smokingboot: (moth)
Second night of a terrible recurring dream, growing in intensity. In the dream I am in my bed asleep when I become aware of a boy in the room. The night before last he was curled up where the laundry basket is. In the dream I think he is some kind of harbinger and there is something I am meant to do, instructions I am meant to follow but I can't remember them. Confused and frightened, the first night I yelled, 'I see you/him!' and woke up. Even in the dream I don't know which sentence is meant. Last night I saw him again, other side of the bed, same sense of foreboding, same confusion and forgetfulness of a procedure, something I am meant to do but can't recall; again I yelled, 'I see you!' same screams only this time real enough for [livejournal.com profile] larians to wake me up and cuddle me back to sleep.

I don't know if the problem is the arrival of the ill-omened boy, or me forgetting the instructions regarding how to deal with him. I am having problems with my neck and shoulder muscles, so perhaps this is what's ruining my nights.

Daytime life is lovely right now. The pond I made last year is a hectic craziness, full of froglets, with damselflies on every reed. My first waterlily will be blooming soon. The pond is near lost in a thicket of brambles and honeysuckle, a pair of vegetable thugs I'm expecting to deter cats from following the frogs between their stalks. [livejournal.com profile] larians' veggie patch looks promising: the dwarf peas are in flower, delicate little blooms. Spring into summer, wonderful time!
smokingboot: (pear)
Years ago, my partner and I moved oop narth, if near Manchester counts as north. We bought a little house and for a couple of summers the sun shone. The little house loved summer parties, and though the garden was small, we enjoyed it. We planted blackcurrant bushes there, and a really beautiful pear tree that I thought was a quince. Turned out it was 'Doyenne Du Commice' grafted onto a quince tree root/boll/whatever they are. The little tree was not necessarily a wise buy...Doyenne Du Comice need external pollinators, and there weren't that many pear trees around. So I was delighted when the little tree's teeny blossoms gave way to mini pears that grew and grew. I don't even like pears, I just like the magic of things being there that were not there before.

Since then, we had to move to London for work, and our little house has had two groups of tenants. During the gap between occupancies, our letting agents turned out to be rubbish, and didn't look after the house at all. Our current tenants have made it homely and nice, according to [livejournal.com profile] larians. They cleared the garden. All of it. Including Quincey.


That was a young tree, many years of life in it, much to give, and very pretty as well.

These seem to be conscientious people who have redecorated and spent money on the house, made it their home. They didn't know. I should have left specific instructions. The house apparently looks great, they have taken time and trouble, [livejournal.com profile] larians tells me they seem lovely.

I am fighting my desire to give them two months notice to get the f*ck off the property.

Yes, I am angry and upset. Not so upset as to behave unjustly but still very unhappy.

At a time when I am trying desperately hard to believe that people deserve better than a dose of the Prince Philip virus, it would really be nice to see people treat nature with respect. It irks me that the tree couldn't be left alone because of what it is, a beautiful living thing, that sense just ain't there. The words that would have saved the tree would have been 'Please do not touch my property without my permission. Contact me through the agent first.' Of course, the agents have shown that they have all the sense of a mullet invasion across a football pitch.

One thing I have learned; be unreasonable from the outset. The reason it is necessary to act like a total breadhead is because people don't respect anything else.

I know. I am not being at all fair. Normal sense of proportion and perspective will be resumed shortly.

Lughnassad

Aug. 2nd, 2008 06:54 pm
smokingboot: (pear)
I've just gone out with a tankard of ale for Lugh. Every Lughnassad I leave a pint of foaming best on a pile of bricks in front of my green (brown really) man . This year, he was so deeply hidden under ivy, brambles, grass and untamed buddleia it took me five minutes to find him, never mind pull the greenery off him, so I guess something's working. He had a slug in his eye socket. I tried to convince myself that this was OK at Lammas but my sense of appropriate myth just couldn't convince the kid in my head, and the interloper got roughly bunged half way across the garden. Impudent things, slugs.

Quincey's got many more pears this year, and the blackcurrant bushes yielded enough in their first season to make a powerpurple crumble, cooked by [profile] larians. Our back yard clearly wants to be a kitchen garden, where he that fruits wins. If only I had known when we first arrived.

My beautiful red rose has suffered here...the soil doesn't suit her. So I took one of her few blooms and combined it with a passionflower from the trellis; not a traditional combination but it works, they look beautiful together in front of my Venus statuette.

This may be our last Lughnassad here for a long time, perhaps ever. We haven't loved the place enough, too busy dashing up and down the country, coming home to collapse, exhausted, in front of the tv. Now, just when I begin to understand what might grow in this soil without chemical involvement, it's time to leave. Friends came around today to cart off stuff we can't take with us - my big (and rather lovely) wooden table, chairs, bookcases. It's beginning to feel like a proper move. I hadn't believed in it before, not sure I do now.

Never mind. Lughnassad always has a slightly forlorn feeling to me, and it shouldn't really - it's all about the sun, after all! Here's to the little garden; it's given us some fun years, with frogs and pears, paddling pool parties and the occasional dodgy cocktail. Time to enjoy a pretty if shining wet afternoon.

Sunset is a while off yet.
smokingboot: (dark green stems)
Someone has planted four saplings out the back. They sit on the little hillock which looks out on the playing fields; When they are grown, they'll block the view of the houses over the way, but we'll still see the regular insanity of football practice, cricket practice, rounders practice, dog exercising, metal detection and golf that keeps the local community entertained.

