Same old?

Some days I do exactly exactly the same things that I did the day before, and the day before. The sameness becomes a bit overwhelming, the weather gets stuck in a rut. And then a day will suddenly pop out of nowhere and throw up a rather nasty surprise.

 Yet again littered with gum tree bark and leaves.
Clean Up the Lawns!

Being insular (that is, a New Zealander), I am used to weather changes - the oft quoted 'four seasons in one day'. And, unrealistic as ever, this last week I've been determined to garden each day in shorts, The theory is that I should be able to move faster than the mosquitoes.

 Mainly flowering annuals.
Pots by the Pond

Well, I certainly didn't move fast enough yesterday. I had the idea to dig small circles around the trees in the Pond Paddock, where several rather nice native seedlings (Pseudopanax and Pittosporums) are busy establishing themselves. Started full of hope, got bitten, changed into long pants, got bitten again through my pants. Moved as far away from the pond as possible, started to do some light weeding. Still got bitten. Got the sulks. Nothing worse that a sulking, bitten gardener.


Started today seeing yet more gum tree mess to clean up off the lawns. Aah! Same old! But then things went rather pear-shaped. Gale force hot, dry winds whipped up a fire in our back neighbour's paddock, quickly getting into the hedges and out of control.

 Photograph taken standing in my sheep paddock.
The helicopters

Five helicopters spent five hours filling monsoon buckets from next door's pond, then circling over our house, their buckets whooshing so low, swinging so close to the tops of our trees. The fire reached to within one metre of our back boundary, but finally as 'contained'. One of my friends has totally lost her flowery garden, and a third of my plantsman friend's arboretum is trashed. Sadly, he will have lost many rather rare plantings.

My Friends Arboretum

Oops. Update, a wee bit later, a wee bit scary. Our house and property were initially upwind of the fire, but now the wind has turned right around. Oops.

 And two of my big gum trees.

Ready to evacuate...

We have now been told to be ready to evacuate, just in case. So I've dusted off all the cat cages and shut the cats in various rooms. I know what to do. Interesting what one packs for an evacuation. In my bag - camera, spare pair of knickers, a book, my spectacles, my computer, water bottle, and cat and dog food. I do lead a simple life!

The dogs have been very calm, considering the noise of the low flying helicopters - and the visual invasion of their own doggy air space. I've been very worried for the pilots in such strong winds. But I've still done the typical voyeur thing - taken photographs of them. Oops.

Friday 2nd February

How about 'Four seasons in two days'? This morning? Ten degrees Celsius (a typical winter's day temperature). Yesterday was thirty-five. On go the woolly jersey, jeans, and winter socks. On goes life. We were very lucky with the fire. It's raining, thankfully, and there's just one helicopter hovering up high. My own garden is littered with wind mess - small-time tree branches have fallen down everywhere, Dahlias flattened, Gunnera leaves ripped and shredded, those sorts of thing. Oh well. I'll happily settle for that, instead of burnt hedges (or worse).

Yeay for 'Same Old'!

Have decided that I much prefer the 'same old, same old', rather than have a slightly scary day like yesterday. So I resign myself to picking up gum tree leaves and bark for at least the next week. Yes! I'll do it!