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Friday, 15 November 2013

Seed pods and cat Pod

We had our first proper frost last night which involved hastily trying to get the ice off the car windscreen without being late for school. You can never find the right tool when you're in a hurry and now that tape cassettes seem obsolete(their boxes make excellent ice scrapers) it was hard to find something that would make a dent in it. I usually resort to kettles but imagined the windscreen finally cracking if I did so we scratched away with icy fingers and hot breath.

Alcea Parkallee
 I planted  rows of these beautiful hollyhocks in my garden a year or two back but though mine have all died for some reason I was pleased to see they were still where I put them in front of a client's house.
This particular strain is disease resistant which is great as most hollyhocks give in to rust. You have to root propagate them - they won't come from seed so I must get hold of some more plants next year. They look so pretty in front of our faded pink house.
tulip double maureen

 Managed to get the last of the tulip bulbs in. In the front of the house (near where the Parkallee should be standing) I've filled the pots with green and white bulbs.
spring green
 This time I've done little drawings in a book telling me what the bulbs are. I'm not risking those naughty ducks getting a pair of stilts and plucking the labels out again.

Exotic emperor
Green star
 There's nothing of colour left in the garden now other than the rose hips and these wonderful orange seed heads from the Iris foetidissima. The frost has felled the dahlias and the last few blooms of things have gone into this posy.
seed pods from the iris
Plectranthum is a beautiful plant with soft grey leaves but it flowers late(ie now) and is not one bit hardy. So if you are quick you have to dig it up and stick it in the greenhouse to appreciate its delicate pale mauve flowers. The good thing about it apart from its beauty is it's easy to take cuttings from so I hope my cuttings will take because I did not dig it up before that frost! I'll dream on. As Beezle and Oscar Wilde would say " A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."

 Pocket (quarter Bengal) has discovered velvet.
We have some sumptuous velvet cushions that he has discovered he can sit on, undiscovered and sleep the whole night on, shut in the living room because no one has seen him when the door was closed.We have to close the door at night or otherwise Pixie likes to sleep in there too and she likes to chew the velvet cushions.

Pocket has also lost his Mum. I haven't told him but his Mum - Pod - (Half Bengal) who belonged to a friend, went missing a month or two back. It is very sad when a young cat goes and you don't know what happened to it. We had a beautiful half Thai Temple Cat (Minky)who had four delicious kittens. We kept all the kittens for slightly longer than you normally do and she disappeared with the lot of them.  She came back on her own the next day and was very pleased with herself. The following day they all tumbled back through the cat flap. She had obviously decided it was a right of passage.  didn't want them hanging around any more and took them miles away and left them. We gave two of them away but shortly after she and her daughter went and we never saw either of them again. She left us a son. The black Monkey.


Mother, any distance greater than a single span
requires a second pair of hands.
You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,
the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.

You at the zero end, me with the spool of tape, recording
length, reporting metres, centimetres, back to base, then leaving
up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling
years between us. Anchor. Kite.

I space-walk through the empty bedrooms,climb
the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something
has to give;
two floors below your fingertips still pinch
the last one-hundredth of an inch -- I reach
towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky
to fall or fly.

Simon Armitage.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hedgehogs and tumbleweed

We survived the storm with surprisingly no damage. Being on top of a hill we really do feel the wind and usually my poly tunnel fence blows down, whilst the poly tunnel itself will often yield up its poly which I might find two fields away or whipped around some tree in the woods. We didn't even have a power cut which is most unusual. Still the wind has definitely blown the days away in my diary. I can't believe we are now in November and suddenly it's Winter.

Beezle tired by the wind which he tells me kept him up all night.

Pocket also tired. He told me the wind had almost blown all his whiskers off.

 The hedgehogs are hibernating now so it must be winter. They are in the straw bales. I know this because my neighbour has fitted a GPS tracking collar with a tiny antenna on to three of them and his aerial pointed in the direction of the straw bales for two of them and a pile of leaves for the third. I'm sad they are not hibernating in my polytunnel. Last year there was a big one asleep in the hay in the garage. He was quite noisy, snuffling and snoring well into the start of Spring. I had to leave the doors open for him incase he woke up and decided it was time to hit the road.

 Settled down to planting up the sweet pea seeds at last. I have planted over 200 seeds and am looking forward to a very pink and red display next year. I have started growing half of them inside the poly which is a sheer delight as they flower early and I can have sweet peas right through till October with the ones outside as well. This is the great thing about gardening. When it is too cold and windy to do anything outside you can spend hours flicking through the catalogues inside and choosing the bulbs and seeds and roses for next year, imagining them in the pots and borders so its almost like being in next year's garden. Each year I make a resolution that next year I'll keep on top of the weeds, or remember to water the tomatoes or check that the pots aren't drying out. But do I? I made a resolution that I'd dance every day but I have to admit that although you always feels so much better after a bit of arm waving to Earth Wind and Fire I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have.

 Although Spring is a long way off (apart from in those catalogues)I thought I'd do a bit of 'Spring'cleaning as Pixie's fur was looking like tumbleweed rolling across the wastes of the kitchen floor. Thought I'd take a peek inside the dolls house which I hadn't glanced into for a very long time. A family of spider's were squatting inside and it looked as if Miss Haversham lived there. I made the dolls house years ago for the girls when they were small. I loved it - made it out of an old cupboard which conveniently had two shelves inside so I could make a three story house. In the end I spent all my time cleaning out the doll's house and spent hours re-arranging the furniture. I noticed that half the farm was in there as well so now we have a few pigs in the sitting room, some horses in the bedroom and cows of various heights in the bathroom.That was the great thing about our model farm, we had animals of varying sizes so it was not unusual to see a chicken twice the size of a pig or a horse ten times bigger than the little farmer's wife.  The tumbleweed remains on the floor.

Pixie and Beezle hoping I'm not going to start dancing.

The Dancer

by Philip Larkin

Or falling leaf,
Which ought I to imitate
In my dancing?

And if she were to admit
The world weaved by her feet
Is leafless, is incomplete?
And if she abandoned it,
Broke the pivoted dance,
Set loose the audience?
Then would the moon go raving,
The moon, the anchorless
Moon go swerving
down at the earth for a catastrophic kiss.