Monday, October 1, 2012

A Victory for the Wildlings

When I started gardening at Shoestring Cottage I must have been determined to put my own stamp on the tiny garden.  There would be no forget-me-nots, no wild cinerarias and no lunaria (AKA honesty), no siree!  For the first season I was vigilant and managed to remove most of the offenders, but this year I fear standards have slipped and last weekend there were forget-me-nots, honesty and cinerarias blossoming everywhere and I was pleased to see them.  Next year I will really try to remove the forget-me-nots (as seen above) because their horrible "biddy-bid" seeds cling to your clothes and hair and seem impossible to remove, but as for the aquilegia or columbine, they have such beautiful soft shades and their petals are translucent and very attractive.

The cinerarias I always despised because of their prolific habits, but what a beautiful selection of shades "blue" can encompass.

Some of the plants are eye wateringly intense in colour - the only problem is that you don't want to pick them and take them indoors because they do have a horrible pong.

The strangest thing happened this weekend at Shoestring HQ.  Mr Shoestring came racing inside (I was toiling away over a hot sewing machine, completing my latest summer dress) and said, "Come and look at this, some bird has s*&^ all over the sides of the car!"  Indeed it was true, on closer inspection both front doors were liberally festooned with what was obviously guano.  Mr Shoestring loves his automobile and immediately washed the offending matter from the sides of his vehicle.  Within a short space of time it had reappeared, so the washing was repeated.  Soon it became obvious (after some furtive spying) that the culprit was the handsome juvenile blackbird who had so proudly created a nest in the ivy on the walls.  He was looking at himself in the side mirrors of the car and convinced that he was his own worst enemy, an invader trying to take over his territory!  Poor Mr Shoestring folded in his side mirrors and still the attacks continued.  The wretched bird did not cease and desist until the sun went down but early the next morning (as soon as the sun was rising in fact) I could hear the slow and deliberate tap-tap-tapping of its beak on the mirrors of the car.  The car was moved (blackbirds being very territorial, perhaps we could take the car out of the territory) but the assaults continued.  Mr Shoestring is thinking of taking or making two large black socks to cover the side mirrors of his beloved car.  I hope it proves successful because obviously what this young blackbird lacks in grey matter, he more than makes up for in stamina and persistence!

"I'll kill you, you will be sorry you ever flew into my territory, you wretched creature!  Take that."

Taking a brief moment to draw breath in between attacks.

Now, getting back to all things Shoestring (i.e., frugal) and away from things avian (which seem to be an ever-increasing preoccupation), here are a few ways to use up the little nubbins of cheese we find left in our Kelvinators.  We love our cheeses in EnZed, but they are quite expensive and if we are trying to conserve our funds we really need to make the most of them.  At SC HQ we find we have various bits and bobs left from week to week and here are some ideas to use them up:  

Cheese, Ham and Mushroom Turnovers

Onion and Cheese Nubbin Tart

I will post the recipes at the side so you can "have a go" and see what you think of these ways to use up the odds and ends from your cheese buying sorties.   

On the other hand, the spring time does make one feel as though one's sap is rising and one wishes to push out the boat slightly.  And on that note, I think I first sampled the delights of Pea and Haloumi
Fritters at Monarch Cafe in Wellington with The Dancing Queen.  I have checked their menu and this dish doesn't feature, so I may be mistaken, but here is my version and if you are partial to a salty firm cheese such as feta I think you will find Haloumi delish.  It is good because it grills well and keeps its "body" so if you are a cheese lover you should give it a try.  


  1. Hi Mrs. Shoestring,
    your flowers are really pretty, even if a bit of a bother in ways! I love all those shades of blue. I've had the same problem with a cardinal and my car. However, I thought the cardinal was just admiring himself in the mirrors, while he defaced my clean car. I finally tied bags over the mirrors every time I parked the car!
    Your new sidebar design of flowers is very attractive, by the way. Happy Spring there, as we celebrate Fall here.

  2. Hi there Egretta,
    That is very interesting about your experiences with the cardinal and you obviously have a more generous spirit in thinking he was admiring himself in the mirrors, that never occurred to me! Cardinals sound like much more colourful birds than plain old blackbirds; isn't it funny that we often find our own flora and fauna to be rather drab when compared to that elsewhere?
    Yes those shades of blue in the cinerarias are luscious aren't they? Such a wide range, some of the colours are so intense and saturated and others very soft and tender.
    Glad you liked the new sidebar and I hope your Fall is treating you well!