1824. Lockdown and the end of the golden weather

Miles ago, in fact last October 16, 2019, I posted a little piece about how I was digging up my front lawn for a garden. I promised progress reports, and one appeared on November 19 and another on February 12. With winter fast approaching in the southern hemisphere it’s time for a final report. So this report covers the lockdown and the end of the golden weather.

A Lombardy poplar tree blew over on the property in a summer storm, so I was able to use it to make little twig fences around the four garden patches. It looked semi-medieval (kind of rustic I thought). In fact it was to stop the dog from walking on the gardens and peeing on the peas. The dog was well trained and never once ventured across the twigs onto the gardens. High fences for climbing peas, beans, and blackberries were also constructed.

Before long there were poppies and petunias, dahlias and gladioli, cosmos and sweet peas. You’ll notice from the pictures that I have mainly white flowers and red flowers. This is a phase I’m passing through. Don’t worry, I’ve been passing through it for twenty years and will once day get over it. Anyway, red and white look very lovely, so for the time being I’m sticking with them. At least people know what colour flower seeds to get me for my birthday!

I wasn’t expecting much from the newly planted thornless blackberries, but we got several desserts from them including one big blackberry pie! Roll on next year!

There was a bumper crop of peas, beans, shallots, tomatoes, turnips, leeks, zucchinis, and capsicums (bell peppers). The photos show just a small portion – the freezer is full! It wasn’t a good year for potatoes and cucumbers. There’s never telling why. The silver beet (chard) kept going to seed.

The sunflowers provided cheer and enough seeds to hopefully feed the wild birds through winter. I’ve just got to make an artistic bird feeder.

I wasn’t greatly affected by the lockdown because there was so much to do and so much space. I am at that age where my nanny-state government wouldn’t let me go anywhere lest I die. What a consolation that they cared! Fortunately the landlord’s daughter-in-law was the pharmacist and sent prescribed life-prolonging pills via the landlord, and the farming neighbours on all sides plied the house with eggs and meat while we provided them with vegetables. You had to check the mailbox daily because you never knew if someone had stuffed a leg of lamb in there! All was a blessing because there was no money coming in for two months!

The dog walk was a regular fixture – demanded by the dog in sunshine or rain. He likes a daily swim in a nearby lake – he thinks it’s his duty to clear the lake of geese and ducks.

For 8 weeks on these walks we gathered enough wild mushrooms for a decent side dish each day. (Eight weeks is enough!) I also made pickles and chutneys and soups for canning and freezing with stuff out of the garden.

I’ve been going to a local farmer’s sheep-shearing shed with spade and buckets. By going underneath the slats in the shearing-shed floorboards, I can fill the buckets up for the garden with sheep manure that had dropped through the gaps in the floor over the years.

The landlord/farmer asked if we would like two dying trees (lawsoniana) for firewood. So a good deal of several weeks was spent cutting them down, chopping them up, and stacking them. Still haven’t quite finished.

The landlord also asked us if we would mind knocking down an old house on the property and smashing it to bits. It’s quite fun! I go there nearly every day to wreck away. The problem is the old house is plagued with fleas. So don’t come driving past while I’m standing in the open-doored garage throwing all my clothes in the washing machine before coming into the house! Your mind undoubtedly boggles!

These days the garden is looking tired.

I have scattered thousands of poppy seeds along the sides of the road outside my gate. If luck would have it the roadside next spring will look like Flanders Field. I’ve also sown nitrogen-fixing lupins in the gardens. They look quite pretty so it seems a shame to cut them down and dig them in, but that is a job to be done this week.

Here’s a picture of the sad and lonely last dahlia of the season.

Thus ends the closing days of autumn; the end of the golden weather. This final photo is taken today through my office window! I’m feeling rather pleased!

50 thoughts on “1824. Lockdown and the end of the golden weather

  1. Herb

    A lot of work but it looks like it paid off. Thanks for taking the time to share that with us. My mind only boggles at how you could get all that done and yet blog every day.

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    Reply
    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks Herb. I get up at 4 – an old being-brought-up-on-a-diary-farm habit! Also I’m a raging compulsive – so never stop much until something is done!

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  2. Sarah Angleton

    I’m quite jealous of your garden, and I absolutely love your stick fences! I even like your red and white flowers. I am a multicolor flower kind of gal myself. Once I was planting annuals in a flowerbox when the little neighbor girl wandered over to announce in a very superior tone, “My mother always plants matching flowers.” I suppose we all have our preferences.

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  3. Iseult Murphy

    I love your garden, Bruce. The stick fences look so pretty. I wish I could taste some of your home grown veggies. They always taste the best. I’ve been planning a veg garden in my new house for years but alas I don’t have the health. Maybe one day I will, probably around the same time you grow tired of red and white. I’m glad your dog is keeping the water free from those pesky birds. I hope the ear infection has cleared up fully.

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    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks Iseult (at least I am presuming that is your name, and if so it’s a lovely name and vaguely Wagnerian is it not?). The dog’s ears are on the slight improve – all for $70 for a week of ear drops! You need to win one of those “updo your garden programmes” and get a couple of usable raised beds? And yes – so much fruit and veg are ruined with being harvested too soon or put in a cooler.

