A very unpleasant day...
It is a very unpleasant day. Last night we had severe nor-west gale force winds. My neighbour's huge pine and gum trees have crashed down onto our property, and there's a dreadful mess on parts of my garden.
Fallen Gum Tree on my Garden
Aargh! I respect the rights of nature, but this is cruel stuff, and makes me cry like a girl. Hang on a minute - I am a girl, even if an old one. And for the moment I'm a jolly unhappy one.
Wednesday 11th September
This mess is large scale mess. So I've been sawing and trimming smaller branches behind the Stables, trying to rescue any rhododendrons, camellias, and other plants buried beneath that I can. I've been at it for three hours and oh boy! I can't see any difference. This is not the way I wanted to spend spring - spring is such a beautiful time in the garden.
Coming back into the house for a break, there's no power. This shouldn't matter, but it does. My new chamber music piece (Sicilienne for flute and piano by Alfredo Cassela) is really hard, with the tiniest accidentals in brackets, and I need some illumination. After poking at his weird harmonies and missing out the hardest notes I do wonder (just briefly) - has anyone actually heard of him? I smell like a pine tree, too, and they are not my most favourite things at the moment.
OK. The wind is roaring around again. I'm going back for another trimming session, but I'll need to be mindful of the danger from branches crashing down.
A Couple of Hours Later...
This is just not fair. The end of the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden is trashed. I've been working my way slowly in, and I have created seven substantial piles of rubbish for burning, plus one pile for firewood, on the surrounding lawns. I'd love to have the power back on later tonight. I'd choose some murder mystery recorded from the TV, sit with a huge glass of wine, and soak it all up. Blast!
Cheer Up Daffodils
Thursday 12th September
OK, so what's the plan for today? I'm going to continue my small scale cleaning up in the Stumpy Garden and behind the Stables. A few years ago I planted a rambling rose in here to crawl up a fastigate Oak. Don't you just love the tenacity of roses? Oh yes, she (and it has to be a she) is very much alive and unscathed, eager to nip and bite.
I feel sad again, but that's OK. My cats and my dog are here, and NGP will start the big chainsaw clean-up this weekend. And there are such sadder things in the world than damaged gardens. Later this morning I'm driving to my friend's place with all my 'devices' and their appropriate chargers. This is how the modern woman copes with a continuing power cut, hee hee. It's not the food or water running out, it's the computer battery!
Cheers, if not cheerful, over and out...
OK. This is how it goes. I work away for a couple of hours, then I look up and around at the mess and start crying. After the tiniest of 'Poor, poor me' moments, I pat Rusty the dog and whichever cat turns up (usually big Fluff-Fluff). I have a drink, one last sniff, then back into it. I must look quite the madwoman in the huge tangle of tree mess, armed with my tiddly little bow saw and loppers. But every armful I cart out is one armful less mess! And I walk past some beautiful daffodils in the process.
The water race has been shut down, so I've been standing in it to trim one of the large pine branches. I managed to lever and lift it off a rhododendron, hopefully a survivor. I really hope so. Fallen pine branches are horrible, horrible, horrible to saw and drag out of a garden.
The cats have been funny. At one stage five were exploring the huge fallen gum tree behind the Stables, leaping from branch to branch. Yippee! A new climbing frame! Young Minimus was there, and even Lilli-Puss was hiding up on the highest branches. At one stage silly Percy over-reached himself and fell off - plop! into the mess below.
Gum Tree Branches
The sun is just setting and I'm playing that spurious Albinoni Adagio very, very loudly on the freshly-charged Gardening Ipod. This is teary stuff for an emotional gardener who sawed the knuckle of her thumb. Just lightly, but ouch! There's still no power, but NGP is taking us out for hamburgers and chips. Small thought - if anyone ever dares to buy me anything with a 'clean pine' fragrance I will tip it out all over their shoes! So there!
Friday 13th September
A_M_A_Z_I_N_G! NGP chain-sawed for a mere three quarters of an hour in the two areas I've spent two days in. Wow! Just like that, kapow! His impact was so much greater than mine. He has cleared so much, in the blink of an eye and a flick of the elbow. And now he's gone off to work. Meanwhile a huge beeping excavator has arrived at the neighbours, plus men with roaring super-chainsaws, leather chaps, high viz vests, and safety helmets. Something big is happening. I feel so much better. Better go start my work, and long may this mood of optimism last!
My lovely friend arrived with gloves, hand tools, and sushi! We both cleared around the plants in the Stumpy Garden, two small-scale madwomen with tiddly little hand tools and a girlie wheelbarrow. Then we watched the giant grabby thing slowly drag the fallen gum tree off my garden and back next-door where it belongs. Meanwhile the super-chainsaws were at work on the roof of the Stables, and in no time the main trunks of the biggest interloper trees were gone.
Friend and Wheelbarrow
The noise and the power of big machinery inspired me to take comfort in being so small. I pointed my camera and clicked to record the moments, but the pictures don't tell the story. One can't ask a mechanical excavator to 'hold that giant claw just so, and could you please rotate about ten degrees clockwise?'
Everything is rather overwhelming today, but in a good way. It's big scale destruction - there's no pussy-footing around a bent rhododendron or a little flowering Camellia. But I've stopped feeling so sorry for myself. There's room in my heart to feel sorry for the neighbours who have a thousand times more mess than me, even though they don't have a garden.
Right. The plan is to return and do one more session of clean-up. And then I'm braving a cold shower, and I'll try to scrub all the pine fragrance off me. A silly thought - I smell like a beautifully cleaned toilet! And exciting news - we have a generator for the weekend, just in case our power is still off. It's rather modest, but can drive the TV (ooh goodie), some lights and the fridge. Apparently boiling the jug might tip it over the edge, dear thing. Oops...
Amid all the cracking, crashing, and whining noises my cherry blossom tree sits serene and unaffected. The purple seats still look inviting. And so life in the country goes on, and this seems a most appropriate time to give thanks. Perhaps even the tiniest 'I am so lucky because' list might be in order.