Explosive growth

That sounds rather unpleasant, but I’m talking about the incredible Spring growth in the garden. The plants are practically invading the house, pressing against the windows. When I’m looking out it’s like being in a forest – with the comfort of a couch.

I took the first photo on October 12 and the second one this afternoon. In the second photo, the house has almost disappeared.

The broad beans are bursting out of their dome. The snow peas and lettuces are pushing against the roof and sides of the greenhouse. The broccoli has outgrown its protective netting and, consequently, the chooks have been nibbling the leaves.

Clematis is pouring across the front fence, and banksia is billowing over the back fence. The chooks wade through the long, lush grass.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ pops into my mind when I’m out amongst this explosive growth.

RIP Popcorn

Popcorn – the picture of good health

Popcorn died unexpectedly this morning. She was huddled on the top step to the nesting box breathing noisily. I stroked her and talked to her. She was puffed up and her comb was dark red.

I went inside to google the symptoms. There were the usual references to internal parasites and blockages. One site said that sometimes chooks just do die suddenly. That proved to be the case, as she simply fell off the step.

Yesterday, she was on the back of the chair looking in the window. Later I could hear her ‘popping’ up and down to reach the lettuces in the vertical planter. She dust bathed, enjoyed her treats and hung out with her other three mates all day.

Popcorn eyeing the tomatoes last summer

She is the last of the three rescued chooks who came to live here (temporarily, at first) in January 2020. She is now with Betty (No 1) and Dora in the chicken graveyard under the lilac (which is flowering beautifully). The second little flock of three, which came from my niece in Dunedin, remains. Is it my imagination, or do they seem subdued, this morning? Popcorn used to boss them about a bit, so they may have to re-think the pecking order.

Popcorn in charge

We are subdued too. Popcorn was the ‘star turn’, entertaining us with her antics. She was the first to investigate anything new and the first to run to see if I had anything for her when I was picking salad leaves in the garden – as she did yesterday.

Post-moulting, the new feathers grew abundantly this year

It will be very strange without her. Rest in peace, Popcorn.

Post Script:

Popcorn’s star turn in the after-life

October snow

The time is out of joint…

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

The blast from the Antarctic left snow on the deck this morning, while the apple tree is in full bloom. The snow was crunchy underfoot and so compacted that I hardly left any foot prints. The chooks were very wary and refused to cross it even to get their food on the lawn.

I filled my car boot, and the back seat, with extra firewood which we will need before our delivery of next winter’s wood. There’s a biting wind despite some moments of bright sunshine.

At the hardware store there is a line-up of brightly-lit Christmas trees and trolls in woolly jumpers. Last week they looked entirely out of place on a warm Spring day. Today, not so much.

It’s a day to enjoy being beside the fire with a good book.

Little machines for big jobs

The sewer repair began last week with manual digging to find the sewer join. This is where the newer PVC pipe meets the older clay or terracotta pipe. A camera probe early this year revealed earthquake damage in the old pipe. It has been a long wait for the work to begin.

A further complication was coordinating the pipe lining once the initial digging had been done. The pipe liners turned up first thing on Monday without warning. There was time for one shower, after which there was no use of toilet or sinks. This experience was a reminder of how to conserve water. I brushed my teeth in the garden using half a glass of water. The local pub proved useful for a mid-morning toilet visit. Mum held on with the forbearance of the late Queen, until my sister pointed out that you could use the toilet as long as you didn’t flush. It was a matter of keeping your mind on the job and not pushing the button out of habit.

The pipe lining is ingenious. It was invented by Eric Wood in London in 1971 apparently, when he was faced with difficult repairs to a sewer pipe. The invention has saved my drive and garden from being dug up. Instead, the lining is fitted into the old pipe and inflated.

A variety of intriguing little machines were used in the process. The grey one in the distance (above) was used to inflate the lining.

This one emitted little puffs of smoke, like the little engine that could. I think it is a generator – although they used a power connection in the garage. What is the blue machine for?

Later, a larger machine appeared in the drive. It was big enough to have its own trailer, and is an air compressor (I asked).

This morning the chimney sweep came with a very tidy little vacuum machine.

Usually we have finished using the log burner for the year before we have it cleaned. Today’s news, however, tells us to expect a cold blast direct from the Antarctic ice sheet.