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Feb 6, NR: Into an extended hotspell - not extreme, only one day at 36, but surrounded by a week of 30C days - hottest run for this summer. A few nights where the temp was 25-27 in the bedroom at bedtime, which is as hot it gets. Large crop of cucumbers & zucchini is coming to the end. Switched to raised garden-bed pots on porch a few months ago to grow smaller veggies (lettuce, herbs, spring onion) which was largely successful, though chamomile isn't doing so well - maybe over-fertilized. Saw a fox on access road a few nights back. Drama in the chook-house. A large goanna has been entering the outside-run during the day when the gate is open, while a few nights ago i heard a squark about 10pm then went down to find a large python in the shed with a mouthful of white feathers. The goanna has made a few attempts to enter though hasn't yet worked out how to access the actual shed & laying boxes. Gave it a good whack on the back with the shovel on the second occasion but it still made another attempt after that. Haven't seen it for a few days now so hopefully its decided it's too much trouble. Python is kinda more problematic coz it comes at night so harder to know when there's a breach - very lucky to hear the commotion before i'd gone to bed. Was able to remove it then spent a day putting up wire netting around the gaps between the roof & the walls, which is where i assume it got in. Hopefully it's finally snake-proof.

Feb 9, Kanagawa: Feb has seemed colder and generally less comfortable than last year, and we have had many days below average by a degree or two, or three. But, we've had a good deal of sun, so that helps. I keep thinking things should be warming up when another cold front comes. Our first chance of snow is over the next 24 hours. High tomorrow to only be 5 or so. That's a good 5 degrees below normal, and it will mark the coldest day of winter yet. Granted, that's not very cold, but I would prefer 15. And our house is shit. It seems to have no insulation and windows that seem to breathe. Heaters are crap, so it's not so much that the outside is cold but that our house is cold. In fact sometimes it feels warmer outside!

Feb 14. NR: You'd think the Japanese would've worked out the insulation. Meanwhile here i'm doing the window opening & closing routine every day. If i can get the inside temp down to within 2 degrees of outside by the time i go to bed, then i'm happy. Unlike Taiwan, there's a big diff between the daily high & low. Usually at least 10 degrees, sometimes up to 20 or more. Had a brutal 37C two days ago - temp was still 27.7 at bedtime (27 outside), which is about as hot as it gets. Was reminded that in Taitung it was like that (apparent temp wise) every day for 4 mths during summer. Same day there was another brown snake in chook-shed. Don't think it got inside, only in the outside enclosure area - saw it trying to get out through the wire netting but the holes were too small. Being one of the world's most venomous (& fastest) snakes i dashed back to the house to put on gum boots, jeans & TW motorbike wet weather gear & grabbed the shovel, but by the time i got back it had found a way out. Left me all dressed-up & drenched in sweat in 37C heat, but no snake to slay. Although there was a door open at the front, i think it got in (& out) through a small hole at base of netting at the back, which i blocked off. In general, we seem to have remained in a warmer, drier pattern - sharp contrast to last year where we were being saturated over mths in the build-up to the big one. Still getting the feeling we may be headed towards a flash-drought. With the vegetation growth from 2-3 years of rain, bushfire conditions will be extreme next summer if it keeps on like this - though i doubt there will be any threat this summer. Coming up to 8 weeks since wild tomatoes first bloomed - expecting to harvest any day - just waiting for the amber light.

Feb 17, Kanagawa: Being one of the world's most venomous (& fastest) snakes i dashed back to the house to put on gum boots, jeans & TW motorbike wet weather gear...Holy shit. Makes those Taiwan snakes look like teenagers. Feb has been generally unpleasant. Dry, windy, below average lows and highs. The only bright spot is that we've had a fair bit of sun. It was 1 at 6:00AM, high today of 8 or so, which is a couple degrees below average. If it weren't for the wind and low humidity, it would be pleasant enough. Spring is coming though. It's getting light out before 6:00. We have warm blasts then cold blasts. Very unstable weather. Some trees are flowering. I think they're plum. Not sure. Japan is predicting a worse allergy season this spring, allergies being driven by the cypress pollen (the prized hinoki). Apparently, a hot spring and summer creates heavier pollen in the following spring. Last spring and summer set records for heat, and we had almost no plum rains last year. EDIT: I have to laugh at myself when I describe 1C as cold. You can tell I've been living in warm climates for the last few decades. I see westerners walking around in shorts and t-shirts in this weather. Of course, they're the ones bitching and moaning about the unbearable heat when it hits 25.

