Archive for September, 2009






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dew one

dew 2

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A couple of posts back, I spoke of a European style spring: a sappy, flowery, zephyr-kissed September.

Forget it. This place is just green padding on the ribs of The Wide Brown Land, and today we got a reminder. Today NSW woke to a dust-storm like it hasn’t seen since the forties. Today the outback headed to the surf.

my place

As for all those flowers that were waving in the gentle Euro-zephyrs…


It’s a wilful land, as the poet said. But she added that it could be lavish. Just before the dust swooped over the Great Divide like a Valkyrie horde, there was a big dump of rain. Roof-bending rain. Enough rain to cause this to happen:


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El Nino brings drier weather to my part of the world. After two moist seasons and two particularly cold winters, we have just had a winter/early spring period of high temps and almost NO RAIN.

Curiously, this year resembles the two previous ones in an unexpected way. Though we are now experiencing the classic effects of El Nino, there continues to be an oceanic influence on our winds. The last three years have been dominated by southerlies and nor’easters, with only the odd swing-about to the west. This is something very different to the trends of the last thirty years, and it’s surprising that even El Nino conditions haven’t reversed it.

The effect is pleasant: a balmy spring that is almost European in feel, rather than the gusty, static-charged crossover period from winter to summer. Normally, our autumn has the glamour. This year, spring has borrowed it.



The main purpose of this blog was to promote moso by showing its progress through its amazing spring surge. Sadly, there will be a delay, and the surge may be less amazing this year. Drought is a bore.

So change the subject. Did you know that from this…


…they make this?


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Got it?

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Moso is a very old species. They say it can remember Cliff Richard’s first single.

So moso is careful. It won’t shoot till things are just about right. It will wait for its best chance. Adequate rain around spring equinox should bring it on. A warm winter after a moist autumn won’t convince it: look here…nothing happening.


I’m not saying moso should have the confidence of a mulberry. A White Shahtoot mulberry will rush into leaf and start forming fruit at the merest breath of warmth. Mulberries are fearless…or stupid. (Yes, White Shahtoots are delicious, but, no, I don’t get to eat mine. Flying foxes usually eat them before the bowerbirds, who are usually too busy at that time with my grafted loquats etc.)


The pawlonia is usually careful, and, if it flowers, there’s reason to believe that the heavy frosts are over. Mind you, it’s only had a few decades to learn about Australian weather. Here’s one of mine doing its spring-thing.


The light fragrance on warmish nights is worth an evening stroll. (Interestingly, I’ve seen the same species growing and flowering out of cracks in the stone above the Seine: about the only vegetation that isn’t hacked into strict geometrical shape in the most Cartesian of cities.)


Some tea before bed?


Shu is the name given to puerh tea when it’s been fermented like black tea. It’s different to black tea because of the initial sun-drying and the broad Yunnan leaf used in production. It’s different to raw puerh being earthier, smoother and less nuanced. The point is that it doesn’t need so much aging, which is why the process was introduced a few decades ago by the famous Menghai factory.

Shu can be made from fine, fine golden buds, or blended using various leaf-grades for a balanced effect. Tonight I just had to have some coarser stuff, with a hint of stagnant pond-water but sweet with a most wonderful slidey-smoothness. Don’t worry, it’s well made by the respectable Boyou factory, and the pondy flavour will go away in a few years. Trouble is, I like a bit of pondiness. Getting freaky.


Tonight I’ve been re-reading a book  which had a lot of success in the eighties. It was an adventure yarn done right. Its author has himself led an adventurous life, and he is, among other things, the inventor and promoter of a controversial desalination process. A bit potty, and certainly pulpy…all of which puts him in the company of some good scribblers.

Can you guess? I’ll post later.

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