It's very summer-hot...

My Bonfire

Suddenly it's very summer-hot. Sun-block, hat, cricket radio, and gardening shorts become important accessories of the summertime gardener. My horribly big task is to finish cleaning up all the hedge trimmings - before next year!

Tuesday 27th December

Aargh! I'm not talking about a dinky little hedge clipped by a sweaty man up on a ladder. These are serious country shelter belt hedges along the edges of paddocks, machined trimmed. Today I tried to clean up more of the mess. Honestly I did. But it was fairly hot, so I decided to wait until late afternoon.

Then I stood in the water race and weeded the banks for an hour. Nice. Very nice - almost nice enough to sit down in the water.

The Team...

At times like this Non-Gardening Partner and I both work hard in the garden - we are a great team, and NGP is more like a Semi-Gardening Partner. He's filled the trailer with hedge trimmings from the front paddock, and I'm going to burn them tomorrow. Aargh! I hate this summer burning. Justifies self: the branches are too small for the shredder, and there's no fire ban.

 On the tidy side!
By the Water Race

I always feel much better in the evening when I've done something in the gardening day to be proud of. So my feelings of self-worth are linked inexorably into my obsession with the garden. Well, that either makes me the saddest or the luckiest person. I choose the latter...

Wednesday 28th December

I must apologise to my garden - or specifically the back lawns over the water race. I am so sorry that you still haven't been properly raked and all the hedge branches cleared off you. So far today I've tried my best, but after a couple of hours of raking and burning I'm red-faced, hot, and moderately bothered. So the plan is to catch up in my journal and write up all the news. Hmm... Cleaning up hedge trimmings makes for dull dribbling.

 Wee sweetie!
The Lost Kitten

A Christmas Kitten

Late last night Daughter of Moosey rescued a little black and white kitten from the middle of our country road (paddocks to one side, a quarry on the other). It looked very much like kitty had been dumped. This morning I've been upstairs playing with the kitten, who is very tiny but seems well nourished, and quite tame.

Early Days

It's early days as regards the kitten-excitement factor, though. Someone local might have lost a Christmas kitten. We'll see.

Anyway, kitten will stay shut in upstairs for a few days, before being introduced to the six big Moosey cats and the dog. As far as meeting the others are concerned, I expect ginger Percy to be the kindest. I remember him being very fatherly when Fluff-Fluff and B-Puss were small. Now Histeria I do not trust, remembering her 'attacking' little Minimus in the woodshed.

OK. Enough rambling. I'm going back outside now to do more burning. I really want the satisfaction of finishing this ghastly chore.


Oh joy - well, semi-joy. Nearly finished! All of one side of the biggest hedge is burnt, as well as a barrowful of dead-heads etc. from the Glass-House Garden. Self-sown white Lychnis has filled this garden's interior, and is swamping out the roses and new perennials (pink Phloxes, white Penstemons, and variegated Solomon's Seal). But I'm torn, since I love these self-seeding plants. I've ripped out the dull red Cordyline which was terribly inelegant (leaves holy from munching caterpillars) and spoiling the flowery nature of the border. Pouff! On the bonfire it went.

 See what I mean?
Rose in a Sea of White Lychnis

Kitten has eaten some fresh pet-meat (rabbit), drunk some pet milk, and is zooming around the upstairs bedroom squeaking and chirping. Dear little cat! I hope he/she can stay here. Six plus one equals seven...

Thursday 29th December

Lately I've been feeling a bit burnt-out and hedged-under. Aargh! Hedge trimmings! I had not planned to spend this holiday week woman-handling pounds, kilos, tons of Leyland Cypress greenery. How about sitting snug on a garden seat sipping cool lemonade and reading my book? And maybe a tiny dead-heading dabble every now and then, to stretch the legs? No raking, bending, scooping, no sore hands, no stinking hot (literally) bonfire. Yippee! That feels much better.