Feb 25, Kanagawa: Feb has continued to be a couple degrees below normal most days, today included. There just hasn't been much pleasant weather to speak of. Went for a walk today at 9AM or so. It was about 10 and partly sunny, which is fine, but the strong north wind on the bay made it uncomfortable. It was blowing at about 15-20 kt most of the day with gusts to 35 kt or so. Right now (19:45) we have sustained winds of 25 with gusts to 38 according to Windy. Plum trees (?) are flowering.

Feb 28, NR:Another hot-spell - Feb has been the hottest month in an otherwise bearable summer. Nothing insane - low 30s - fairly average for this time of year. Guessing it's below ave rainfall though - which is a big change from last year. This time last year we were in the middle of the 'The Big One' - the first flood - which came off the back of extreme wet weather for many months. In fact it was about this time of day, maybe an hour earlier, that the electricity & internet went out - with internet staying out for 11 days! Dark times. Harvested another tomatoplant over the last week, which was 9 weeks after first bloom. Waited until the first sign of the fruit ambering, so much later than the first harvest. Fruit is plump & flavour is better but still not strong. Might be the variety. Had some rain about 4-5 days ago - brought up good crop of field-mushrooms - enough to fill a supermarket-size punnet so saved myself 6 bucks there! Two main spots - front of workshed and just right of chook-shed. Rails reappeared briefly with the rain - think i also spotted a large rversion, maybe a crake. Snake situation has died down, thankfully. When F was here, we conducted wallaby census. We figured it's an extended family group, with a possible outside male. We listed them thus: Lau Gongi (Alpha male), Mummy & Baby (male), Wa-wa (smaller female, maybe last year's baby), Little Gongi (smaller male), & Horny Gongi (maybe outside male, smaller than Alpha-male). Horny is very keen on Wa-wa, chases her around with his (long,thin, banana-bend) dick out. I'm impressed by how long the courtship period is. There's no mistaking Horny's keeness, but he doesn't force the matter too much. Wawa is, not totally disinterested, but not quite ready yet. This budding romance has been going on for well over a month. Baby is, i think, permanently out of the pouch now. Which i'm sure Mummy is pleased about - it's shocking how big it was (2 feet tall) & still going inside the pouch - must be a dangerous time coz lugging that around in your pouch is gonna make it hard to escape from a dingo attack. Interestingly, Baby started hanging out with Lau Gongi, who we assume is the father. Very funny to watch. Lau Gongi is big. handsome, full of muscles. He often stands erect to gaze/smell/listen into the distance, scanning for danger - looking serious. Baby was standing right beside him copying his every pose. If Lau Gongi scratched his belly, then Baby would do it - everything. Finally Lau Gongi seemed to get sick of being mimicked & chased him off, as if to say 'Buzz-off, short-arse', though nothing threatening, only play-fighting. Cool to see how Baby is learningto be a male, learning the role. Both Little Gongi & Horny have some ear-damage. Little G is a smallish tear, while Horny's damage is more severe, with one ear flopped over about half-way up. That's not ideal as they rely on their hearing a lot, being able to rotate their ears like a satellite dish honing in on a signal. Speculation about what caused it includes: narrow escape from dingo attack, internal fighting with other males, getting it caught on the barbed-wire cattle fences. Grass is growing at peak speed - needs cutting every week though i'm stringing it out to two. The snake activity has inspired me to be a bit more conscientious than previous years, especially around the house.

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Page last modified on February 27, 2023, at 04:12 PM