Garden, work, and a dog.

For the moment work outside has come to a halt. It was raining for much of yesterday and it’s raining again today. I realise that probably makes me a bit of a woos – not getting out there and shifting the rock in the cold and the pouring rain, but there you are – guilty as charged. I might be annoyed at the weather but I bet you Weed Central is loving it. If it dries up during the day I might get something done.  I was also thinking of taking a run out to somewhere along the highway and have a look at what’s around. It would be great if we still had

The lower Flinders Ranges.
The lower Flinders Ranges.

Kangaroos wandering at the far end of the road – where everything used to end. I have not seen any wildlife since the area was fenced off and they started building houses there. It’s also meant that I have had to change where I take Chienne walking since the route we used to take is fenced off now.

One week from today and I go down to pick Catherine up from Adelaide Airport. We will be staying overnight in South Terrace before heading north in the morning – probably have breakfast along the way. Herself is very excited – you can tell be the way she has panic attacks every five minutes  :o)

The rain stopped and after lunch I went out and finished off the work I had to do. That is it – well not really,  because I have decided on a change that will extend the stone area by about four or five feet into the washing ( crazy paving) area. It will not impact on where she works and will help to create a better looking area all round.

At the risk of offending people, I have to confess that there are times when I despair of South Australia in particular and Australia in general. Inattention, drove  through a give way sign, killed four people – suspended sentence.  In New South Wales –  Man arrested – kidnapped and raped five children – three of these little children, one 9 years old, one 17 year old, held a knife to their throat and told the young children that if they made a sound he would kill them. He got 12 years –  just over 2 years per child-  and it’s not even 12 years – he’ll be out in seven.  It occurs to me that we as a society don’t have to really do or say anything that could bring the law into disrepute – they are doing a very good job on their own without any outside help. Did you know that  you can score a 25% discount on a sentence if you plead guilty and save the state the cost of a trial? That’s not justice – that’s money.  No wonder people want to come to Australia – you can do just about anything, get a slap on the wrist, told you are naughty and sent home. I  mean by his actions –  He Killed Four People – he can go home – they can’t – ever. I think there is something to be said for the American system where you get to elect judges or vote them out of office, but I suppose even that has flaws. Having said that I do so like the American sentencing system – life means life – 99 years sounds good.

Got all excited for a little while. I found a little Maltese wandering around looking kind of lost. I didn’t want to leave her so I brought her inside, as I was going out at the time.

No - it's not The Man , it's a Girl - close though..
No – it’s not The Man – close though..

Took Annabell to the hairdresser and then came back to attend to the little one.  Chienne was no problem – well two girls together, what more needs to be said  :0) We fed her and watered her then I put a collar and a lead on her and took her out to walk round the area. After about ten minutes this guy comes running out and calls the dog by name and she runs to him – so we found her daddy, who was very pleased and happy to have her back. Didn’t get a photograph to the two girls together but at least the little one is now home safe and sound.

Dogs, Gardens, R & R

With all this Biblical stuff going on, fire, floods, pestilence, snow, the garden has been very much neglected.    Ok, ok, I lied about the snow!!!                    The adverse weather conditions, being surrounded by trees  that drop branches and leaves at the slightest cough, and  my being inconveniently ill,  the garden has the appearance of a building site ( actually bomb site would be a better description)  I would love to get out there and get on with things and I will – with some things –  but I am discovering that there are limits to what I can and cannot do at the moment.  I made that mistake in Adelaide last week.  I am sort of trapped between a rock and a hard place – I want to get out there and get on with things, but I know that I am limited in what I can do until such times as we discover just what exactly is happening. Will know more after Tuesday when I undertake some tests.

In the 60’s, people took drugs to make the world weird.

Now the world is weird, and people take antidepressants to make it normal.

The "Young"Man
The “Young”Man
Guard Duty is exhausting
Guard Duty is exhausting

Chienne is much the same and the Man is still with us. He’s slowing down and I  still have to rescue him, but he’s fine. I hand feed him in the morning and I have started to hand feed -sort of – in the evening. What I do is bring him and his dinner over to my chair. I sit on the floor with legs out. I put him over my left thigh – back legs one side front legs the other – with the food bowl on my right thigh and he eats away quite happily without falling or in any pain. I know it might sound a bit awkward but he’s comfortable enough and eats away until his food’s finished, and, more importantly, without any stress. Yes, I was born for this – to be a food trolley to a Maltese Dog.  :o) Oh, and why the left thigh? He does not like  the right thigh – different aspect perhaps. However, something odd has cropped up in recent months. I thought at first it was a “one off” when I watched it, but I see it happen a lot these days and Herself says Chienne has been doing this for a while. She is grooming  The Man. He just sits there and she licks his face and his ears. I  am puzzled – I thought only cats did this.

