Road Trip

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For 2 months we have mostly stayed at home apart from a weekly trip to buy fresh produce and dairy and a couple of forays to Bunnings for necessities for the renovation projects.  Over the last week or two we have also made a couple of visits to family.

COVID19 restrictions have been eased slightly but I have no real desire to go browsing in shops or mix with people whom I do not know.

However, we needed to get out and a road trip seemed like the perfect answer.  

Packed up and ready to go.

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We set out with a vague idea of going to Toowoomba. That did indeed become our destination, albeit via a rather circuitous route. Our first stop was for petrol so we then took the back road via the Glasshouse Mountains lookout to Woodford.  From there, we headed through Kilcoy, Yarraman and Oakey before arriving in Toowoomba.  It was definitely the road less travelled.

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It was time for a late lunch by the time we reached Toowoomba and we found a Turkish restaurant that were also offering takeaway meals.

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Despite the cold weather (apparent temperature about 2C) we headed for Queens Park to find a picnic table where we could eat. 

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We were rugged up with jackets and I had my knitted cap which kept my ear and head warm.  There were other people in the park but social distancing was certainly not an issue.

A couple of views of Queens Park and some of the autumn foliage.

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Our return route was via the highway to Brisbane where we made a brief stop to visit my mother and then back onto the highway for home.

In no time we had a fire going to warm the room.

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Our day out was an adventure which broke the monotony of the days at home.

A Weekend in the Garden

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For the first time in what seems like months, we actually had a weekend where the weather was conducive to being outdoors.  Lately it has either been 35C or raining or both so gardening has not really been on the agenda.  We were delighted to see a forecast of mostly sunny days with a maximum temperature of 27C.

Yesterday, we decided to firm up our vague plans for a freestanding walkway/pergola to define the entrance to our garden.  The idea is to have it covered with a flowering creeper.  We have had a general idea of what we wanted but now have calculated the materials and so then it was off to Bunnings to buy the 6 large posts for the uprights.  These are now positioned on sawhorses under the house where GMan has begun painting them.

We have marked out the exact location of the posts as you can see in the photo below.

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We are hoping to get the construction started over the Easter break when we have a couple of extra days off.

There will be more updates once there is more progress.

The perfect weather deserted us overnight and we awoke this morning to drizzling rain and cloud drifting past the windows.  However, we did not let that stop us and we braved the overgrown and out-of-control vegetable gardens.  Everything was covered with the wild cherry tomatoes.  I had resolved to pick all the fruit which was ripe and not damaged before removing the plants.  It was a massive job but we successfully cleared the garden beds and planted a variety of seeds.  There are now beans, radishes, spinach, beetroot, lettuce, kale and cucumbers planted.

Hopefully, these freshly dug and planted beds will soon yield a range of produce.

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I don’t have a before photo but suffice to say that this is a vast improvement on how it looked this morning.

It may be a little difficult to see but there is an addition to the area.  We constructed a new compost area in front of the hen house using some panels of pool fencing and some star pickets.  This allowed us to put all of the cherry tomato plants in a single heap.  I also cut the asparagus back and added that to the pile.

The forecast warm weather with showers every day fort he next week should give the newly sown seeds the best possible start so I am feeling quite optimistic.

 

Completed Quilt

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A month ago I wrote a post about making another quilt.  You can read about it here.  Once again, I had a deadline because it needed to be completed by early this week as it was a retirement gift for a work colleague.

I met the deadline and here is the finished quilt.

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This one included some new fabric bought specifically for the project as I simply did not have enough of the chosen colour palette.

I have been busy for the past week or so with finishing the quilt as well as working and being away from home for a couple of nights.  However, it is now the end of the working week and no specific engagements for the weekend.  The weather forecast does not include rain nor super-hot weather so GMan and I are looking forward to spending some time outdoors, particularly getting vegetable gardens back in order and prepared for planting now that the extreme heat is behind us.

I hope to bring you some updates from the home front before too long.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you have planned.

Future-Proofing

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Well, it is 3 days since my last post in which I shared our concern for the residents of north Queensland who were in the path of Cyclone Debbie.  What a 3 days it has been!

In 72 hours Cyclone Debbie has flattened the island resorts of the Whitsunday Islands and the adjacent mainland towns of Airlie Beach and Prosperine as a Category 4 cyclone before being downgraded as it moved inland.  Most of these areas are still without power or water and this situation is likely to continue for several more days, at least.

As predicted, the system then turned south east and headed towards the densely populated south-east corner of Queensland, including Brisbane.  For almost 24 hours we experienced substantial rainfall and some high winds – but of course, nothing like the conditions endured by those who were in the direct path of the cyclone.

