A slow busy week ahead

13 February 2017
It was 42C on the verandah here yesterday but I believe it was much hotter out west. I'm very grateful we have an air-conditioned house. Last night was one of the few nights since we've lived here that we let the air-conditioner run all night. Yesterday and Saturday were spent mainly indoors after watering the plants and filling up plenty of water troughs for the chooks. These days are bad enough for us but I think how the native animals, birds and insects are faring, especially when their habitats have been wiped out for housing developments.  It's not a wise move to leave food out for native wildlife but it's essential to leave water out in shaded places. Usually it will help keep your local birds and insects hydrated, but on extremely hot days it can be the difference between life and death.

I finished off my shawl on Saturday and cast on a boy's seamless jumper in grey cotton.  We have mild winters here so a cotton jumper generally keeps young bodies warm. It will give me a project to work on when I'm sitting in the lounge room and I'm hoping to have it finished by early July.

Yesterday I made white nectarine jam. Peaces and nectarines are my favourite fruit and it's always a treat to eat them, ripe and cold, during summer. I'm partial to the late season free stone varieties and this year, Hanno found some under-ripe white nectarines for $3 a kilo. They are perfect for jam making so he bought 2 kgs.  Yesterday I made up one batch, netting us two large jars of jam.  I'll make up the others today. Four jars of nectarine jam in the cupboard  won't go far so I looked through my preserves books to see what else I can make from fruit easy to find and not too expensive.

I'd like to have enough jam to do us through the year - even if we have a visit from my sister who is the queen of jam on toast, with tea, for breakfast. Jam is such an easy thing to make and homemade tastes so much better than commercial jam.  In the coming weeks I'll make some dried apricot jam and orange marmalade and I'll be on the lookout for local strawberries in early winter. That should keep us in jam for the entire year.

This will be a big week for Gracie. This afternoon she's going to the groomer to be thoroughly washed and clipped. That is in preparation for her trip to the vet on Wednesday when she'll be spayed.  She's six months old now and the vet recommended that as the best time to carry out the procedure.  She'll have stitches after the operation and I want her nice and clean so she's not too uncomfortable when she's recovering.

Gracie with her teddy bear. She takes it out to the fence to show the chickens.
 And then she brings it back and gently places it in the shade.
 At night she sleeps on her back close to either Hanno or me.

Grace has spent most of the last two days inside the house spread-eagled on the floor in front of the air-conditioner. She goes out early morning, again at lunch time and late afternoon. When she's ready to come back in she barks once at the back door, and we, her servants, wander over to open the door for her.  She devised the system and it's working well. 😃

I have a slow busy week ahead and I'm looking forward to doing a few things in my home as well as planning and mapping out the new season garden that will be planted up in March.  Since we reduced the size of our garden and the number of plants we grow, it's essential to choose the right ones. It's time to sow some seeds in trays in the bush house so when this hot weather ends, we'll be ready to plant our seedlings out in the garden. When I work it out, I'll tell you about our plans for this year's garden.

I hope you all have a lovely week. Take care in the heat and cold, my friends. xx