I did some work out in the garden today. Nothing too much, just some sweeping up leaves and using the leaf blower/vacuum. I did throw some rubbish into the trailer but nothing heavy.  I was also thinking that if the weather remains fine, I might just break out the hammock and stand. We’ll see how things go.  I should be heading off to Adelaide next Friday morning but I will have to wait and see. It’s  only been two months since the last meeting and I guess it’s a bit much to expect the minutes of that meeting to be available this early. – The meeting, it would appear, has been put off until the 14th Feb. so, in essence I have been two and a half months at home without really doing anything much other than catching up with some reading;  a little bit of work outside and going for walks with Chienne and sometimes with The Man. When he is with us we don’t go very

This used to be the end of the road.
This used to be the end of the road.

far and even the little distance we do do, takes ages since he is slow and tends to wander. It makes for an interesting walk. If Chienne wasn’t so freaked out about going in the car, I would take them  to the beach. I could take him on his own but if I strap him into the seat he screams and cries all the way. He wants to come and sit on my lap and whilst I used to do this, it is now illegal  to have an animal on your lap when driving and it carries with it a hefty fine and demerit points. In fact to have an animal in the car not strapped in is illegal.

 

Holes in the Garden and the Man

Sturt's Desert Pea
Sturt’s Desert Pea

Two trips to Adelaide in two successive weeks – one this Wednesday and the other the following Friday. I have one run to Elizabeth in November for the Commission and one in December for the  Conference and that will be me for the year. I don’t have to move out of town until next February. All of this, of course, depending on no medical trips to Adelaide – although I don’t foresee any.  I have spent the last few days working in the garage and clearing that out and this afternoon,  after a medical appointment, I will get changed and work on the retaining wall. This weekend – as I said earlier – I have four fundraising events for the Royal Flying Doctors. I’m doing the first one tomorrow and I am not looking forward to getting up at 5am.  :o). I may leave the  back until tomorrow and do some work out front. The Sturt’s Desert Pea is now past its best and looking very scraggy and untidy so I will cut that back. The Desert Rose is blooming well enough but somewhat untidy. I am, however, reluctant to do anything about it at the moment. I really don’t want to prune it just yet.

The flies have been atrocious these last few days and I have taken to wearing a thing for my hat. I think I did mention this once before but they (the flies) were driving me nuttier than I already am. AftReally crazy pavinger I cut back the Desert Pea and swept up  I put a new bench in the garage and sorted out the old bench, so now I just have oi tidy up the garage and put things away in their new places and I can get back to the retaining wall. In the meantime herself would like me to shift the clothes line to a new location. I told her I’ll add it to my “to do” list, which I don’t think impressed her too much. I will get around to it – in the fullness of time  :o)  I have actually I’ve had a look at it and I will have to dig up the  unit that holds the clothes line in place. That should not do too difficult. It will simply mean getting a new unit and cementing that one in instead. Piece of Celery (I’m not allowed cake)  Still leaves me with the problem of the “crazy paving” and that very uneven surface and unless I sort that out she will still have difficulty using that area. On the photograph it looks not too bad but it is only when you get up close and personal that the uneven nature of the stones becomes apparent – and remember I didn’t do this; it was here when we bought the place. I did look into bonded aggregate but that’s very expensive – even to get the resin and the other materials and do it myself. I’ve thought about rubber matting and  artificial turf. Not really sure what I can do here but as it is it is too uneven and thus  dangerous for Herself to walk on.

The Man is causing concern in that he has  loosing his eyesight faster than expected, he keeps trying to bite me when I touch him, but once I survive the attempts to bite and set him down next to his diner, he eats well enough.  I still hand feed him in the morning ( and he doesn’t try to bite me then) and slip in his medication. He refuses to use the stroller and he gets very stroppy when I lift him because the walking is too much for him. I put him down because I consider it much safer to have him on the ground than have him struggle too much and fall out of my arm and onto the hard surface of the road, or the hard ground. He still runs around the house and from time to time he bangs into things – including me.  He was outside today and we heard him yelping, on and on so we went out to investigate.  Now you may remember that herself asked me to shift her washing line and I was in the process of doing just that. The Hills Hoist is fitted inside a metal sleeve which is  dug and cemented into the ground. I had dug the hole but with all the new housing being built around the place, the sleeves were out of stock at all three hardware shops. I was talking to herself when we heard the yelping. At first we thought it was just his normal yapping at a blank wall, but it went on so we investigated and found — yes you guessed it  the Man had gone into the hole and could not get out. I mean it’s not a great big hole, but he managed to get stuck in it. Anyway, I lifted him out and as a thank you Daddy, he tried to bite me – again.  I am so glad he has no teeth  :o)  We have put a bucket in it for the moment – until such times as I can get a sleeve from somewhere – probably Adelaide next weekend.

