It Seems To Be Working

Nugget darted under my feet this morning as I swept the beech nuts from the Rose Garden paving and the gravel paths,

 

 

and around Jackie when she continued planting.

Sometimes he took a bird’s eye view of proceedings.

Here Jackie demonstrates that she has some thyme to plant;

and here converses with her little familiar. “Where’s Nugget?” (33).

Hoping to accustom him to a robin feeder for the winter she has installed one in the cryptomeria, bearing just small tokens. It seems to be working.

Bees, like this one homing in on bright red salvia

and this plundering a pink pelargonium;

as well as butterflies such as this Painted Lady, continue to bask in our sunshine on such a day.

This afternoon I watched a recording of the Rugby World Cup match between South Africa and Canada.

Later, we took a short trip into the forest where, at Holmsley, bracken has really browned;

 

some leaves take on an autumnal hue, while others remain green;

grasses bent to the breeze;

the stream spanned by the eponymous Passage is filling up and flowing briskly;

trees were silhouetted on the sky line;

and a gatepost sporting a boot without which a child had departed pleaded for a rescue dog which had left home.

This evening we dined on prime pork loin steaks roasted with tomatoes and mushrooms; plentiful mushroom stroganoff; firm peas, and tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Brouilly.

 

Almost Too Quick

Heavy rain this morning gave way to bright, sunny, spells; in one of which I photographed some raindrops

on roses, dahlia Puerto Rico, a begonia, a pelargonium, fuchias, and penstemons.

Japanese anemones had managed to stay dry.

It didn’t take Nugget long to join in, and

he was almost too quick for “Where’s Nugget?” (29)

Becky and Ian joined us late this afternoon and accompanied us to the Regent Centre in Christchurch where we watched “Downton Abbey”, then drove to Bowling Green to dine at The Wheel Inn. I will report on this tomorrow.

Have I Found A Redshank?

We enjoyed another very hot temperature with clear, pale blue, skies today.

In the garden bees laboured on rudbeckia;

Small White butterflies were ubiquitous;

sun produced X-ray images of such as hollyhocks and pelargoniums;

and cart wheels spoke to the low bark of the eucalyptus.

I wandered around for a while. As usual, titles may be found in the galleries.

Nugget flew at the closed utility room window while expressing his dissatisfaction with Jackie because she spent her time watering plants instead of digging up his breakfast. Bouncing onto the paving below he appeared to have recovered

enough to continue on his own chirpy way.

This afternoon we visited Shelly and Ron with birthday presents, just after Helen and Bill had arrived. We spent pleasant hour together, assisted with the crossword and accepted that we couldn’t put the world to rights.

Giles collected me early this evening for a birding session at the Milford on Sea hide.

As we left by the kitchen door, Nugget, perched on the patio rocker waved us on our way.

Such a hazy mist hung over Sturt Pond that visibility was somewhat shrouded. The Isle of Wight was quite invisible;

walkers on the spit and the bridge were given a nebulous quality.

A crow surveyed the scene from a wooden wire fence post.

We were joined in the hide by 8 year old Will Ryan and his parents.

I managed to identify the spread wings of a cormorant, but

I was at a loss to be sure about the redshank to which this engaging young man did his best to guide me. I may have one or two in this collection. Ornithologists among my readership may be kind enough to let me know. Bigification can be obtained from the gallery.

This evening Jackie and I dined on spicy pepperoni pizza and plentiful fresh salad.

Jackie Frost

Although it wasn’t to last long, we awoke to our first proper frost of the season

Jackie photographed the panoramic views from the dressing room and from the garden bedroom upstairs.

She then toured the garden and brought back this gallery of images. As usual titles are given on accessing the gallery with a click on any of the pictures. The sun soon brought the temperature up and each one of the wilted plants on display had returned to its full glory by midday.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendidly matured succulent sausage casserole; creamy swede and potato mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender curly kale; and red cabbage imbued with the piquancy of vinegar and soy sauce.

A Loony

Dawn skies 1Dawn skies 2Dawn skies 3Dawn skies 4

I couldn’t resist nipping out this morning to photograph the dawn skies. When Jackie opened the bedroom curtains she saw what she later described as ‘this loony standing in the middle of the road in his dressing gown and slippers. He must have been freezing’. The first two pictures above are looking down Christchurch Road at the front of the house. The others are from the back garden.

The wind was eerily still after several weeks raging.

Rose ballerina

Even the Ballerina just outside the rose garden held a motionless pose.

