Roses are not sacred

Best day ever! Not bad, considering it's holidays and I've been having lots of great days recently. I spent almost all day in the garden, coming inside only for the rained out bits. I have weeded along the outside of the kitchen and transplanted all the strawberries to this garden bed. Where the strawberries used to be are now free of weeds and covered in chook run fertiliser, seaweed and peastraw.

The kids and Favourite Handyman raked out the chook run and poured five wheelbarrow loads of wonderful fertiliser/compost on various parts of the garden. We've been putting wood shavings and sawdust in the chook run for the last two years and the chooks have been doing their bit by pooing endlessly. I've also cleaned out the coop and the pooey straw (the last couple of months they'd been sleeping in there instead of on the roost - not sure why) and put that on the garden.

That was the morning project. In the afternoon I got stuck into the front garden, or the overgrown strip which could one day answer to the description of 'front garden'. I managed to get the bulk of the gunnera out, which I've never managed before. It was very heavy, even though it wasn't much more than a stump in size. I want to get rid of a very ugly, invasive grass/flax like weed which is dominating my front growing space. It had even set up home in the gravel driveway. I got that out and then realised this meant it had shallow roots. In the past, I'd only chopped it back because it was growing through a rose bush. But today, I knew that roses are not sacred and this one must be sacrificed. Despite going carefully, I still ripped skin (gloves are for people who don't like gardening - I want to feel the process of creating life in the soil), but eventually the rose bush was out and then the nasty weed. Tomorrow I will take photos and try harder to identify the weed, but the rain prevented any photographs being taken this afternoon.

I have transplanted one red-flowering manuka into the vacant space and may do the second tomorrow. After dinner, we all pored over the flower section of the Kings Seed catalogue and made suggestions as to what flowers could go in the space which can nearly be called a garden in front of the lounge. Everyone made suggestions at once and then they laughed at me for writing the wrong name codes by various flowers.

Here is Brighid wearing the finished red dress with green flowers. Nice dress, but judging by her eyes, I don't have a 100% well child. She styled her hair herself, just like Kate Middleton (or was that her makeup? Brighid wants that stuff as well, she tells me).

Earlier in the week I took it into my head to reduce the amount of fabric in the study. Given that the study is going to become Fionn's bedroom in the medium term future, using up fabric needs to happen more often, faster, furiouser. Maybe not furiouser.

This skirt, for Brighid (yeah she has enough clothes, but everyone else is much more difficult to sew for), is made entirely from fabric and notions in my stash. I don't think I've managed that before - usually I have to buy thread or bias binding even when I'm mostly using up fabric. She likes it.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson is worth reading. It's pitched at teenagers, but I liked it anyway, and thought there was much to consider after reading it. Bio-ethics meets teenage angst.

Last night I finished Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I didn't get drawn into it straight away, but by the second half I was reading without any regard for the late hour, gripped. It is very good. Olive Kitteridge is old, clever, wise, angry, irrational, loving and stroppy. I could see myself in her at times and, chastened by such a clear evocation of the hurts which being alive so long bring, as well as the pleasures, I thought I should be more understanding of my own mother. Read it. Especially you, Marion H and Rachael A and Marija B, because I want to know what you think afterwards.

The cover of the book annoyed me though. What on earth does the image of a young woman's back have to do with this novel?

I'm also having a crisis of belief in socialism, and thinking about budgeting some more. More on those another time. I need to go start another novel, probably a Geraldine Brooks one. Need, you know. Not like when housework supposedly needs to be done. This is need + desire = action.


Marion H said…
Why thank you Sandra..I was just wondering what to read next (just finished Maggie O'Farrell The Hand that first held mine)..although not sure how rapidly it will be read as gearing up for another house move. Reluctant one, a whole two and a bit miles to put someone up a school waiting list - I can see your eyes rolling! Managed to get a woman in a red coat standing on a rock looking out to sea for my version of the Olive Kitteridge. Also ordered The Soul Bird by Michal Snunit after it featured in the Kingston Music Festival and we've all been singing Never, never has a person been born who didn't have a soul. It sparks the moment we are born and never leaves us ever since! Right, some sleep and then more sorting/ purging. If only you lived closer you could have had my two grow tunnels which managed to protect enormous weeds from the birds but not much in the way of carrots or onions. Freegled to a local community garden where there are probably more attentive gardeners...
Anonymous said…
I've got a sunset on my copy coming from the library! Do you still want my opinion even though you know I made myself a skirt with ricrac?!!We've just finished At the Back of the North Wind as a family readaloud (George MacDonald) and it's the first book I have ever read that gave me a real emotional feeling in the very last line - a deep satisfaction along with admiration at his cleverness. Don't get the book and just read the last line though - you need the rest of the story!
With Tarzan at my bedside and a huge pile of children's lit anthologies littering the lounge floor, I am delighted at the thought of an adult read. Have enjoyed your suggestions in the past.
Sandra said…
Oh wow Marion. London education nightmares. Will email you soon, and look out for The Soul Bird.

Rachael of course I want your opinion. I've become rather attracted to the idea of ric rac myself. Wouldn't mind some giant orange ric rac. But it doesn't quite pass the 'can I wear this to work?' test. I recommend that you get your teens onto The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

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