Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hotter than a Pommy's armpit at the one-day cricket

My ex-home, the city Adelaide is struggling through several days of 45C (113F) summer heat, and we in Melbourne are dealing with a mere week of paltry 43C (109.4F) temperatures in what is currently the hottest week in over one hundred years for both Aussie states.

We're also in a seven-year long drought and are already under severe water restrictions and being urged on TV, radio and in the papers to restrict our water consumption to 135 litres per day, making it now essential to plug up the shower drain and bucket the soapy remains of human filth and shampoo fluff onto what remains of our dead gardens. Yep, life in the big city is getting rather hard and our tiny square of back yard lawn looks like straw matting and is now crunchy to walk on.

As I'm typing this, I see two stressed pigeons (yes, they do exist) drinking out of Milly the pooch's water bowl. That's a pretty brave move for creatures more used to pooping from power poles than dodging dangerous dogs. This set my heat-addled brain to thinking further along these lines whilst my FUIC coffee was chilling in the freezer and while I debated whether chocolate in this weather was worth the sticky-fingered, dropped melted dollops-on-the-crotch effort.* My thoughts veered from my own self-interested snack selections to animals and how much they really suffer in scorching temperatures. We at least, can wear less and laze about inside; they wear a fur coat that is not removable.

Pictured below is our bunny Skipper, taking it easy on our brand new red rug in the middle of winter last year. As you can see, he's rather cute, yet he severely tested the new friendship by proceeding to dig into and eat chunks out of the new rug and peed so frequently on the floorboards that they were stained white in scattered patches all over the house. And it was only when I was sorting through books to donate or keep that I noticed that he'd clearly gotten more than one thrill by scattering the tops of them with his butt-beans as well.

Skipper's salad days indoors soon ended when Love Chunks discovered that it wasn't his bronchitis preventing him from breathing or being able to speak without every second word being punctuated by trumpetingly loud sneezes, it was young Skipper.

LC was highly allergic to our adopted fluffy-puff and so he was banished to his hutch outside forever. In order to evade Sapphire's and my tearful and accusing stares, Love Chunks made a rather nifty little triangular, foldable playpen for bunnyboy to scamper about in so that he had ample opportunities for exercise, grass nibbling and stretching.

Today though finds him distressed and panting way too fast. His hutch is in the shade with a huge golfing umbrella over the top to combat the slanting afternoon rays and I venture out about once every half an hour to give him a few gentle squirts of water from the bottle in order for the evil north winds to blow through and cool him down. This does help him a bit, but it's not too gratifying to see him spy me opening the door, open his tiny little mouth in horror and scuttle into his bedroom to hide himself under the straw and newspaper. He may not have the intelligence to work out that being rudely squirted seems to result in feeling instantly cooler straight afterwards, but I still feel bad about doing it to him, and go to great lengths to explain.

"Look buddy, I know it's annoying for you, but it's helping you stay cool, trust me." God knows what our neighbours** either side of us think. "You're a spunky little fella and I'm just trying to help you stay that way, honest."

When the evening shade covers the lawn, his play triangle comes out again and the grass is sprinkled with the watering can so that he can have a little work-out in relative comfort.

As you can see, unfortunately, he doesn't quite make that connection and isn't overly impressed. Perhaps it doesn't help that Love Chunks isn't allergic to Milly the dog, whom Skipper can see lolling inside the house on her beanbag directly in front of the air-conditioner.

Should I remain being a horrible rabbit owner or sneak him inside and risk killing LC by asphyxiation?

Of course it is.

Two cottages on one side with cats that suggestively strut their stuff along the fence and annoy the poop out of our dog and a three-storey block of flats on the other that feature balconies full of heavy smokers, burnt BBQ cookery events and arguing couples.


Ann oDyne said...

hello - I love people who CARE properly for creatures.
I have just refreshed 4 dishes of cool water in the shade for the birds and sliced apples for them too.

I love rabbits, and when we had one, we finished with 4 because the neighbourhood alerted us to every stray runaway bunny.

they chewed 3-pin plugs off anything they could, and survived.
And re the cooling process:
even wild bunnies hate the rain.


redcap said...

I was thinking of doing that to the cat last night, but I didn't know if I'd keep my arms.

I'm very much over this fecking weather, I must say. It's going to be at least 40 until Sunday here in Oddelaide and apparently then we'll get some "relief": we'll go down to 38. Stop the weather. I want to get off!

Kath Lockett said...

G'day Ann, but am I doing the right thing by spraying him down with water??

Kath Lockett said...

Yeah Redcap, I feel sorry for cats too. My little fella Sox used to flop out under the damp geranium bush, panting....