 

Garden, Hugs and anti-social me.

This is last year's photograph but the odd things is that it is starting to flower again in the same pattern
This is last year’s photograph but the odd things is that it is starting to flower again in the same pattern

There has been serious precipitation for ten hours now and if the weather heats up just a tad, I might go for a swim in the back garden – no I

This is just for Suzie :o)
This is just for Suzie :o)

don’t have a swimming pool  :o) I may have to take a trip to a laundry and throw the dog beds in a drier. I think one of them has gone out, got soaked and came back into bed. Although, as the sun comes up – or as it gets light – things tend to change and  I might be able to get them dry during the course of the day.

You would think that with all this wet stuff, grass would be knee deep and I dare say in other parts of  the State ( Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills region and the South East) it would be. Here we do not have grass – ever. We have saltbush. Yes there is grass but not natural – it’s grass on well manicured lawns. Even this is dying out as water costs continue to rise and a government that is so strapped for cash, it wants to charge water fees if we have a rainwater tank and use the water we have collected.  They are charging farmers for the amount of water they have in their  stock dams. Well, yes, the State Government acknowledges that the water falling from the sky belongs to G-d, but once it hits South Australia – it belongs to them  :o)

I’m good. I really am good. They say that Bougainvillea are hard to kill – don’t you believe it.  Anyway, the plants I bought from the  Garden Shop are dying, but the two I bought from the hardware shop are surviving. I have found this before, that some things from the Garden Shop do not survive as they should and things from “unusual” sources do.  Also I have to say ‘rejoice with me” because my Sturt’s Desert Pea is starting to bloom. There are buds and a few early flowers and when they burst out I’ll take some photographs with the Desert Rose in the background. At the moment the Desert Rose has about five flowers on it, but as I said before they are so delicate they do not last for very long. The interesting thing is that the Gardner  at the Arid Lands BG told me that the Desert Pea will only last for a year.  If I wanted another flowering I would have to get another plant. However, mine last year didn’t die and  after dying back, as opposed to dying off – resurfaced again and now it is about to flower. I am told that this is unusual

I Like Linus.!
I Like Linus.!

I have completed a nine page report  and sent it to Adelaide. I have chosen a hotel equidistant between the two venues and far enough out of the way to wind down at night in preferred isolation. I just like to be on my own.  It allows me to write up my notes and thoughst for the day,  spend some time reading, eating and then bed. It’s not that I am anti-social but after spending all day with a group of people I prefer to be on my own for a while – and besides, there is the traditional Dinner along with the traditional group photograph – and no. I don’t go to the dinner either.  :o)

Well, ok then, perhaps just a tad anti-social. As I have said before, this is a metro-centric State and they are the Adelaide Boys Club – I really do not have anything in common with them – at least nothing we could sit down with a glass of wine and socially chat about for an evening. Yes I will have a glass of wine and some cheese and either read,   work on my notes, start writing up my report for the Magazine or listen to music – and that’s generally how I will spend much of the week – exciting – yes??

I want to rebuild this sometime.
I want to rebuild this sometime.

The wonders of a modern society: you pack your clothes and papers then you pack another bag with all your electronic devices – laptop,  pad, phone, camera – and because you are away for a while – you also need to pack all the chargers. How did we manage in the past  ?  :o)

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.

Cell phones, Flowers and Teddy Bears

Aren’t mobile (Cell) phones wonderful. During the trip back  home I was able to call herself and get her to have a taxi waiting for me when the coach arrived at the

Samsung S 3
Samsung S 3

terminal. Thus, I was home at 11:50 – before midnight  :o) Apart from the  crazy idea of walking through Adelaide, I was fairly fresh by the time we got in and then home. I stayed up for a while and worked on my notes and report – which I have  about four weeks to complete.  It was a good meeting, interesting and very worthwhile and I am really glad that I made the decision to go. Thursday I took herself to her medical appointment and spent most of the day in and around the house keeping an eye on her since she had had pre-op medication. Friday and she was admitted into the hospital – Day Surgery.  I took her up to the hospital at 7am and at 7:30 they came to collect her. I came back home.  As the time started to wear on past lunch I  was just a tad concerned. I didn’t get a call to go back and pick her up until 2:30, but I spent a good deal of the time working on the introduction and the first part of the report. I went to the hospital when I was called but it was after 3pm before we were finally on our way home. The rest of the day was fairly quiet and I let her rest. Dinner was  light and simple and after the news she watched Rugby and I vanished into the room to do some work. I did take the dogs out for a while. Anyway,  we don’t have to go back to the hospital until 5th June, so we have a bit of a break, which should allow us to return to semi-normality for a bit.

