Saturday, June 22, 2019

Gardening - At Last

Not that I got much done before the rain came. Still something is better than nothing, I suppose, and although my surgeon has said I can start to do some gardening he did stress that it should be 'gentle'. I am trying very hard to be a compliant patient because the last thing I want is to have to go through all this again.

Bearing his instructions in mind I pulled on my red wellies, grabbed my spade, trowel and loppers and headed out to the veggie patch. I have been pulling a few weeds every day and went over some of the ground with a dutch hoe but this is superficial stuff and I knew I had to take on the biggie if I want to get any winter veg at all.

The problem is that because my veggie patch is heavily composted, fertilised and mulched it has become a magnet for invasive roots from my neighbour's garden. They have a curry leaf tree, which is very lovely with its delicate, fern-like leaves. It's a great flavouring in curries, too, but in the garden it's highly invasive which is why the one I have in is a pot and will be staying there. My neighbour's one is not so confined. Its roots come under the fence (which is sunk over a metre deep), then come up beside it and spread across my garden. The roots consist of quite substantial ones up to 3 cms in circumference as well as masses of fibrous roots - some bunches of these that I pulled out today were 45 cms long and 10 cms around. Both of these suck the nutrients and moisture out of the ground and block the roots of anything I want to grow. They sucker like crazy, too - the furtherest sucker I've found was 30 metres into my yard - so at the change of every season I have to go along the fence line with a spade, uncover the roots and cut them off, knowing they'll be back in a few months.

So that's what I've been doing - very carefully - this morning. I was hoping to do more but the rain has arrived  - and truth be told, it's probably just as well because once I start working in the garden I tend to find it hard to stop, doctor's orders not withstanding. I did do one other thing though. See. Here are the seeds I sorted ready to plant. All I have to do now is to put them in their punnets or into the ground. I might wait until the storms we're expecting later today and tomorrow pass before I do that, though.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Here's Something Pretty

Not much of anything is happening in my garden at the moment due to my run of surgeries. I've finally been given permission to do some work there but it's going to take quite a while to catch up on the weeding and other tasks which have been pretty much on hold since last October. I did manage to grow some summer veggies but that was only because I planted them out before everything went pear-shaped. The garden still gives me lovely surprises now and then, though, and here is today's.

I have several large pots of these beauties - yellow bearded irises are among my favourite flowers -and I'm making the most of this bloom now because they are quite fragile and I doubt it will last long if the storms we're being warned about hit tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Awww. The Cuteness

I'm sick today but I found this and thought you might like it as much as I do.

Puppy sleeps as though it is turned off

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Seasons of South Western Australia

When European settlers came here they tried to force the seasonal weather of this part of the state into the four European seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. It made no sense really and nearly two hundred years on we're still trying to work to that pattern and it still makes little sense.

In recent years, though, instead of simply ignoring the history of our indigenous people at last Australia is beginning to see that there was a rich culture here before colonisation and that we should not ignore the traditions our First Nation people. After all, they lived here successfully for many thousands and thousands of years. It would be surprising if they hadn't learned quite a lot about what works and what doesn't in the Australian landscape.

Nowadays, a 'welcome to country' forms a part of many gatherings and we're belatedly looking into bush tucker - indigenous foods - which it turns out is very tasty. I'd like to see us go further and look at the seasons.

South western Australia is Noongar country - the Noongar people are the traditional owners of this area - and if there's one thing that should be obvious to anyone who lives here it's that we don't have the four three month seasons of Europe. For gardeners like me trying to follow those artificial seasons just doesn't make sense so when I discovered the Noongar divided the year into six seasons I was delighted. It works so much better.

The Noongar seasons are governed by weather patterns and so aren't rigidly tied to the months although they occur approximately at the same times. They are:

 Birak - December and January on the calendar and it's very hot and dry (it used to be the season when controlled fires were set to promote new growth).

Bururu - February and March and the hottest months of the year.

Djeran - April and May and the season we're just coming to the end of. This is when the nights cool down and the mornings are dewy.

Makuru - June and July is the coldest and wettest time of the year.

Djilba - August and September is when the weather is a mix from cold and clear to warmer, wet and windy.

Kambarang - October and November and the days are lengthening and warming with less rain.

I now work my plantings around these seasons and my garden is the better for it.

If you want to find out more about the Noongar seasons you can find it here.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Age Isn't For the Faint-hearted

or so my mother used to say and the older I get the more I'm aware of just how true this is. I've had the misfortune to inherit an arthritic condition which I've had to deal with for much of my life so when my friends tell me how their joints are starting to ache I sympathise because this has been my life story. Age has added extra 'goodies' in the way of my health that make life even more difficult  and that's not been fun either.

I'm lucky in having an understanding husband who goes out of his way to make life easier for me physically. He does the grocery shopping, which had become a slow and painful chore, for instance and is willing to take me anywhere I want to go now that driving, too, has become difficult. Trouble is he's begun developing aches and pains of his own - years of working in an industry which required lifting heavy items are  taking their toll - as well as few other interesting ailments.

All this mean that we spend a lot of time at various doctors' rooms. We decided many years ago that we'd always go to appointments together because it can be hard to remember everything you want to ask during a consultation and, for that matter, to remember all the doctor has to tell you when things get complex or serious. We see so many specialists and receptionists that it's got to the point that we're on first name terms with many of them (and several of the receptionists know us well enough to have a friendly chat about our respective families).

While this is lovely - we get good healthcare as well as a chance for a friendly chat - we seem to spend more time in doctors' waiting rooms than on any social activity. Making appointments is complicated because there are so many and they have to fit in around both of us and while a short consultation - 10-15 minutes or so is the average - doesn't take much time in itself there's the time it takes getting there and getting back as well. Then you have to add in extra time because they're rarely on time. Before you know it half a day disappears with each appointment.  Just as well we're retired. We wouldn't have time to go to work!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

It's Nearly Winter

Not the greatest of photos I know but I found these paper white jonquils in flower in my garden today and that's a sure sign that winter is just around the corner. Mind you with last night's minimum of 3° C I don't think there's much doubt about that. My initial thought was that they were earlier than usual but when I looked back I found that they are in fact a little later than last year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I'm Electioned Out

While the campaign for the 2019 Federal election here in Australia has technically been running for only five and a half weeks in fact we've all known there had to be an election no later than around mid May because of the way our election cycle works. This means that the assorted political parties have effectively been electioneering for months with their advertising getting more and more strident since the election date was announced. It's getting more and more nasty as well and I for one am sick to death of that nastiness, the half truths and down right lies being told.  These are people who are asking us to appoint them as our representatives. The least they could do is treat us with respect.

I've already voted - because we have compulsory voting we make sure that those who can't get to a polling place on election day have the opportunity to vote before the day or by postal vote (there are rules as to who is eligible for this, of course) - but the endless advertising is still taking its toll. It's everywhere and honestly it's verging on the ridiculous. Quite apart from the advertising on television and radio and in the newspaper there's the huge volume of mail being sent - in the last three days alone we've received seven separate pieces of electioneering material - and don't get me started on the phone calls at inconvenient times. We've actually given up answering the phone for now. It may make a change from the scammers but in reality the disruption from the political calls is just as annoying.

All advertising on commercial television and radio is by law supposed to stop at 12:00 AM tomorrow so there's that respite to look forward to. The only trouble is that the law was made back before on-line streaming and digital platforms existed so if I want a break I'll have to avoid all social media and digital media sites until polling closes. Then it'll all be about the vote count and that could go on for days. Sigh.