Dogs ARE different...

 Staring at something.
Rusty Dog in the Garden

Dogs ARE different to cats, I tell Rusty (a low-impact dog with mild manners), and he is not to feel in any way inferior. Dear dog. We go for his walk down the road and he's forced to listen to me rambling on about the cats. And he's put on lead whenever there's the slightest whiff of a cyclist. Oops. I don't mean to imply that cyclists are smelly.

D is for Dog...

Dog begins with the letter D, and unfortunately so do many of my personal derogatory slang words - words like 'daft', 'dill', 'dork', 'doofus', 'dodgy', and 'dipstick'. There are others, but enough of this. I think I've made my point!

But I remind him that 'D' also stands for 'delightful' and 'dorable' (at a pinch). I have been rather cat-obsessed in my conversations of late (discussing vet visits and the like), but Rusty has plodded on beside me, listening (I think that's what he's doing).

 This wonderful photograph was taken by my Son-in-Law, back in 2010.
Rusty the Dog leaps into the Pond

When I go gardening I encourage Rusty to accompany me. Throughout the day I do throw sticks and tennis balls into the pond for him to retrieve (he loves this). Swimming is an activity a cat wouldn't twitch a whisker at! Rusty should be a good gardening companion, because his nose isn't over-active, and his digging paws are well restrained. And he responds well to my sternly pointed finger. This certainly enhances my feelings of self-importance.

Perfect Outdoors Companions

Dogs are perfect outdoors companions. Last weekend we went on a short day hike in a mountain forest park (Craigieburn) which allows dogs. It was a great chance to reaffirm the human-dog bonds without a pushy feline leaping onto a lap or rubbing in a leg. Cats are sooooo self-centred. Dogs are just expected to be there, or move, or stay, or follow. And to concentrate. 'Rusty! Concentrate!' Whatever on earth that is, cats don't ever get told to do it.

 A stick is about to be thrown into the pond...
Rusty the Dog Concentrating

Thursday 7th March

Today Rusty and I are going gardening. No doubt the odd cat will amble over to supervise, and, as usual, he will have to share the moment, but he's had lots of practice at that!

Later, Lunchtime...

Ooh, we have worked so very, very hard. Well, one of us (the one with the blue eyes) worked hard. The brown-eyed one tended to slump on the grass and gaze vacantly into the garden greenery.

Shasta daisies :
The perfect large flat white - I mean for a daisy, of course!

I'm cutting down the Shasta daisies which grow in the straight strip of garden along the water race. Dear things - this summer they didn't flop over at all. That's because we've had so little rainfall, I guess. I'm thinking I must have cut over two hundred stems! Clump by clump I've made my way from Middle Bridge to the Willow Tree Bridge, also trimming any Euphorbias and flower carpet roses, and weeding en route. There's been much to-ing and fro-ing of the green wheelbarrow.

 That water is cold.
Rusty the Swimming Dog

Our day finished by the pond. Rusty hides all his retrieved objects from me, so a collection of sticks and tennis balls is required. 'Drop it' is not in his vocabulary. Even 'Swap it' doesn't seem to work. Daft dog - if we played by his rules there'd be a single throw, leap, and swim, a wriggly drying session - and then the fun would be over.

 The lower slopes, a really hot day.
Cordyline on Mount Herbert

Saturday 9th March

Starling news - my old-lady joints seem to have improved, courtesy of taking a certain 'joint-health' pill for the last four weeks. It's working, at least for me. Wow.

Climbing Mount Herbert

Yesterday I went hiking for six hours, with hardly a hip or knee niggle. My friend and I were trying to climb Mount Herbert, a scruffy (mainly grassland) peak on the peninsula, standing at 919 metres. It was a fabulous at first, but our mid-day temperature soared to near thirty degrees (Celsius). We abandoned our ascent half hour from the summit and slunk back down to the shade of some forest trees. Lunch! Luke-warm water tastes wonderful when you're hot and thirsty.

Anyway, I'm hardly stiff and sore at all. Hmm... That means I should be gardening. But so far I've been peeping at the cricket on TV, doing some vocal arrangements for my jazz choir, and peeping at the cricket again (please can we get some of their batsmen out).

I've put the hoses on, but that doesn't really count. I've pulled out about a dozen weeds (pathetic) from underneath the equally pathetic white Daphne. Sorry, Daphne, but let me put a question to you. How, exactly, do I know that you are white?

 In the house garden.
Pretty Dahlias

Sunday 10th March

Today I transform back into a gardener, though Rusty the dog isn't keen to join me. He'd rather gaze adoringly for hours at Non-Gardening Partner reading the Sunday newspaper. I've already been out and about, dogless, calling for my Stables cat Lilli-Puss to feed her. At the hay barn (a favourite haunt of hers) I was promptly joined by chirping ginger Percy. 'Here I am, mother!' Dear Percy, I know you are there. I fed you some special pet meat and your own personal pet milk in the kitchen just ten minutes ago!

So should I prepare a list of things to do? Or just wander around with my wheelbarrow? The latter, I think.

Much, Much Later...

Success! I've trimmed more Shasta daisies, raked up gum leaves from the lawns, and trimmed dahlias and roses from the house gardens. I've trimmed the waterside lupins in the Dog-Path Garden, with young Minimus my grey cottage cat in attendance. On my way down the driveway with the wheelbarrow I trimmed more lupins (they never rebloom - unlike the Delphiniums, 'at it' again).


‘Cats are much more complex than dogs.’
-Moosey Words of Wisdom.

I haven't seen my dog all day, but that's OK. I've just fed Lilli-Puss, who decided randomly to go to bed in the middle of a hot in her Stables basket. Strange cat! So here's that comparison again - cats are much more complex than dogs. Hmm... Some people won't like me pointing this out! And others might even suggest they are more interesting...

 The famous David Austin rose.
Mary Rose Reblooming

Finally, yippee for my namesake rose Mary, flowering again by the house window and looking beautifully pink. Surely a sign that the Head Gardener is reblooming, too? Ooh goody. And beautifully pink too...

Message to My Cats and My Dog

Personal message to all the cats and Rusty the dog: There is room in my heart for all of you. Even those of you that get bored with gardening, bark at the birdies, and chase bumble bees.

 Minimus, Tiger, Histeria, Fluff-Fluff, Lilli, and Percy
The Six Moosey Cats