It’s 10am. The sun is already brutal although the breeze is still light. The day holds the promise that the wind will have the breath of a hot oven. The hum of flies, the rustle of small birds in the underbrush, the soft clucks of the chickens. I have handwashed a few clothes in a bucket – we are on tank water here. Similar to the boat, the sound of the pump when you turn on the tap is a tangible reminder of your water use.
I tip the washing water on to the tomatoes, and after rinsing, another bucketful irrigates the hydrangeas. They are one of the more heat intolerant plants – inevitably wilting by the end of a 36 degree day, sometimes with their leaves burnt brown around the edges. The clothesline is supported by pole – a big strong almost-branch – that is holding it up in the middle as it traverses the backyard.
Water sprinkles my feet as I wring out the bits and pieces and hang them up, still dripping. They’ll be dry in an hour or so – standing in the direct sun I can feel the burn through the back of my t-shirt. In the shade the day remains peaceful and tolerable – the buzz of insects and chirping of the crickets.