normal but the smoke hardly hides the reality of those fires that are destroying homes and farms. The gardens are beautiful early in the morning but then when the sun starts beating down again it is a sad, sad sight. The Jerusalem artichokes are a happy show as are the hardier herbs; my lavender, soapwort, rose geranium and the magnificent elder. I wonder how many will never see their gardens again.
Friends parents are preparing to evacuate. I wonder what they are packing. What they are leaving. As I checked on all the animals early this evening I knew that; given time, most farmers would save their animals first. But their gardens? The fields and trees? Their homes so beautifully furnished with generations of memories?
Our vines are dripping with grapes at the moment. It is wonderful gobbling up bunches of the sweet grapes while we toss handfuls to the turkeys and chickens. They also share the plums with us. The figs are just beginning to ripen and will be delish in smoothies.
FarmerBuckaroo recently commented that he never imagined all our lucerne bales stored for winter would be used in summer. We simply cannot risk leaving our animals free roaming in the heat of the day. My beloved goats are quite happy for their bales. They lie in the shade of the overhanging pomegranate trees. And prune.
Whenever the water opens on any of the trees our chickens immediately come to scratch. It is rather entertaining watching the mud fly as they attempt to cool themselves. I wonder how other South African gardeners are coping with the summer in their little pieces of paradise. How is your suburban garden @craigcryptoking? And way up north under your mango trees @breezin?
This time of year we are busy with pruning. There is so much to do despite the heat as we prepare for winter. But today there are many desperate for rain. I look across our olive trees at the waterfall. Soon it will flow again. Soon the life giving water will course through our homestead and refresh animals and gardens.