Boots and all

Its been a busy few days. Firstly there was the crazy build-up to Christmas, then somehow instead of collapsing in a heap, we found ourselves doing MORE.
Christmas was fantastic. We had 3 friends come up from Cygnet to stay, and another two good friends who came up for the day with their gorgeous dog, Harvey. Montana and Harvey have the kind of relationship where there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each other – so they spend their time together doing nothing for each other.
First time they met was at a park near my house in Fentonbury. I thought it was wiser to introduce them on neutral turf given he was visiting us for the first time. They met, sniffed and basically ignored eachother in perfect harmony. Then we all drove to my place and soon as we arrived Montana turned into Ms Protector. She rushed up to Harvey as he bounced out of his car. Harvey turned on her and gave her as good as he got. Montana turned around and jumped back into our car and stayed there till ‘that nasty Harvey character’ had gone home. Ever since then, every time Harvey comes over I just open the back of the car and Montana spends his visit in there.
That’s where Montana spent Christmas day.
She kept an eye on things from afar, making sure ‘that Harvey’ didn’t get up to anything.
Romeo on the other hand kept a closer eye on Harvey. He never let him out of his sight. When the rain started and we went inside Romeo was there, watching, while Montana stayed in the car in the carport.
At one stage Romeo just couldn’t contain himself any longer. He snuck up behind Harvey and tried to nip him on the butt. Harvey (who is wise to Romeo’s butt-nipping tactics) whirled around like a flash causing Romeo to virtually spring over the coffee table backwards, narrowly missing the coffee cups.
Yes, I did mention rain. Rain is too mild a word for the downpour. Firstly, let me mention that I’ve been in Tasmania for 8 Christmases now. And not a single one of them has been good weather. Once it even snowed. And before you ask, yes, its summer here. 
This Christmas was almost an exception. The day was hot and still. I’d put up the gazebo but made the executive decision to eat inside cause it was actually cooler in there with fans on. Lucky too. I was outside picking fresh raspberries for dessert when the wind picked up and the rain started. I tried to brazen it out a while, but the raindrops started coming down hard and I had to make a run for it. I got everyone galvanised to help take down the gazebo cover before it became airborne, take in the chairs, rescue one umbrella as it sailed off down the road. 
We sat inside and watched the rain come down in sheets and turn to hail. Then we watched in horror as the footpath turned into a mini tsunami that washed down the steps and into the casita, through the laundry and the workshop area, then down a crack in the floor, at which point it disappeared from sight. (I sure am glad Wayne isn’t a great carpenter and that he left a small gap between the old floor and the new!)
Wayne and I both waded out to make sure tools and other stuff was safe from the path of the water. It was coming in through the walls in some places.
In all the excitement we forgot that all the windows in the house were opened (it HAD been hot!). All the bedrooms are on the back side of the house – and the rain was coming down from that direction… straight into the bedrooms, soaking the single bed in the tiny room, the carpet in the main bedroom and guest room, and the office desk. ugh.
Anyway, no real harm done. Things have dried, things have been washed, and all seems ok.
So Christmas was exciting.
When everyone had gone the next day and 575 dishes washed, Wayne and I looked at the garden. The new deck will be going up soon and a couple of shrubs needed to be moved. A salvia and a hebe, both flowering gorgeously till we attacked them.
See, they were right in the path of the new deck. They had to go. So, going by what I’d been told, I cut  them right back and Wayne dug them up. I figured they were going to die anyway, we could at least try to transplant them… nothing to lose right?
Well, turns out the salvia wasn’t too hard to get out, though it came out in 2 pieces. I potted one up for a friend and planted the other. The hebe though wasn’t going to go peacefully.
Wayne dug and prodded and heaved with the crow bar. Nothing doing. So he got out a chain, wrapped one end around the bush and hooked the other end to the towbar on the ute. I watched as he accelerated slowly, carefully… and obliterated the bush, breaking it off at the base.
So much for transplanting the hebe!
I took cuttings from both bushes. Maybe I’ll get lucky and a couple of them will take.
We never claimed to be great gardeners. In fact we have a vegie patch which is growing in leaps and bounds and we have no idea what to do with the stuff in it! We don’t know when things are ready to pick or how to cook some of the stuff in there (the packet said ‘asian greens’ and it seemed like a good idea at the time! Now I have a patch of overgrown asian greens I have no idea what to do with!).
I put in about 15 silverbeet plants. Not my fault. That’s how many the punnet had in it! Wayne watched me plant them all. Then our neighbour gave us another 3 plants. When they were ready to pick Wayne told me he hates silverbeet. What on earth am I going to do with half an acre of silverbeet? sigh.
Luckily for me 1/3 of the stuff I put in died, or we’d be totally sunk. I think I may have to be more sensible next year. Put in less of some plants. Like the lettuce for instance. You can’t cook or freeze lettuce. What on earth am I to do with 613 lettuces? 
I need rabbits…
So. Once we’d pulled out the bushes, we had to put them in somewhere right? We’d prepared an area above the driveway, a bit of a slope. I’d bought some topsoil in anticipation of putting in a garden bed in that area. My idea was to create ‘steppes’ out of some cement blocks we inherited with the property. 
This is what the area looked like originally – the tarps were my way of passively killing the weeds. It didn’t work, they were still alive, but they did have a bit of a headache.
Wayne dug holes, we shovelled dirt, mixed in some horse poop and finally we were able to put the plants in. I put in 2 different daisies, a lavender, some seeds and a plant called Cherry Pie… Fingers crossed they grow. The dirt in that area is poor and I’m not sure we had enough topsoil. My theory is that if I feed them regularly they’ll be ok. If I’m wrong I’ll know soon enough.
It was hot too, though overcast. Wayne worked topless, and though he was all for me immitating him, I opted for the midriff look – tucking my T-shirt up into my bra at the sleeves and above my waist. We’re both sunburned. Wayne is lobster red all over his back. Me, I look like a belted galloway in negative.
What’s a belted galloway?
Meanwhile, Wayne saw his first snake the other day. He was walking through the bottom paddock, which looks like this:
He’s let the horses into the bottom paddock now so he had to set up water for them. While out there Barney apparently warned him about the snake he was about to step on. Damn lucky too, cause all he had on his was a hanky to beat it to death with.
So, life has been exciting here at Wind Dancer.

z

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