29 January, 2009

An Abundance of Life

It's hot. No, that's not right. It's blisteringly hot. Yes, that nearly covers it. With "vacation" winding to a close on the Suburban Plot, we find ourselves in the belly of a record-breaking beast of a heatwave. In just the past two days we've scaled thermal heights I thought impossible outside of Death Valley, seeing temperatures of 122 F (50 C) in sunshine, 113 F (45 C) in the shade. Oh yes, it's hot. But, though life may struggle in the heat, it does not vanish or even pause for very long.

In the weeks since New Year's, despite our efforts to avoid all forms of work or change, we've been repeatedly visited by the all powerful Fairy of All Things Living. She has beaten us over the head with her magic stick of Lots-n-Lots, and we've surrendered to her will.

The first thwack of the fairy's wand came on January 9th when our beloved kelpie-cross dog, Laney, began panting and scratching, plodding and pacing, and gave birth to her litter of unexpected puppies. Hubby and I had placed bets on the date and size of delivery many times in the days following Christmas, but all such things come in their own time (and number). The husband was banking on three, possibly four pups. I put my money closer to seven. Neither of us had any notion that we'd soon be playing host to eight little wrinkly balls of canine cuteness. But, out they came, and our evenings have never been more amusing.

The little fluffballs, now three weeks old, are smelly, and noisy, and pee on just about anything, but then they lick your chin or roll over for a bit of belly scratching, and all is forgiven. We have five weeks more with seven of these eight critters (we're keeping one), and I'm positive it will be a laughter-filled adventure.

One might think adding eight living creatures to our home might be enough to appease the Abundance Fairy, but no! She came back for a second swat just days after the puppies breathed their first. She brought with her a staggering near 13 kilos (28 pounds) of apricots. Our huge, ancient "Plum-ricot" grafted tree, for the first time in hubby's recollection of his five years here, burst forth with enough fruit to keep us well stocked for over a year.

But, wait—There's more! Unsatisfied with my hours of jam stirring, chopping, blanching and packaging, that crafty fairy thought it great fun to toss in over 22 kilos (49 pounds) of tomatoes! So, it was onto evenings spent with the husband, dicing tomatoes for jar upon jar of fresh red, green, and black beauties, and some of the best marinara sauce I've ever made.

Content with what small respite we've enjoyed since the holidays, the deluge of home-and-garden goodness has prompted my enthusiastic return to the blogosphere and all the wonderful people she holds. The next few posts will delve into the dirty details of all we've done in our month off from home improvement and online interactions. I'll be posting photos of the finished (and semi-finished) rooms of our house, recipes for our recently harvested produce, a view into our new, lighter summer breakfast, and how we're managing to keep our garden alive through such murderous heat.

The bread dough is calling for a punch and knead, so that is the end, for today. I do hope you'll rejoin our journey and continue to share yours as well. Oh, and Margo? I haven't forgotten you, and will happily post my Honey Cornbread recipe in the next couple days.


Margo said...

Hooray you're back!!!!!!!! What adorable puppies but 8???!!!! we went mad with just 2 pups (and no mummy-dog)!!!!!!

It's slightly less baking here - "only" 40 in the shade of the verandah...but as we're at 600m above sea level that's still impressive I reckon.

It was very considerate of your fruit tree to give you such a great harvest during your vacation time :)

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Yay, you missed me! :)

Oh yes, 8 little buggers. We adore them, but they aren't terribly ambulatory yet. We have a feeling that weeks 4-8 will be a nightmare!

Ugh. Isn't this heat miserable? We have two wall units cranked to max.

Yes, wasn't that kind of Madam Apricot? And I'm still not speaking to the tomatoes.

Glad to be back!

Maggie ~:) said...

So happy to see you back! And Goodness, that's a lot of Apricots and Tomatoes!

I'm squeeing right now at the puppies. What fun! What work! Kittens are So much easier than puppies, for sure. The surprise #8 reminds me of my Dad's matron Catahoula, Dixie. We never knew how big her litters were going to be, the last one before she stopped producing was 13. My dad nearly had a heartattack. Thankfully, we had a very large kennel run my mom had built for the show dogs, so all he had to do to clean up each day was hose down the concrete.

OurGangof7 said...

Yup it sure is hot here in Adelaide!!! My tomatoes cooked on the bush today, I knew I should have picked those few last night but then forgot about it until late and "couldn't be bothered"....now I pay the price lol...just glad it was only 3!!

Those puppies of yours look sooooo cute!!!!

I just stumbled across you blog today and I look forward to reading more of your life. In the meantime try to stay cool!!!

Belinda said...

Ahhh Puppy breath,

Great work on the apricots and tomatoes.. luckily the season is only so long and gives us a well deserved rest.

Kind Regards

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Maggie: Have no fear, there will be a Thursday post ALL about the puppies, as it's their 1 month birthday. I adore these little critters, but my gawd, the cleanup is crazy! I wish we could hose down our hallway :)

OurGang: A fellow Adelaideian! How great! I do hope you and your brood are weathering the heat alright. We'd be lost without our energy-sucking air conditioners. Thanks for joining in!

Belinda: My oh my oh my.. we have puppy breath to spare, around here! The biggest problem with puppies? They grow larger, not smaller! Who knew?

And I am so looking forward to that harvest-free rest time. Though, it looks like it's a good ways off, with only half our tomatoes done, and beets, leeks, and cauli on the way :)

Please keep cool, ma'am. I've been thinking of you and yours a lot. Cool change coming soon!