Raining cats and dogs?

 Tiger would rather be inside.
Let Me In!

It's raining cats and dogs - silly phrase - pressing down the new mulch on my paths and soaking into the new plants in the Shrubbery.

This would be a really good time for rest and reflection, piano playing - and housework! Aargh!

Sunday 8th August

No sensible cat or dog would have anything to do with this cold rain! It's lazy weather for one - Tiger, could I possibly be talking about you?

Currently my tortoiseshell fat-cat is sheltering outside by the side door miaowing to come back inside. Little Minimus is lurking near the door, and ginger Percy is sitting in a box on the table looking quite vacant - he's not sure what mood he's in. Percy can be a very oddly behaved cat sometimes!

'Impatience is incompatible with good garden design.'
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

I'm drinking my way through a pot of tea thinking about my cats and Pond Cottage, and all my new garden areas which are, in theory, easy-care. I need to spruce up the old parts of the garden, too - borders which I filled up with budget shrubs and left-over perennials, thoughtlessly and irrationally. Impatience is incompatible with good garden design, I guess...

Pond Cottage :
I'm rather in love with Pond Cottage. It's much more than a garden accessory!

Another cup of tea while I wonder about actually doing some rain-gardening. I will wander out to Pond Cottage and see what its cold, wet, rainy-day feeling is like. Rain will be pattering on the porch roof, water droplets will be circle dancing on the pond - I will be surrounded by winter browns.

Or, to borrow some eloquence from my friend Jack, winter taupes and tawnies...

Pond Cottage Wet Weather Report

The angle of the verandah is such that a tea-drinker can stand up against the wall and not get wet at all. Decision - one of the sad silver birches in front of the cottage is coming down. Having beautiful bark is all very well, but it's simply in the way - and dead common!

 Here is the start of the Shrubbery.
These Pine Trees Could Come Down...

Monday 9th August

Good morning winter. You are not so wet today. At the moment there are dreadful weather extremes occurring in other parts of the world. Here, cocooned in the safe and moderate Moosey garden island, all the puddle rainwater has drained down into the aquifers, and nothing in the garden is remotely flooded. I give thanks...

Pine Trees

Yesterday I had a pleasing discussion with Non-Gardening Partner, who usually runs a mile when I start mentioning the felling of large trees. Ha! Since we were driving in the car at the time, escape was not an option. It concerns the big pine trees on the Hump between the house and the pond. They just might - might - be able to be trimmed or taken down.

Small point of history - one blew down in a gale some years ago, making space for paths and an extension of the Shrubbery (which I love). If I can get some action, then I can link this area with the garden way behind the pond (that's where I've been working lately). NGP kept popping in 'nor-east shelter' and I kept countering with 'Pittosporums' (he likes native trees).

Today in the garden I'm transporting the wet ash from my bonfire to whichever nearby garden takes my fancy. I also have a memorial tree to plant (for little Mugsy the cat). Gumboots, I think, and my swandrii (blue and black checks, absolutely de rigueur for the countrywoman in winter).

 This is the view from the verandah of Pond Cottage.
The Pond in Winter

I also have a new ultra-zealous personal piano playing programme which comes about as a result of some seriously satisfying chamber music playing with my flute friend. So out come the Bartok Mikrokosmos Bulgarian rhythm pieces - these are serious - and a quirky new Prokovief sonata, as well as five new flute and piano pieces designed for the world concert stage. Hee hee. Aim for the musical clouds, and maybe come out level with the tree-tops - not a problem!

 From the house lawn.
View of Pond Cottage


Brr... I went to collect a cheap crab-apple tree called Barbara Anne (she has double red blossom flowers), and when I got home the temperature had risen to a nippy six degrees. Undaunted by the wind-chill factor (actually, that's a wee fib) I planted Mugsy the cat's Black Boy peach tree in the orchard, and sawed down the Silver Birch by the pond - a tree for a tree. My hands were just too cold to do much else, so after some quick photographs (yes - Pond Cottage again features) I've come inside to enjoy some in-house late afternoon sunshine. Big Fluff-Fluff has been my constant cat companion. Guess with all that fur he doesn't even notice it's cold.

Ouch. Today's piano practice has been great, but I'm afraid I'm in an amputate-the-swollen-finger mood. Is Bartok's wonderfully percussive piano music just a barline too far? What I might do later is put a fat bandage on the offending digit and then see if I can trick it out of any fast, forte fingering issues. It is also banned from typing (these journal pages) and clicking on the computer mouse

 The house patio.
Too Wet and Cold to Garden

I am now the proud owner of seven unknown roses which I have to dig out of someone else's garden later this week. Another online auction, and me the only budget bidder - well, the only gardener silly enough to bid. Please let these shrubs not have monster roots which need to be sawn and axed through. Aargh!

Tuesday 10th August

About one morning in every hundred I wish there was someone else telling me what to do. Like today - I need someone bossy to tell me off for lurking in bed way past sunrise, then to give me a timetable and a gentle push out the door. Aargh! I'm not sure what I feel like doing at all... This could be the beginning of my old-lady dithers, as the advancing years finally take their toll?

No way. Nothing that a wee list can't fix. Phew! Here's the whole garden plan for today:

  1. Dig out the ash heap.
  2. Drive down the road and dig out those roses (I'm meeting the owner at 12:30).
  3. Clear more rubbish out of back of Shrubbery, maybe saw down some pine branches.

Then I have some personal half-hour items, which will be paragraphed: walk the dog, get some library books, and do more than one session of piano practice (with finger protection). And maybe some sewing. The black singing pants are dangerously loose, and nobody wants to see a boogie-ing lady tenor lose 'it' on stage.

 What a warm winter coat!
Rusty the Dog

But first - I'm going to sit on the house patio with a cup of hot coffee and run through the day's programme with my dog Rusty. Border Collies are naturally intelligent and astute companions, and he may have more suggestions...

Much, Much Later...

Today has been a success - must have been that list, plus some strong self-discipline... I went to get seven roses - and came home with twenty. They are now all heavily pruned and planted in the back of the Shrubbery. I've started spreading the ash, too - and I've thrown in some random rose and catmint pruning. My dog enjoyed his walk, and the piano playing was painless. And now I'm going to have a shower and get ready for Garden Club tonight. Aargh! Do I want to go? Probably not, but it's my turn to pour the tea. Aargh again!