Friday, March 28, 2008

Busy Gardening Day, 27 March, 08

Having gone to bed at about 4am, it was a late start to the day. Much better weather, sunny at first, then at tea time it changed to rather cold with a stiff wind. Jim popped into Gort to do the shopping. I weeded the rockery and spread our home made compost over it. Also planted some saxifrage, red, pink and white. They are so pretty and make lovely mounds like a cushion. I also planted some viola in the rockery and the Grotto bed. I spent the last couple of hours weeding there as it was a sheltered spot. Very wet underfoot, I moved a couple of big stones to stand on. It started to get dark and my feet were like stones, so I headed in just in time for dinner. Sausage, chips, egg and baked beans. Wonderful.

Martin the farmer's cows keep getting out and wandering all over our drive and eating some of our bushes. Very annoying. If I see him, I'll mention that his one band electric fence does not keep them in. The poor things are hungry as the field has very little grass left in it.

The cats have played outside most of the day and have been worn out tonight. BlackJack on my knee as I type.

A bit of scrabble on Facebook and to bed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How Others Live and the Lawn Mower Hunt. Weds 27 March 2008

Well the Australia holiday has come and gone, a separate blog to follow. Now back in Ireland and loving the re-birth of the garden. The daffodils are still out, if a bit battered, the cats survived (just) and the magnolia stellata is just about to burst forth. A gorgeous camellia that we planted last year, dark pink, has one flower almost fully out. Various bulbs we planted on the fairy hill, rockery and arboretum beds are coming up. Lots of little blue grape hyacinths popping their heads up in contrast to the yellow of the daffodils. There are 2 stunning pale salmon colour hyacinths out on the arboretum bed, they are really a picture.

Some of the grass seed I scattered before Oz has come through and Jim has managed to mow the arboretum grass already. We have been trying to decide what extra machinery to get this year to make all the manual tasks a bit easier on our old bones and joints! Jim found a ride on mower for sale, second hand, not too far from Limerick, about an hour from us, and made an appointment for us to view it today. The weather has been weird all day with bouts of hail, incredibly heavy rain, sun and blue skies and black skies that make you think the end is nigh! Having driven through all this assorted weather, we found the house. The mower was parked outside, along with assorted toys, bits of machinery in various states of rusting decay, a noisy dog tied with a rope and mountains of mud!

Now had I been wanting to sell a piece of machinery I would have cleaned it at least. It was only one year old but looked 10. It had obviously been kept outside as there wasn't a shed anywhere and all the other machinery was also outside. The very friendly lady invited us in for a cup of tea and ushered us into the living room. There were 2 settees, both absolutely filthy, covered in muddy dog prints, food and an assortment of children in various states of undress! I sat on the window sill, Jim braved the settee. 2 dirty mugs were taken from the heap on the coffee table and reappeared filled with tea. A mad springer type dog leapt around pulling rubbish from a bag on the floor.

There was a small pile of festering baked beans under one chair and a frying pan under another. Plates on the fire guard and the mantel piece was piled high with dvds and any number of other bits and bobs. I was sure that if one item were moved, the whole lot would tumble to the floor. An enormous tv on the wall dominated the room. As we left the room, items were spilling out of the other rooms in view. Now I am not the fussiest housewife but I do like my kitchen to be clean and if anyone is coming, will tidy up a bit and maybe slap some polish here and there! I do have 'clutter' but it's clean clutter!

Having said all that, the children were very well behaved and brought us various toys to admire. In spite of all the chaos, the lady of the house was as calm as you like.

We didn't buy the mower.

We drove through more 'weather' and headed back to Limerick where there is a large lawn mower sales showroom. The most helpful salesman showed us many mowers from large to giant sized, industrial strength to average lawn size. For not much more money than the 2nd hand mower we had seen, we can get a marvellous, brand new 15.5 horse power ride on mower with a large cutting width and a trailer. Delivered free to our door, guaranteed for 2 years. Bargain. We need to sort out our funding then will buy one of the ride on beasts.

We lunched in an excellent cafe and mused over our odd experiences. A quick trip to Tesco and back home as the sky blackened once again and the rain poured down. Oh, we also bought 2 fruit trees, one plum and one greengage. 9.99 euros and big trees at that. While we were away a large plum tree in our orchard, which was diseased, crashed to the ground, as did an ash tree next to the fairy hill. So we have a replacement plum. Sadly it looks as though we may have to take down the rest of the ash tree, which is a multi trunked affair and the base is obviously rotten. All excellent fuel for Stanley though.

Before we went away, Paddy the architect came and measured for our renovation works. We rang his office on our return and he was to get back to us. No phone call yet. The Irish.......

On Sunday I fly to the UK for a 4 day caravan holiday with Sam, Jason and Jack (who I miss so much) and many other members of my extended family. Should be fun as the site has a club house and covered, heated swimming pool, so the weather isn't too important.