....unless Mum and Dad were out, and I'd sneak him into my bedroom, grab my souvenir paper fan from Japan and cool him down!

ashleigh said...

Fizz and Fuzz LOVE going outside and are very confused right now.

They've been coming out, morning and evening (when its a mere 37 at 7am, or 40 at 8pm), rush around madly, then after 15 mins while I water things (in vain), they rush inside and flop out.

We call them "flat cats", they are making themselves as thin as possible to stretch out on the slate tiled floor and cool down. And I've never until now seen a cat panting the way dogs do... mouth open, tongue out, huf, huf, huf.

It's horrible. I don't about the !#$%#$ foxes here, but I hope the lizards are ok. I kinda like those little fellas. The garden is in terrible shape. I can see we'll be spending all winter with a saw chopping up the stuff thats presently dying before our eyes.

Kids are staying away from school, we are on power rationing (about 10 suburbs at a time are being dropped out for 1/2 hour, then restored). At work its so unbearable that i'm working from home, so a many other people.

Time for this to be over, methinks.

delamare said...

Kath - as soon as I read this I went outside to spary down poor old Smokey, who has managed to find himself the very coolest spot in a very hot garden, poor bun. I've been refilling both his water feeder and Zeb The Wondercat's water bowls frantically too.

And yes Redcap, stop this freakin' weather, I wanna get off too!

This word verification - hydry. I kid you not!

Cerry said...

Our bunny used to crawl under the shed to keep cool in summer, but when the shed was too far away to make it worth her while, she'd dig herself a ditch in the closest shady patch and lie in it, or go and splash around in one of the bowls of water we kept around the yard for her to drink from (I think I saw her drink from them about twice - she much preferred the drippy bottle in her cage, which I quite often filled with water out of the fridge when it was hot). Even if Skipper won't dig his own ditch, he'd probably lie in a man-made only needs to be about 2cm deep, but it seems to help a lot.

TOM said...

Wow, that's HOT !! I'm sure skipper can feel the love...I'm doing a Rain Dance right now for U All !!

And I'm not a very good dancer (-:

Baino said...

I've only got wild rabbits, 100's of them and they're conspicuous by their absence when the weather reaches 27. Apparently they can get heat stroke if it's hotter so you're doing the right thing. I'd bring him into the laundry at least. Dangerous heat for bunnikins . . .apparently you're in for 3 more days of it. As for crunchy grass, at least you have grass! My back yard is a dustbowl with the exception of a teensy bit of turf near the pool gate! (45 in Murray Bridge yesterday I heard!)

Terence McDanger said...

Fookin hell. 4fookin3?

And I was almost waking up dead on me holidays when it was hitting 35.

Aussies are mighty durable people. Rabbits too.

But Aussies are for life, not just Christmas.

squib said...

I say move LC outside and move the bunny inside but I'm a hard woman, so I am

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River said...

You never in your life saw anyone so glad to walk into Coles as I was this morning. The sun wasn't up yet, but the air was so very hot, walking into that airconditioning just about saved my life I reckon. Even working for 5 hours wasn't too hard, then came the walk home.............into the house and straight under the shower, fully clothed except for shoes. Of course the !!#**!! water was hot at first.....I'm keeping sane by imagining snowbound caves in Alaska.

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Naomi said...

Amen to all the other Adelaideans wishing this fookin weather would end! Fortuitously my two boys don't start school til next week so my pooches have spent this week flaked out in front of the air con with the kids. The budgies in the aviary sit there with their little wings held out from their body trying to stay cool. Hubby hosed them down the other night because they looked so hot - note they were equally ungrateful. As hills dwellers we also filled the plastic clam shell with water so that in the still of night, the possums, koalas etc can come on down and get some water - poor little critters

lc said...

Squib, when the rabbit has learned to cook, I'm sure that will be my fate...

Word verif: patescul

I like a bit of pate every now and then but I prefer to savour it.

TOM said...

I'm not sure but I think the dance worked !! I see rain in your forecast!!

The O'Leary said...

Kath, We used to freeze drink/cordial bottles half full of water and then place them in Rosie's cage - no longer with us. She would then drape herself over the bottle, and this helped her get through the heat.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks for the tip, O'Leary. It's 44C today, so I've been alternating a couple of frozen bottles for him to lie against, plus continued the regular water spraying sessions and he's now got two golf umbrellas to ensure that his hutch is shady.

Not that he's grateful for any of it, little bunny brained nitwit. He catches sight of me and tries to bury himself under an old polarfleece. He's yet to make the connection between 'Big Evil Lady Who Wets Me All The Time' and 'Feel So Much Cooler and Nicer Now' immediately afterwards..