Cold, frosty, sad...

It's been frosty cold these last few mornings, a bit too cold for Escher to spend the night outside in his kennel, even with his suit on. Non-Gardening Partner is my in-house indicator of coldness. Last weekend he abandoned his shorts for jeans. Eek!

 Surveying his garden.
Fluff-Fluff the Cat

Thursday 11th August

The pond, whose paths I have just lovingly cleared, is now thinly iced over. The lawns are blue-white with frost until close to mid-day. I can do three hours gardening quite easily, without icing over myself. But it takes self-discipline, especially when the Olympics are on the TV. I've been cleaning up mainly around the dog kennels in the Frisbee Lawn.

Goodbye to Fluff-Fluff

But today has been a Fluff-Fluff the cat day - a sad one, and I have sad news. Big Fluff-Fluff has been sick. He went to the vet this morning and his blood tests were not good. I made the decision to have him euthanased. An obvious decision, but never easy. So I've said goodbye to my dearest fluffy gardening cat. The honorary dog-cat who always accompanied us on our dog-walks around the garden. C'mon, big Fluff-Fluff. You have to keep up!

When I came home I did a bit of gardening - weeding and raking leaves off the Lavender Garden around the dog kennels. Then I dug Fluff-Fluff's burial spot in the middle of the Island Bed, near the Kanzan flowering cherry. A retrospective memorial tree seems a bit cheeky, but this tree - fluffy and pink in spring - has been nominated thus.

Now I'm waiting for Non-Gardening Partner to come home so we can bury him. I'm very, very sad.

Friday 12th August

Thank you, darling dogs, for sharing my day with me. We've already been to the dog-park, and we've done some gardening. I've raked up more leaves, and weeded the edge of the Frisbee Border (grass from the lawn is creeping in amongst the irises).

 The colour of sunshine!
Winter Calendula

Then I found a clump of Stachys (lambs' ears) in a silly place, so I divided it and potted up the pieces. On the way to the bonfire I pruned the row of Sally Holmes roses along the side of the garage.

Love My Cats...

The trouble is, Fluff-Fluff would have been with me during all these tasks. And hand-weeding without the big fluffy cat is so weird. He's always been there, a nuisance, lolling underneath my hands. Today it's like I've been gardening with a light blanket over my head, so nothing can't easily float off into the air. And outside thoughts can't quite get in.

Though I give thanks for the other cats - Tiddles the tabby for exuberantly meeting the car when we came back from the dog park, sleek, black Buster for smooch-biting (!) my woolly arm as I walked past the hall table. I'm usually alert to her lurking, and give the table a wide berth. Ouch, Buster!

 Well, cleaner than it was.
The Top of the Frisbee Border

These two young cats seem so vibrant and energetic, so full of life. Of course they do! And those dilly, darling dogs, hearing me quietly sniffing and then all trying to sit on me at once, Escher desperately trying to talk to me. Though what he's saying wouldn't be at all profound - probably something like 'Me! Dog! Me! Me, dog!' Hmm...

 In the Stables Garden.
Tiddles the Tabby

Saturday 13th August

Here's the plan. I'm going swimming, then I'll have a good garden day. It can be solid, even mindless, as long as I get more of my winter tasks done. There's only myself to boss around - NGP is away all weekend at a first aid course. I can get as muddy as I like.

Later, lunchtime...

OK. It's drizzling outside. But inside (my thoughts, that is) the drizzle is clearing. Thanks, Tiddles the cat, again there to meet me getting out of the car. Now I've got the log-burner going, and I've bought a hoot of a knitted cardigan-coat from the Charity Shop. It's a Margaret Mahy look-alike coat (MM was a superbly talented New Zealand children's writer). Am I talented and eccentric enough to wear it? Almost. Really? Well, I can jolly well try and be!

The dogs and I have been for a pee-and-a-poo walk around the driveway, and I've weeded up lots of annual grass seeds from the horse manure spread around this garden's edge. This afternoon the weather will clear, I reckon. Perhaps a spot of web-gardening first...

Three Hours Later...

Good show! I've done lots of weeding in the Allotment Garden, where I've planted one of my new miniature roses. I've divided up the remaining Agapanthus clump ready to plant, too. The dogs have barked at anything they consider a threat. Escher has been standing next-door on top of a mountain of dirt keeping watch for intruders. My safety has been well and truly assured.