Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Alberto & Maria

Here is a picture of "Alberto and Maria", made by the Machinist as a gift to me and so named after our fond recollection of an 'Earthy' Italian couple. They are both carrying lettuce seedlings. The garden bed in the background has now been converted in to an exclusive herb bed. The great westerly winds that blow through our Village have often caused Alberto and Maria to fall over, so now they are firmly planted IN the revamped herb bed, and not at the gate.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Sunday In The Garden

The days seem to move so much faster when we are in the daylight saving mode. My mam tells me that when we were all wee snappers, she would have to put up heavy blankets at our bedroom windows to get us to sleep! The days went too fast back then, and they still go too fast now. Mam says that the Lord gives us all the same amount of hours, and it is up to us how we will use them.

Weeding, weeding and more weeding today. When it began to drizzle, Polly (Staffy cross with a Silkie) and I rested under the canopy of our faithfully-fruiting Quince tree. Before long, Sasha, the tabby joined us, but Polly 'smiled' at her; that is ~ bared her teeth. Sasha doesn't have to be told twice. She darted to the verandah for cover. I heard the side door to the workshop slam shut, and observed the Machinist moving rather quickly down 'Grape Walk', not wanting to get wet. On his return, I whistled to him, and when he saw me sitting under the Quince, he found it quite amusing. "You're enjoying yourself under there, aren't you?". He knows, you know....

For some weeks now, there has been a variety of weeds and miscellaneous green life, sprawled lifelessly in the bottom of our ancient hole-y wheelbarrow. Said greenlife has now turned to soil. When did that happen? How did I not see it? I passed it several times during the day, each day.... The Machinist says that it isn't good for an ancient wheelbarrow to be left abandoned with a full load. Adds to the holes. And rust. I mention the wheelbarrow, because before performing any sort of garden chore it is like opening a Pandora's box. The mis-en-plas of gardening: Gather the tools. (Where did I leave the fork?). Push (drag) the wheelbarrow, meandering past the vegetable beds, hoping contents of wheelbarrow doesn't fall into the vegetable beds. Search for the dog poo bucket and tongs (always elusive). Struggle with water fitment at each garden tap, so that the bore water doesn't come splurting out ~ usually in the direction of the mouth. Yuk!

It's still fun though. Gardening. The Machinist says that if his Ouma was alive she would be so very happy that we both have a penchant for plants (hey, that goes!). A penchant for plants...

Planted five pots of Pigsface under the apricot and plum trees. Also transferred several 'wild' seedlings of white Valerian to the base of the Ballerina Apple. The empty vegetable beds are ready for seeds now. Pumpkin seeds (more on pumpkins in another blog...) They've been dug over and raked, and we all hope that the kitties will not seek to use the freshly made beds as their giant kitty litter, or Bob (black Staffy) will not use them as a burial site for his archealogical 'dig', returning his treat of an enormous cow bone ~ dust to dust. The pebbled path in the orchard has been raked of excess straw (a result of the puppies having the mad half hour), as have the paths between the two rose arbours. The fenced herb garden has also been weeded, and 'Alberto and Maria' (two metal figures that the Machinist made for me) have been transferred to the top of the herb bed, so that they can watch over the growth.

I think a constant 'to do' list is in order for garden chores, as one job leads to another. And another. The front garden is next. A more 'showy' garden. Non-edible. The lawn patch is far too long, and I really must try and create some type of wind break so that each azalea bloom isn't overwhelmed by a sneaking suspicion that they could, at any time, be lynched by something they can't even see...

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Day After Deluge

It's the day after the deluge, and the Machinist is really happy that the workshop has dried out. Sun shines brightly, and a man from the local Council has called around to inspect the current (lacking) stormwater drains. Which makes the Machinist even happier, as there is a promise of "...something has to be done about this, that's for sure..." Declared on a Saturday, too. The creek at the bottom of our garden is full, and the Machinist has perfect 'Lake Views'. "Where on earth could a person work on his lathe, gaze out of the window (from said lathe) and watch wild ducks and Ibis?" he asks.

Yes, where?

The girls will be finished work soon, and the Machinist has promised to take us out to the movies. We were scheduled to go last night, but none of us wished to venture out after the water fight. And besides ~ what if it decided to rain heavily again while we were out? There's always areas of our old house and grounds that needs to be 'kept an eye on' when it rains. The Machinist informs me that we received 53mm of rain yesterday. Not bad.

As I write, there is only the sound of silence and cricket song. At least I think it's crickets. It could be frogs. Cricket song? Frog Song? Either way, it's a peaceful sound....