Pelargonium

Sub-Zero temperatures overnight have not killed off the pelargoniums, although some are looking a little crinkly at the edges;

Geranium palmatum

and their hardier relatives, geranium palmatums having been fooled, by the earlier temperate weather, into a fresh flush of flowers, remain resilient.

Griselinia hedge

This morning, Aaron and Robin completed the pruning of the griselinia hedge,

Sawn beech trunk

then cut down a self-seeded beech tree that was threatening our neighbour’s fence. In cutting inserts for rain, Aaron had a stab at engraving his own initials.

Here is the link to my posting on http://livelytwist.com/2015/11/22/shifting-gears-3/ today.

I pasted the recycling section into the garden album, and printed up the next section.

This evening we dined on chicken and bacon pasta bake, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans, followed by Post House Pud. My choices of filling for the meringue nest were lemon cheesecake and vanilla and toffee ice cream. In case you are wondering, that wasn’t a great mix. I drank Bardolino classico 2013.

Owling With Attitude

The blackbird still sits on her nest. Peering through shrubs at a safe distance, sometimes her bright little eyes are visible to the viewer, sometimes her upturned tail.

Brambly bedToday’s task for me was to clear one bed of brambles and other unwelcome growth. Simple enough for a day’s work. I thought. In fact the wild blackberry bushes were the least of my problems.

As I began to feel my way into the undergrowth I came across a number of previously unseen plants. Passion flower chokedOne was a heavily-budded passion flower which had become entwined in a hebe, and, of course brambles. The necessary disentanglement was a most delicate operation.Passion flower support Having carried out the surgery I gave it a leg-up by means of netting attached to a metal post set in concrete that Jackie had found elsewhere in the garden. Another such climber had clung to the weeping branches of the birch tree, but had many stems trailing in and out of the bed grasping at anything in its path. Further similar treatment was required. This time the netting was strung between two wooden stakes.

Two types of tree that are abundantly self-seeded in this garden are hawthorn and bay. There was one of each in this bed, their roots, as always, taking shelter among those of  other plants; in this case the weeping birch and some lilies that have not yet flowered.Bed head screwed to birch I had no chance of reaching them unless I removed the wooden bed head nailed to the tree. No doubt this once had a decorative purpose of sorts.  I couldn’t prise it off. Once the rust had been scoured off the nailhead it turned out to be a screw, so dilapidated as to be bereft of a slot. I tried to make one with the trusty hacksaw. I couldn’t get it deep enough.

Then along came Superwoman, who saw that if we removed the rickety slats and the other end, we could leave the post where it was. D’oh!

That is what we did. I dug out the offending trees and replaced the rest of the bed head. Two of the joints had by now disintegrated, so nails will have to be used, when I have bought some of sufficient length. In order that it does have a decorative function, I optimistically fed a passion flower stem through the secure bit.

Jackie speaks of the June gap, which is that unproductive time between the finishing of the spring flowers and before the arrival of those of the summer. The planting here has been so well planned that there is no such hiatus. Water lilyPhiladelphusWhite bush roseRose - pink abundancePetuniasPetunias - magentaDiasca and pelargoniumBegoniaPoppiesVerbascumRodgersiaClematises Star of India and Rouge CardinalI took a break after lunch and photographed water lily, philadelphus, roses, petunias, diasca, pelargonium, begonia, poppies, verbascum, rodgersia, and clematises which are just a few of those we currently have flowering.

Our blackbird is still awaiting the emergence of her chicks. Not so the owl in my friend Hari’s tree. Her two are about three weeks old, and able to reach the ground, but do need to be returned to their Mum. If I am able to photograph our fledglings I am confident that my pictures would not be as striking as the one Hari e-mailed me today.Owling by Harri She believes the creature was displaying a mind of its own when it stared back at its rescuer. I rather like her term for a baby owl, especially one with attitude, which has provided today’s title.

This evening’s meal was Jackie’s beef and mushroom pie with mashed carrots, swede, and potatoes; and crisp cauliflower and broccoli. Tiramisu ice cream was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the tempranillo.

If you have a shop that can sell you ready prepared pastry and have saved enough beef casserole (recipe) you, too could make the pie. Simply drain off the sauce from the casserole and use it as gravy; roll out the pastry, insert the filling into it, and bake it in the oven for about half an hour on 200. The chef, when pressed for her timing, said: ‘Oh, I don’t know, I didn’t time it, I just stood and looked at it until it was the right brownness’. I don’t expect she did this for the whole time, but I think that gives you the idea.