20 August 2009

Setting the scene

 Home is a small cedar house sitting at the top end of a rectangular block that runs downhill in a westerly direction and ends in a very old farm dam. This lovely expanse of water would have been built many years ago when this one-and-a-bit acre was part of one of the original farming properties in the hinterland. We share this dam with several other blocks -- i.e. all of us property owners have 'riparian' rights (that’s a great word I learned while living in a city that had the Mekong River as one of its borders). The property on the opposite side of the dam rises quite steeply from the water’s edge, so when we look down toward the dam from anywhere on our block, we see only a thickly treed hillside on the other side of the dam, above a reedy border of undergrowth along the water’s edge, where wild ducks and swamp hens regularly patrol. So this deep, dark water at the bottom of our block always feels like a peaceful and very private oasis.

The dam also extends up along the valley into a property at our left, making a very large expanse of natural-looking waterway fed by a creek that flows down from a steep little mountain at the end of the valley, a kilometer or so upstream. That source means we enjoy a reliable supply of water throughout the year. Ever since we wisely invested in a tough farm-style pump and laid down underground pipes to bring the dam water up to the farthest corner of our block, we have had water on tap at seven different locations around our block. That may be something about which it is ecologically irresponsible to boast. But even though I’m a confirmed heavy mulcher and selective irrigator (I certainly don’t water any lawn; in fact I would happily do away with all grass if I had the energy or resources to plant out and care for an acre of trees and shrubs throughout the years it takes to turn grass back into bush), nevertheless I have to confess that my life here changed forever on the day our wonderful ‘pump specialist’ installed the irrigation system and we turned on the first tap bringing that luscious water uphill to the veggie patch and fruit trees and other less utilitarian plantings.

I suppose I could create an irrigation-less garden somewhere if (or when) I eventually have to move to a smaller ‘town’ block, where water rationing is the norm. But for now I'm afraid I probably do use more water on the garden than I should, though I certainly no longer indulge in the kind of water-dumb practices that we older folk remember from a time back in the pre-El Niño Dark Ages, such as watering driveways, instead of just sweeping, to clear away fallen leaves. And I know it's only rationalisation, but I remind my guilty self that any water running off our property goes straight down the hill, back into that life-giving, garden-saving dam.

1 comment:

Dr Zoe said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely scenery with us - you have a wonderful piece of paradise :-)

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.