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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

I had organised for a skip bin to be dropped off on the Wednesday, so took Wednesday and Thursday off so H could help me fill it with rubbish from the garage. I’d specifically asked for one that was big enough for a an old double mattress. Well, what turned up was in no way big enough for a double mattress, so I was not best pleased. However, we managed to fill it with nearly all the extraneous stuff in the garage. Old poisons, paint or other liquids were prohibited, so they’ll have to be ditched later. I have no idea how to ditch the mattress as it’s too big for either car.

While going through stuff in the garage I came across a box of blue glass items, (glasses, dishes, vases, etc) given to me years ago. I put them up for sale on TradeMe. I also listed some chicken wire and a bird cage. There were old tools I’ll give away as well as a brazier. I’m not sure what to do with two old trunks used to transport goods from England to New Zealand…

The rest of the sunny day was spent in the garden – weeding and mowing the lawn.

On Thursday just after I had breakfast, two builders turned up to replace the damaged ceiling tile. I’d let them know I would be home but hadn’t heard anything back. They were quick and efficient (which is why I used them again after they did a great job with the sunroom). They discovered two ants’ nests in the roof which they removed and sprayed. Hopefully that will ease our ant problem a little. He advised an ant bomb in the roof area. The ceiling panel isn’t exactly the same as the old (now no longer produced) panel but he said some matt white paint would disguise it ok. Guess who now has to paint the whole ceiling. Sigh.

More sunshine, so I did more washing and weeding. I sat and read for a while and it actually got quite hot. The tui was singing so it was just wonderful to be outside soaking it all up.

So a good couple of days with lots achieved. I’ve even had a bid on the bird cage and some interest in the chicken wire.

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Started off well.  I pruned back plants against the house to make easier access for house painter.

Then took hem up of a top I bought (too long to wear with a skirt) and one of the pair of black pants.  The other pair is still soaking in white vinegar to try and get rid of the smell.  I shouldn’t have bought them but I couldn’t be bothered looking round for another pair.  Serve me right.

Converted some more tapes to mp3.

Finished a library book which is due back tomorrow.

Feeling tired and lethargic.  Slightly headachey.  Might go outside now the heat’s off (summer at last), to dig up a few weeds.

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A birthday weekend

The weekend ended up a pleasant sunny one.

It was my birthday on Saturday. H was working all weekend so it was up to me to amuse myself on Saturday. A work garden tour had been arranged for the day and I hadn’t seriously thought of going but as the day was so nice I decided to go along in the morning. I didn’t hurry. I had a relaxed breakfast and chatted to my brother who rang to wish me a happy birthday. I drove to town to the second garden on the list of five in total. It was a small, regimented garden of natives, lavender and a few flowers such as pansies, roses, etc. The owner of the garden showed us photos of what the garden had looked like before they ripped it apart. I actually preferred it but didn’t say so, although I did like their addition of a deck. Their backyard was overlooked by the house of our boss – not something I’d want! I’d been to the next two gardens before but was happy to go along again. The gardens weren’t so tidy this time and I felt much better about mine, which I’ve been tidying up a bit. I left just as they were preparing for lunch. The ‘tour’ had me enthused. I thought of buying new plants for pots and for a large grass-infested bed which needed a complete makeover. I’ve already taken the rosemary out and thought of pulling out the solitary rose which has done nothing since I last pruned it.

After buying something for lunch at home, I headed to a garden centre and bought $85 worth of plants. After lunch, I mowed the lawn and weeded the side garden. On the Sunday I weeded the front bed, which had also been taken over by grass. I planted two hebes there and some black grassy plants. Then onto the large bed at the back which I had made a start on. I pulled out the rose (it was reluctant). I moved a succulent and some gazanias, and pulled out more weeds. I planted some lobelia and another flower into pots. I decided to plant the two bushes I bought for the bed later.  I also relaxed in the sunshine with a G & T.

