Monday, October 10, 2011

Lemongrass and Labradoodles, Lavender and Lemon Verbena

Everything was soft and springlike in the garden on Saturday morning and I was enjoying a quiet moment of contemplation in the vege garden.  The fallen blossom from the cherry tree was carpeting the grass, the sky was blue and the sun was warming my back.  Suddenly Mr Shoestring came striding purposefully up beside me, bent over and attempted to wrench one of my plants out of the earth.  “Hey, what are you doing?  Stop it!”, quoth I in my usual honeyed tones.  “Just pulling out this weed for you!” he proudly declared.  I had to explain that the plant in question wasn’t a weed, but a prized herb.  “Oh, I thought it was a grass!”  Well, it was a grass of a kind, it was lemongrass and I was hoping we could use it in Thai dishes. 

I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that some people are gardeners and some people just never “get” gardening.  Though Mr Shoestring tries his best to be helpful in the garden, he will always need close scrutiny and strict supervision if similar disasters are to be avoided.  In fact I am beginning to cast my mind back over the years and remember times when prized rare and unusual specimens have mysteriously vanished from sight in the garden and wonder whether  the culprit may have been under my nose all the time.  Mr Shoestring can be useful in the garden, for instance this weekend he did an impressive job of digging out a gnarled old root, huge and very difficult to remove.  But there will always be the nagging doubt as to whether he can be left to his own devices.

Having said that though, it is becoming obvious that I will never “get” rugby so we both have to make allowances.  On Sunday night Mr Shoestring settled down to watch back to back Rugby World Cup matches and had to endure uninformed comments from myself, our daughters and one of their friends, mainly to do with fashion pointers for the players.  (To be truthful, some of them could do with some updates regarding hairstyles though.)  

On Saturday we found a brilliant monthly market in a nearby town where there were hostas and calla lily bulbs to be had at very reasonable prices, also irises.  The hostas should provide the slugs and snail with a tasty treat for the next little while but the irises should be virtually indestructible (fingers crossed).  As for the calla lilies, I seem to be forever planting bulbs on the offchance that they will thrive and prosper.  Usually I come along shortly afterwards and impale them on my trowel, either that or they just vanish, never to be seen again.  But ever the optimist I have popped in six miscellaneous calla lily bulbs and will hope for the best.  It would probably be sensible to mark the spots with those pointy sticks specially designed for the purpose but they seem to be markers of failure rather than success – like mini gravestones they would end up cluttering up the garden, indicators of failed horticultural endeavours.   Sigh.  The Dutch irises have been rather a success though.  This one in particular has lovely antique bronzey shades – but I can’t remember buying that colour, so it remains a mystery to me. 

Mr Shoestring’s favourite acquisition this week was this wonderful miniature mouli mill for parsley and mint; he managed to wheedle it out of my dear mama after a hinting campaign.  He is not subtle but his methods are effective.  We are going through a pea and haloumi fritter phase and using quite a bit of mint so this little tool will be very helpful.  I will give you the recipe for the fritters, they are truly delicious!  

Another highlight this weekend was a visit from Westiegirl and her beautiful Labradoodle, Indie.  Indie is just eight months old and had been for her own version of a haircut.  Following this her beautiful coat felt like velvet, soft and irresistible for stroking and patting.  She has been having lessons in walking on the lead, sitting and staying and was very well behaved for such a young thing. 

Exhausted after a trip to the hairdresser - I know the feeling Indie!

Until recently we thought that pets were forbidden in our apartment but we have discovered that they are actually allowed and we are torturing ourselves with the possibilities.  Having thought about dogs (too cruel to keep in an apartment, and think of the damage a puppy would do if left alone at home), cats (what if they leapt off the balcony and fell to their death 10 storeys below?) and rabbits (I can see the headlines now, “Apartment building inferno – rabbit chews wiring and causes carnage”), we have come to a standstill so we are satisfying our craving for a pet by watching nature documentaries.  We have even sunk to the level of, “Oh, look at that adorable toad, isn’t it cute?”  Tragic really.  Somebody suggested a pet rat to me today but I don’t think I am quite ready for that. 

Because the weather was so beautiful I started airing out the quilts after winter time.  Last week I had pruned the lemon verbena so I am drying the leaves I took off it, and will mix it in with some dried lavender flowers to make sachets to put amongst the quilts in the quilt cupboard.