All quiet on the Western Front with remembrance poppies

28 10 2013
Another guest post from Steve Harrison…….

Steve Harrison

Steve Harrison

It appears that it might be all over for the fires here for us for the time being.

Our bad fires come from the West, blown by strong, hot, westerly winds. There isn’t any threat out to the West of us at this stage.
Last week’s extreme fire day came and went without any new out-breaks here.

There was just one helicopter with water bucket intermittently working the gully behind us these last few days to make sure that all the stumps and other glowing embers were not driving showers of sparks into new un-burnt territory. As the fire started here in this village, it has been driven a long way to the East by the strong westerly winds, and so far there is no new fire to our Western side of us to cause us concern.
However it is very early in the spring/summer for bad fires. i wonder what it will be like in December/January, when it really gets hot and dry?

Water bomber behind the pottery

We were busy whipper snipping around the fire pumps and discovered a short length of poly-pipe that wasn’t buried. It had been dug-up  and damaged by the bob-cat when we had some work done a few years ago. I quickly repaired it with a new section of pipe, but never got around to reburying it. It wasn’t summer and there was no bushfire threat at that time. Grass had since grown over it and covered it in amongst the bushes.

Needless to say I was horrified when I started to clear around the pump house and discovered our vulnerability. By lunch time I had dug a new trench with a mattock and had it all buried again safely underground.
Since 1975 I have buried about one kilometre of poly-pipe underground around our block. Nearly all of it done with a mattock and spade. Just 6 to 10 metres per day, each morning, was my usual schedule, early in the morning before it got too hot. I did it all by hand to save money in those early days. I must have been crazy!
We now have a ring or 50mm dia. (2”), pipe that goes all around the perimeter of our block, with 25mm branches leading off from it to every useful point on the block. In front of, or to the sides of each building and to each orchard and every garden plot. There isn’t any point now that isn’t within a 20 metre hose length of a tap.
I spent the afternoon installing four more roof sprinklers. One on the western edge of the pottery roof and one on the Western wall of the kiln shed. Then two on the western edge of the barn. All these jobs have needed doing for a long time. It needs a severe jolt like this to get me moving. I’m just too lazy to do anything until it really needs to be done. There is always too much to do at any one time. We make lists and then new lists. The lists get longer and jobs just drop off the bottom of the list and never get done, replaced by new more pressing jobs. I’d like to claim that we are operating on the very modern and efficient ‘Just-in-time’ delivery system, invented by Toyota. But we’re not at all efficient. We just lurch from crisis to crisis.
Even with all this drama I have managed to find time to plant out a few more vegetables and water what is already planted out. With all the hot dry westerly winds, the garden dries out within a few hours, things are starting to wilt by the afternoon. We are so busy with all this fire protection, that sometimes the garden doesn’t get watered until it is dark and dinner is even later. We seem to be entering a Spanish dining timetable.

The hot dry weather suits the poppies. They are doing really well in amongst the vegetables.

Best wishes
Dr. Steve Harrison PhD. MA (Hons)

Potter, kiln surgeon, clay doctor, wood butcher




2 responses

29 10 2013

what does he say fires blown in from the west on strong westerlies, hey true hey all fires in australia have some westerly aspect in them. so does climate change come from the desert them? what does our northern hemi boffin sitting before a warming fire say to that? a desert caused climate change not CO@.
maybe some out there feeling somewhat silly trying to scare themselves witless.

29 10 2013

I wouldn’t expose my ignorance on this blog if I were you Bev…….. the way you’re heading right now is pointing to the back door where our last recalcitrant spammer went into the sunset…….

Climate Change does not affect the direction of the wind. And I expect Steve is a whole smarter than you. He had to know how to string words together properly to get his phD.

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