 Poor Rusty!
Bucket-Head Dog

Off to the Vet

No lost kittens have been reported yet. This morning we went to the vet for a check-up (kitten is four to five weeks old and in good health). Lots of little meals and pet milk (and lots of cuddles) are required. Rusty the dog is still there, having a small operation to remove a grass seed from a delicate place (vets are wonderful at this sort of thing). It's the season for grass seeds getting caught in the skin. I'm sort of glad I'm not furry...

Friday 30th December

Oh dear. Rusty the sad dog is wearing a head-bucket. I tried to explain that he now needs to think like a merino ram. He keeps crashing into things, and it's really hard not to laugh at him. I'm sure he feels ridiculous.

This morning I'm doing a bit of energetic digging for my flautist friend, followed by chamber music. My plan this afternoon is to bring the tiny kitten out of seclusion and into the real world of the downstairs kitchen, cats, busy people, noise, and bucket-head dogs. Right. I am obviously not going to be digging and playing music in my frog pyjamas, so it might well be time to get properly dressed.

Much, Much Later...

Kitten Full Orientation Day One involves Tiger the tortoiseshell (nosy) and ginger Percy (benign). I have a tiny ball of newspaper tied on a long piece of string looped around my wrist (instant kitten toy) and I'm going to try and finish my 2012 calendars. Both big cats seem bored with the new kitten already. Tiger, naturally, is licking her lips at the thought of finishing up the kitten's pet milk.

Non-Gardening Partner :
Here he is with big Fluff-Fluff the cat.

Non-Gardening Partner is a legend. Without moaning (or even telling me) he has raked and burnt another whole trailer load of hedge trimmings. I've just been silly-talking to the kitten and poking around with photographs for the calendars - pretty low key stuff, really.

I'm so grateful to NGP. How many weeks now have I been moaning about cleaning up the hedge trimmings? No - don't answer that!

 Name unknown.
Pink Standard Rose

New Year's Eve

Oh boy. Kitten socialisation continues. Low, intermittent rumbling sounds are coming from underneath the dining table - big Fluff-Fluff has just 'met' the little kitten. Tiger (short legs, short attention span) has wandered off. Histeria the tabby has been good (under strict supervision), and ginger Percy is in one of his goofy morning moods, choosing to watch the world (including the new kitten) from above.

Indoors Outdoors Kitten Flow

I've opened up the downstairs, and the patio doors, so kitten has been enjoying the indoor-outdoor flow. Zoom, zoom, zoom... It's very brave, but keeps flicking its little legs on the grass. Grass must feel funny.

Late Afternoon

I've done minimal gardening today - just four barrowfuls of hedge trimmings and weeds burnt. But that's OK. The garden is suddenly very pink with later blooming roses and the catmint and lavenders are all flowering. It's looking really colourful, the pastels nicely balanced with the golden and maroon daylilies.

And let's not forget the green foliage plants and trees. Hostas! You are so beautiful, and I am blessed to share the garden with you. Mind you, I planted most of you...

Welcome, Little Mac...

Kitten's full name is 'Tarmac' (found in the middle of the road). I'm using the double diminutive 'Little Mac' for this tiny, zoomy critter. And yes, Little Mac is staying with us. Such things are meant to be - I believe that animals can often 'choose' their owners.

Fluff-Fluff and Little Mac the Kitten

I'd much, much, much rather play with a new kitten than scoop up hedge trimmings, wheel them to the bonfire, and burn them. In fact, it's the perfect excuse to be garden-lazy!

Goodbye 2011

Well, 2011, you've given me many groovy things - garden gnomes, a wriggling stream, huge snowfalls, daffodils and roses... This list could go on forever! There are a few non-groovy items, but we won't mention them. And now you're over. I've had a great gardening year, thanks to Non-Gardening Partner, my gardening cats, all my bees and beneficial insects, the bellbirds and the honking pheasants, and last but not least Rusty, my daily canine companion.