Late Saturday, H cooked a lovely meal of creamy mushroomy chicken pasta, my favourite. She’d also bought a sparkling white wine which we drank with it. Afterwards she gave me a gift – a GPS! This will come in handy for our South Island trip and I’ll take it for my trip to Tauranga next weekend in order to find my friend’s house which I haven’t been to since they moved. We watched a DVD I’d picked up on Friday “Oblivion”. We both found it hard to understand. We’re not Tom Cruise fans in any case, but had heard that the movie was good. “Meh.”

On Sunday, I did more gardening, as above. In the afternoon I headed out to Pohangina Valley estate to buy some wine for friend’s husband for his 60th. I put the GPS in the car and it worked. It wasn’t far to go and much of it was on one road, but it was amusing to hear the Australian female voice tell me to drive down Po-hang-ina (instead of the usual Kiwi-ised pronunciation of “Pahongina”). Dropped off to see a friend on the way back and some druids across the road from her.

H and I watched another DVD that night – “Skyfall”,during which she fell asleep. It was ok. Daniel Craig’s mouth reminds me of a duck. Rather callous ending I thought, considering the rather pointless event leading up to it.

Back to work today, for a short week before heading up to Tauranga on Friday.

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It has been a long time coming. The last public holiday was back in June!  The weather forecast was not promising but it’s been better than expected.

On Saturday I headed into town to get a new tyre for a warrant of fitness for the car, due in two weeks.  I’m also due to drive to Tauranga so wanted the tyres to be good.  My usual tyre man wasn’t open so I went to Tony’s Tyre Service.  One can never buy just one tyre there.  The salesmen there are very good at selling you more so you end up purchasing two tyres, wheel alignment and wheel balancing and having to wait two hours.  I walked into town and looked around the shops, not really wanting to buy anything.  I’m not ready for summer clothes shopping (I have to mentally prepare) and anything I did want, naturally I couldn’t find.  I felt I might get some new walking shoes but found nothing and couldn’t remember where Rebel Sport had moved to.  Walking back via the library I bumped into a colleague outside a material shop.  She said the shop was closing in January, so I might think about sewing myself a summer dress instead of having to find something in the shops.  We had a coffee together and I introduced her to the French café by the library.

The car was ready when I got there, so I drove home and continued with my plans, which was to mow the lawn and weed the garden.  I’d bought more petrol for the lawnmower on the way back (and also checked what postage was for an item to sell on TradeMe).

Lawn mowed, I weeded two beds and then gave up, leaving two more beds at the back, one of them chocka with grass.  I emptied two large outdoor pots of dead plants and hauled them out the back to wash.  They were heavy.  They were amongst several unwanted items left to me by the ex when he headed over to Australia.  Probably thought he was being generous, but the most of the shit he left behind didn’t work.  I’m still getting rid of it.  I also washed and photographed a doll’s cot (I got for Christmas when I was four years old) and listed that on TradeMe.

I also chopped back overhanging branches on the driveway and cleaned it all up.  The problem with gardening is you’re left with huge piles of garden waste.

I called it a day.

Sunday dawned cloudy and partly sunny again.  I made a start on the large bed of grass and got out as much as I could.  I decided to remove the large rosemary bush which had grass growing up through the middle of it.  I felt rather sad to be killing it.  The space left behind after removing it is huge – inspiring me to plant out the bed properly with manageable plants (she says).  A woman bought the pots and came took them away.  She was very happy.

I did some indoor decluttering.  I now had space on my bookshelves to add books from a smaller shelf.  I removed the shelf from my bedroom and put it in the sunroom ready to sell along with two boxes of books, etc.  The carpet behind the bookshelf is not the best.  What to do with it?  Ideally it needs replacing but I can’t afford a houselot of carpet (all the rooms need it).  The wood underneath looks good so I could strip it at least from that room (and risk being frozen in winter.  I even dreamed about the dilemma.

