These days I am often catless in my garden, and it can get rather lonely. My dogs are usually in their 'gardening is soooooo boring' mood. So yesterday was lovely, unexpected - Minimus, my cottage cat, kept me company.

+20But I miss having a consistently hard-working gardening cat (Fluff-Fluff, I'm thinking of you). I talk out loud to jolly myself along, and Pebbles the dog appears at my side. Nice? No! She barks rudely in my face. I show her my bottom, which is pretty grubby, since I've been handling horse manure. Oops - I obviously mean my fully-clothed bottom.

So I miss Fluff-Fluff, my fluffy ginger gardening cat, even more. Cats aren't rude, like dogs are. Pity I can't advertise : Full board in house with warm wood burner offered to cat in exchange for keeping gardener company. Extensive outdoor toilet, privacy guaranteed. Human laps and fresh pet meat available upon request. Miaow?

Friday 4th May

Last night in Pond Cottage I discussed my cat-loneliness issue with Minimus. I emphasised how much I enjoyed her company in the garden. I would love her to be more proactive. More than one day as my cat-companion would be just great. She squeaked something about the dogs needing to be somewhere else. I reminded her that Fluff-Fluff didn't care about the dogs. She looked rather sulky, so I had to agree. Oops. Disloyal.

 A nose smooch.
Love You!

This morning Pebbles and I again had 'difficulties' on our orchard walk. I had to use my secret weapon (a tiddly plastic water pistol). It's my 'dog bites gardener's shoe' deterrent, and I feel really uncomfortable walking around my beautiful garden, finger poised on the trigger, ready to squirt my dog between the eyes. This action is completely at odds with the soft green lawn underfoot, and the beauty of the surrounding trees and shrubs.

 Three dogs...
Escher, Pebbles, Winnie

Escher is coming...

Plans for the rest of the day? I am out to lunch (yum). Then I'll be bonfiring. And - oh joy, but I daren't tell Minimus - big Brown Escher (a chocolate lab GSP cross) is coming for a weekend sleepover. A three piece dog pack will again gallop through the Wattle Woods, round the cottage, and leap into the pond. Oops. Sorry, Minimus.

Late Afternoon...

No - a four piece pack! Dexter the Labradoodle came to visit us. So for a while four dogs roared purposefully around the gardens and paddocks, Escher (the biggest dog) leading the way. This way! This way! No, this way! This way!

After Dexter went home I burnt my bonfire (stuff I'd dragged out from the Hen House Garden, plus a trailer load from the Hump, plus the smaller bits of the chopped down Pittosporum). Now we have all gone apres gardening. Escher is curled up in front of the wood burner, looking like a giant ball of shining brown poo.

Three piece Dog Pack

Saturday 5th May

Escher, dear brown Escher. Having lived here for a whole year, you've remembered all the structures of our days together. You know that 'dinner for dogs' is served in your kennel. You know all the paths, all the walking routes, where the bridges are... And the water features (water race and pond) into which you can splosh to chase your stick. And soooo responsive. Me : 'C'mon, you dogs, let's doooooo something'. Escher : 'Dogs? Hey, I'm dogs! Dogs means me! I'm coming...'

This morning Non-Gardening Partner and I were teaching Escher to 'do frisbee'. He had his blue one, while the collies leapt gracefully in the air to catch theirs (lime green). Every five minutes or so Escher would remember what he was supposed to be doing, and concentrate (for the next ten seconds, hee hee). He was very 'unco' - elastic brown legs flapping out from his body at seemingly impossible angles.

This afternoon I did some really worthwhile work in the interior of the Dog Path Garden. I chopped down suckering Viburnums, a woody Hebe, and a Coprosma struggling to see the daylight. I then trimmed the Choisya and the Berberis shrubs. Then NgP appeared with the chainsaw, so he was directed to saw through the tough fat branches. Yeay!

 Late to colour.
The Copper Beech Tree

I was all ready to bonfire when the wind whooshed up out of nowhere (that's inaccurate - it came out of the sky).

So sorry, Minimus...

So now - bedtime for gardeners! I am clean and fed. I have my book, the rugby to listen to, and young Minimus to apologise to. So sorry about these rude dogs. Uncouth, rough things, with too-nosy noses and too-loud barks, taking up too much space in the garden...