Back home...

 Super friendly, since I
Lilli-Puss the Grey Cat

June - I'm back home after my short summery holiday. It's winter. It's coldish, the gardens are damp with fallen leaves. The most colourful garden sights are the red crab-apples and the bright blue painted garden seats.

Monday 1st June

My cats are all happy (Percy initially ran away - he knew the voice but didn't recognise the body). Lilli-Puss the grey, called the 'rooftop cat' by my house sitter, has been overflowing with cat-love. She, my most random, independent cat, missed me the most of all.

Daily personal plans for June (oh how zealous a returning person can be) include the following:

House plans include the usual sweeping of patios, paths, and decking, mopping floors, keeping a tidier kitchen, and cooking nicer meals. And, most importantly, June's Garden Maintenance Plans are as follows:

My new creative gardening plans are much more exciting - some involve building with stones (a round tower, and some paths). Another, more practical, involves the vegetable garden, which is to be extended and raised. New top-soil, old chook straw, and compost are to be added, after the new area is dug out.

Promises, Promises...

'I promise to be a better gardener.'
-Moosey Pledge, Winter 2009.

I promise to be a better gardener - and a better indoors person, if that makes sense. My short summer break has inspired me. I will give thanks every dark, wintry morning and every cold, gloomy afternoon. I will be industrious, busy as a bee, rather than moochy and lazy.

 On Willow Bridge.
Ginger Gardening Cats

All my cats (not just Minimus the spoilt kitten) will get chunks of quality one-on-one time. This may mean more sitting down inside reading books by the fire - that's perfectly OK in winter. Actually, I am going shopping today for a really comfy curl-up-in fireside couch for cat-conversations, from which Rusty the dog will be banned.

Sorry About the Hens

A quiet word about the sad demise of my hens. From the details, they must have been killed by a rogue dog (there are no other predators). After a suitable period of mourning I'll get six new Barred Plymouth Rock henlets. I will shut them in their secure chicken run unless I'm home. And any 'visiting' dogs I find on the property will go straight to the pound.

 This is where I want to dig...
Frost! Aargh!

Tuesday 2nd June

Ha! A new morning and it's still really dark! I'm going swimming, and then I pick up Jerome and Minimus from their cattery. And then - let the grand gardening work commence! And the sweeping, and the organising of firewood, and...


I've made a modest, thoughtful start, but I need to remember that winter gardening after 3pm is not all that pleasant. Minimus the chirping kitten and Jerome are home. I've bought a cat-communicating couch. And I've paced out my new path and vegetable garden extension - proportions are perfect! Tomorrow I start digging. This garden owes its inspiration to George Washington - or his wife Martha (or, more likely, the Mount Vernon slaves - oops).

Wednesday 3rd June

Right. Today I start digging - well, I start when the frost on the back lawn thaws.

Thursday 4th June

Yesterday I worked for three hours in the mid-day sun, mainly trimming the catmint (wafts of fragrance in the air all around) and weeding in the Shrubbery. Two things stopped me digging - the ground frost, and clothing totally unsuitable for winter gardening. Honestly - beige trousers? Hello! His Royal Highness Prince Charles may be able to garden in such, but not me. This morning it's warmer, and I am wearing black! Ha!

 By the pond.
Image of Chanticleer Garden

However, since it's still early and only two degrees (Celsius), there's plenty of time for journal-writing, and breakfast, and sorting out my photographs of Chanticleer - an amazing garden (near Philadelphia) that I visited on my holiday. And I'm in big trouble.

Seduced By Purple Flowering Alliums!

My pictures fall dreadfully short of my recollections of Chanticleer. They lack heart, and soul, and variety. I was totally seduced by the purple flowering Alliums, and didn't take nearly enough other photographs. Thinking logically, all I can do now is produce a variety of long-shots, mid-shots and close-ups, apologise for the Allium overload, and sigh that the real soul and essence of Chanticleer's garden has escaped. Perhaps it was always impossible to capture. Blast!

Another Image of Chanticleer Gardens

On the 'Gee it's goooood... to be back home... again' front, my cats continue to delight. They are more attentive, more smoochy, and more communicative than I remember. Relationships have been strengthened by my absence. Rusty the dog has come back from the kennels shaped like a coffee table (this happened last time). Bad luck for dogs - Rusty! I so missed you! By the way, you're on a serious dog diet...

Later Enough...

I dug my vegetable garden for over two hours, without putting the spade through any irrigation pipes. Phew! Two barrowfuls of grass have been replaced with two barrowfuls of organic matter. Nice symmetry, with some poignant moments spreading the memorial hen manure/straw/moulted feathers combination. Since I've been henless all the around-and-about birds haven't been fed, so I threw out some grain for them in the chicken run.

+10 +10Minimus the kitten and Fluff-Fluff the Fierce kept me company. Rusty the dog disgraced himself rolling in the chook manure (naturally he couldn't resist) and had to be cleaned up in the pond. The water in there is so cold - poor dog!