From about the middle to the end of last week the temperature was in the high 30c low 40c and hot outside so I did little work other than keep up the watering to the plants in the evening. This week I have been called in to work for the first two days and today – although I am not working and at home – it’s chucking down, and has been all night. Not a lot going on really.
Amazing the end of summer already. Apart from a few blasts of heat ( like this current blast) it has been a fairly mild summer. There have been a few days of extreme temperature when the mercury has reached the low 40c but all-in-all it has been fairly mild. Although, having said that, the mildness has been the companion of a constant wind, Unlike the northern hemisphere, in this part of the world a North Wind is a hot wind off the desert and right at the moment with the temperature at 41c. we have a North Wind. Here it’s not the heat that drags you down,it’s the wind that sometimes goes with it – like now. Needless to say, I am not really in the mood to go out in this heat and start swinging a socking great sledgehammer to break top the cement and start to remove the old washing line system. I’m not really keen to do much at the moment other than get up close and personal with an air-conditioner. Once a cool change comes through, I’ll
see about making a start again. Although having said that I did do some work. I removed the big bird-bath from the front of the house and brought it round to the back. Probably in the next day or so I’ll clean it up and have it ready for going back once I finish the front of the house. The think was badly leaking so I had it resealed and painted a light blue. The birds seem to like it, but then, I suppose they like anything that has water in it. In warm, but not hot days, I still take my laptop outside and I still have breakfast with the dogs, but when it’s too hot, we bring the dogs inside.
Once herself rises I am going to head off to Port Augusta – about 48 miles east of here. I want to visit a particular shop then nip into their Garden Centre on the way out of the city. I don’t expect to find much, but it’s a different place to go and look at. I have increased the herb garden by adding Radishes and Oregano, so we’ll see what happens there. All the flowers in the shade house are alive and well, so perhaps the black thumb is not quite as black as it once was. One can only hope. On the other hand, my Poinsettia is not well. I don’t rightly know what’s going on there but I will keep trying.
I didn’t get what I wanted in Port Augusta and I did visit the Augusta Garden Centre on the way back out. I didn’t get anything there either but I liked the idea they have of selling the red chips in bags as well as in bulk. I suppose some would say it was a wasted trip but I don’t see it like that – it was a lovely day for a drive, 34c, the roads were clear an I had a good drive there and back and an enjoyable few hours away from Whyalla – that has to be good. At the moment I am stuck until I get assistance to move the rocks from the front so I can get the trailer in and get the black bark lifted. I would do some digging, but at 41c. it’s a tad warm too warm to be swinging a socking great sledgehammer..
Over the weekend my son and I drove to Adelaide (478 klms) and went out to Ikea and Bunnings. John bought some nice chests of drawers and I bought a walnut bench for my office. From Ikea we drove to Bunnings and I bought the 12 meters of green outdoor carpet that I wanted for the washing line area as well as a new timber doghouse. I also discovered that the new clothes line will not fit into the old system so it looks as if I am going to have to dig the old section out of the ground and cement a new one in its place. This could take a while. Anyway driving to Adelaide was not an indulgence and I had to go to Adelaide for a conference on Saturday morning, so we thought we might as well take the trailer and kill two birds with one stone – so to speak. There is a service station and food place about halfway between Whyalla and Adelaide. It’s called The Tin Man and it’s sort of an unofficial meeting place. On Saturday as John and I drove home we stopped at the Tin Man for fuel. I was just paying for the fuel when my other son walked in. He and his friends were going down to Adelaide for a concert and the friends wanted to know if this was an arranged family reunion :o) Yes, all round it was an interesting weekend. I built the new house for Chienna last night and she seems to be accepting that although I think the little man has his eyes on it.
The previous owner had a thing about rocks – big rocks. Not the teeny weeny things you casually flip from the ground into the trailer. No, this is the kind of rock that takes really serious effort to move. To continue with the upgrade of the front garden I need to have these rocks moved – preferable to the dump because I cannot think I would want to use them anywhere. Perhaps when the bark was new and blonde and the world was young the rocks looked good in their current positions, now they are just pointless. I spoke to some landscaping people today and they told me that the black bark, apart from being unsightly, is pretty evil stuff that is loved by a multitude of creepy crawlies, so it’s probably just as well that I am getting rid of it. However, I think things might start to slow down because I have a feeling that my R & R won’t last all that much longer.
Last post I told you about the dogs and decided to put in a photograph of “My Back Yard” rather than a photograph of the Terrorist. The Terrorists is a rescue dog. I had been looking for a Maltese and a friend at the RSPCA telephoned me to let me know that they had a Maltese in the cage. I went down to look at him and although he was in a bit of a mess, there was just something about him that I really liked and when I approached him, he licked me. I took him home for a “trial” period of ten days, extended that, then bought him. Of course, by that time we had cleaned him up and had him groomed.. My good lady went over to Spotlight and bought material as well as a pattern and made him a coat. It was cold and we had to have most of his own coat removed. After paying the RSPCA I had him at the vet to be desexed and microchipped. Chienna sits under the pergola and very rarely moves too far away from the door. The Terrorist has a dog-house out in the garage and as soon as he has his smachako in the morning, he takes off to his den. Once I moved the doghouse out into the sun. He looked at it then went into the garage and lay down on the ground where the doghouse used to be. I got the hint and move his house back into the garage.
