Best Laid Plans ~ Of course at the beginning of the year I was going to write The Week That Was every week, and at the end of the year have 52 neat little stories…. And then Helena’s story loomed large and I knew I needed to write that as well – and well, something has to give sometimes! So here is an update on Utopia living 🙂 ….. 12 weeks into the year already, and 4 weeks behind!
Main Project Update ~ So not finished yet – but well on the way!:
Featuring feijoas, a small cypress, LOTS of bulbs, some random hedging plants, 4 cubic metres of soil, and a Chinese lantern… as a start. And now I have to fix the fence, and do a little more planting, especially another fruit tree once the Autumn is in full swing 🙂
Harvest ~ The harvest this season has been a bit of a sad affair. Even though we have at least 4 varieties of strawberry with 4 different ripening stages we’ve not had more than a smattering to top our breakfasts. The latest variety was kindest to us, but a funny thing has happened there this year. If I didn’t know where snails came from I could be forgiven for believing that snails were created inside strawberries…. like pearls in shellfish. I don’t know whether it was one incredibly industrious mother snail (I only found one) – or a series of them visiting the strawberry patch on a roster – but 90% of those delicious little packets of red red juicy divine had been semi hollowed out by the teeniest tiniest little snail~lets I have ever seen. However frustrating for us, I couldn’t help but think how utterly marvellous to be born inside a strawberry!
The neighbours ‘triffod’ grapevine, if you remember from one of my previous posts, was left to trail all over one corner of the garden, because I found these for the first time:
And just the other day the reward has begun to be reaped….
As predicted, now that the raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries have all done their dash it’s time for the cranberries to come on line and we’ve had an early handful already. The New Zealand cranberry is quite divine. Ours don’t grow as big as they promised – but that’s because I don’t thin them out, but prefer to go for quantity. They have a delicious aromatic taste, so much flavour packed into such a tiny little bundle. YUM!
Our very young apple and pear trees are mostly done – though one late ripening apple still has half a dozen offerings growing nicely. The feijoa trees are smothered with tiny fruits – and I am hoping like heck that they have not suffered in the same way as much of the garden from the excessive wind we’ve experienced.
It started blowing in November and I kid you not when I say that it did not stop until end of February, and much of the time it was gale force, and very dry. No matter how much watering I attempted I couldn’t get enough on to save many of the plants.
March is usually one of the nicest months, regardless of how the rest of the season has been…. but this year from day one it started raining and got cold. Autumn struck right on cue!
Old Man Oak ~ We are blessed with the most beautiful oak tree on the property frontage. Planted over 80 years ago, it’s the first tree in the district to lose it’s leaves, and the first to gain them again in the Spring. Thousands of leaves fall like snow, and create a red brown carpet over the entire garden… and pavement…and gutter…. so whilst the rest of trees in the street look like late summer and the cicadas are happily chirruping, our old oak is a bit of a sad affair. I have given up trying to remove the leaves from the garden, and I silently apologise to the neighbours who are likewise swamped by them. I do love the tree though – and in Spring when the rest of the district is still looking twiggy and dead we are the first to welcome that divine pale green, fresh spring glow 🙂
Mid Summer Leaf
First Signs of Autumn
The Leaf Drift Begins…
…and Starts To Pile Up…
Caroline ~ So much love for Caroline’s work. Creating the gorgeous designs inside and out of our Utopia cabin, we welcomed her back to bring new life to a sad corner on the house:
Feathered Bundles Of Joy ~ Y’all know how much I love our chickens! Happily, Poppy is finally over the idea of nesting…. broody no more, though she still isn’t laying, she is joyously flying out of the coop of a morning with the others.
There was going to be an amusing story about Ethyl, but it’s looking like a sad story instead…. Ethyl is our special girl. She’s always been a bit different – not a problem in itself of course, as ‘different’ tends to thrive here at Utopia.
Ethyl has recently been walking up and down, and up and down along the shelf in the coop trying to work out how to get down in the mornings in a fairly amusing fashion, clip clopping along, almost diving off and then turning around again and walking back to the other side before trying again. I found this highly amusing, unless I was in a hurry in which case I would lift her down and onto the ground with the others where she would eat a hearty breakfast, and then she started losing….leaves I was going to say, but it’s feathers I mean 😉 – feathers, and looking a little worse for wear…. not too ragged though and still fussing about and pecking around the garden in happy fashion, until a couple of mornings ago when I discovered her on the floor in the corner of the coop unable to walk with her legs off to the side……
Well, I am used to disability, Helena of course, but for some reason I always end up with some sort of disabled animal, my previous cat had a brain injury and used to walk with his head on the side and jump sideways instead of straight up.
There have been times in my life where it seems I have been living in a non-species specific cottage hospital. In any case I am not one to say ‘well that’s it for her then’ and do the thing many people would do. Currently she is happy, perky, and doesn’t appear to be in any pain, so is sitting in a straw filled box with some water and food pecking distance away and we move her to be with the others, depending on the weather….. you wouldn’t read about it!…. oh hang on, you are…..
Helena ~ Thank you to everyone who has been reading my Helena blog, and to everyone who has messaged me with encouragement. You all give me the strength to carry on, it is incredibly moving how much so many of you want to hear this story, so episode 3 coming tomorrow. Thank you.