New plants, toxic plants and climbing plants

Sturt's Desert Rose
Sturt’s Desert Rose

Tuesday and I have Herself at the doctor this morning. I expect to bring her back home and let her lie down for a while.  Our appointment is at 9am, so we should be home by 10:30 and I’ll let her rest until lunch. If she is feeling up to it I may take her out for lunch.   Yesterday I  spent the day clearing the ground – covered it with fertilizer then a Blood and Bone  mix, dug all that through and watered it all in. I planted two new flowering bushes – a Lemon coloured Hibiscus and a new bush called  Mexican Orange Blossom (White flowers) AND I have fenced the area off. Unless they have mountaineering skills ( like some dogs I know)  they should be kept out of the area. Not that I am not thankful for the work in watering they have done, but  I feel this responsibility added to their extensive Guard Duties, is really too much to expect so, fencing it off is for their own good.  I feel that this is a good time to plant these things (black thumb notwithstanding) because whilst it does say  “Full Sun” I am not certain that it means South Australian Full Sun, so, now the bite has gone out of the sun and it is cooler, it might be better and give them time to get established. I have also planted Bougainvillea (Two) along the line of the fence in the hope that they might brighten up the place a bit.  I have two different colours at the moment but I may well get two more during the course of this week and provided they all survive, it should be a nice coloured wall

The doctor appointment well and I think we are clear for a couple of months. Still  waiting to see if we need to go visit the other specialist, 20131008_151606but at the moment, she is not too bad – tired but well.  She should be ok provided she does not overdo things.

Our local hardware store also sells a limited number of plants. Once upon a time we had three Garden Shops – now we have but one. I bought two Bougainvillea  at the hardware store at a cost of $9:50 each. That was the last two they had.  The two I bought yesterday at the Garden shop cost me $16:95 each. This is part of a big chain and since it’s the only place in town they can charge what they like – mainly because the nearest Garden Shop is over 100 miles away. Although— having said that –  I do know a young couple who  had a house built then took a trailer to that particular Garden Shop and filled the trailer with plants for the garden they had started to lay out. In a few weeks I will be going to Adelaide and be there for a week. On the way home I will stop off at Bunnings on Main North Road and have a look to see if I want anything in the way of plants. I’ll probably stop at the Arid Lands B.G. on the way through.  Oh, I did buy one plant the other day and I am unsure what to do with it. I liked the flowers and thought they would look nice. But I decided to look it up on Google and was horrified to learn that it is toxic to dogs, cats, horses sheep and cattle. It also gives off a perfume that  destroys other species of plants around it and encourages the spread of its seeds. It is called Lantana Camara and, I think I may have to be careful where I put it.

We had a little bit of precipitation (not using the other word – don’t want to cause upset)  this afternoon so that helped to get  things settled in – I hope.  In another section I have the trailer parked and I am  digging out the gravel from that area. It is unlikely that I will be able to plant anything there but I will put down weed matting and refresh  the area. There is also a very large area that’s covered in gravel but it’s the cheapest stuff you can get so it does not look all that nice. I will, over time clear all that away and again refresh it  with some decent gravel – granite chips perhaps.

It's a hard life
It’s a hard life

I have never had any problem feeding my associates. Well, not strictly true in that I have to have a gate between them –  one on one side of the gate – one on the other. Chienne  gets right into the food dish as soon as it is put in front of her. She raises her head only when her bowl is empty. The Man, on the other hand, herself calls O.C.D. He has a ritual he has to go through – sniff, walk away – sniff, walk around daddy’s legs, –  sniff, walk around daddy”s legs – sniff, walk away, return, eat. If I fed them together after the first walk away, Chienne would be in there and finished before he came back. Ok, so he’s weird, but I guess he fits in quite nicely. He sleeps a lot and I still carry him when we go for “walks”.

I am still undecided  about accommodation in Adelaide for the State Assembly and I’m leaning towards a hotel closer to town and about equal distance between the two places I have to go. I think that might be the place.

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Remembrance, RFDS and watering the garden.