Friday, 26 October 2007

When It Rains, It Pours!



I've always said how much I love the rain. My children have grown up, witnesses to the fact of how much I love it. They, too, love nothing more than to venture out ~ well clad or not so well clad ~ to frolic in pure fall and inhale the pre-pavement ozone. However, ... in a (usually) dry land, endowed with a generous impermeable membrane, the results of a deluge of spring rain can be rather chaotic. Hazardous, in fact.

Such was the case today. Rain fell and fell some more. The Machinist scurried past my office with broom in hand. Before long, the Machinist and his girls all had brooms in hands, sweeping the twiggy, gritty, weak gravy mix that had started, quite rapidly, to pool into our workshop. "Quick, pick up the electric chords", the Machinist urged. The puppies (they're fully grown, adult dogs, but we still call them 'The Puppies') retreated, tails between legs, thinking that they had done 'bad' things. Mi Lad, the cockatoo, started to retreat further into the workshop as well. Not because he thought he had done something bad, but because he didn't want to get his claws wet.

Favourite Son was frantically digging a diversion channel at the front of the workshop. His overalls, so thoroughly drenched, looked like blue, droopy, excess skin. Rain fell harder, and the Machinist and his girls resembed broom machines as they methodically and rhythmically pushed the murky waters out of the workshop, into the already bulging stormwater drain. Had it no end?

Just when the Machinist began making plans for greater protection, the downfall eased to a drizzle. Favourite son called us into the deserted country road and egged on by his mischievous sisters, here he is, semi-clad in the make-shift wading pool, which we call the main road of our tiny Village. The other pic shows how our workshop was flooded.

At least the orchard had a watering! Greenlife is, in fact, greener. The air is fresher and our swimming pool is spilling over....

Thursday, 25 October 2007

"He doesn't look ill or anything....."



This is our pet cockatoo ~ Bucknuckle B Knucklehead Esq. or "Bucko" or "Mi Lad", as we fondly call him. Well, we think it's a 'he'. No-one's sure. Not even the vet. Mi Lad crash landed in our front garden one March morning. One of his legs were broken. Catherine the tabby was most inquisitive, and Mi Lad hop-hopped through the golden cypress trees, attempting to escape her potentially bacteria-infested feline teeth. We were quick to rescue him and later travelled the dirt road to our friendly (and extremely funny!) Polish vet.

The Machinist painstakingly crop-fed Mi Lad for two months or more, as he couldn't eat seeds, or peck off fruit; his diagnosis was 'beak and feather' disease and wild birds with this malady usually don't last a year.

Mi Lad will be two this December. He can speak English and he can act like a professional (he limps when you watch him and hops confidently when he thinks you're not watching him). He has spent the winter inside the house with us, and I'll wager he hates being back out in his cage now that it is springtime. We have to pass his cage as we enter the workshop. If one of the girls pass his cage, he whimpers. On the other hand, if one of the boys pass his cage, he squawks. When we are gardening, he follows us around.... intent on ruining as many plants as he can.

During coffee break, there's much chatter and laughter and messing about. Mi Lad can hear the commotion and he calls to us, so we let him out of his cage. He dodges metal shavings with much agility and precision, despite his disability.
Today was no different.
Favourite Son had made refreshments. We were watching Mi Lad amble around the workshop floor, with a pompous and indifferent air, despite the other pets who sat around watching him. The Machinist tilted his head to one side, pensively. "He doesn't look ill or anything, does he? He doesn't act like he's sick. You wouldn't think...."
Explosions of Toby's Estate*tm Coffee showered the concrete, and faces creased with laughter. After a while, the Middle Child managed "Not unless you were an outsider!"

All Kinds of Everything

Mam would often sing or hum when she was busy around the home. Songs and ditties that we, her offspring, remember to this day. She would sing when she was sad, too. Much of our repertoire, as teenagers was not always the current Top of the Pops, but many songs that preceded our birth by twenty or thirty years.

When I think of the Machinist I wonder "..How do I love thee..Let me count the ways...". My love for the Machinist is vast and unlimited and it just IS. It is for All Kinds of Everything (Dana at the Eurovision Song Contest, 1970s, and a favourite of my mams) that I love him.

Our life together is All Kinds of Everything. When I began to think of a theme for this blog, there was no particular aspect of life that stood out that I wanted to write about. I want to write about everything. All Kinds of Everything.

And so, with this in mind, dear Readers, let me now consider each of our days and count the ways...