Saturday, March 24, 2012


"Oops, I did it again..." as the song goes.

We got suckered into taking another kitten, the last one left in a litter and no one wanted her because she was the plainest. What else could we do? She is four months old now, and is the second most cuddly, snuggly kitten in the world. (Delphi retains the number one spot - no contest really).

Oddly, it feels as though our household has rounded out again.

Old Sophie was always the odd one out - grey tabby among the three black cats. When she died (nearly a year ago now) we thought three was a nice number and yet when Irish came to live with us - an orange tabby - somehow everything just felt balanced again. I can't really describe it better than that. 

She has settled in beautifully with the other animals. She has had outside access for a month now and is very clean. She is just starting to venture further afield (always a worrying time with kittens) so today I have bought her a collar to let all the people she comes into contact with know that she is loved and not a stray. 

Now I just need to wait for her to come in so I can put it on her!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's with the weather?

Where I live in New Zealand has arguably the best weather in the country. We have mild winters and gloriously sunny springs, summers and autumns. It is even possible to get sunburned in winter here! But the past year has been very tropical, with rain, rain and more rain and high humidity which has seen the weed population in my garden explode in a way that I have never seen here before.

I'm very ashamed of this picture, but in my defence it has rained on every single day that I have had off work for about three months, and I am not exaggerating. I almost felt inclined to name the amazing specimen of a weed (in the centre of the weedy patch) which grew from nothing to over four feet high in the space of two weeks ! That is, indeed, what two weeks of solid rain and mild temperatures will do. This entire corner had been weed free prior to the rain, I swear.
The Japanese maple and the moptop Robinia are newish. I planted them in November and had to tie them to the fences so that they withstood the roaring spring winds that promptly followed their planting. They have stood up to the rigors well, though. In the midst of all those weeds, and completely obscured by them, is the little Meyer lemon tree sapling I planted months ago. Now that I have decided to make this corner into a shady garden I am going to uplift it and replant it elsewhere. My end game is to underplant the two trees with hostas and other shady garden plants. And perhaps paint one of my wooden park benches a deep red or blue and nestle it between the trees. It will be a lovely spot to sit on hot sunny summer days - you know....the kind of sunny days we usually get.

 Remember this view down the side of the house?

Well, with the not-working spa pool removed, and a few bushes growing in the wasteland, it now looks like this:

Still so much to do, and you can see the awful jasmine everywhere. Pruning makes it grow back faster, so all I can do is keep blitzing it with weedkiller, but unfortunately I need several dry hours each time I spray and the weather has not been helpful at all. It is constantly two steps forward and one step back. It is disheartening at times, but I am determined to beat it.