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Things done: a rambling update

Yesterday it rained.  I had planned to garden, but the sudden downpours were too much. Instead we went wandering around Tavistock for several hours with the hounds (and took them to our favorite dog-friendly cafe for lunch).  I managed to get some more titanium white acrylic paint and then since the shop had an offer, I bought some silver, buff titanium, and Naples Yellow (which at least in the Windsor and Newton range seems to be quite a muted pinkish shade).     Foster Ruggie was quite tired out by town life, and fell fast asleep in the cafe, so Brythen and Rosie got to split a home-made burger and chips between them.  Brythen ate all the chips. Chips are not refined enough for Rosie Roo.

When we got back, I had intended to write, but instead I went to sleep and caught up with some of my golden-retriever-related sleep deprivation.   It is remarkable how much it affects me, waking at 5am, even though I get to go back to sleep on the sofa.  Sofa sleep is just not as effective, although this may be partly because attempts to sleep on the sofa tend to be interrupted by a giant cat, who wants to not just sit on my chest, but put his nose one millimeter in front of mine.  I find this distracting.

Anyway, today I actually did get some writing done!  And I walked the hounds in the woods, a walk that turned out to be rather longer than planned when Rosie chose her own super-special route which went down a very steep hill and up an old mining trackway that I'm fairly sure is not supposed to be open to the public.  I saw what she was after too : a very stout and respectable-looking fox, trotting off about his own affairs, having bamboozled Rosie quite thoroughly and sent her running all the wrong way.   I saw a woodpecker while I was peering through the woods wondering where she had got to, as well.

   Although the walk was a good two and a half hours, over some pretty rough terrain, Foster Ruggie managed to keep up despite it all, and even jumped over a raised log, all four feet in the air!  I'm so pleased with him.  He has gone from being a dog who I would have guessed at at least 13 years, to one where if I didn't know he was ten, I would happily believe he was 9 or maybe even 8.   His back legs really feel like proper legs now.  Well, not legs like Brythen and Rosie - both of them have just enough greyhound in their mix to have huge muscular greyhound-like arses.   But if you feel through the hair, Ruggie now has actual proper hard muscly muscles on both his back legs, even if they are only weeny by sighthound standards.

When I got back, Pp's parents had popped by, making me feel rather guilty that we weren't offering them lunch.  Now I think of it, we did have the makings.  Oh well, last time they came around I had made a cake and they didn't eat any of it, so maybe they would not want lunch anyway.  More lunch for me!

And finally I fought with the garden, particularly the lawn.   I am sure I have resolved in the past never again to let that back lawn get so long, and yet, here we are again, bunn v lawn, a fight to the death, or at least, to a relatively flat green surface.  I think it probably took me at least an hour to cut the damn thing, and it is not a large area, it was just overgrown and soaking wet with dew so I was constantly unclogging the mower.  The grass never gets quite dry here in October.

Other achievements included  finally planting my second actinidia arguta - one of the two that I bought after discovering that my original plant I had been nurturing for ages is a boy, so absolutely useless from the point of view of producing delicious actinidia fruits.  Oh, I am still annoyed with Thomson and Morgan about that. Stop selling useless boy plants without telling me, T&M.  Anyway, it's a good feeling that Lady Arguta II is finally in the ground, as I was a bit worried I had kept it sitting in the pot too long.   One day, tiny sweet bald actinidia fruits will be MINE.

In the meanwhile, although I have really not done anything to encourage her,  one of the big apple trees is still holding onto a generous crop of fruit, so I went out there with a shrimping net and filled a trug.   The fig tree is still fruiting too, although there has been a bit too much rain and not quite enough sun to get the fruits really good and sweet.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
3rd Oct, 2016 00:20 (UTC)
how does your garden grow?
well, in the mean time you might like to peruse and share a bit of nature...


; )
3rd Oct, 2016 08:45 (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear that Ruggie has found a new lease of life! Regular exercise and a bit of company can work wonders.

