Time to turn over a brand new leaf?

 She has such beautiful colours in the fall.
Nancy Steen - Autumn Rose

Ha! A brand new gardening month, a brand new page - and with winter just around the corner, time to turn over a brand new leaf? More like rake up a thousand old ones - the autumn leaves are falling fast. And still some of my roses are blooming better than ever.

Thursday 1st May

To answer all the spammers asking me in mail headers what I'm up to, here's my reply. Oh, and before I forget - thanks for asking! I'm raking up the fallen leaves, and this time putting them straight on the new shrubbery garden as mulch. I'm picking up more bags of horse manure to go underneath the leaves.

Lasagne Layers

Then, like a lasagne, I'll be adding a layer of damp newspaper, and a layer of rotting hay. I might even sprinkle some blood-and-bone, like parmesan cheese, on the very top. I'll pop in an ornamental dogwood, for leaf beauty. My dogwoods are the most modest, well-behaved trees in the whole garden!

 Leaves turning colour.
Flax and Dogwood

Spammers might also be interested in my hen house, though I definitely don't want or require a bigger one, thanks all the same. I'll be completely cleaning it out and laying in fresh barley straw. My chooks are managing to get into my gardens. Poultry seem to be incapable of reversing, so they get themselves stuck, shut out of the chicken run and out of their cosy little house.

More Adventures...

As well as all the above, I hope that May will mean more Moosey home-grown adventures. Gourmet cycling (cross-country to a cafe), easy mountain cycling (up the Poulter river flats) and fat-tyre touring (down the West Coast) are all on the menu. Then there's the Heaphy Track, which I've never hiked. With the shortest day only seven weeks away, I'd better get onto it - when my adventure consultant (Daughter of Moosey) returns from sea kayaking, that is.

Today I'm being a bit sneaky. It's quite cold outside, so I've got the log-burner going - in the daytime! My tramping boots are drying off in front, and I'm off now to take more photographs of more colourful, soon-to-fall autumn leaves. My dog thinks I'm really boring, my cats (with tummies full of fresh pet meat) are off cruising and snoozing. And my jigsaw is too hard - sky which is the colour of water which is the colour of other sky, far too silly, I suspect.

Hen :
My chooks give me hours of amusement, if not so many eggs as I'd like. My rooster is a nuisance but I put up with him.

The gourmet breakfast chook menu has on it tomatoes, bright green silver beet, par-boiled purple heirloom potatoes and yellow kumara peelings, and chocolate covered stale breakfast rice bubbles. Gourmet food, indeed! I'm expecting some technicolour eggs!

My bored dog had better not be over there scavenging. I'm off to check.

Friday 2nd May

What a hoot of a day, weather-wise. I've been zooming around outside trying to beat the southerly - spreading compost, planting tulip bulbs, finishing the stone edges of the glass-house path, and burning the latest rubbish pile. Oops. I could see the dramatic dark grey clouds in the sky, but I had faith (and a packet of matches). Then all of a sudden it started hailing. I stayed at my post (i.e. my fire) leaning on my rake, as the hail crashing down on my head and my fire, and thunder rumbled.

 Look at those wonderful red shrubs and trees!
Autumn Beauty

We don't get many electrical storms. Rusty the dog started doing wild circuits around the garage, as if he was chasing off the thunder demons. Fluff-Fluff the cat leapt out of the dahlias and bounced parabolas across the back lawn and into the hedge behind the house.


Hail is now lying in white patches all around the gardens and the lawns. Gardeners and animals are safe inside, the latter snoozing in cat-boxes and on fireside chairs. The log-burner is blazing, Bach's solo violin sonatas are tootling, and my well-deserved cup of tea is steaming. I suspect my gardening day is over.

Saturday 3rd May

Brr... A cold, southerly night with King Lear winds, and I didn't sleep properly. I was semi-worrying (more like wondering) about Daughter-on-Stewart-Island - was she really in a tent? And were the Moosey autumn leaves blowing off their trees?

 I know - yet another photograph!
Autumn Leaves

All our cold wintry weather comes from the deep south (for New Zealand that's the Antarctic) and Stewart Island is way down there, at the very bottom of the South Island. Brr... And I'm really trying to enjoy all the colourful autumn changes - for this I require the leaves to stay put - just a little longer, please.

Focal Points and Enfilades

I'm reading the most emotional and dare-I-say gushing gardening book ever written. This one's really hot on focal points - though working out what is and isn't a FP is a challenge, and when does an FP stop being whimsical and start being tacky? Ha! That's a puzzler... A paint-on combination of moss, cow-manure and buttermilk is needed if any concrete thing dares to think of becoming a FP. And I've met the word ' enfilade', which I will not attempt to define. Suffice it to say that there are at least a thousand of these in the Moosey garden, (and probably everyone else's) without anyone even trying. That's good, isn't it!

A Horticulture Degree?

Today's non-rude spam mail is brilliant - according to the mail-headers 4 people remember me, I've won 5 raffles, and 6 people reckon I need a degree. In horticulture? Delete, delete, delete...

 Fluff-Fluff likes to come inside through this door.
Please Let Me In!

Right. There's a kitty-litter box for any older Moosey cats who are frightened of wind (Mugsy). The log-burner is full of blazing pine cones. My ginger cats are in position - Fluff-Fluff in his box, Percy on my lap. I have the vaguest plans for raking leaves (too wet and windy), getting a load of horse manure (too wet and windy), and looking at a dogwood for the new shrubbery (too wet and windy). Seems like today is going to be simple!


Just for the record, we've had 40mm rain over the last forty-eight hours.