In just over a week, we will hold ANZAC Day – for those of you in Europe – that is our Remembrance Day (although we still recognize that particular day) and for my American Friends I think the nearest thing is Veterans Day. However, it is the day that we remember the Australian and New Zealand men and women who fell in battle to preserve the freedoms that we take for granted today.  I have often argued that this is not a glorification of war, far from it. ANZAC Day is a time of Remembrance and Thanksgiving – remembering those who did not come home, AIFwho paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and a time of thanksgiving for all the men and women who did come home and whom we honour that day.   Generally, after the dawn service,  all the  former service people and their families head off to the Returned Serviceman’s League (RSL) for breakfast. I have never gone because I am not ex-service and and I don’t deserve to be there with them.   Those of us in that situation generally head off to Maccas and have breakfast there. Last year herself was unwell, so I just got a take-away for two and came home.  When I was in Adelaide I walked through West Terrace Cemetery and the  Military Section. Whenever I walk through a Military Cemetery I am always reminded of the words of Eric Bogle – the Scottish/Australian songwriter and singer and his words from ” The Green Fields of France”

 

But here in this graveyard it’s still No Man’s Land

The countless white crosses in mute witness stand

To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man

And a whole generation that were butchered and damned

Tomorrow is Good Friday and our service will take place at 10am. I will be leading this service.  Saturday I have a RFDS function. This was fun to organize since I have two functions running at the same time. The majority of people will be at the foreshore at the big function and I have a team at the smaller function. I will be doing the smaller

Sturt's Desert Rose
Sturt’s Desert Rose

function until lunch and then heading over to the Foreshore to assist if required.

The back garden is still a disaster area but the front is doing  well.  The Sturts Desert Rose is producing flowers, the Sturt’s Desert Pea is growing away good style and the three small conifers I planted some months ago are still with us. They have not really grown much, but at least they are still alive – which is something.  I would like to redo the plot with new topsoil so I might give that some thought and see if it will improve things. But I think the important thing is to make it dog proof. I think part of the trouble in this area of the back is that the dogs are doing their thing to help by personally watering the plants.  The experiment with the propagation sand was a bit of a fizzier. I have bought new  fencing which I will put around the area I want to plant in. It should be high enough to keep the dogs out and let me have the fun of watering things on my own – without any help. When we finished the function at the Hardware Shop, I made my way to the Foreshore to assist at the other function and was there until after 4pm. So, from 08:30 – 4:00 it was a  long and tiring day. I was quite happy to get my feet up for a bit.

Sunday evening and we have the Clan for Dinner, which is something of a tradition. Well I think it’s a tradition with everyone that has children – they grow up – leave home then came back each week for  Mum’s Sunday Dinner. I like this because it’s what we used to go with our parents when we were children – every Sunday we would take turns visiting the relatives and finally, after a while, they all met at our house – about every five weeks or so – and yes, we have been round to the boys places  for dinner. I like that.

 

 

Cyclones, Microchips and Black Thumb

Romp in the long grass - "sigh"
Romp in the long grass – “sigh”

As I am writing a Severe Category 5 Cyclone is about to batter into North Queensland. Here in our little corner of the Commonwealth, the rain has finally stopped. I have been out doing some stuff for the RFDS and on the drive back to the house, I could actually see the stars – which means, no rain clouds. This weekend will be a very busy weekend between RFDS and the Church I probably wont sit down much before 4pm Sunday after we put the Moderator on the aircraft to return to Adelaide. I have a trailer load of stuff waiting to get taken down to the dump and it’s been waiting for the best part of a week now. I hope to be able to get it attended to on Monday morning.  Herself is still loosing blood, still tired but she keeps going on. Nothing else for it, really. We are still waiting to see the  specialist and I have a feeling I may have to take her to Adelaide for that.

In May I have to be in Adelaide for most of a week to attend the State Assembly, then I’m fairly free  until early June. I should be there twice in June, but I have the  suspicion that I could develop a bit of a cold for one of them.  I had thought of going to the Andrea Bocelli concert in September and then I had a look at the ticket prices and by the time I pay transport and hotel bills I would not have a lot of change out of $1100 and I really cannot justify that.  I’m not being a cheapskate but $1100 for a two and a half hour concert is really not justifiable. Yes I could get very cheap tickets and I suppose people will, but it seems pointless to me to go to a concert and be so far away from the stage that you need a telescope to see it.

It’s Australia! The Category 5 cyclone was downgraded to 4 -3-2-1 -severe tropical storm, which caused some damage, but, thankfully, not as much as was expected. There was damage to power lines, trees and some structural damage, but mostly heavy rain and flooding. Thankfully, also, the weekend is over and I can sit down. It was a hectic three days starting with an RFDS function on Friday, then all day Saturday – 10am – 8pm  and from 9:30 Sunday until 3pm.  And to round it all off, we had the entire clan for dinner on Sunday evening. This morning I did, finally, manage to get the trailer emptied, so it’s all ready for use again.

