It’s beautifully cloudy and cool this morning, such a gift after a horrendous heatwave that sapped us of every ounce of energy and left us feeling sick and lethargic.
I’ve experienced plenty of hot summer days in Queensland, but never this hot and this humid so often and so long. Usually, no matter how sweltering the days, cool winds come in the evening and the weather is beautifully temperate until mid-morning. But lately we’ve been hot 24/7, fans running constantly, guzzling water and cold drinks all day. Needless to say, my Canadian heart was overjoyed to need a blanket in the night and wake up this morning needing a blanket out on the veranda.
Thankfully the heat was measured a bit this weekend with wondrous storms that drenched us with 6-8 inches of rain. Our dam is full and the ground is spongy underneath lush green growth.
Such rains have been a boon for my gardens. Newly planted after the hail storms destroyed them, the rains gave them a burst of strength and nourishment and I’m now collecting cucumbers, beans, chilies, and tomatoes when, just a few weeks ago, I thought I wouldn’t get any. It’s so wonderful to walk out there now and see so much growth.
Before my cucumbers arrived, my friend Alison gave me a pile of lovely, fat cucumbers from her vibrant garden. They were perfect for pickling, in the Scandinavian fashion I’m so fond of.
I made up a few versions of pickling solution, one with caraway seeds and peppercorns, another with garlic and dill, and the last with celery seed and mustard seeds. In just a couple of hours I had five jars of pickled cucumbers in my fridge and by the next day we were eating them – crisp and fresh and flavourful.
They’ve been a boon on these scorching days. When we’re too hot to move, let alone cook, it’s lovely to pull a jar of cold pickled cucumbers (or beans, beetroot, or carrot) out of the fridge, add a slice of salami and wedge of cheese and call it good.
Today we’re taking advantage of cooler temps to work on the farm. Moving geese to new pens and feeding areas, dispatching ducks, collecting eggs, and making a start on weeding the gardens. The gorgeous rains have made the ground soft and easy for weeding, so much easier than sun-baked earth. It will be good to see pathways clear again.