And so to today.  On Saturday a friend from Auckland phoned saying she was in town and wanted to visit me today.  I remembered the last time she and her mother visited.  They stayed for four hours and talked and talked and talked.  I didn’t want my precious holiday wasted on a visit from them so I made an excuse saying I was invited out for lunch and offered, instead, to visit them after 4pm.  In that way I could use the day doing what I wanted and still see her.  It sounds terrible, but I had been looking forward to this weekend to get as much done as I could (and it still doesn’t feel like much).

Anyway, this morning I tried to finalise our itinerary for our trip to the South Island in February.  I now had dates and just need to decide on accommodation.  I had a look at a few options.  Nothing’s cheap unless I go for backpackers or camping grounds.  I will see what H says and then go from there.

I continued my attempt at decluttering.  I had hoped to empty two plastic drawers but could not.  They are full of sentimental stuff such as maps and brochures of places visited, school magazines, etc.  The trouble with being a family archivist is that I can see the value in keeping ephemera…  However, I did get rid of a bin full of paper (patterns and ideas for medieval clothing for feasts I would never attend, old bills and receipts, etc).  I still have some boxes to go through, but I doubt I will be able to chuck anything and I have nowhere to put said boxes.  There is very little cupboard space in this house.

It’s nearly time to get the car out of the garage (I actually cleared a space for it to fit!) and visit the friend.  When clearing the garage I realised that 90% of it is junk,  not even worth selling.  Someone might want the extra tools though (again stuff dumped on me by the ex).  But that’s another job that needs a skip bin (again).

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Finally!  It’s rather sad that on the one hand I can moan that the year goes so quickly, yet on the other, wish the time would pass quicker while I’m at work.  Something ain’t right there.  I envy people who really enjoy their work and find it worthwhile.  To spend most of your life doing something your’e not particularly interested in feels like a waste of my life.

Anyway, the working year is over.  Day one of a two week holiday started today, or perhaps that was last night, the so-called end of the world.  I didn’t take any notice of such bullshit.  Just because a Mayan calendar came to an end didn’t mean they believed it to be the end of the world.  Last night we had a lovely meal of chicken which we shared with a friend of H’s.  We had beer and played a couple of games of Settlers of Catan.  They won one game each.  It got too late for another game for me to try to win.

This morning H and I did some food shopping for Christmas and stopped by the market.  I had not even considered taking photos but suddenly realised, when I was looking around, that the market would make for some interesting shots.  Unfortunately, I only had my point and shoot camera.

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H was dead tired, having gone to bed late the previous night (or rather early this morning) so she went back to bed on our return.

I sorted some photos into folders and backed them up.  Did some weeding and chopping back of the pesky jasmine.  It was a huge mistake to plant that thing.  The main plant was dug out but now it’s spread everywhere.  Did some washing and tidying and getting ready for visitors tomorrow.  An old school friend from Auckland is dropping by with her mother.

I took a few photos with my DSLR and am very ashamed to admit that I didn’t realise my 50mm lens was actually an 18-55 mm!  I only noticed because the lens moved when I went to exchange it with the zoom.  I cannot believe that in all the time I’ve had it that I thought it was fixed at 50mm.  After all, that was what my old Olympus OM10 had, so I didn’t expect any different.  However, the fact that I didn’t even notice the figures on the lens, just shows that I’ve barely played around with the camera at all.  (And here I was wishing for a wide angle lens… I feel such a moron.)  I must remember to read the advanced manual (which is on disk).

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I’ll put the little Canon away over the break, I think, and concentrate on the camera I’ve barely used.  I’ve used the point-and-shoot during the working week because it fits in my work bag (and the lunch hour is pretty much the only time I get to take any photos for my photoblog).

Monday I’m heading off for a couple of nights so won’t update until I get back but hope to update tomorrow.

