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May 11, Taidong: Small shuddering earthquake this morning around 5am - not detected by CWB which means it must have been right here. Two weeks ago there was a 6M quake south of Orchid Island - quite deep and didn't even notice it here, but, it was in the same location as an earthquake that occurred two weeks prior to the big one we had on Dec 15 - in fact supposedly it was that quake that 'fractured the fault line' and triggered our quake - so i've been half expecting something similar to happen. CWB have been goofing big time on their rain predictions for Taidong recently - several times predicting 70-90% pop which all resulted in nothing and then missing the big downpour when they reverted to their 30% pop. There was a sense that it was going to rain, clouds moving up from the south in the two days preceding and finally an obvious storm cell forming on the radar - began just on nightfall (which seems typical) and dropped 70-80 mil in a few hours - filled the pond which i'd drained and all the tanks - actually a perfect amount of rain. Asparagus was disappointing this year but the tomatoes are unstoppable - made over 20 servings of tomato sauce and picked another 30 tomatoes yesterday. The leaves are starting to die off now so i guess they really are nearing the end but it's been far and away the best tomato season i've ever had. Spring onion has also been doing great and i'm regularly eating meals that are 90% homegrown. Finally had a duck-cull - at least i know now that i don't want to be a butcher when i grow up - killed 23 ducks (out of 30) and on account of them being so much trouble to pluck, i ended up just filleting out the breasts and legs and they're all packed away in the freezer. The killing spree stretched over a few days and this dark, dark feeling descended upon my farm - strong thoughts of becoming a vegetarian. But it had to be done - the thing about ducks is that they breed like crazy and it's not that easy to control the rate coz they are very good at hiding the nests. No sign of flying ants yet but i guess they aren't far away. Weather has been hot, but not off the charts - ceiling fans really make a difference and haven't needed to use air con yet. Meiyu looks set to officially start in a couple of days time - and apart from our east coast downpour, there hasn't been any notable prelude which the north and west will often get. Interesting wind day yesterday where it blew in strong from the south all morning then switched 180 degrees and blew strong from the north - felt like the last battle of the monsoon winds. Been getting some distant lightning but nothing close so far

May 12, Taidong: Flying ant hatching - a massive event but luckily i was all over it like a rash and killed all the lights for an hour until it passed

May 26, Taidong: Strange meiyu - but finally 'good strange' - if you're a farmer, or a duck. The meiyu front has parked itself south of Taiwan - never seen it so far south before - typically it's to the north-west. The upshot is that it has rained in Taidong nearly every day for two weeks while the traditionally areas for the plum rains have been virtually dry. Water restrictions could well be in the offing for those areas. Although it's rained, it hasn't been off the charts - nothing as dramatic as the first big downpour - and often the rain has come at night which seems normal here even though CWB can't seem to grasp that fact. That leaves us with plenty of cool days and nights (track pants on tonight and not using air con yet) and have been able to extend outside day-work which is usually impossible at this time of the year due to the crushing heat - which is good coz way behind sched on the jobs i like to get done before summer hits. This week was spent 'putting the garden to sleep - big job and no little helpers to be had. Involves a major weeding - and with the rains the weeds went crazy - then a heavy mulch of mu tsao to slow it all down - that should work for a month then will need to mulch again. Pulled out first tomato crop though second crop is still producing. Asparagus having a minor spurt coz of heavy rain. Spring onion going well, lettuce seems to have run its course and they stopped developing properly though rocket still looks vigorous. Carrots going well. Banyan tree dropped it's berries - seems like an absurd overkill on the reproduction quest - knew it was likely to block up the drain but didn't react quick enough and then it rained last night and the gutter overflowed - usually i can deal with blockages by getting up the ladder but the pipe was full of berries and it was not a doable thing at night in the rain to deal with it - finally managed to get it unblocked this morning. Another minor flying ant hatching and a run of a few days with the bigger but less voluminous flying-ant-like insect in the past week. The minor earthquake here was followed up by a 5.7 just off the coast of northern Taidong (just a shudder here and no reports of damage even near the epicentre), and then there has been a 5.0 in Jiayi this week - so a lot of activity - thankfully not here. Sudden Death tree lost its leaves about 10 days ago and has quickly retooled. Caught and released a mongoose - no further attacks since i've moved the chickens to mountain-side shed. Wind has been predominantly from the north-east still, which seems odd for this time of year.

May 28 Istachatta: Last year this time the banana spiders had started appearing, but they're not out yet this year. That could be due to the drought we've had which is just ending. Last year we had massive rains all spring and summer. This year has been drought. Hot days in low to mid 90's (low 30s) but nights cool down very nicely to high 50's to low 60's. That won't last much longer. Ginger sprouted about a week ago. Diguaye is just going absolutely nuts. It has choked out everything else in the garden, so I'm preparing new beds. Moringa is sprouting later than last year probably due to drought.

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Page last modified on May 28, 2017, at 10:05 AM