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Salty Summer Equinox

Shallaha having a rest from the heat

Well, Summer is in full swing here at El Noor, and although it has been a mild, and dry Summer, it has not been overly hot--until today. Actually there have only been a few days where they have been scorchers, but thankfully, Mother Earth has been kind and we have not felt the pangs of her sometimes heated wrath. It has been however, very dry. We have not had any rain in well over a month and it is showing. It would have been a lot worse if we had hot weather to match, but thankfully, that has not been the case this Summer. For the next week however, its going to be hotter than it has been all Summer with consecutive days in the mid 30's. That means a lot more extra work for me, to water all those baby plants and trees I have going on here at El Noor. And even though most of the time it is hot work with combatting mossie's and flies and little biting black bugs I call Ewok's, I enjoy seeing the life I have created from seed. I love seeing what they are becoming, especially my date palms.

Baby date palm planted in May 2020

I have definitely lost some baby date palms this 2020 season at El Noor. I put that down to poor planting, and the layering of newspaper and weed mat. Weed mat is something I would never invest in again and I have learnt my lesson. What has happened is that because the weed mat is not porous at all, no moisture can get in underneath, which makes for a very dry and brittle soil. There is only a little hole around the base of the date palm enabling some water, but the rest of the remaining soil has been untouched and therefore, the date palm, (with very shallow roots) has simply dried out. I have learnt from this trial and error and will revise my planting strategy for the Winter '21 season. And boy, do I have some date palms to plant.

Baby date palms growing for '21 season

So I am estimating that I have over 100 date palms to plant out this winter, and my only strategy is that I am going to deepened the hole, create a bank with a decline angle, covering with sawdust. This seems to be the best method as it has been used elsewhere on the property.

Hello World

This 2021 Season of date palms features Kimia dates, and Sukkari dates, with a few Medjools. Time will tell how they fare the weathers at El Noor!

But until then, we are laying low here, and everyone is trying to keep cool.

chilling, in all sense of the word, down in the cellar

It doesn't help matters that my air conditioner also broke down, but me and the girls have soldiered on. I think of all the 'old timers' that have lived here before me, and how hot it must've been for them, as air conditioner was not invented back then... one can only imagine how they would have had to tough it out. I keep them in mind when I feel myself missing the aircon...

And believe me, there is plenty of work to do in the cellar! Its such a wonderfully quiet and cool place, we (chickens and I) all feel like we are in another world...

Everybody's trying to get over the flop of Summer!

Socially, well I have been busy. I even hosted a little dinner party last weekend which was wonderful. Old friends, great food and plenty of gut-belly laughter. It was a very nice way to unwind and enjoy.

Bottoms up! No alcohol here tonight--everyones on a detox!

Some faces you may recognise from some of my old Youtube's (my 25K subs vid) and others you may not recognise...and we went on well into the night...and morning--2am! Still, I got up the next morning at 6am to let the chooks out, who were clamouring at the door.

Deep in conversations...well into the night

Abundance is still in force in the poor old demolished hot house. I found this other secret zucchini the other day. It was delicious. The tomatoes just keep on coming, which I love... all through the winter and summer. I eat them like apples. How about you?

So even though the poor old hot house has had its day, I have replaced it, as many of you know with a shade house.

I had no intentions of even finishing the shade house this summer, but I found my arms and legs just getting a mind of their own, and before I knew it, it is almost done.

This has also been an intuitive build, as is all of my projects and even though I didn't have a plan, it just created itself as I went along....making the necessary adjustments along the way. It is 95% complete now, with a few finishing touches needed.

I wanted to create a space where I could have homegrown produce all year round, without being scorched in the summer. The best success I have had with growing any vegetables, has been in the first hot house, but even then I made plenty of mistakes. It really lived up to its name and was SUPER hot, burning a lot of tropical plants.

This time around I have made a shade house with full shade cloth and no plastic, which is much more wind friendly, and I already have got plenty of things inside.

Farmer A with her prized seedlings

The shade house plantings has been trial and error also. I have a bunch of Eucaplytus I am growing for a boundary around El Noor, as well as some other natives. I also have lots of vegetable seedlings ready to be planted out tomorrow (forecasted for rain and 23 Degs!!)

Ready for planting

Most seedlings are very very fragile in the early days of their lives and require a lot of attention. The best way to water them is overhead with a mist, but as Ive come to learn, my ground water is too salty and is burning the leaves. Ive stopped doing that immediately and have gone to a 'dip & drain' technique, wherein I dip the pots in a pool of water and then leave them to drain out. Its time consuming but I don't mind.

Too much mineralised water is causing seedlings to burn and shrivel

Seedlings can also not sit in a pool of water, as oxygen is needed to circulate through the soil, not to mention the root rot that can happen when seedlings are too wet.

Tiny Caliistemon seedlings, very fragile at this point!

I also have other rescued plants from the original hot house- some Sapote's, avocado, mango, durian and dragonfruit. The durian, well, she looks very sad, but we'll see if there is any life left in her. The others are doing great.

A mottled mix

I've always said, Summer is a time when my work is cut out for me, keeping everything alive when it is so small and vulnerable. So far, most things are doing okay...keeping alive which is the main part.

Geraniums never let me down in the Summer!

Good morning from El Noor!

The mornings are always lovely however, even at 6am! I like to get out before it gets too hot and do a few little odds 'n sodds. I have also started a new garden bed that still needs to be rendered, and as you can see, the chooks have helped me spread the soil around...perhaps a little too much. I did have some lovely little hollyhock and viola seedlings in there as well, but I wonder where they've gone to now...

Chooks overly eager to help with the work

So its been very eventful for January, but I loving the days getting shorter, the sun dropping lower, moving into autumn. There are many beautiful aspects of summer- all the lovely fruit grown, the seeds bearing the potential for new life given, but I am very much looking forward to the winter...

Blessings to you all,

Andulairah...Venus, Deema, Erethae and Shallaha


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