The Lasiandra
The Lasiandra

As an aside  – I have to say that I told the doctor’s practice manager over the phone that  I was going to charge her for all the white-out I was using as she changed times and dates on me. Next time I went up there she handed me a Liquid Paper unit.  My comment was ” I was only joking” her comment was ” Yes but I’m not and I have to change the date for the next appointment ”  :o)

Since the hospital I have been busy planting several rows of Lettuce and several rows of Parsley. I have also planted an attractive  Lasiandra Jules, so it would be nice if that takes. The Sturt’s Desert Rose amazes me. The flowers are so delicate, but the bush on which they flourish is as tough as nails. It’s amazing the contrast between the hardy plant and the delicate flowers that never last more than a few hours.

I continue to take the dogs out each night and whilst I still carry the Man for a bit, I find that I am not carrying him for

A Man and his  Teddy Bear
A Man and his Teddy Bear

as long as I used to. I think perhaps the cooler weather is good for him. I believe that and the fact that I take them out after the sun goes down ( no flies ) is a great help. He does sleep a lot but he is still eating well and he still gets excited about going out – in fact if I am slow in getting ready, the pair of them are not slow in t

elling me.  The Man is about thirteen and a half and the problems with his life before he was rescued are really starting to tell.  He has no teeth and when I give them their treat in the morning, Chienne takes hers out side and I close the door on her – that way I can break his treat up and hand feed him until it’s all gone. I have not measured him for a set of wheels since he seems to be walking a lot better in this cooler weather and I would rather he continues to  walk whilst he can, but I will order them when I think it’s necessary.

Hospitals. Canberra and Gooseberry Bushes

ANZAC Parade Memorial, Canberra
ANZAC Parade Memorial, Canberra

Over the last week or so  things have not been so well for some of the people I receive mail from – some of the posts I follow  – and this  distresses me because  I look on you all as extended friends and I find it all the more sad where animals, dogs or cats, are concerned. I have  parted with three dogs and two of them died in my arms. The little man still gets excited about going out but he spends a good bit of the time with me carrying him and I suppose it must look strange – me walking along with two dogs, one on a leash and one in my arm.  But he likes to see what’s going around him and he does enjoy his outings.

We were at a medical appointment yesterday and did not get home until after 6pm. At one point there was talk of admitting Annabell into hospital as her blood pressure was 210/70 – well that’s what they told me. But in the end it was decided to let her come home. Poor thing was tired and  rather than start to try and make something for dinner, I got a take-away on the way home. After dinner she went to bed and has been sleeping since – well almost, I did hear her get up once during the night. Of course, I did say that 2014 was fairly reasonable thus far, and that’s true but only because I am keeping things organised and can make sense of all the appointments, but having a blood pressure of 210/70 is, to say the very least, worrying. Also receptionists calling me and changing days and times  of appointments doesn’t help  :o) But we are fine – we can manage – me, herself, the dogs and a Filofax.

DSCF0006
ANZAC Parade from the National Memorial

She needs to rest so I am chief cook and bottle washer for the time being. Goodness, it’s perhaps as well that I actually like to cook. There are some things she cannot eat so I have to be careful but this evening I made Omelette with cheese, onions , vegetables and a small side salad, a slice of  chocolate cake and cream. I fed the dogs after the dishes were washed and put away – oh yes I am very domesticated. I suppose that’s the price of growing up in a household of females. But she is able to cope fairly well and is still cheerful and things are not quite so bad and once they get to the bottom of this and perhaps the two appointments this coming week will help to do just that.

The garden, whilst not neglected, has had little more than merely maintenance – i.e. sweeping up leaves and keeping things tidy. Although I did plant a Hibiscus in a new (to me) and unusual way.  I cut the bottom off a planter and split it down the side. I dug the hole for the Hibiscus larger than necessary and put the planter in the hole. I then  put a good  amount of propagating sand in the bottom, put in the Hibiscus and filled up the rest of the planter with the sand – then watered it in. In a few days I will remove the container and hope that the plant takes. Surrounded by the sand I think it might. And the Gooseberry Bush is pushing out shoots, so the cooler weather is good for it.

The Man sleeps a lot, which I expect is good for him. He still gets excited about going out and now is actually sending me a summons when HE thinks it’s time to go  :o) I take them out at 7:30 because the sun has started to go and the flies are a lot less. At about 7:20 he starts barking and whining and it’s as if the little character can tell the time.

Whilst herself was sleeping today I wandered through my files to find some photographs of our trip to Canberra. I would like to back there and perhaps we will if and when herself is up to the travel.