Monday, May 31, 2010

More rain!

This weather is starting to make me laugh.  I read on the SMH website this morning "City has it's wettest May in seven years, with more to come".  I wish that meant more May to come - this is the last day of the month and next month, i.e. tomorrow, means that the year is as good as half gone.  :o< (that's meant to look like the face of someone who's just heard some news they found quite appalling!)

This is what happens at our house when the nasty weather rolls in from the south.  And has it ever been rolling in - I wake up in the morning to the sound of rain on the roof, okay, no walking this morning; by the time my cereal is in the bowl, it's sunny; finish my breakfast and open the door, it's raining - I can watch the next shower of rain sweeping in from the south over the village, along past the Heights, disappearing to the north over Wollemi National Park and turn around again to see the next shower sweeping in from the south.

The bulbs are all coming up!

The jonquils in the front garden even have a bud.

I'm sure these are snowdrops, but they must be multiplying because I sure didn't plant nearly as many as this!

The persimmon tree is starting to lose it's leaves.

And because it is raining, that means I am washing.  Who else in the wide world washes their clothes when it's raining?  My craziness comes from only having tank water.  When it's raining and water is going into the tank, then I can happily be taking water out again.  And to add to the completeness of my lunacy, when I am washing, I am also watering the garden!  Do you get this picture?  It starts to rain, so I start to wash, I collect my washing water and I water the garden.  But it's already raining on the garden.  The neighbours shake their heads.

Have I ever explained that my garden is only watered with rainwater and greywater?  I have never had the luxury of hoses and sprinklers in this garden.  My wash water is bucketed onto my plants, suds and all.  Consequently some plants in my garden are never watered.  My only exception is my herb garden and my bay tree in a pot.  They don't get watered with greywater for fairly obvious reasons.

The next shower of rain has just rolled through, pitter-pattering onto the glass of the back door.  There's not much else to do but sit by the fire and knit, or maybe google some waterproof blinds to hang outside the back door to keep the rain off.  That is, until the next load of washing is finished and it's time to water the garden again!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And now the HAPPY news . . .

I was curled up on the lounge in front of the TV late-ish on Tuesday night when the phone rang.  And it gave me one of those phone-ring starts, you know the sort you get when the phone rings late at night or really early in the morning.  When you can only imagine that it's going to be some sort of bad news.

Mike answered and gave the phone to me and it was my son.  He and his girlfriend had gone up to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains for a few days, staying at the gorgeous Lilianfels.  Such a lovely, romantic place to stay - and it had obviously worked it's magic, because he was ringing to tell me that he had asked her to marry him and that she had said 'YES'!!  He didn't know whether to laugh or cry!  And I wasn't much better - I'm so very happy for them.  They called here yesterday morning on their way back home for a big family hug and to show me the delicious diamond on the finger -

and to invite us to dinner at her parent's house last night for a celebration.  Mike didn't make it, he was home and working away on the laptop when I got home at around 10.30 pm, but I braved driving through some of the heaviest rain we have had for ages and had a lovely time.

Congratulations kids - promise us that you will be good to each other for the rest of your lives.  We love you both!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sad news and BAD news

No, I haven't left the country for a long holiday or been admitted to hospital with all my typing fingers completely broken or even had a computer crash.  I've just been really, really slack!

We'll start with the sad news.  Sad to me anyway.  Our dear sweet Merlin, who recently joined our household and has become such a joy in our lives and especially in the life of our Ewan McGregor, has nearly broken my heart.  Yesterday morning, the two boys came running inside in their usual chasing, tumbling fashion and thundered past me up the hallway towards the bedroom.  Our dear old Daisy, very deaf and going blind at an alarming rate, was standing beside me in the laundry and for once saw the boys go chasing by.  In a return to her past behaviour, she took off after them, barking.  The barking very quickly changed and I raced up to the bedroom to find Merlin attacking my poor old darling.  My yelling at him had no effect at all.  I was able to grab his collar and it took all my strength to lift him off her.  As soon as he released her from his jaws, she scurried off and hid and he was unceremoniously carted outside where he stayed for a good part of the day.  I was so shocked, it was the most awful thing to witness.  I truly believe that he has decided that 'top dog' is now his job and he is letting Daisy know in no uncertain terms.  And it makes sense - how long would the pack survive if the top dog was deaf and blind?  My immediate problem, of course, is that I have lost my trust in Merlin not to hurt her while I'm not around.  She doesn't seem to be scared of him today, but she is certainly not getting in his way.  I am at a loss to know how I am going to cope with this sad issue.

And now the BAD news!

I have committed a great gardening sin and I know that I am going to pay and pay and pay for it.  Today, I decided that I would remove the old woody rosemary outside the kitchen door.  I am sure I have previously stated my intentions in this regard and also alluded to the fact that the surrounding soil contains that horror of all horrors - oxalis!!

