The winter solstice is approaching, and it is still unseasonably warm. We have not had a frost here yet, though friends down on the flats have. We are still picking peas and a few peppers from the garden, and the broad beans that I planted in autumn have started to flower already.
Still, it has started to feel a bit wintry, mostly because we have finally had a decent dump of rain. The claggy clay soil in our house paddock is now making seasonally-appropriate squishing and sucking noises under my trusty gumboots. Best of all, our new dam is now full. Kevin and I walked up the hill the day after the rain cleared, and found that it is full to the brim, with some water coming out the overflow. Seeing our dam full for the first time gives us immense satisfaction!
The cold and damp weather has also had some less desirable effects. A few resourceful rodents have been driven to seek better living arrangements. Alas, they have moved into the house with us, and we now have a mouse problem. Last year we had no difficulty trapping the mice with a bit of peanut butter, but this year’s mice seem not to like peanut butter or cheese! We are really starting to wonder how we can get rid of these creatures.
Though the weather is unseasonably warm, I’m glad to say that it has been cold enough to stop the white cabbage moths in their tracks. Instead, we are seeing increasing numbers of praying mantis in the garden. We imagine they are cleaning up all the other bugs and insects that multiplied in the garden over the summer and autumn. Yesterday, as Kevin worked at the computer, he felt he was being watched. Looking up, he saw a big green mantis at the window, staring in at him with its hundreds of eyes.