Thursday, August 31, 2017

Promise Promise Promise

Promise, promise, promise - I'm going to blog every day in September. And I'll also post a photograph which might have absolutely nothing to do with my blog post.

Blue skies this morning and the pollinators were out in force. The garden is nearly over but there is still a lot going on.

Best part of the day was hanging out with Miss Evie whilst waiting for Miss Martha to finish school.

We had a lot of callers today. The Wees (who are going to Vietnam soon) brought money plants, chillis and gem squash. We are taking them to the airport next week. The Banjos (who are going to Spain tomorrow) brought the makings of chilli-con-carne except for the chillis which won't be a problem. Thanks Wees. We will be looking after the Banjo dogs for a week and loose dog hair production at Nellyberts is forecast to increase by 33.33% over the next seven days. So glad we bought the GTech.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Nelly's Garden at Thirteen

The garden at Dreen, 2004

It is thirteen years today since Nelly's Garden came into being and, if it hadn't been for a Facebook memory alert, I'd have forgotten all about it. Today the Universe is telling me that I must Do More Blogging. There is bound to soon be a revival of the personal blog. Perhaps it is me who should begin it.

In 2003 I had a full set of parents, a different set of dogs, no pigs and no grandchildren. Now I am an orphan, as is my husband who wasn't even my husband back then. These days I have two fine and hairy pigs, three grandchildren and another on the way. In 2003 I had a job and no time to look at butterflies, birds and bees. Now I am penniless (pension kicks in next year) and have never been happier in my life. Turns out two can live as cheaply as one.

So - how did I spend my blog's thirteenth birthday? I went somewhere new. Bert and I explored a disused and overgrown basalt stone quarry near Randalstown where I saw a blue butterfly, the first I've spotted locally in years. Maybe they are rare, or maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough. It made my day even though I did not get a decent picture.

Then I made a delicious dinner that featured chips made from Maris Pipers and Wee Manny cabbage. I cut back geraniums and aquilegias and made a very small dent in the garden-tidying project. Some slugs and snails had to move house.


And finally - I blogged.

Craigmore Quarry, 2017

Craigmore Puddle, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Brisk Catch-Up

August 2017 is shaping up to be one of the worst months ever for Nelly-blogging. And it's not because there's nothing going on  - it's just that I cannot seem to be bothered writing about it. Must try harder or, when I'm in my dotage,  there will be nothing to remind me of what was going on late summer, YOOL 2017.


So - what is going on? Bert has fallen in love with Lily. This always happens. If he has an animal for long enough he becomes besotted with it. This is why cattle farming isn't working out for him. He will NEVER be able to sell The Quiet Cow or Evil Edna. When I firsr knew him he hated cats, now he adores Holly and thinks very highly of Fred.

Today we went for a walk in Bracknamuckley Wood and I tramped briskly* around the paths for 30 minutes solid while Bert sat on the canoe steps and stared at the river. It must be a bloke thing for I noticed on my walk another River-Starer on the other side of the bank, standing on a boat, no fishing-rod, no camera, no binoculars - just gazing at the river. I continued to tramp along only pausing briefly to take quick pictures of fungi, darsn't stop too long as my pedometer was clocking up the aerobic activity. I considered a fitness tracker but decided agin it on the grounds of expense and fanning the flames of my OCD, pedometer will do me. I don't even want to know about my heart rate or how much I sleep.

Other news. Bert fulfilled long-ago promise and got Hannah a car. It's nearly as old as Ben but in good nick. The tax and insurance on it are more than twice its value but Ziggy is pleased with it. His own vehicle at long last.

Even more other news - I might find myself dallying around the tights and dresses department of Baby at Next and New Born at TK. Maxx. There's going to be more to look forward to in 2018 than just getting my pension.

About 6 million middle-aged people in England are endangering their health by not taking so much as a brisk walk once a month

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Wee Catch-Up

Saturday - made a fire outside, drank gin and watched the shooting stars in the company of good friends.

Sunday - Forget. Maybe it was the gin. Oh yes, remember now. Took lots of photographs of butterflies.

Monday - Gardened. Sorted out books,

Tuesday - Took photographs of butterflies.

Wednesday - Went to a wedding.

Thursday - Spent the day with Martha and Evie. Visited by the Reed Sisters and all those bambinos. Introduced small child to The Quiet Cow.

Friday. Finally managed to get photograph of white butterfly.

Saturday - Gathered the last of the peaches. Spent the evening with Jazzer.

Sunday - Went to town and bought seeds and bulbs. Took photographs of butterflies. Picked fruit, planted wallflower, pricked out aqilegia and sowed dianthus. Talked to my sister on the phone and then to my pregnant daughter. Watched Ozark.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bupthalmum, Bees and Butterflies

Bupthalmum speciosum in situ

I have grown bupthalmum speciosum* in my garden for many years now. More than ten? I'm not sure. Mine was sown from a packet of Thompson and Morgan seed and only two or three made it. It was enough. After a few years one plant had grown close to four foot and spread about the same. It was nearly too big.

It's been divided a few times and bits passed on to other folk. Two years ago I really cut it back and split it into four, gave some to a couple of folk and stuck some close to a hedge where it has since been swallowed up by  wild raspberries. But that was before I became fascinated with the birds and the bees. Now I want bupthalmum everywhere because pollinators and butterflies adore it.

Bumble bee

Speckled wood butterflies

Small tortoiseshell

Peacock butterfly

Red Admiral butterflies and a honey bee

Time I was hacking into those wild raspberries and get those other two bupthalmums out of there. The bees and the butterflies will thank me for it.

*Also known as telekia speciosa

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Tribulations of Bert

A great sadness has descended on Nellybert's kitchen this morning. Not only has Bert's clarinet got broken but he sent the Fat Cow to market.

Even I felt a terrible pang as I heard the cattle trailer go down the lane. I'm even sad about the clarinet for Bert needs consolation.

We're just not cut out for cattle farming.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Up and About

For the past couple of weeks I've been feeling a bit off. Mostly bloating, indigestion and cramps. I put it down to a diet that needed to be rethought. Then, about ten days ago it got worse, with severe cramps and backache that woke me in the middle of the night. It lasted 6-8 hours, next day I'd feel a bit washed out but carried on. That happened three times so I decided to see my GP. I was actually mid-bout when I saw her, pain that started at 3am. It did not ease until six that evening.

The doc thought it was inflammation of the oesophagus and prescribed accordingly but gave me nothing for the severe backache. I spent the next two days in bed, sleeping whenever the pain abated. I was barely able to drink or eat. By the end of the second day the medication must have started to do its work and I was mostly pain and cramp free by yesterday but, so tired and still without an appetite.

Today though, from my first waking moment, I knew I was nearly better. It was a good day. I pottered around, did some watering, even took some photographs. I rested, watched a lot of streamed TV. One episode each of In The Dark (I cried) and Game of Thrones. I binged on Top of the Lake - three episodes. And I was hungry! And ate several small meals. Doctor's orders!

Tonight, as a beautiful waxing gibbous moon rose behind the trees on the front lawn meadow and bats flittered past my window I felt so happy to be back in the land of the ambulant and enjoying life again.