Sunday, 17 August 2014

Blogallimaufrey - A Weekend in August


Sometimes, I just potter. Days without plan, without purpose,
days when I can land on any activity I fancy, at any time, suit me well.
They don’t come around very often but this weekend was a real treat.

Digging around in the ‘spare’ freezer I came upon two bags of last year’s plums.
This year’s crop is all but ready to pick, so what to do with them?
Why, make a few pots of jam, of course.

o-o-o-o






And then there’s the garden, an hour here and there is always a pleasure. It’s neither hot nor cold, fairly dry, perfect weather for some pruning, chopping back and even a touch of weeding. The clumps of daisies, faded now and wilting, have gone, weeds have been pulled from cracks in the paths and a few shrubs have been thinned and pruned. The currently freshly filled compost heap is gigantic; it’s needs turning and shovelling into the one next door, which is still filled with ripe and ready compost. That’ll be a job for Paul when he next comes.

But there’s been a lot of standing and staring in admiration as well. The flame bush is out, the shrub border which has lost all its flowers is looking very interesting and the flower border proudly presents an attractive display of late summer flowers.

Yes,  for once  I am pleased.


Just look at clematis ‘Abundance’, climbing high up into the plum tree.  It’s name is a fitting one.  In one season, after being cut right down to the ground the preceding autumn, it climbs and rambles and spreads itself without thought for any other plant in its path; even a tree doesn’t stand a chance. Up and over it goes. The flowers last for weeks, right until the early frosts. Anyone who has a tree that looks better dressed up could do worse than try ‘Abundance’. It’s fully hardy too.

Not a bad show for late summer.
Yes, I am quite pleased, for once. 
I complain too much about weeds and mess and disorder,
I should take a step back and look at the overall picture more often,
forget about weeds.

o-o-o-o





A neighbour came to collect Millie for an hour’s walk this afternoon.
Splendid!
That meant that we could take our time over Sunday lunch
and enjoy the best part of a bottle of Merlot with our meal.

But I didn’t want Millie to feel abandoned by her mum so I gave her a very thorough brushing in the garden when she came home. That is a big pile of dead fur. During her last illness, which was most probably due to a deep seated infection caused by mites getting into the skin and erupting into small, bloody, craters all over her nose, she was on steroids and antibiotics and parasite repellent for her coat, all of which came with nasty side effects, making her feel a bit sorry for herself. The medication didn’t improve the condition of her coat either. But she’s getting better and the thoughtful expression on her face is mainly due to the close attention she is giving to a large treat in her mouth, which takes some serious chewing.

o-o-o-o

The rest of the time I have been reading. A never ending yarn of 832 pages, ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton, a hugely entertaining novel about the New Zealand goldrush of the 1860s. It’s a fascinating story of hardship and skullduggery,  a consummate literary page turner, intricately crafted and beautifully written. But it definitely requires staying power. I have reached page six hundred and fifteen.  An awful lot of words.



44 comments:

  1. ... sweet Millie ... makes me remember my black lab Piwo ... your garden looks splendid ... had +4C here the other night and cherry tomato size hail ... soon the snow will fly ... enjoying every ray of sun shine ... Love, cat.

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  2. Glad you're pleased, as you should be! My own rule of thumb: spend at least as much time admiring your work in the yard as you do actually working in the yard.

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  3. Ah, wonderful all round. The weather here has been just right, too, and the tomatoes are starting to come in--we have a pot of sauce brewing up on the stove as I write. I will think of you reading Luminaries as I continue on part 2 of Vaino Linna's three-book Finland trilogy, Under The North Star. A fascinating story, though I will say the second volume is a bit harder going than the first. I think it may be something to do with the translation, but who knows. The story, though, is gripping. So, anyway, enjoy these good times while they last, and may they last long!

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  4. I've just been standing back and talking a look at my garden...result> Lots to thin out!
    Have you tried coal tar soap or shampoo for Millie? Works wonders on the skin of and coat of our lot.


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  5. You write about your garden as a fine naturalist, and Millie as a wise animal person. Pottering? So that's what my life is! I do weave in my needed activities, but Pottering is the theme of the day. . . . I enjoy wandering by here. Feels at once deeply pleasant and edifying, Friko.


    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

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  6. Quite a GOOD show for late summer. And as to "...there’s been a lot of standing and staring in admiration as well", that's the best part of gardening. My compliments and admiration!

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  7. Who wouldn't be pleased with a garden like that! I, too, have enjoyed that fleeting moment in my own garden -- once, I think, in 1988, and again in the spring of 2010 . . .

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  8. Your garden
    is beautiful.
    Very dry weather for weeks in my area
    and does not look like in years past.
    Some plants did not even bloom this year.