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This is a view of part of our backyard this morning during a break in the rain.  The water in the background is not normally part of the landscape.  The ‘lake’ develops as the run-off from the mountain behind us pools in the low-lying part of our property.  It is not as extensive as some other occasions and will drain over the next few days.

The area where we live lost power about 2pm today and do not expect it to be restored until at least midday tomorrow.  There are currently thousands of consumers in Brisbane and the surrounding areas without power.  We are fortunate to be reaping the benefit of our decision to install a grid-connected battery system almost 18 months ago.  You can read about it here.

While it is great to be able to use our stored power each evening, the real benefit of the system is that it provides us with a power source in the event of a power failure from the grid.  Whether it is extreme weather or any other reason it is reassuring to know that we are not reliant on the grid for power.  This experience has confirmed the importance of a degree of self-reliance and we are extremely glad to be in this position.

 

Stay Safe

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My internet has been somewhat unreliable over the past few days, hence the lack of posts.  I had several ideas but have shelved them for tonight as I would simply like to say to everybody in north Queensland who is in the path of Cyclone Debbie, “Please take care and stay safe.  We are thinking of you and praying that you will be safe”.

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After the Storm

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Today was hot and sunny until about 2pm when the cloud rolled in heralding the approaching storm.

We had a couple of hours of rumbling thunder and some rain but no lightning strikes, hail or wind damage which occurred just slightly to the north and west of us.

Most of the activity had gone and the sky had lightened up just before dusk when I looked out of the kitchen window and caught the most amazing view.  I grabbed my camera and captured this shot before the moment was lost.

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An Endless Summer

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Here in Australia we have had a long, hot summer.  There is no other way of describing it.

I found found some statistics from the Bureau of Meteorolgy.  There is no information for April but we all know that the warmer than average trend continued.
December
Second-warmest December mean minimum temperatures on record
Warmest December mean temperatures on record for Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia
Two heatwaves break December records in southeast Australia
Severe bushfire in southern Victoria
December was another very warm month for Australia, the sixth-warmest on record for nationally-averaged mean temperatures. The national mean minimum temperature was the second-warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.24°C, while maximum temperature was the warmest on record for parts of southeast Australia including Victoria (+3.80°C).
January

National mean temperature above average

Maximum and minimum temperatures both above average
January mean temperatures were warmer than average for Australia as a whole (an anomaly of +0.52°C), with all States and the Northern Territory recording warmer than average mean temperatures.
Tasmania recorded its second-warmest January on record.
The Australian mean daily maximum temperature was 0.21
°C above average and the Australian mean daily minimum temperatures was 0.83°C above average
February

Australia’s ninth-warmest February on record

Heat wave in northwestern Queensland results in some daily maximum records broken.

February was a warm month for Australia and the ninth-warmest February on record. The national mean temperature was 0.92°C above the historical average, with the monthly mean maximum temperature 1.43°C above average and the monthly mean minimum temperature 0.41°C above average.

Mean temperatures and mean maxima were above average in all States.
Queensland recorded its fifth-warmest February on record for mean temperatures and equal sixth-warmest for both maximum and minimum temperatures. Tasmania was sixth-warmest for minimum temperatures.
A heat wave in north-western Queensland in the last week of February resulted in a number of records for daily maximum temperatures being broken in this region
March
Mean March temperature for Australia warmest on record.
National mean March minimum temperature warmest on record.
National mean maximum temperature seventh-warmest March on record.
A new record for the warmest March day on record for Australia on the 2nd.

This month was the warmest March on record with a mean temperature anomaly 1.70°C

above the average, exceeding the previous record set in 1986 (+1.67°C). The national mean March minimum temperature anomaly was also the warmest on record at +1.97°C.
The hottest March day recorded in Australia was recorded on the 2nd.  On this day, more than one-third of Australia recorded maximum temperatures in the warmest percentile.
During the month warmer than average maximum and minimum temperatures affected much of the country. New South Wales and Victoria experienced record high mean March temperature anomalies (+2.49 °C and +2.42 °C respectively).
Nationally, the mean March maximum temperature was the seventh-warmest on record (+1.42 °C).
How did you cope with the heat?  Did you enjoy the ‘endless summer’.  Are you looking forward to ever increasing temperatures over the coming years?
Think it won’t happen?  Check out this graphic.
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Climate change is real and it is here right now.  It is time to stop and consider what the future is going to look like.  What is life going to be like for our children and grandchildren?  We are well on our way to leaving them a legacy of an uninhabitable planet.
Check out this page for more information.
What do you think?  How do you feel?
I am interested in your opinion whether you are here in Australia or overseas.