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      1. Iseult Murphy

        Ah Bruce, glad to have you back. I guess that other guy has gone off to his castle. Glad the ears are improving. Those are expensive ear drops! I’d love that. I’ve seen these things called trugs and I think I could sit in a little chair and see to my veg.

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  4. Yvonne

    I am so impressed with your industry; you must end each day with a great sense of satisfaction, unless some of those fleas manage to bite you, in which case it would be a sense of itchiness.

    You have found a good place to rent, with good neighbours, and that is excellent. Good on ya, BA.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks, Yvonne. The days are never long enough! The extraordinary thing is that the rent is so cheap compared to everything else in the country. The owner is so glad to have someone living in the house who looks after the property.

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  5. arlingwoman

    Your gardens look fabulous–from summer to late fall. I’m so glad you got good produce. And that you have such nice neighbors! I love they gave you eggs and meat for the veggies–and it looks like you had a bumper crop! It looks paradisiacal, actually. Cutting wood is a hard, dirty business, but full of lovely smell, being outdoors, and general satisfaction. And I could probably gain a lot of satisfaction taking down a wreck of an outbuilding, as well. Fleas, not so satisfying. Thanks for showing the garden and your produce.

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  6. umashankar

    To the battered soul of mine, that looks like a dreamy existence even with that house infested with fleas and the boggling business that must be completed. The view from your office is soulful. You have tilled the bosom of a wild patch till it yielded delicious fruits. The fence work looks fabulous. Your landlord and his family are so much nicer for a change. This post has given me much happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks Uma. You have to not be a people person to enjoy it – it’s so isolated. If the mountain erupts I have to head 10 minutes towards it in order to start escaping!!

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. dumbestblogger

    It looks like you keep yourself busy. It’s nice that you have some things to show for your labors. If I had been given the task of demolishing that house I would have lobbied very hard for the use of fire. It’s so entertaining.

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    1. Bruce Post author

      The old house was right next to a shed where I store my firewood! So after the knock down it’s taking apart, put in a huge pile and set alight (away from my woodshed!) I’m about 1/2 way there.

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      Reply
  8. judyrutrider

    Ah, life is good, eh? Your dog looks much like mine. I’m curious what breed yours is as mine came to me from an anonymous donor. I call my Molly Bear Dog a Border Collie but she seems a bit bigger.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. badfinger20 (Max)

    I gotta try those thornless blackberries. Many times I have been scarred by those damn things.
    Love your dog Bruce…oh it’s Bruce today!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Bruce Post author

      Those thornless blackberries are great! The dog is a Springer Spaniel – and very naughty he can be too – like tonight with a possum in the tree outside.

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      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        That is great…up a tree! Better up a tree.

        I came home one night years ago and saw our then Saint pitching something up and catching it with her mouth…came up on her and it was a possum she was using as a ball. She didn’t hurt it but…that was one pissed off possum. I got a shovel and rescued it…while it hissed at me…took it out of the fenced in back yard and let it go.

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          1. badfinger20 (Max)

            They are nasty…I’ll have to look them up. Ours are just mean as hell. I didn’t know there was a difference…. Sorry Bruce I fell off to sleep…. I woke up this morning with laptop in lap…I guess that is appropriate.

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  10. observationblogger

    It fascinates me to view what you did with that Lombardy poplar tree. You’re like a real Robinson Crusoe of modern times. I’m envious, I haven’t got a practical bone in my body except to serve my body structurally hehe
    Thanks for the update on little shire Bruce and I’m glad the neighbours helped out during this rough period. But it looks like you keep yourself well and truly busy and that can only be a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Bruce Post author

      I get things/ideas out of books. I’m not very practical in reality – e,g, if the car breaks down I sit there and read the map in a distraught fashion.

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            1. Bruce Post author

              Are you not a driver? Maps are handy even if you’re on foot. Mind you, these days I suppose you just use your phone. I don’t have a phone – so much for being practical.

              Liked by 1 person

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              1. observationblogger

                A driver in Bogota? Are you outta your f&/king mind lol I did drive in Australia Bruce. Yes, most people get driven around now by their phones.
                You don’t have a phone, but you have a car? Now that’s something.
                What do you do if you blow a gasket? Oh ofcourse you have your map. Hmm hehe

                Liked by 1 person

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                    1. Bruce Post author

                      Precisely – the truck is a 1989 Hilux ute in immaculate condition. I’ve been stopped a number of times when driving it to ask if I’d sell it. I say “It’s not actually mine but I’ll pass the message on.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Bruce Post author

                      The ute is greatly loved. And I can borrow it because I gave (several years ago) for Xmas the cool red stripe ($60 worth) on the side of the ute. The ute is worth about $5000 and the last offer was $15000. As I say, I’m not the owner…

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  11. Andrea Stephenson

    What a beautiful garden Bruce, those twig walls look great. And you’ve had a bumper harvest by the looks of things, it’s no wonder you’re feeling pleased with yourself. The news seemed to suggest that NZ has dealt really sensibly with the virus, it’s good that you have helpful neighbours to help you through it.

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    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks Andrea. Everyone says that NZ has dealt well with the virus – but the scary thing is that so have most southern hemisphere countries, so winter may be the downfall??

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I delight in having my dull life coloured by your intelligent perceptions, your wit, and your vivacity.

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