Here in our town, for most of the year, we complain about the weather. It's a local pastime. A not entirely unwarranted one, however, if this year's transition to Spring is anything to go by. Until two weeks ago, we were pretty consistently still getting very cold nights, and rainy, grey days. We got back from sunny Queensland in the school holidays and were disappointed to be considering the need to light the fire! Two weeks on, however, and yesterday we reached 40 degrees celsius, with hot days forecast for the next week, at least. The air has changed, the cicadas are out (as are the blowflies and mozzies, with a vengeance!) and Summer is definitely here. We really only have two seasons here - bloody cold and bloody hot.
However, the mornings are beautiful. Nath and I have been getting up at six most mornings, and it's such a lovely way to start the day - before the kids get up, soaking up some early morning sun on the front deck with the birds singing in the garden (and Bella bellowing at us for her morning milk!).
The arrival of what is promising to be a long, hot summer means we have to get a few things in order. We have been working on getting the retic set up in the backyard for all the vegie beds to minimise need for hand watering. We received a decent amount of dripline retic from someone on Freecycle a while ago so Nath has been engineering that into a workable system. The front yard is on an automated retic system but as it is sprinkler based we would like to get someone out to talk us through converting it into something a little more waterwise.
We are also buying a self filling cement water trough for the goat pen. At the moment they just have buckets of water but two rambunctious kids means lots of tipped buckets and on these hotter days their water requirements are quite substantial. It means buying 'new', and I feel like we've done a bit of that lately, with fencing equipment and feed tubs and beekeeping equipment and so forth, but I think it is the best decision for the health of the goats.
Also, in not very eco-friendly news, we have decided to get our backyard pool up and running. As we don't use air conditioners, the pool would be a lovely way to spend the hottest days, and a local pool pass for the family costs $250. We can get our pool functional for far less than that. We have recently learned from a friend that we can run the pool for far fewer hours than we thought so we will trial it for the Summer and see what difference it makes to our energy usage.
I really do love Summer. I love the lead up to Christmas, and all the plans for crafting and gifting, and driving around looking for Christmas lights, and taking the kids into the city to see the Christmas displays, and soaking up their wide-eyed wonderment at being allowed up so late and being in the city and going on a train! I love Christmas carols and getting geared up for Christmas camping, and choosing the Christmas menu, and cooking a roast in the Weber in forty degree heat, then not feeling like eating it because it's too hot and eating prawns instead. I love Pimms, and trips to the wineries and breweries and cideries and distilleries. I love TV cricket and backyard cricket and BBQs at the beach and lazy days swimming at the local lake with friends. I love seafood, and mangoes and berries, and salads. So many salads. And shorts and singlets and summer dresses, and bare feet, and beer at the pub on sunny Sundays. I love thinking that I love fishing, and then complaining when Nath wants to take his fishing gear everywhere we go, then, once all the hard work of setting rods up and those first few awkward casts into the water (and around jetty legs and into each others' lines) are over and done with, realising that I actually do love fishing after all. Until I get bored. I love the noise of the cicadas and frogs, the cry of young magpies, and running away from swooping, cranky, mama magpies while waving my arms around my head like a lunatic. I love longer days, with the house all opened up overnight to try and cool it down before another hot day, and evening drinks on the deck, while a bare-chested pack of kids runs hollering around the garden but doesn't come too close to the house in case they get sent to bed. I love Vacswim, and spending days sitting by the pool, or floating in the pool, counting kids' heads and meeting half the town around the splash pool. I love hanging the 'swimming bag' near the back door, where it is needed on a daily basis, and wriggling into wet bathers that we forgot to hang to dry the day before, and frantically searching for thongs, kickboards and towels when a spontaneous swim is announced. I love the constant slightly panicked neighbourhood talk of snakes, of learning again to walk with our eyes to the ground, and keeping a tally of all the snakes that have been sighted so far, and how far they are from our house, and what kind, as if to determine how close we were to actual danger. I love Christmas beetles, and Christmas spiders. I love watching my skin turn from milky white, to cream, to the colour of sand, and finally, to the golden bronze it settles on after a couple of weeks in the sun. I love the smell of suncream and salt and chlorine. I love that my hair colour wavers between the whitest sunbleached white to slightly green, pool tinged blonde, and that the kids all end up looking like little surfie dudes, all long legs and bleached, windswept hair and brown skin.
How are your plans for the festive season shaping up? Do you love Summer, too, or does it make you want to hibernate with iceblocks on your belly and an airconditioner pointed straight at you?