Gloom descends on the nation...

The weekend livens up with nor-west gales, resulting in much tree damage to clean-up. Gloom descends on the nation (and the sports-fan lurking in the Head Gardener) as the All Blacks lose their quarter-final match at the Rugby World Cup. Vive la France! Aargh!

 Herbs and Helichrysum.
New Pot Plantings

Saturday 6th October - Continued...

It's afternoon tea. I've helped push sheep into the trailer. I've watered, and used up one bag of potting mix already. And I've weeded - those same little weeds that I remember all those years ago, on the very first gardening day I spent at Mooseys. We came here during October, in the year - 1994? How time flies! Let's see what I remember...

 In the shearing shed yards, ready to be shorn.
Haru Waiting Patiently


The Island Bed was in fact two islands, and there was no Driveway Garden - just freshly planted weeping cherry trees dug into the rough grass. There was a nasty gorse hedge over the water race, in front of a double row of huge gum trees. No bridges except the car bridge leading to the hay barn. The pond paddock was bare... Ah me, such wistful reminiscing. Time to scan some of the oldest Moosey photos and do a serious 'Before and After' show.

Shearing My Pet Sheep

After I've had a short rest I'll go off down the road to the shearing sheds and see how 2006's pet lamb Haru is getting on. It's her very first shear, and I'd like to give her tribute and recognition, as I did to Fred the 2005 lamb when he first 'met' shearer Mike.

Wonder what she'll look like without any wool, so to speak? She is such a funny little sheep - still very friendly, and loves to sniff noses with Fluff-Fluff the cat and Rusty the dog. They were her friends as she grew up, I guess.

Fred Carpet

Fred the sheep is - ahem - extremely, awfully large, covered as he is in his thick, coarse woolly fleece. He would (and probably will) make a brilliant carpet. Back soon.

 My huge pet sheep.
Big Fat Fred

Sunday 7th October

As soon as I've had my breakfast (eggs, thanks to my chooks) and coffee I have serious work to do. Two huge pine trees in the Hump crashed down in the gales last night, and one is sprawled on the front house lawn - a huge mess! A large Photinia has been squashed, along with other shrubs underneath - we'll see.

 Much worse than it looks!
Tree Mess

Shearing went well, but Stephen is still concerned about the general health of the flock - last night there was much internet clicking, serious sheep research. Last year's lambs like Haru seem too small for their age. I wonder if she enjoyed her first time being shorn? The upper pond paddock is full of incredibly sleek, white sheep with the good sense to take shelter from the driving nor-west wind.

'Real sheep are not white.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

Memo to sentimentalists - real sheep are not white. They are various shades of grey. However, freshly shorn sheep are dazzling white for a day or two maximum. And freshly shorn sheep have scrawny, bony shapes - they've lost that fluffy, cuddly, well-rounded look. And rams look disgraceful after they've been shorn - but enough of that!

Right. I'm off outside to start the great pine tree clean-up. Later today I'll do some more pot potting - it's the time when my patio pots (daisies, pelargoniums, succulents, and assorted flowery things) are recreated. Then I can find some more of those memorial weeds. Aargh!

 All Blacks in the dog box? Definitely!

All Blacks Out of Rugby World Cup!

There will be no further mention of the All Blacks in this journal (they lost their quarter final match). Instead, there will be paragraph after paragraph about the fallen pine trees - I've been cleaning up for nearly three hours, my hair is sticky with pine oil, I have one huge pile of gum branches for the burning heap and one huge pile of pine and assorted other tree branches for the shredder. I have logs in piles - the chain-saw has been going for about an hour. And it hardly looks like anything has been cleared.

NGP Sympathetic

Still, as NGP (Non-Gardening-Partner, who is being very rugby-sympathetic for a North American) says, it doesn't have to be finished all in one day. True. No valuable ornamental plants have been broken or squashed too badly.

Right. I'm off to get a fizzy drink and an ice-cream. The wind is still fiercely blowing, and someone foolish nearby is rubbish burning - I can smell smoke. C'mon, have some sense! Wind gusts of up to 95 KM per hour - not a good day for a bonfire.


Oh boy. I've been sawing and lopping all day and I'm jolly sick of it. This is only the beginning, though - we are about to shred that which I have sawn and trimmed. Meanwhile all the lawns have been mown - such a lovely look. Sometimes I think I work too hard and don't spend enough lazy time in the garden. But then the spring season sets a fast tempo. Allegro con brio, molto energico, quasi presto...

 I can see these lovely flowers from the house.

The flower aspect of the garden is changing - primroses are in bloom, as are more little blue irises, and the aquilegias are readying their flower stems. My new lavenders are almost in bloom, too. But the tulips? They come, and they go. Tulips are definitely not wind-proof enough for my garden, whereas muscari and bluebells just seem to bounce back upright.

Monday 8th October

Lovely, gentle, vertical rain is falling, watering all my new spring-plantings. And not a breath of wind, nothing like that nasty wind which tore down the huge pine tree yesterday. The weather will clear by this afternoon, so I can spend another four hours clearing the tree damage. It feels (and looks) like I'm getting nowhere, but I know this isn't true. It's a finite process - just like weeding. Ha!

Crab Apple Blossom

I'm trying very hard not to miss anything this mid-spring. The Crab Apple trees are now synchronised in beautiful blossom - this is obviously their time, and there's deep pink, mid-pink, and fluffy white in various garden places.

 That's a Crab Apple tree in the middle of this picture.
Beautiful Pink Blossom

My fragrant blue hyacinths need rescuing for the flower vase - they've all collapsed in the rain. Some late creamy-white Camellias are flowering behind the garage and the Stables, as is the purple Arabis underneath the birdbath. See - just because I run a large garden, I should still appreciate small details - and record them lovingly in this journal!

Right. I'm off swimming. Then I'll call into the nursery - I'm on a seed hunting mission. Cats - absolutely no pee-ing inside the house while I'm gone. Go on - get your paws wet!

Early Afternoon...

It's still raining, so my proper gardening day hasn't begun quite yet. Showing a complete lack of trust I've thrown all the cats outside. I'm off to do some glass-house seedling maintenance. I will be gone all day tomorrow on a trip with the Garden Club. Eek! How terribly socially brave of me!