Congratulations on your victory in the epic contest of bunn v. lawn, short-lived though it may be. Perhaps this year the grass will stop growing before December...
3rd Oct, 2016 12:41 (UTC)
Our back lawn is on a steep north-facing slope, so usually it does stop growing well before more favored and sunny climes, but of course that makes the 'always wet' issue even worse!

3rd Oct, 2016 11:29 (UTC)
Yay for strengthened dog legs! :-D Though not for early morning sofa sleeps interrupted by giant cat. :-(

We have a little plaque by our back door that reads "I fought the lawn and the lawn won." Although, to be honest, back before we outsourced our garden maintenance, it probably should have read, "I briefly considered fighting the lawn, but laziness won."
3rd Oct, 2016 13:02 (UTC)
I wish I had some way to explain to Henning that he is welcome to keep me company but not actually sit on, bop, or otherwise molest my face. It is not restful!

Laziness won completely for a couple of months this year (well, laziness, dogs and canoe), but I actually enjoy gardening when I get my act together, apart from mowing, which is always of a tedium but much less tedious when I keep on top of it. The cooler weather has sparked a determination to actually get back into it again.
7th Oct, 2016 09:48 (UTC)
Perhaps you might try hissing at the cat when he does that? I hear it works sometimes, if you're consistent about it.
3rd Oct, 2016 15:05 (UTC)
I frequently commend myself on the decision to outsource our lawn maintenance. It provides employment in the community and keeps the city inspector from leaving nasty notes on our door about grass length.
3rd Oct, 2016 16:31 (UTC)
Sadly, the sight of our garden seems to have a rather horror-movie effect on gardeners. We've had various garden services people come over the years, rarely do they come more than once, and I have never managed to get anyone to come three times! Also, when you phone them afterwards, either the number doesn't work or they say they can't come due to family bereavement.

I don't think it's THAT bad!
5th Oct, 2016 14:50 (UTC)
You've posted photos of your garden--I think it's lovely. Ours is more properly what we in the US call a "yard", because it's mostly grass with the occasional tree. The service comes with giant riding mowers and makes the grass short, and if I ask them they will do "cleanup" which is things like spraying for weeds, and removing stray tree seedlings (elms and boxwoods are extremely prolific), but any non-raspberry foliage in the raspberry patch and non-mint in the mint patch is my problem. Which is why the raspberries are currently accompanied by lots of vigorous tree seedlings at the moment.
3rd Oct, 2016 15:08 (UTC)
Bruno (who is an excellent alarm, most mornings) has decided that, rather than perching with his paws on my shoulder and rumbling loudly, that he should impersonate a stole and drape himself across my neck. It is well nigh impossible to fall back asleep when one has two stone of single-stroke diesel engine covered with fur draped across one's face.
7th Oct, 2016 09:45 (UTC)
I am rather jealous! It's terribly hard to get good apples in So Cal. It's not just that there aren't many places here that are suitable (though that is an issue), it's also that the grocery stores tend to only stock a few boring cultivars. When it comes to apples, I want them tart and really crunchy. My favorites are cortlands and jonagolds. I can rarely find jonagolds out here, but they have been very underwhelming - not very flavorful, too sweet, and a bit mealy. I like the apples that give a good SNAP when you bite into them. Yum.

We also can't find good cider here, alas. Just the huge companies that sell clear apple cider. I like the tart, rich cloudy cider. When we were in Philly, there was a vender at the farmer's market who always had really good cider. We often went through a gallon a week because the fiance and I are both very fond of it.

I'm jealous of the hardy kiwis, too! They sound delicious, but that's another thing that absolutely will not grow here. We're a mile from the sea, with the bay about 1/4 mile north of us, so we don't freeze here, ever. Don't even get a hard frost, just a little bitty one that makes the grass shiny for a few hours, and even those only happen a few times a year.

I think when we finally are able to buy a place, I may try putting in a nectarine tree. That, at least, has a chance in this climate. Maybe a Santa Rosa plum - they're delightful, almost black skins and deep rosy red insides, a very rich intense flavor compared to the average plum, and a bit sweeter than most of the marketable plums. You never see them in the market because the fruits bruise and split too easily to transport the way we move most fruits around - they'd have to be packed up like berries to protect them, and nobody does that with plums.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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