Last night I went to bed, no trees. This morning I got up, trees. Who is planting them and why do they do it in the middle of the night?
smokingboot: (mandragora)
Heartened by her success at growing pears, urfmuvva boot decides she loves her plants and it is time to show that love. See her mix up a watering can of organic sea-weed mulch and march out to her pansy-stuffed hanging baskets. See her confidence that, despite being a shortarse, she will not need a stepladder to reach the thirsty flowers awaiting her nurturing power. See her stand tiptoe on the doorstep, stretching up and up and up, tipping the watering can with just the right amount of elegance and skill. Observe the black spray nozzle cap fall off the watering can and watch in astonishment as a sheet of gunky water covers her from head to toe. Note, if you would, how this whole wet t-shirt thing loses its erotic power when brown seaweed is involved.

There's even some in my ears. The cats keep trying to lick it.

Before my impromptu shower, I went to my accountant with all my receipts and none of my payslips. Plus, the tumble dryer's not working. Bollocks to this, I'm going to hide in the bath.
smokingboot: (pear)
I went to Maelstrom and played a sentient cactus. Enjoyed myself with lots of friends, and I feel a whole lot better.

Quincey the pear tree is not a quince, but a 'Doyenne Du Comice'. This was a mistake as these don't self pollinate, and anyway, I don't even like pears, though [profile] larians is quite a fan. I bought the tree cos it was the last one and I felt sorry for it, plus I love the way pear tree branches lift rather than droop. Quincey should have been planted against a south wall, and had its branches pinned prettily back; instead he/she/it lives right at the centre of our garden looking like some small leafy tramp fighting daisies, insect appetites, wind damage and sheer neglect. All Quincey got from me was this organic seaweed feed occasionally. Because there aren't many pear trees around, I resigned myself to Quincey's life as a virgin. Then this year came flowers and later, a batch of pearlets. Only five but still...

Took them from the tree last week, put them in a bowl to ripen, waiting for the inevitable pear tradition of notripenotripenotriperipenoweatnowtooripetooripetooripe. The first began to show signs of over-softness this morning so I tried it. It's absolutely delicious.

In other news, if you are on facebook and you know me and I haven't added you as a friend, it's not cos I don't like you, it's because facebook hurts my head and I just don't get it yet.
smokingboot: (pear)
Advice gratefully received!

Four weeks ago, out of despair I was going to buy another pear tree to
pollinate Quincey, as this is the first year s/he's flowered. Transpires there was no need; Quincey's blossoms have been succeeded by a teeny batch of pearlets. There aren't many and if anyone knows how to encourage more I would love to hear.

Also, there is the problem of Quncey's lower branches. I didn't do the whole proper pear thing, ie, planting against a south facing wall, and Quincey's branches now dangle among the daisies, being eaten to bits. I'm worried that insects might use the branches as a highway to fruity heaven. Is that likely? Should I just chop those branches? I hate to do it while the little tree is fruiting, in case I traumatise it, but I want those pears...

And finally; my dear [profile] larians and his mate Bruce Sans LJ are quite right in gauging the garden's need for a flame thrower. Ragwort is taking over; each year I pull these things up by hand, each year they return. [profile] larians and Bruce are talking about nuking the whole thing with weedkiller and starting from scratch; I am worried that even leaving Quincey untouched, the weedkiller might affect the soil and therefore the pears, and of course, I'm worried about damaging the froggy paradise this place becomes later in the year. Anyone know a really good weedkiller that won't do hideous ecological damage?
smokingboot: (pear)
That didn't take long! But I have a very sweet excuse reason for jumping on lj for a couple of moments.

This is the third year I have had a pear tree outside, and for the first time it is putting out blossoms. Beautiful and sweet! But I don't think there are other pear trees in the area so I need to find a pollinator that's compatible with 'Doyenne Du Comice.' If anyone can point me towards suppliers of pear tree pollen, I would be very greatful.

It has really lifted my heart - just as well as I am not sure about this new novel. If I can pluck up the nerve I might put the beginning here, see what people think of it.

The pear tree I have no doubts about. It's gorgeous.

Naycha

Feb. 20th, 2007 08:16 am
smokingboot: (moth)
When you walk from here to the distinctly unpicturesque hamlet of Royton (for which exercise you could have no purpose save to visit the quack or to buy excellent fish and chips) you pass a lot of land that is covered with rosebay willowherb, which looks like this:

Long url beneath )

One particular dip in the land, presumably bombed into nada in WWII, is full of the stuff and nothing else. It stands there like a vegetable army, ready to take over when no-one is looking. Why it would want Royton is anyone's guess, but I, for one, am prepared to hand it over to its plant masters as long as they leave the chippy.

Repetition of any one object becomes sinister. Consider; one baby = cute (or so mothers tell me) many babies = weird, especially if they are all blue haired and blonde-eyed. Some billiard balls on a billiard table = expected, a table crammed with them = weird, especially if they are all the same colour and number. It's just trippy.

The national wildflower centre in Liverpool, ready to help me in my attempts to create a natural wildflower garden, rather than the grassy wasteland out the back,tutted when I mentioned its presence at the side of the house. 'Ooh,' they said, 'That'll have to go.' However, Plantlife International, a charity I joined courtesy of gift membership from [profile] velvet_the_cat and Dan sans lj, told me to let it be because an increasingly rare moth known as the Elephant Hawks-moth (who names these things?) lays its eggs in rosebay willowherb and very few other places. I don't know, these endangered species, sometimes I swear they don't make the effort. The moth itself is a beautiful creature:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4683129.stm

So ok, the rosebay willowherb is safe. Now I have to sort out the rest of the garden. I may be gone some time...

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