 

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Saturday

I joined a garden tour of five gardens owned by staff from work: 3 suburban gardens in town, a rural garden; and another suburban garden in another town. My main reason for going, apart from curiosity, was the hope that it might inspire me in my garden. The weather held out and it got quite hot in the afternoon. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday. We finished up at a garden centre and some of us purchased some plants on sale. The plan worked. I drove home with plants and cuttings intending to plant them, if not in the ground, into pots, that very afternoon. Well, I first had to weed a whole bed in order to plant. All up, I spent about 2 hours in the garden that afternoon and reflected that my ‘garden’ really needs a good tidy up. The trouble with gardening is that you end up with a huge (in my case) pile of refuse, which added to the already huge pile (and I haven’t even started on the dead tree and bush).

Sunday

I finally moved the leftover wood chip pile and used it as mulch on the newly planted bed. I was cutting away some branches and clearing more weeds and grass at the front of the property when H got home. We did some grocery shopping and then she decided to cut back the plants along the driveway, which she found annoying, rubbing against her car. I ended up carting the resulting rubbish away (she got carried away) and ended up with another 4 or 5 barrow loads of branches, etc.

Monday

A day off work. The weather had deteriorated, so I applied the last coat of paint to the hallway. Now I just have the doors in the hallway to do. Tidied up inside in readiness for the arrival of older daughter, C, and her boyfriend, W. H’s boyfriend, L arrived earlier and joined us for a meal which I cooked (amazingly). C and W arrived late in the evening. It was good to see her (after an absence of 7 months). We exchanged gifts (to her for her birthday on Friday; from her – alcohol and snacks). While H did some editing for her work, the rest of us played a game of Settlers of Catan while eating some very nice banana cake topped with coconut cream and strawberries (made by H earlier in the day).

Tuesday

Another day off work. It was sunny again. H had to go to a meeting in the morning but on her return she made breakfast. So we had a late, leisurely breakfast of pancakes, (free range) bacon and coconut cream mixed with berries, accompanied by some sparkling wine with berries in the glasses. Very nice. We wanted to go for a walk so we headed up the valley and went on a 2 hour bush walk (the Fern walk) which went uphill. Lovely views at the top and not too strenuous-going (I’m not used to hills and am quite unfit). We returned, tired and hungry. Most had a nap and then we fired up the barbecue after making salads and getting the meat ready. L was very good at cooking the meat – it all came out tender and tasty. We had lamb chops (home-killed lamb), marinated lamb kebabs, chorizo sausages, potato salad (made by me) and a spinach and red cabbage salad made by H. Beer and cocktails accompanied the meal. We had a lot of leftovers which H and I ate yesterday. C and W then headed back to Wellington in order to catch the Cook Strait ferry the following morning.

A very productive and enjoyable four days.

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I’m quite pleased.  Fine weather helps, I have to say.

Yesterday I installed the scanner and slide scanner software then uploaded the photos.  I weeded two beds and added more mulch to them.  Jasmine loves it when I garden.  She sits and watches for insects jumping around, pounces on things and runs off and up trees in sudden bursts of energy.  She’s such a dag.  Then she just sprawled on her back enjoying the sunshine.

I made a rather nice chicken and noodle dish on Friday night (daughter out and away all weekend) which also did for last night’s meal.  Did the usual washing yesterday (which got dry in no time).  Answered emails in the evening and got a phone call from the ex.  Daughter wasn’t home so I was forced to talk to him, unfortunately.  I scanned some more slides last night.

Today I mowed the lawn and weeded another ‘bed’.  Actually I extended a bed and dug it all up.  I went into town to do grocery shopping and bought a few flowery plants to plant in the ‘new bed’.  I put mulch on and it looks rather good.  I did other stuff like put more washing on, etc.  I also updated my grandmother’s garden diary, something I haven’t done all year basically.

It doesn’t sound much, but I did make some time to read Bill Bryson’s excellent book, have a lager and enjoy some lovely music.

Next weekend (if fine, and when I’m home) I hope to tidy up the front garden.

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