in a shitty old planter on the side of the road
The first real bunch of the season. The smell. I almost forget why I am such a slave to a good rose and flowers in general, then I go out into the garden after late spring rain and find them all smiling at me. I am hard-pressed to think of anything more gratifying.
In the pagan canon, the Garden returns to us everything we've lost along the way-
love, virtue, honour, pleasure, even those who have departed and descended- restoring everything we require to endure. I think that is almost true, and if not literally so, at least its gentle substitutions are resplendent and perfumed.
I know it's not a technically spectacular shot. But this tiny, tiny camellia approx 15cm high produced this perfect china-red bloom amid this carpet of lacy cranesbill and I thought you should know about it.
If the camellia can make an effort to do something beautiful, so should we. This sentiment is pretty fucking rich coming from someone who has been putting off posting in favour of general spring cleaning drudge bullshit, I know. Imma put some new stuff up this week, pinky promise.
Thanks for reading and looking.
In virtually every culture that has encountered them you will hear stories about how herons were historically duped out of their previously mellifluous voices.
Fledglings are easy to identify: generally, their proportions are a wee bit stumpy, their feathers retain that vaguely downy look, their beaks are shorter and their behaviour is distinctly teenage. Though they're fairly common, this is the first pair of chicks we've noticed in our time here so it's nice to know they're breeding successfully in this urban-ish area.
It's officially Spring down here from Sept. 1, but really we've been in the latter season for at least a month now after a fucking balmy, frost-less winter that seems like several worlds away from the brutal ones we experienced upon arrival in Dunedin 20 years ago. The climates, they are a changing. Thanks Shell, BP et al.
I'm going to post a few things about the building process because I feel there's stuff I wish we had known before we began; it's like having kids- no one tells you about the bad shit until you're stuck in the middle of it. We've learned a lot and really sort of know what the hell we're doing now that the process is almost over. Just like life. You finally get a few things sorted and then poof, you're back to level one: microbial sludge.
On that note I will leave you and go the fuck to bed before the paint fumes induce me to produce lewd couplets. There'll be another lipstick review this week because I have a backlog to document before offloading some. Reasons- I have them. Shut up.
This prolonged exposure captures the essence of the teen poodle's infernal spirit: play play play yap play play steal play rubbish rummage play play drag person 5 K play play sleep play. At eight months his testosterone is off the charts and it's fair to say that Fir is a fiend for action.
A wee trip to the vet is due: don't tell him that.
Fir will find your bladder and stand on it at 5.30 every morning with unfailing accuracy. His opposition-pull reflex is off the fucking charts. He gets up on the sofa behind you while you're lighting the fire, positions two paws on your shoulders and presses a sloppy toy to the back of your head. His recall might be getting (slightly) better but he'll still fly across the yard and disappear into the unfenced bushes or frolic on the road if he gets the chance to bust out of the side door. He pulls everything onto the floor and jumps up and down on his back legs screaming like furious toddler in a supermarket if I dare leave the room without him. Doorways are for pissing in when it's cold and windy. The rubbish bin = lunchbox and don't ask what he does with high-quality poos if given a chance. Just... don't.
Fir loves citrus, persimmons and almonds, which is weird and annoying because you have to give him yours, goddammit. He bounces on the spot barking hysterically at the prospect of R's fried egg sandwiches. I've realised I don't really know how to raise a normal dog. They always end up like this.
Also- highly recommended for extreme-chew dogs with squeak fetishes; the Kong rubbery squeaky bones. The noise isn't too maddening, ours has lasted over a week now and doesn't show signs of disintegrating into atoms, unlike almost every other toy we've tried.
Fir growls at rearranged furnishings. He is cute, though.
It was a bad summer in that Felix's illness and the building project coincided, so we had no time for the poor old plants. The garden has gone to shit in autumn and now lies, unsightly and betrayed, awaiting a pretty nuclear winter cleanup that I am not looking forward to. Armfuls of mouldy and worm-squirming mush dripping into your shoes as you dump them on the compost heap, etc. etc; fuuuuuuck.
R managed to get a few nice shots regardless, so I thought I'd share as part of warming up to regular posting in the near future. Jesus christ I am a lazy bitch these days. Well, lazy and depressive; I might as well use the old mental illness shit as a crutch and get some fucking value out of it.
R made this nice little triptych after catching the bird feeding on this, one of my favourite plants. Bellbirds and Tuis also visit the blooms. Waxeyes are not my favourite birds because the little fuckers tend to ruin a lot of fruit with their incessant pecking, but they do make pretty cool pets when hand raised.
If you dont get too much frost, I highly recommend the Canary Foxglove; it flowers almost year-round here in NZ and is fairly unfussy as to soil as long as the drainage is good. I have three or four plants now and would happily install 20 if I had the room.
