He loves dipping his paws in the water.
Red Fred By the Water

Aha! My momentous birthday day. Happy birthday to me! Finally I am (numerically) mature. Non-Gardening Partner, living up to his name, has given me two presents - one is an alarmingly large electric chain-saw. For me! A lazybones present if ever I saw one! Aargh!

And from the physical to the spiritual - a proper edition of Albeniz' Iberia Suite. I've just been sitting at the piano trying out some of the pieces I've never played before, and my head is swimming with double flats.

On this day of days...

So what am I doing to do today, on this important day of days? Easy! First of all I'm off into the garden to find my rakes. I have managed to lose or misplace (or whatever) four metal rakes. Four! Oh dear. Then I'm going to lay Saturday's newspaper down in my Pond Paddock garden extension, and cover it with horse manure. A fitting covering, since the Saturday newspaper is pretty much full of you-know-what anyway.

 Delivered by my friend down the road.
Birthday Horse Manure

Yesterday (when I was younger, hee hee) I had a lovely gardening afternoon - weeding (pulling out parachute weeds from various garden areas), then bonfiring (rose prunings and dried hedge trimmings). In between I rebuilt a little stone wall by the water race and back-filled it with wormy horse manure and mulch on top. My new gumboots (one dollar, Charity Shop super-bargains) are just tall enough to stand in the flowing, cold water without going under, and - wonders! They do not leak. Sometimes a bargain is indeed a true bargain.

 By Willow Bridge.
Little Stone Wall

OK. I'm off to find the rakes. Wish me luck. Question : How can one mature woman gardener lose FOUR rakes?

One wet hour later...

I found a hoe, a scoopy shovel, three spades, and a hand digger, but only one rake. So I started raking (naturally) and I even hoed a bit, though I am not a very good 'hoe-er'.

Found One Rake!

But there was just too much drizzle, and water started dripping from my fringe onto my nose. So I am inside with a cup of tea and a really cold birthday bottom (sorry about this). El Polo (an Albeniz piano piece) here I come. Four flats, three to the bar - shouldn't be a problem? Wonder if I'll ever stop panicking musically at all the uber-accidentals?

At the end of the day...

Wonderful me. Helped by a pencil I managed six pages of El Polo. Then the drizzle cleared, I returned to the garden, and lo and behold! My bonfire had reignited and was smoking. A sign! A sign! A birthday bonfire! My lovely black cat Buster decided to supervise.

 My quirky black cat.
Hello Buster

So I dragged over more hedge trimmings and collected the remaining rose prunings from the orchard. Scooped up gum tree mess from behind the pond, an encouragement for more flames and less smoke. Poked and prodded. Oops. Had to rescue my rake (covered with gum bark, smouldering rather nicely).

Birthday plants...

Then brown dog Escher and his parents arrived for a birthday visit and now I have two coloured Phormiums (as well as a birthday peony called Moon River) planted in the Hump near my Dearly Departed Cat Tiger.

The Best Birthday...

Having the best birthday doesn't take much. A few cat cards from my friends, dining out with family on no-fuss hamburgers, an electric chain-saw (yeay!) all of my own, the garden springing into spring, the Camellias in full swing. So lucky I am.