Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wild Weather

We couldn’t spend as long at Shoestring as we would have liked this weekend, because of Christmas party plans, but we did make the most of what time we had.  It was obvious that in the last week there had been torrential rain there (as in most of the rest of the country, where some areas had a whole month’s worth of rain within 24 hours).  Some hosta leaves were  found shredded to smithereens on the opposite side of the house to where the hostas were growing.  At least there was no need to water the garden.  I spent some happy time with my Procut 400 (the little hand mower which makes such a cheerful chirping sound) dashing all over the miniscule lawn with it.  I know that it is best to have a plan when mowing, but the lawn is such an irregular shape that it is difficult to mow efficiently and I tend to get distracted and go off course, so it takes longer than necessary to get around the area.  Never mind, I enjoy myself and the lawn is definitely improving despite the constant battle with the birds over the seed they love to devour. 

Speaking of birds, we were worried that the starling had abandoned the nest this week because there were no signs of comings and goings.  After bringing a ladder  and peering in precariously from a safe distance we discovered that the starling was still on the nest and are hopeful that there will be babies soon. 

The plums are ripening quickly on the enormous old plum tree now.

Mr Shoestring is determined not to lose the entire crop to the birds so he hastened along the road to the hardware store and bought himself some bird netting.  I am not sure how effective this will be in keeping the birds from devouring the fruit because it seems to me that it merely wraps up all the fruits in a convenient bundle so that they are all together for easy access.  After he applied the first piece of netting it came undone within a short while and remedial work had to be carried out, so we will just have to await further developments on that front.  The tree does seem to have responded very well to the pruning it had last year though and is laden with fruit even after a lot of it was blown off in the gales last week. 

I was rather alarmed when Mr Shoestring gleefully showed me the left handed weeding tool he found while out Christmas shopping.  I have a conventional right handed one and he has always been envious but didn’t think a left handed version of this tool existed.

He is more of a pruning/slashing/hacking gardener than one who can be let loose when there is precision weeding to be done so I am not sure whether this was a wise acquisition.  I am hoping he will lose interest now that he has finally tracked it down. 

 The first tomato of the season - I am ridiculously proud of it

These hydrangeas were kindly donated by a friend as cuttings during winter time.  They are bravely flowering their little hearts out now - many of the blossoms are actually larger than the plants!

The roses are all finished for the time being but the first lily is blooming and there is lots to see in the rest of the garden. 

Mystery seedlings which popped up in the garden "growing on"

The first passionfruit ever - tiny plant put in during the winter

The latest crockery acquisition is this very beautiful Aynsley plate – bestowed with strict instructions that it was not to end its days out of doors on the side of a tree.  So inside it will remain. 

Plans for the local rail trail are well under way.  It seems unlikely that it will be ready for opening at the beginning of the Christmas holidays as was originally planned, but it should not be long after that so we will be able to whirl off for rides through the farmland.