Friday, 19 September 2008

Another Feline Mystery

Hmmm, she says, stroking her chin.

Just at the moment (until tomorrow) husband is away on business and so this evening, I settled in to watch a film. Back door open for Ginger, as usual. Plenty of plates of food around for any renegade kitties coming in for a bite. Dare I say it - sometimes when husband is away, I will have the most unorthodox of dinners. Tonight, I had foie gras on toast.

Now, I bought this can of foie gras de canard a while back on a trip to France. Being in a can it was of course good for ages, and tonight I thought, heck, I'll open it up and have some. Ginger of course hanging around watching me do something with food, so I actually gave him a little bit on a plate. You know what? He wasn't interested! What?? Foie gras?? (It was gorgeous by the way). Well, I thought, I'm going to certainly leave it on the floor because I bet one of the range of kitties who come to sample my offerings will like it.

I have no idea who ate it in the end but my goodness that plate was licked clean. Whilst normally I would be in and out of the kitchen of an evening, I stayed on the sofa watching my film for a good 90 minutes.

Now, this is the very bizarre thing. After the film ended, I went to the loo. I'd been in there earlier since I arrived home, and yes there are a few of my hairs in the sink from this morning as I was brushing my hair before work.

But what is this?

This was not there before.

You can follow the path, from the bath up to the sink. What mad cat was climbing around in the bathroom sink?? Do you think, if I had been there, I could have got a shot to add to this brilliant website my cat-loving, cat-owning sister recently sent me?

Ginger is in now, and all curled up on the recently vacated sofa. He's not giving anything away.

Hmmmm ....

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Double Trouble

You know all about the ginger twins by now, big and little.

Husband gets them mixed up all the time. But even I can make a mistake ...

Now that this bench has been moved over to the other side, to make way for the barbeque, Little Ginger often sits there in the same sort of position, where he can watch both the garden and the door. The other night, I poked my head out and saw a ginger, so I went over and scooped him up in my arms, as usual. Suddenly this little ginger was all flailing cat legs! Oops, wrong cat! I promptly plonked him down, and no harm done. he even came in for a bite.

In my defence, it was dark! Normally I can see the difference in the face.

Remember Blackie?

A wiry, spry, lively little fellow who can bound across the lawn in about three leaps. He's young and loves life. He's also very sweet, and will come for a scratch when one or the other of us is working out there. He even comes in for a bite sometimes, too (yes, I seem to be feeding most of the neighbourhood cats).

So the other night, imagine my surprise when Ginger was in at his dish, eating, and Blackie was just outside. Ginger finished, and headed out, and Blackie hissed at him. I was shocked! I mentioned this to husband and he said he had seen this before, just recently. He promptly went to chase him away. Now husband might not admit it, but he loves Ginger, this accidentally acquired cat of ours, and gets very defensive of him. He didn't do anything harmful to Blackie, just shoo'ed him, and to be honest it didn't really take because the cat was back in seconds anyway, as soon as our backs were turned.

Now, here's the kicker - not only do we have double the fun with the ginger cats, we also have

Yes. Turns out there are two! Mystery solved. Little Blackie is a sweetie - it's Big Blackie who is a bit of a bully. He doesn't seem to be around too much, and I felt lucky to get this shot of the Two Blackies.

Well, at least there are four cats out there. What happened to the days when the cats were plentiful? There were actually two more cats around at this time, just out of shot.

I could be missing all the action when I'm at work, or at night. I know I can go out there and there is definite prowling, if I'm checking to bring Ginger in for the night.

However, all this cat action really puts into doubt the installation of the oft- and long-discussed cat flap. Clearly, there are several cats who are happy to wander into my house by the kitchen door, which is generally open all day when I'm here. Case in point, Little Blackie was just in having another bite. Thankfully I have discovered that it's not just the lovely pouches of meat (or fish) in jelly that appeals. They are more than happy to eat dried. Bit more friendly on my wallet.

But if we wish to install the cat flap so Ginger can come and go, as it were, especially when we are both out during the day, (and save me from getting up at 4 in the morning to let him out??), how many cats will feel they have carte blanche to enter our house?

Monday, 15 September 2008

In one short season


became this

And this

became this!

So I guess I shouldn't be too downhearted.

Remember this little beauty? I've discovered what it's called, a Honey Lily, or Nectaroscordum Siculum. I found another batch of bulbs at my local garden centre and being a huge fan, I will plant some more!

But I also finally found what I was looking for in the first place, last year, the Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritallaira Meleagris).

This is from my first garden, many years ago now.

I can't wait to have some of these little beauties next Spring.

Ah, Autumn rears it's head, and we start thinking about Spring again ...

Friday, 12 September 2008

A Nice Harvest

Not a bad haul, on Saturday.

I have officially stopped purchasing tomatoes from the supermarket, for the duration. Yum!

Here's my thoughts on the various varieties.

Hmm, now I had a little map of what was what but I can't seem to lay my hands on it now. And looking back, I don't see that I told you exactly what I planted - but from memory, here goes:

Left to right, Shirley, Plum, Marmande, Beefsteak (oh no they weren't!) and the one on the right I cannot remember, but I shall dig out the labels and let you know. None of them on the far right have even started turning red yet, which is interesting. Hope they do, or I'll be having lots of lovely fried green tomatoes, and may even make some green tomato chutney.

