August 2017


If you have a dog, and you have a garden, you probably have two of the best things in the world! A dog or two really make a garden, and having dogs gives you reasons to be out in that garden with them. From the fun to the dreary and mundane, and everything in between, dogs and gardens are great things to have.

Dogs help by doing some pruning, at the moment, one of our three dogs has been increasing her fibre intake by trimming the grass that is slightly long … They get rid of pests at times too, which can be somewhat scary, when the pest is a venomous snake, BrownSnake_Australiawhich has happened in the past. It’s still too cold for snakes at the moment, but we’ll be keeping an eye out as things warm up in Springtime …

Dogs also keep themselves fit by chasing birds. I’m glad that most of the time, the birds are quick enough to fly away in time. Sometimes they aren’t and it’s especially this Springtime/mating season when the birds can get ‘distracted’ and it’s the dogs and not the birds that get lucky … That’s the way of Nature, carnivores eat flesh …

Our garden provides us humans with food too. At the moment we have garlic and herbs growing, and we have tomatoes at the growing leaves and flowers stage, so tomatoes should follow. We also have almond trees with lots of blossom, so if we get organised and put up some netting, we can beat the cockatoos and have almonds later in the year. We also have two large Old Man Saltbush trees as well as I think three smaller ones. We don’t use these much for food, but the option is there if we want to.

We have had lettuces recently, and there are some small baby spinach plants outside. On our back patio we have two hanging baskets with strawberry plants in them. There’s one strawberry that has reddened up nicely, and we may be eating that one very soon. There are a few other strawberries coming along there too, even though it isn’t really strawberry time quite yet. I hope for lots more strawberries a little later on.

Our dogs would probably like to eat all of these things, but they either can’t get into where these goodies are, or they’re up too high for the dogs. Our dogs are fed well, and they won’t starve because we don’t let them eat our home grown goodies! I love the idea of us feeding ourselves, and I sure appreciate all muAH7rk(1)of the work my husband does to keep the produce plants going so well!

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I’ve checked the Bureau of Meteorology Website, and am preparing for some moderately heavy rains that appear to be on the way. There’s no rain yet, although the image indicates there is supposed to be. But even though rain and image aren’t matched up yet, the look of the yellow and orange indications won’t allow me to rest easy.

garden produceI can see actual clouds outside and they’re looking threatening too, so I’ll stay inside, or at least close to cover for a while. There’s the tail end of a football game on, and after that there’ll be another one, the dogs are all comfortable settled inside, and I don’t need to be out there in the cold. Winter was toying with us a while ago, letting Spring have a play, but the colder weather certainly hasn’t finished yet.

The seasons are funny things, aren’t they? We all rely on Winter running from June to August, then in September it’s Spring, and so on. But it doesn’t always follow those human rules, and why should it? Nature relies on many different things, and even though some of those things happen because of things mankind has done, that certainly doesn’t mean we are controlling Nature. Nature is controlling us.

At least, if mankind we clever, we would allow Nature to control us. But of course people only THINK we’re clever, but the reality is something else. We cut down trees to plant crops in places that had good rainfall and then are surprised when the rain stops coming. Trees help to bring the rain – Trees suck the moisture from soil through their roots, then the moisture travels throughout the tree and the moisture leaves the tree as transpiration from the tree leaves.

It’s a natural process, and a reliable one, that people would do well to understand. I’m looking outside and then at the BOM site and it still isn’t matched up – cold but dry out there at my place still, even though the website indicates otherwise. Ah well, as long as the roof does its job properly, we should be fine in here, when the rain gets here. If it gets here … still waiting.

Weather is a strange thing. Such an unpredictable thing, it is, but it’s reliably good as a conversation starter. If you’re meeting someone and can’t think of a thing to say, just mention the weather, and away the words will flow … Something like, “Hasn’t this winter been cold, lately?” will do it. The other person will agree, or not, and either way, that’s a conversation.

anankaPets are good for conversation starters. If you have a dog, or two, or three, you can ask someone if they have a dog, and if they do, they’ll love telling you about their precious pet. If they don’t have a dog, but have a different pet, then they can talk about that pet and you can both talk about the differences and similarities of your pets.

a-rose-by-any-other-nameGardens are good conversation starters too. Growing can be an obsession for some people and they can talk about their roses, or their pumpkins, or radishes , or petunias for hours if they get the chance. I’ve been enjoying all of the flowers we have growing at the moment. And I’m getting interested in our strawberries because of their flowers and the delicious fruit that will come in time, with sunshine and time.

Winter isn’t really the right time for strawberries, but ours grow in hanging pots under cover and so never really stopped producing fruit. When petals fall off, then the strawberry begins to grow. In sunshine the whole thing happens more quickly. At the moment we have several new strawberries coming along, with one of them beginning to change colour from green to pink/red. These winter strawberries are small though, the fruit we had before winter’s cold came along here bigger.

The rain seems to have started now, not heavy yet, but we’ll see how it goes. And the new game is getting ready to start now, Fremantle versus someone or other, and I’d better watch it, because I like Fremantle, it’s my second favourite AFL team. The Adelaide Crows weren’t able to give me a win for this round, so let’s see if Fremantle can do the job!

pelargoniumaleppo pine

I went outside earlier today, to hang out the washing, and to give the dogs a toilet break. The clothes are hanging, and drying, and the dogs are all toileted and now they’re back inside, as I am. It was beautiful outside (apart of course from the doggy do).

The sky, the sky, it’s always the sky. In the midst of boring, familiar, basic things, there is the sky. I began this blog post some time ago. Two months, three months or few months? No, I don’t think so. It feels to me it was at the beginning of Winter, perhaps, and now we’re at the end of Winter – mild days, unless it’s raining, but cold nights, with Winter’s frozen claws holding on to its season.

But Spring is there too, these mild days we’re having now, when the clouds are held at bay, when the sunshine promises much and delivers some of it. These lovely almost Spring days … Bulbs planted many seasons ago are growing, green leaves first, and now, on the cusp of calendar’s Spring, we have flowers, or almost flowers. Tiny purple grape hyacinths, popping up in the middle of pine tree cones and other bits and pieces of Nature thrown down or dropped to eventually meld into the earth.

And we have freesias, again, not actually flowering as such yet, but the flowering stalk is there, and will be blooming soon, so soon. Will we have new colours, as Nature has played underground with the bulbs from last season to this? Or will the colours be the same mix as usual, and I try to remember, what were those colours, anyway? Beautiful colours, whatever they were, that’s for certain. And the plastic pot that once held agapanthas, and now is home to some more bulbs, that one’s been showing green strappy leaves for two months. I know what colour those bulbs will be, a deep orange/red with yellow, star shaped – Sparaxis is the name of that one, I’ve discovered after a combination of some research online and my memory.

There are no dogs out the front of our house, we have no fencing that would allow our dogs to go there, and there were no strays there with me earlier today when I was looking around at various plants … ¬†We have many, well over ten, geraniums in pots or in the ground in our front yard, most of them flowering again, or flowering still. There’s a variety of colours there, from bright red to white, with various shades of purple and pink in between.

I love geraniums, they’re so easy to grow from cuttings, and to take care of once you have plants growing. A little water every now and then will keep them growing and flowering well. For anyone who feels they have a brown thumb rather than a green thumb, geraniums will help you to grow things that won’t die on you!