Indeed, a veritable sea of oxalis!  Some months ago, I spread a large piece of black plastic over a lot of it and weighted it down with bricks in the hope that the oxalis would miraculously die in the darkness.  Have you heard the story in recent years of the building in London, constructed after the Great Fire, that was demolished and the soil underneath saw sunlight for the first time in nearly 400 years and an immediate crop of oxalis sprouted?  And I thought I could kill it under a sheet of black plastic!!  You are allowed to laugh now!

When I lifted up the plastic today, what I saw were long shoots of albino oxalis.  And the only thing I should have done was get the toxic spray and sprayed it all!  And waited for it to die.  But I was impatient and I was stupid.  And even as I dug it out (ha ha ha!) (are you laughing?), I knew it was the wrong thing to be doing.

I have ended up with a huge bucket of chunks of soil in which lurk the dreaded bulbs.  But as we all know, the bucket would contain only a percentage of the total bulbs, the rest of which are now widely distributed through the remaining soil and every one, every single one will grow into a lush new oxalis plant.

Sometimes, I'm amazed at myself.

Anyway, the trunk of the old rosemary was sawn through and removed and smaller rosemarys planted to hopefully form a little hedge along the side of the verandah.  There will be a hedge of rosemary and an even bigger sea of oxalis!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's not get any older!

It's 11 May and that means Happy Birthday to my dear son!

And how old are you today?  22!  21!  Sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart - happy 29th birthday!!  We love you!

I went to visit my dear old mum at the nursing home this morning - they put on a morning tea and a concert for Mothers' Day.  She is looking frail and is so confused.  I stroked her hair and gave her a quick manicure and went away thinking 'where's my mum gone?'

How come we're all getting so much older so fast?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A quick visit to the land of make-believe!

We had quite an adventure today!

Mike got a phone call early in the past week, asking if we would be interested in Channel 7 using our VW Kombi for filming of the series 'Packed to the Rafters'.  So this morning, we drove to the location where the Rafters 'live' and after much waiting around, truckloads of gear arrived and were unpacked and set up and shortly afterwards, the stars arrived and the fun began.

What was actually being filmed, I think, is a promo for the series that will be shown next year.  It entailed the Rafters packing into the Kombi for a holiday away somewhere.  And it entailed all the cast lining up, each laden with what they wanted to take on holidays with them and on the call of 'action', they all rushed to the side of the Kombi, only to be turned away by 'Dad' Rafter.  There was a baby bath and bouncinette, a folding cot, a playgym and multiple packs of disposable nappies, (remember there was a new addition to the family last year?), banana lounges, picnic baskets, fishing rods, surfboards, eskies, golfclubs, picnic tables, footballs, bags and baskets and all the paraphernalia that could possibly be required for a trip - you know, getting away from it all and taking it all with you!

They yelled 'Quiet on the set!' and I had to muffle my laughter!

And why was I laughing?  Because I suddenly realised what we must look like when we go away on holidays in the Kombi!

Anyway, it was great fun and will be on television in about three weeks time.  So keep a look out for it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good evening . . .

and welcome to the blog of the world's most lazy and ineffective gardener!

It's been ages since I had a happy, productive day in the garden.  Oh, I've had weeding days, days last week where I pulled out weeds that had been there so long, they had roots that went to China.  Runners of kikuyu that were longer than I am tall.  Almost impenetrable carpets of yellow oxalis that, when I dug into them with the garden fork, I ended up digging into bulbs that are just starting to sprout but which were totally unable to be seen in the weeds.  Ugly!  And depressing!

But today, by some stroke of magic, I had a productive gardening day.

My first job was planting a new clematis in the pot vacated by my mum's dear departed climber.  It's called Multi Blue.  My first job was to get the old potting mix out of the pot.  Old potting mix is usually spread on the garden somewhere, but this lot I first tipped into my garden barrow, where I removed 25 grubs from the mix!  Good grief!

This is only some of them, I had already fed a whole lot to the mynahs!

Because the clematis was being planted into a pot on the verandah, and because the pot is a big terracotta one, I decided to plant it into the biggest plastic pot I had, which was then buried into the new potting mix.  Hopefully that will save the clematis from drying out quite as quickly as if it was just in the terracotta pot.

Next, I moved a buxus out of a pot on the verandah and into the pot vacated by the recently departed buxus.

Things were starting to really work!

Quite quickly, I realised that the whole garden bed along the front of the verandah was a shambles.  The tall bearded iris were drowning in a sea of fallen rose leaves, and without too much thought, I realised that I got a whole 2 stems of flowers last year!

Out they came!  Some have been replanted around the feet of the while Iceberg standards and the rest will go along the curve of the driveway/path.  That will be tomorrow's job!

When I brought the irises from my previous garden, somehow a little piece of violet came too, despite my best efforts to leave them behind.  I kind of regard violets as 'almost weeds', but decided to replant the ones I removed today with the irises and have spread them out around the base of DA Leander and Reine des Violettes.  I think it's called recycling!

Tomorrow, I will continue to work my way along the front garden bed, I have weeds to remove (oxalis - aargh and onionweed - double aargh!) and spent mushroom compost to spread and dig in and nepeta 'Dropmore" and stachys to plant.  It's going to be a good day!