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July 1: The leaves of the 'Sudden death tree' started to turn brown. The process is very quick - totally brown within a day or two. Looks exactly like the tree has died. Happening a good month earlier than last year - surprised that there is such a big diference.

July 3: Some low pressure activity - a couple have sprung up in the usual spots, the largest one has been classified a TS - and heading vaguely our way. Predicted to stay east of us but degree of uncertainty. First smaller one is just hovering around ne ppe coast and may give us some much needed rain. Both house tanks are empty and fishpond is getting low.

July 7: didn't get the rain, though it looked like it was going to pour - very frustrating coz i desparately need rain and it's now three weeks of intense heat without any relief. and nothing on the horizon for another week at least. big typhoon out to sea and heading to japan - hot, of course, and a big daytime ne wind associated with the typhoon in some indirect way and massive waves are rolling in. but as we've seen before, any typ to the east of us rarely produces rain here. sudden death tree has started to re-leaf.

July 10: Well, i've arrived. Right at breaking point. Ready to snap, lash out, or just break down in tears in a state of abject defeat. I've seen some hot summers here but this is the most brutal of the lot. We are getting close to one month of intense heat without rain or even cloud relief. Mercury is reaching 36 most days now with a 'feels like' temp of over 40. Tanks are dry, pond is half full (had to replenish from bore water)and maintenance jobs lie undone and are accumulating. The smallest task takes an extreme act of will. And then when you do force yourself to do them they often end in a stuff-up, physical injury, or both. I'm currently sporting a slit open nose courtesy of a stubborn chair leg that i'd tried in the hole for fitting and appearance before gluing but then wouldn't bloody well come out when there seemed to be no bloody reason on earth why and then this feeling of anger swept through me as i leaned over it and wrenched at the stupid bloody thing with all my might. Then suddenly it did come out. Bang. And cracked me right in the nose. Blood everywhere. To cap it off, a serious eye infection has developed. One eye is glassy and bright red like a manifestation of the half devil inside us.

On a brighter note, was given a baby squirrel to raise. Was going ok and was proving a total hit with women when i took it to do the market in dulan, but in the evenings an adult squirrel was showing up and was obviously very keen on adopting it. After wrestling with the moral dilemma of letting it go back to the wild or hanging onto my 'chick magnet', i reluctantly let the baby out of the cage and straight away the adult picked it up with its mouth and carried it off. In wildlife documentaries this is supposed to be a joyous moment, but that's not what i felt. It really was cute and had imprinted me as its mother so there was a sense of loss, even though i know giving it to the mother squirrel was the right thing to do. Interestingly, the squirrel that adopted it could not have been its real mother or even related to it, so it was really very ultruistic behaviour on its part. Sudden death tree has almost full re-leafed.

July 11: Taitung has indeed been the hottest spot on the island for the last few days with no relief in sight. Kaohsiung has been getting intermittent clouds but very little rain. We just had a brief morning shower. I find it odd that an unrelated squirrel would adopt the little one. Maybe he wanted to use it as his own chick magnet?

July 16: Hahaha! Did check about squirrels adopting and someone had done a study and said they do indeed adopt, but only within their own clan. Gotta check where they found him, but wouldn't have thought it would be near here. I did film it. so might be interesting if it's evidence of animal ultruism. Typhoon something has crossed ppe killing 10 people and causing havoc in manilla. Has held its shape pretty well and is now strengthening - don't see that happen too often - crossing ppe seems to put a serious dent in most of them - crossed at the point where there's probably the least land in ppe central area that's dotted with islands. It's also got a couple of blobs chugging along behind it - one following a similar path, and another lesser one that seems headed towards us. Bit of lightning around tonight and visibility was clear as a bell today with those amazing pre-typhoon skies a tapestry of different kinds of clouds and colors. A glimpse of beauty amdist our rightful punishment and a sense that we may have seen off the nadir, albeit as gracelessly as usual.

July 18: We're getting serious blobs from the typhoon here in Kaohsiung. The last two afternoons have seen downpours and severe lightning.

July 19: More hardcore afternoon storms in Kaohsiung. Typically, the day started off hot and humid with a few clouds, then about 2pm the show started. It's quite localized to this area of SW Taiwan as well.

July 22: Typhoon Matmo is the first typhoon to hit us directly this season and it has already started raining in Kaohsiung. Taitung is where all the action is. Matmo is coming ashore just about dead center of the east coast.

July 27: Kaohsiung has had unstable weather since Matmo, with frequent afternoon showers. Taking an afternoon walk has been feasible.

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Page last modified on July 27, 2014, at 12:46 AM