We have two dogs, which I sometimes refer to as my associates, or the assistant gardeners. The oldest, Chienna, we have had for ten years. We bought her when she was nine weeks old. Two years later we rescued a little Maltese and he has been with us ever since. When I refer to my dogs I generally tell people that I have a Foxy Lady and a Maltese Terrorist. We understood that Chienna was a Fox Terrier cross, but we’re not so sure about that, and neither is the Vet. Mannie, is, without doubt, a Maltese. I sometimes think I agree with General Charles de Gaulle ” The more people I meet the more I prefer my dogs” I agree with this only sometimes because I do meet a number of nice people.
My dogs are not spoiled (well perhaps just a tad!) but they are well fed and well looked after. Most evenings I take them out walking. Our house is only a stone throw away from the bush (wilderness area??) so generally we get to have our walk in relative quiet – me, the dogs, the birds and the accessional Kangaroo (Yes, honestly!) No, we don’t have them wandering down streets, but our house is on the very edge of the city and there is very little in the way of “civilisation” between us, and the next town, some 110 klms away. I decided to put in the photograph taken earlier on this afternoon. This is the view only a few moments walk from the house. Since I only seem to be able to put in two photographs I’ll post one of the little dog next time.
Ali had his ditty “Dance like a butterfly – sting like a bee” Dance like a butterfly is to constantly move around – to flirt from space to space – and that’s really what I am doing. I cannot start the washing area until such time as I go to Adelaide and get the 12 meters of synthetic grass. That being so, the washing line area has come to a halt for the moment. I decided that, since I didn’t really have a lot to do, I would not hire a backhoe but would clear the front garden myself. Three hours after I started it I decided to go inside, search the telephone directory and find the nearest mental hospital so I could book myself in. What was I thinking? Ah well, it’s started now. This “ground cover” (weed) has had ages to get established and getting rid of it will not be easy. I think I sort of realised that, which is why I thought of the backhoe – not back break. I have partly cleared about one third and will start again today. Why am I doing this? I think if the so called ground cover had been at all nice and colourful I would most probably have tidied it up and left it, but it’s not and underneath it is the dirty bark that I hate. It has to go. Once – in the distant past – it was new and blonde. Now it’s just old, tired and dirty black and needs to be replaced. Kind of like a lot of things at the moment. Now I have come to a halt again until I get the trailer to the local dump.
There are three projects that are part of the upgrade. The shade house was the first, the crazy paving is the second and the front garden is the third. The reasons for the crazy paving area being next is to return the Hills Hoist to where it originally was. I moved it to the back of the house to give herself a better surface to walk on. However, as I said it really is too far away from the laundry door and difficult for her to carry the washing that distance. “Well, buy her a trolly, silly” Actually, I did but she only uses it to rest the washing basket on once she has carried it out there or to leave it there for me lift the washing off and bring it in for her to sort. It is too light for her to have confidence in – if it should move away from her and she fell, it could be a disaster. Something with the weight and stability of a big shopping trolly would probably help. Better I give her a flatter surface to walk on and one that is closer to where she needs it. And don’t blame me, I never built the original area. In the photograph it might look flat and even, but believe me, it’s not. A glass or three of a good red and one could very easily trip. The front garden project will be much easier – get a backhoe and driver and flatten the area to get rid of all that awful bark stuff. Then I will take my time and rebuild that as I want it. I have already decided what I would like to do there and I will work on the plan I have in my mind.
Once I completed the rebuilding of the shade house I started to put plants in. Unfortunately after this I had to go to the State Capitol (Adelaide) for a few days and since the temperature was 40c+ and my good lady didn’t water the plants in the shade house (she watered everything else) I lost several of the plants. I thought I was lucky because for a couple of days I thought I was going to lose them all but I lost two Violets and a Fuchsia. Everything else survived. I was not too unhappy because it showed me what I can and cannot do and what plants I need to use to get some reasonable results. I now have pot plants of Geraniums and in ground I have lilies and Begonia. I also made a small herb garden and have Lettuce, Parsley, Mint, Basil, Oregano, a Capisum plant and a Chili Plant. These seem to be doing fairly well. Still it’s early days for them, so I will reserve judgement for the moment.
My next project is on hold until such time as I go back to Adelaide again and get the Artificial Grass that I want. Once I have that safely in the garage I will start to remodel the washing line area so that the surface is not uneven for herself to walk on. She has an even area but it is too far away from the laundry. I want to bring it closer to the house for her so there is less distance for her to go and she will have a new even surface to walk on. She was not in the best of health to begin with and being flown to Adelaide for three months of treatment for Golden Staph, didn’t help.
The shade-house was old and tired and the shade cloth was torn in a number of places. Also as you can see, it was not secured at the bottom, just good for little dogs to wander in and assist with gardening ” well, it looked like it needed digging, Daddy”. I decided after losing a few plants to over enthusiastic assistant gardeners, that it would be out of commission until such time as I repaired it. I started this project a few weeks ago. I decided that the roof needed to be replaced so I ordered iron and alsynite from the local hardware store and started that job. As I took off the old sheets I also removed the shade cloth. I decided, that since I was doing this on my own and would have difficulty keeping tension, I would replace the roof and then replace the shade cloth. It’s still not as tight as I would like it, but it is secure and closed off at the bottom i.e. dog proof.
Since it was without a roof for a few days the inside was covered in leaves and bark, plus earth that the ” Assistant Gardeners” spread around the place. I started to clean that up and use organic soil improver to give any new plants a sort of fighting chance. It’s starting to look not too bad now and the new plants are growing (surviving) well. We have a garden shop, which is not too bad, but I really would like a good nursery where I get good advice and have a good selection of plants.