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  9. Your garden is beautifuf. and "Abundance" is truly a fitting name for that clematis! I am glad you had such a good weekend. Mine was good, too; a lot of time deliberately spent on my own after a whole whirlwind week of festivities to celebrate my Mum's 70th birthday.
    The book sounds interesting enough, but my staying power is being tested enough these days - I am reading "Buddenbrooks". Need I say more?

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  10. I find it helpful to step away from any project - gardening, needlework, silver polishing - to look at the big picture. It has always been a help when the going gets tough. Your garden looks lovely - all the care shows!

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  11. Even though flowers fade at the end of summer, there is still much to enjoy. It sounds like you had a delightful day.

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  12. I love that shot of the entire yard...it's so beautiful! So lush and green.

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  13. Absolutely wonderful photos. Good for you for staying with the book...I can't stay with one quite that long, and I can't imagine writing that much!

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  14. Glad to find you in such great sprits, Friko. I agree that there is absolutely nothing better that a day with no plans, a day in which one can simply stumble into joy in a thousand different ways — walking, reading, gardening, admiring the beauty that often goes unseen, simply being present as the world unfolds.

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  15. Stepping back allows the critic to recede and the artist to advance. Both are needed in any project. Your garden looks wonderful, the curving lawn with your borders that have remained interesting in August. I'm glad you're finding pleasure in your efforts.

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  16. Pottering is always good. I should stop complaining about my garden. Others think it looks great. But we see what others don't. Pulling weeds during the respite from summer heat...always good for the soul. I could use some plums in a new salsa recipe I found.

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  17. I finished the Luminiaries a while back and struggled with the number of characters. But it is well written. My garden is a MESS after two or more weeks away. Today it is housecleaning and photo sorting from the trip. My poor plants have been abandoned.

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  18. Your garden is really beautiful. Poor Millie - glad to hear that she's on the mend though.

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  19. Abundance, indeed - and not just the clematis, which I will be looking into to see how well it might do in my growing zone. How nice to see you enjoying your garden after all that work.

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  20. not a bad show at all...that walk in the grass is just beautiful...
    our neighbor just made jam with the last of our grape for the year...
    it is delicious...

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  21. Your garden is looking magnificent Friko! I have hopes for mine, but mine is much newer and yet to become established. Finding two bags of plums in the freezer is a bonus! I would have made plum cake, plum tarts, stewed plums....it's a very versatile fruit.
    Glad to hear Millie is on the mend.

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  22. Hallo Friko,
    schöne Eindrücke aus Eurem Garten. Danke, dass Du meinen Blog aufmerksam liest. Ich bin mir sicher, dass ich "Heiliges römisches Reich deutscher Nation" zuvor noch in Wikipedia nachgesehen hatte. Irgendwie ist die Verdrehung dann doch in meinen Post geraten. Das Problem ist halt, dass es soviele Details sind, die stimmen müssen.

    Gruß Dieter

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  23. Regarding your first paragraph...

    I don't like it when I'm asked, "So, what are your plans for the day?"
    I like to wing it, instead.

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  24. Your garden is just scrumptious. I recently discovered a species of clematis here which grows as a wildflower. It's called "curley clematis" because it never fully opens. Only the tips of its four petals curve upward. Shy thing, it is.

    My favorite photo here is the third one down in the set of the garden. Those subtle colors work so well together. And I laughed at the fur. It looks much like what I get when I brush my kitty. A blogger in Scotland actually posted about how to felt cat fur. I suppose it would work for dog fur, too, but I also suspect neither of us is going to get involved in that.

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  25. The photo of your garden is very beautiful. I love these colors: green, dark red, golden, purple...The clematis is very pretty, such tall as a tree! I hope you have a lot of rest in these warm calm days, Frico!

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  26. Dear Friko, I so agree with you that those days when absolutely nothing is planned are a gift to be cherished. I had a weekend like that also and baked two different cookie recipes to share with friends and read and worked sudokus on my iPad and read some more and made a delicious pasta casserole with many cherry tomatoes and napped again and yet again and simply wiled away the time in perfect contentment. I'm glad you did so also--although you did more than I with your days taken out of time. Congratulations. It's a wonderful feeling to be gratitude for the bliss of life. Peace.

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  27. Your garden is looking wonderful!
    My garden have been eating by hungry ants... too bad...
    The pots of jam looks delicious!
    Love seeing your dear and adorable Millie! :)

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  28. It's the dog days here...hot, humid, and dry as in no rain. But I have started some pruning with a better eye to shaping. Your garden looks not too shabby at all. The clematis is beautiful.