Just in case some of you constant readers are skeptical as to the actual existence of any project that might be dragging me away from this blog rather than just, oh I don't know, massive fucking laziness or inappropriate drug use, behold- the Idlehouse is nearly a thing. It's not quite this whack-looking shade of blue; extreme afternoon sunlight is not letting my superior paint selection be great and I couldn't be bothered colour-correcting the pic. Note random piece of trellis waiting to be painted black just like 4635542894 other of the motherfucking things.
No steps or roof gutter as yet, which is trying my patience. We're currently whitewashing the ply walls in the bathroom with a product that behaves like Satan's jizz (streaky, fume-y, splatters unpredictably and sticks to your eyeballs, will not come off your fucking hands) so, not in the best of moods but as you can now see, we are getting there.
Still very fucking busy. I thought getting to the finishing stage with the new place might mean less work. Wrong.
Here's a few pics of Fir who is still firmly in the juggalo phase of his personal development and is just lucky he is a cute little arsehat otherwise he might not have made it this far. Also: bonus pic of monarch on dahlia from our new lower garden.
I'll post some pics of the new place over the weekend if I get a chance.
Losing Felix was a throat punch from hell. I just can't overstate how hard it's been for us these last few weeks without him to make life worth getting out of bed for, but you've probably lost your own dogs and know only too well how that feels. It suffices to say that things have been bad.
We began looking at NZ poodle kennels just to get a feel for how long we'd have to wait for a pup from a reputable breeder (don't buy random/backyard dogs, people). We would like to have taken a rescue poodle, but there aren't many suitable candidates around. We also love the breed in particular and don't think it's unethical to support the people responsible for maintaining it in good standing; it's pretty glib to condemn show kennels when they seem to be the only ones who give a toss about genetic testing, appropriate matings and breed integrity. Those things matter. While some dogs are definitely being held to ridiculously extreme and physiologically deleterious standards, many more of the canine strains we love are with us today only because of the diligence of dedicated breeders. I just wanted to say that because they get a lot of hate from some quarters, much of it founded in ignorance.
We liked Inchcolm Poodles for their black miniature-only program and emphasis on health and confirmation, but we were resigned to waiting months. As it turned out, one little fellow was looking for a home and we were overjoyed to give him one.
These pics are about a week old and he's grown so much in that time. He had his first big boy haircut in the last couple of days and looks so much like a tiny adult that people stop and stare, unable to decide exactly what the hell is going on with him. Like most poodles, he is freakishly- some say malignly- intelligent, inherently militant and hero-worships the long suffering Hamish, my mother's Bichon/Maltese/Schnauzer veteran who has had enough of his shit already.
He sleeps in the bathroom (toilet training necessity) and brays like an angry helium-huffing werewolf when placed there. Fir shows great promise.
Wonky panorama taken on a phone from the central balcony.
The Regent is a late Victorian baroque extravaganza and apparently the only intact survivor of this idiom, at least in the southern hemisphere. I know all the ones in Chch were knocked down in the 90s and the remaining, partial stragglers were taken out by the earthquakes. Which makes me sad; you'll never be full feral til you've sat through Wild at Heart or Anatomie de l'enfer amongst that particular kind of feverish, moulting grandeur. It's like tonguing a lollypop in the lap of a benevolent if superannuated courtesan with mercury poisoning. There may be odours, but you learn so much.
The Regent was infamous for rejoicing in special arse-punishing seating; I remember writhing my way through a screening of Metropolis and swearing never the fuck again, so it took a lot to tempt me back to watch Romeo and Juliet (free tickets fuck yeah). Despite the original coccyx-compressors having been replaced in a recent restoration the new seats are just as bloody hard on the buttockal region in an entirely new way. Goddamit.
It was fun to watch all the flinty, thirsty ballet mums trying to out-alpha each other, less fun seeing more than one nascent ED in their anxious offspring. The Royal NZ Ballet was mmmokay (Juliet was awesome); special mention for set and costumes. No pictures of the performance because people who do that shit need to die in a fucking fire.
Courtesy of the Lovely R.
We haven't posted much recently because we've been both in the midst of building, and nursing Felix, who has a very debilitating neck injury and needs round the clock care. We're hoping it's a pinched nerve and not anything malignant, but the level of supervision required to stop him doing injurious stuff is pretty draining, so I just don't feel like writing.
I'll try to post a new excerpt tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.
Our garden is home to a small, slightly battered looking but incredibly conscientious and very tame blackbird cock called Daddy. He nests around the house with his baby mother and keep us company while we're in the garden, so much so that we practically have to shoo him out from under our feet. A weird wind emptied their last brood onto the ground a couple of weeks back and I managed to save one before the local (unbelled and totally unconstrained) cats found it; we raised it successfully on kitten food, conditioning mix and meal worms and now Chicky resides in the aviary, probably awaiting release since he/she seems to have decent feeding instincts.
I know they're not native but we were please to be able to help out.