Cats in the Night...

Dear Percy, gingerest of cats, thank you so much for the decapitated rat you placed on the rug in the cottage overnight. Yes, I trod on it when I got up. Far away in your new stake-out you probably heard me. In laying last night's offering (a headless rabbit) outside on the porch you showed your sensitive side. But where are the heads? Aargh!

 Ready to jump through the cottage window...
Hello Percy!

In Hunting Mode

Dear Percy is in hunting mode, and this is OK. Luckily he doesn't hunt birds - well not to my knowledge, though he will callously pick off any straggling ducklings. He keeps the outbuildings clean of vermin, and rabbits are fair game (sorry about this, but they're a destructive pest).

Monday 19th October

Early morning breakfast, and Winnie the puppy, having scattered the remains of my potted tulips, is now doing battle with the patio succulents. Not content to just nip off pieces, she drags the whole pot inside. Aargh! Cross fingers the newly planted lettuces remain undiscovered in the vegetable garden. Please, please, please. They look bedraggled enough without being roughed up by a puppy.

Today I'm going to plant out more annual flowers. But I need to do this when Winnie is asleep. While she's awake I have other plans. Hmm... What exactly are they? Shovelling top-soil and compost, and pulling out more Alkanet and forget-me-nots? The idea is that my masses of home-produced annuals fill the gaps thus created. Bet you there will be more gaps than plants...

Much Later...

Oops. More like a Non-Gardening Gardener, me. This morning I went to a piano duet rehearsal. Bald Mountain's goblins and sprites are now heaps faster, though still some way from whirling themselves into a frenzy. Oh well. Maybe their arthritic dancing legs match the pianists' fingers. We try, we try. We may never perform this masterpiece - it takes us absolutely ages to get through. No audience, even if full of wine-sozzled friends, could possibly last the distance. But we still try.

 Canary Bird rose, Clematis, and blossom.
Pond Cottage in Spring

When I got home I transformed into the laundry fairy. Then I put the hoses on and shifted them around. Some days (like today) I enjoy standing around doing nothing, just hand-holding the hoses and speaking words of individual encouragement to the roses. Today I water-blasted some of the aphids off their growing tips. I did some dreamy visualisations of the summer garden in all its rosy glory, then immediately jumped back to the present and the beautiful sights of spring.

Later on I read my book underneath the big blossom trees in the Pond Paddock. So pretty! Then it got a bit cold, so I brought the washing in. And that, I'm afraid, was my low-impact gardening day. I had lots of garden walks with the dogs, enjoying the rhododendrons and watching the pink cherry blossom flutter slowly to the ground, like pink snow flakes. I reckon I'm allowed a gentle day once in a while.

Thursday 23rd October

So what did I do yesterday? Watering! But first thing I burnt the bonfire, before the wind got up. And what did I do the day before? Oops. I cleared forget-me-nots and Alkanet from the path behind the pond. And I went to chamber music and wallowed in Bach, if such a thing is possible.

 WInnie loves being outside in the garden.
Puppy in the Forget-Me-Nots

I also remember shifting the hoses and finishing my book. I loved that book! It was a ten cent Ngaio Marsh (an arty Agatha Christie type writer), the story featuring an early swing jazz-band whose leader's name was Breezy Bellairs. Nice name, dude! One of those delightful detective books which had me puzzling and puzzling as to the identity of the murderer while I was terribly busy watering the roses. A good detective story feels like a summer's day at the holiday home, hee hee.

 Surrounded by greenery.
Rusty the Dog in the Garden

I love having two dogs in the garden. They play, they race each other, they grab alternate ends of pieces of rope and have wonderful tug-of-war. They do non disgraceful doggish things. Humanising them for a moment, they behave like good best friends who love the outdoors. I'm so proud of Rusty for adapting his solo-top dog status. And now I need to get outdoors and actually do some planting. This is the trickiest thing to do with a nosy-nuisance puppy around.

 He is about six years old.
Percy the Cat

Much Later...

Finally, a gardening day with a sense of achievement. I've been deconstructing several gardens in which Alkanet has filled up all the gaps. The puppy thinks this is wonderful gardening - piles and piles of weeds to tug at and chase. I've worked for hours and hours. Winnie the puppy is now happily covered in sticky biddi-bids. But she enjoys being brushed (unlike Rusty, who has to be wedged in place when the dog-brush comes out).

Thankfully there have been no more midnight offerings in the cottage, courtesy of Percy. And it could be said he has the cat-decency to kill his prey. At this time of the year the little ducklings really worry me. So often I see a daft duck mother waddling over the open fields with her ever decreasing family, never looking back to check - dreadfully easy pickings for a slinky ginger cat to practice his craft on.

Eek. No ducklings please, Percy. Pretty please. Look, I'll even give you an extra helping of fresh pet-meat. How about some Temptations? Or a modest blob of preservative-free topside mince? Oh boy...