Swimming, bicycling, tramping, reading...

Swimming, bicycling, tramping, reading, Brahms piano, cricket watching, Garden Club... Guess I'd better save some time for the Moosey Gardening. I am beginning to enjoy my new life very much!

Thursday 9th March

I am definitely taking retirement seriously! Yesterday I went with my new weekly walking (semi-tramping) group into the foothills of South Canterbury - up, and up, and up, and up Mount Little Peel. Amazing views of the Canterbury plains and the braided Rangitata river and inspiring vegetation - lots of textures of green, though I think I saw a white Gentian flower. The path up the ridge-line was steep enough to be challenging. Had I been a serious gardener of New Zealand Native plants, I could now present a shrubby list of flaxes, Astelias, Celmisias and Corokias, Pseudopanax, and so on... I seem to half know half of the native species. Ha! This could be another one of my new retirement resolutions!

 A lovely combination of flowers in late summer.
Red Dahlia and White Flower Carpet Rose

We've had good overnight rain - a little thunder and close-by lightning (only Fluff-Fluff the kitten seemed to be scared) - and thirty seconds of squishy hail. My hostas should have survived. So what shall I do first today? A trailer-load of compost seems a good idea - the house borders are ready for enrichment, and there's no wind. Can I back a trailer? Can I learn how to back a trailer? An intrepid conqueror of Little Mount Peel can do anything!

So Busy! :
So what will I do with myself all day? I'll do gardening, that's what I'll do!

And, for anyone reading who doubts the good sense of my retirement and has the nerve to say 'But what will you do with yourself all day?', I would like to present my calendar of social engagements for the following week, Please notice how busy it is, and be impressed...

Retirement Week Two - Social Calendar

Add in the daily bicycle rides and walks with Rusty round the country block, Brahms piano practice, my nerd-maths book on General Point-Set Topology (for intellectual stimulation), writing the Moosey journal, and other pages... And I haven't even mentioned THE MOOSEY GARDEN and its ongoing maintenance and expansion - planting, weeding digging, remodelling, trimming, pruning, clearing, burning (when the fire ban is lifted)... Ha! Am I lucky? You bet I am! And the cricket test (New Zealand playing the West Indies) starts today - where is my shiny silver cricket radio? Oops - hopefully not left out in the squishy hail!

Early Afternoon... Minor Injury!

Aargh! Apparently the most common gardening injuries are secateured fingers (I've done that) and punctured feet (Never! Eek!) from garden spades and forks. How about being head-butted by a charging red border collie? A major collision between my right eye and Rusty's head, as he roared through me while chasing an aeroplane. He is in his kennel in disgrace, while I have a cut and bruised eye, cold from being ice-packed. I am absolutely furious with him for not looking. Ouch!

 Hmm... My black eye is rather spectacular.
Rusty in a Thoughtful Mood

Having sulked now through a light lunch, and peered several times at my hurt eye (which is aching), I am about to return bravely to the garden. I have been clearing behind the pond, where I propose to plant some more shrubs. It's an awful mess - fallen branches, gum leaves, bark, and so on - I must rationalise the whole space and define a boundary line between mess-allowed and no-mess. Ha! A line in the sand! Well, semi-sand - the 'soil' here is not very good.

Most Valuable Pet Competition

I am still furious with Rusty. He should definitely lose pet-points in the MVP Competition. Dogs should not head-butt gardeners when attempting to run through them. I may finish my gardening day dogless.

Sunday 12th March

Oops! I have been so busy - rushed off my recently retired feet! Sorry I haven't written much! Today I will live and breathe gardening. A trailer full of compost awaits.


Right. I was happily rain-gardening, clearing the house borders for their much-needed application of rich dark compost. Then my cricket radio started spluttering - a sign that the wetness might be getting a little extreme. Now I am inside for quick coffee, much wetter than an inside person should be, feeling a bit cold. What has happened to the concept of Late Summer? All of a sudden the weather is very autumnal, and the garden has jumped into shut-down mode.

Red Dahlias :
All my red dahlias have decided for themselves where they will grow.

All the big Nicotianas have gone seedy and tatty, many roses seem to be have finished - if it wasn't for the odd re-flowering yellow daylily and the red dahlias scattered around, my garden would be colour-free! Am I tempted to buy in some trays of polyanthus plants? Hmm... This time last year I was busy chopping down flaxes - down, but definitely not out, as all the victims have suitably sized re-growth. Interesting - I lost and/or ruined many kitchen knives in my flax-slashing exercise. The flaxes have taken a whole year to 'recover' visually.

Sun! I am off outside. I plan to empty the whole trailer of its compost, then maybe a hot bath, clean clothes, and some TV cricket. Yippee! I love my new life as a lady-gardener of leisure.

 My much loved pink Gladioli flowers.
Late Sunmer Colour

Much Later...

A lucky legend - that is what I am. First I lost both secateurs and hand digger while clearing the house borders. Then I cut down a rogue Elderberry out of the Island Bed, dug up some Heuchera for dividing, and removed the ailing Iris confusa underneath the variegated Cornus. I raked up at least six barrowfuls of mess, which I dumped on the fence-line with the rest of the rubbish (I am waiting patiently for the fire ban to be lifted). Then I found my secateurs and my hand digger. I didn't finish the compost spreading.

The best thing about today has been that it is Sunday and I don't have to go to work tomorrow. Tonight I can tackle some subtle Topology questions rather than plan my school Mathematics lessons. Tomorrow I will finish spreading the compost, and bake a quiche ready for Tuesday's Garden Club visit.

Monday 13th March

It's me again! Hmm... Who else? Me, the gardener, greeting a rather chilly autumn morning in my winter gardening shirt. Today I have huge plans. Firstly, the compost. Thinking gardeners do not leave compost for days in trailers to rot the wooden trailer bottom. Secondly, some Aeoniums and a wee Karaka need to be potted - as do yesterday's newly divided Heucheras. Thinking ahead, thinking ahead...

March Cat Matters

  1. Would the Moosey cat who keeps hiding (dead) mice on the floor of the pantry behind the spud bucket please not do this.
  2. New Moosey cats - you must refine your roof-walking technique. Putting out the claws may be your basic instinct, but will result in you sliding perilously downwards (gathering speed) towards the guttering, where you will need to self-arrest.
  3. All cats - make the most of the in-house dirt-box. When the current bag of kitty litter runs out - so will you, into the rain, or darkness, or cold! Mugsy, you lazy cat, this means YOU!!!
  4. Beige-Puss - since your fur seems to be whiter than ever, and definitely not beige, you will now be officially known as B-Puss. The 'B' can stand for Brave, or Beautiful, or Best - or (maybe in the future) Big - your choice!

Later, Apres-Gardening...

I have been pottering along quite nicely. I've cleared more Iris confusa out of the Island Bed and dumped more compost in. I found a patch of lilac phloxes, which I have taken a frantic spade to. Eek! What was I thinking? The two kittens, living dangerously, have been leaping in and out of the tussocks. I have uncovered (a slight exaggeration) a smallish piece of variegated Miscanthus which looks nice - golden and green - and a daylily which to my knowledge has never ever flowered (sun-less, that's why).

Ha! Check out my new attention to gardening detail! Now there is no panic to get the gardening done. My new attitude is much more healthy - as hopefully the Moosey Garden will become, lovingly tended by its newly retired Head Gardener. And we won the cricket! Yippee!