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  29. Oh the joy of a garden as the season comes to an end…

    Your clematis is spectacular. My mom has one that is dying in the center. It is an old one. I was just over to visit her and suggested having it cut clear back to see if it would come back. I think that is what it needs. It has been such a beautiful plant for so long, but I think it needs a bit of rejuvenation. Don't we all at times?

    The book sounds interesting, but daunting. I wonder if I could give myself to a book of such length again. I used to do so. Now, I read shorter ones that are never satisfying. Perhaps I shall search for this one.

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  30. I'm trying not to feel jealous of your gardens. I saw Marguerite Daisies in Vail this weekend and thought of you. They were beautifully "furry" looking as I remember yours were. What is that fabulous foamy-looking bloom in the first garden photo? The thought of 800+ pages stops me. Lately, 500 seems a lot in a book. I must be getting old and impatient.

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  31. I love pottering too and your results are worth it. When in doubt, make jam. :) Your garden looks wonderful, as does Millie.

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  32. You have such a beautiful garden! And Millie is so sweet. I enjoyed The Luminaries, but did find it a little too long.

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  33. Self-made jam is the best! Your garden is SO beautiful! And Millie is so cute :) How old is she? I hope you're doing well! Have a wonderful day :)

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  34. I envy you, Friko, for that luscious garden of yours. Such a myriad of colors! And you surely know how to reap the best out of all that pottering.
    Good to hear about 'The Luminaries' from a reliable source. True, it's of a daunting bulk and I can't help but compare it to 'Wolf Hall', a book that squats on my bookshelf ever since I bought it. Staying power is what I lack, you see.

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  35. Oh my GOODNESS, what a paradise your garden is! I haven't seen anything like that outside of pictures, honestly. I can't imagine what actually being there would be like… a full on sensory overload, I'd imagine. I'm happily staring at the photo, lost in daydreams… such as… I wonder what the air smells like? Is there a breeze? What does it feel like with the sun warm on my skin against the relative temperature of the air? What sounds would I be hearing-- bees, birds, small critters?

    I wonder what the birds over there sound like. We don't have a particularly wide variety here in the desert; most of the bird calls I hear all day are mourning doves, as they like to congregate in my yard and scout for seeds and bugs. We have pigeons here too, of course, and crows, finches, sparrows, hummingbirds (do you have hummingbirds there? I LOVE their little chirps.), quail if you're out far enough from town, and various other domesticated birds that neighbors may have. My grandparents' neighbor has a huge flock of guinea hens that I've listened to for decades now. It's such a peculiar chirping honk, like an amalgamation of a chicken and a duck.Oh yes, and I forgot the occasional roadrunner. I've never heard one of those make a sound before, though.

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  36. Also, speaking of long books that require "staying power"… have you ever attempted The Count of Monte Cristo? 1374 pages, and plenty of it dry, insufferable recountings of the societal and political intricacies of the day. I MADE myself finish it, but it wasn't easy. I much prefer the more recent screen adaptation to the book itself, and it's rare that I'll think that, much less say it.

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  37. Compared to your “neither hot nor cold, fairly dry” weather, I’ve been suffering from too hot, too humid weather as usual as my August and plus unusual torrential rain overnight. I’m envious of you, Friko. I really admire your garden including the process of gardening and would like to walk that curving grass path and stare at your lovely clematis and others in your garden in person. Do you know you are stared at by the flowers and plants when you pay attention to them? This week was supposed to be the one when I can potter, but my first gadget, iPhone, made me too busy (and crazy for a short while), at first to activate it. I’ll get used to it little by little. Enjoy the rest of August

    Yoko.

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  38. Hi Friko - lovely August unplanned days ... making jam - how delicious and then the tidying and generally pottering around in and out of the shrubs ... aren't clematis such good value - your borders look brilliant a riot of colour, no wonder you're chuffed. While the lush green lawn ...

    Lunch sounds good ... and then lucky Millie being spoilt by one and all ... presumably slightly further than 3/4 of the way through The Luminaries ... I imagine much to learn about NZ in an interesting way ...

    Cheers from a slightly cooler Eastbourne ... Hilary

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  39. The jam looks good. The garden looks beautiful. Millie looks content with the treat bone. The book looks long, but interesting. What a wonderful post!! :)

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  40. The garden looks great! I'm looking forward to when mine fills in.

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  41. Your garden looks gorgeous. We are very proud of Eleanor Catton here in NZ. I really enjoyed 'The Luminaries'/

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  42. Since I'm reading backwards, I know that after this post your world went akimbo a bit. But I have to say that if that rain didn't de-bloom your garden, you must have the prettiest garden in England! Glorious! How I wish my climatis had made it this year. Not so good. I need you. Or Paul!

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