Shirley. Nice and round, on the small side but I think overall I didn't pinch out enough side shoots to get some nice, big juicy ones. Ripening nicely.

Plum. Again quite small, again I believe the same problem. Lovely flavour of course.

Marmande. This was the first ripe baby from a few weeks back, and there are plenty more to come. The meatiest of the lot, with very few seeds. Gorgeous flavour, and I will certainly be growing this one again!

Beefsteak. Hah, hah, fooled you. No, fooled me! I should have known when the plant was half as high as the others - this is some kind of cherry variety, clearly the pot was mis-named, as I'm sure can happen in a busy garden centre. They are lovely, though, just not what I was expecting!

Potatoes of course are next, and I'm sure it's time to start digging. If (1) I can get a sunny day at the weekend, and (2) I have a chance to use my natural arachnid remedy. I will, of course, be digging in my wellies, as to get amongst all that foliage I'm not taking any chances of foot contact with anything eight-legged!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Cats love a Barbeque

Well, I finally put it together, and it's a lovely piece of kit. From Tesco Direct, if you care to know.

This is Big Ginger (Big Brother). I finally have some decent shots of him to show off, mostly because, as mentioned, he has taken to visiting on a regular basis. Not just for the food mind, but for some good kitty lovin'.

He has quite a mighty purr, too. Something of a muted "meow", but a purr that reminds you of a coffee percolator. Nice and deep. I've only just recently come to discover this, mind, and I have to say I am rather gratified to inspire him to do so.

Not that I'm stealing their other cat! Please, no.

That's "our" cat, Little Ginger on the bench, and BB (or BG, whichever you or I prefer) below.

This is what you get when they both want to chow down.

And then they hear something outside, and have a look.

But when the barbeque is fired up? They are ready.

I love a good barbeque. For me, it's not just a social occasion, but another method of cooking food. And a very yummy one too.

Oh yes, they got a bit of a bite from what was cookin', as a reward for their patience!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Pest Control The Sequel

I will be frank with you, here. I hate spiders. Really, really hate spiders.

This has been a problem for me over the last month, the spiders in the borders. For any of an arachnaphobic nature, you may not enjoy this.

I have never worked in a garden that is so replete with the arachnid. I've had many gardens before, one proper garden (I will introduce you to that later) and from thereon mostly container gardens, until this one. I have also spent many happy hours in my friend's garden, replanting her herb border, revamping the side where we took the plants out and spent a whole afternoon lying on the ground digging in manure - oh yes, it was all good.

I've never encountered spiders like here. Just your normal garden spider, that striped kind, but it makes my heart sink every time I go out there to try and weed, or plant, and there they are, hanging around.


I had a bad encounter in the last month where, after knocking down several webs and occupants, (I was wearing a form of the popular shoe, "Crocs" - except I bought them from the market nearby so they were "mock crocs" - har har), I was on the other side of the garden and felt something bite my foot. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH.

Yes, a spider, in my open shoe. UGH. I can sort of deal with them, I don't scream like a banshee anymore when I see one (at least I didn't until this point) and if it's in the house, in the bath - EXCELLENT. Wash it down.

But out there, when I was trying to tie up the tomatoes (again) I felt this and, well frankly, I freaked. Jumping around like an idiot. But I did soldier on.

Then another came running across the path - nowhere near my foot, thankfully, but then I really did scream. In fact, the air was blue. Husband came out to see, and that's when we made our agreement.

I will point them out, and he will kill them. And then for the most part, they don't come back. In the borders, that is, I have an arsenal I have purchased for the inside, which to be honest hasn't been too much of a problem, but I won't, won't have them in my house.

Let's have a look at this. Spiders are supposed to be beneficial because they eat bugs (so do birds). What bugs?

Flies - and what is the point of flies? To dive bomb you when you're out working, or invade your living space until you put up screens to protect yourself?

Mosquitoes - and I ask you, the point of them, unless to spread disease???

Greenfly - to bring my rose down?

Wasps - thankfully, touch wood, no problem here, but I have had a problem in the past, so no, I don't really like them ...

Okay, the good bugs -

Bees. Of course. They never bother you unless you go for them, and who would be fool enough to do that? Honey pots. Lovely creatures. Love bees.

Ladybirds (lady bugs in the States). Love. Eat aphids and greenfly, if you are lucky to have enough of them.

Ummmm... can't think of any more good ones at the moment.

Shoot me down if you like. I HATE BUGS.

I have several natural remedies, which I am keen to try, once the weather cooperates.

Tobacco, lemon washing up liquid, chestnuts.

I long for the fall of the Horse Chestnut. Apparently, spiders hate them. Hurrah! Apart from the two bowls I now have in my house, from an early fall, I will have TONS around the house in strategic corners, once the paths are lined with "conkers". Yippee. Let them fall.

Sorry, but I really, really hate spiders. I've tried, and failed to appreciate them. Just, can't.