I telephoned my Vet this morning asked about the Microchip of my dogs and how long does it last – it remains active for as long as the dog is alive. The only time any changes

This is what rain looks like...
Sneaky things, clouds..

are made is if the dog changes ownership and the registration has to be changed. Other than that – it’s for life.

Next month I have to spend a week in Adelaide and have been looking for a hotel. Normally I stay in the same place, but on this particular occasion, it has been decided to divide the Assembly- two days at one venue, two days at another – stupid idea if you ask me!! So I was looking – on line – for a place somewhere between the two. Was asleep and just after midnight (00:22) I had a telephone call from a Holiday Inn who wanted to talk rates with me. I was not impressed and it took me a while before I settled down and got back to sleep. Guess where I wont be staying?? But after all that I would seem that the best course of action is to do nothing and go where I generally go and put up with the extra traveling for the two days. Still think it’s a silly idea and something we have never done before. I do hope it’s not setting a precedent.

RFDS Aircraft
RFDS Aircraft

I have two RFDS functions this week – one tomorrow (Wednesday ) and one on Saturday. Tomorrow should be a fine day but not so sure about the weekend. Thursday and Friday I hope to get some work done in the garden. I have not, as yet, ripped out the dead plants, but I will tomorrow. After that I think I really need to decide if it is worth continuing this struggle. – I think the “Black Thumb” has come back again. Sometimes all I have to do is look at a plant and it goes into self-destruct.  I think it’s a talent !!

Highways, by-ways and Mother Nature

I can still relate to this
I can still relate to this

Apart from a Football Match (Australian Rules) I have now discovered another reason for staying out of the City – International  OZ-Comi-Con is being held at the Showgrounds. This is annoying because I wanted to go to that this year. My son went last year and bought me a Warehouse 13 T Shirt and had photographs taken with Richard Dean Anderson. However, I have to be at a conference on Saturday morning and be back in time for a Barbecue. However, with these two events, the place will be packed and although I do have to do one thing in town, I might not be able to if I can’t get parked. I will probably drive into town, judge things and either try to park or drive back out again. I might get away with it on Friday morning but certainly not Saturday, although I wont be in town on Saturday anyway. I’ll be navigating the South Road. Joy! I was asked to go to Karrulta Park on Friday which works out good for me. I can pick up the ANZAC Highway which runs into West Terrace and puts me on the side of the road that I wanted to be in.  Well ok, Adelaide is not the world biggest metropolis,   but  coming into West Terrace from any other end means cutting across 10 lanes of traffic to get where I want to be –  South Terrace, North Terrace, ANZAC Highway and Sir Donald Bradman Drive all converge in West Terrace. From there I can head up to Salisbury. This is also a busy place, but far enough away from Adelaide to miss the crowds.

I do not really get irritated with many things but one of the things that does irritate me is the way comments (awaiting moderation) just vanish into cyberspace. This happens on a couple of sites so I’m not really sure if I should continue with these sites, or just go. Of course, this could be a roundabout way of telling me to go anyway  :o)

The drive to Adelaide was uneventful – thankfully. A lovely day and a good drive down. I  I did turn off the by-pass onto

 Sturt Desert Rose

Sturt Desert Rose

the South Road  and I have to say that I am impressed. No detours and the elevated roadway was all but completed – just some cosmetic finishing touches. A super road – but then it’s cost enough so it should be. Well,  that’s that section finished, now the fight starts about where the government is going to borrow the money to start work on the next section. My one criticism  is that because of the cosmetic work being undertaken, traffic on the new 8 lane (4×4) roadway was restricted to 60kph – less stress, no detours, but not all that faster in getting to Kurralta Park. I did manage to get the last photograph for my report at West Terrace before heading off to Salisbury. After the conference on Saturday I decided to make a detour that would see me back on the South Road and the

Lovely Day!! (38c)
Lovely Day!! (38c)

new highway again. This was amazing because the South Road Highway now blends into the Salisbury Highway, which then joins the  Port Wakefield Road and a direct run home on Highway 1. Bonus… I was home in plenty of time to feed the dogs and get us  over to my son’s place for the Barbecue.

Since I came back from Adelaide it’s been raining almost constantly. It’s been good in that my 22,500 ltr water is overflowing as is the 1350 ltr. water tank. The small  tank I use for watering plants – when they actually survive that is- which is not very often. The Hibiscus and the other bushes I planted have all died so we are slowly coming to the conclusion that the previous owners, who had a thing for concrete and gravel, may well have  made sure that nothing will grow on the little area of soil they left. What I am thinking about is weed matting and woodchips and give up this one-sided, unequal struggle. Mother nature is bigger than me  :o)