Posted by: kathandroger | January 27, 2019

Ramblings, including roses.

When we converted the barns into gites, we realized that the old buildings needed a bit of outside decoration. What better than some roses, to meander up the walls and provide endless flowers for all to enjoy? Bloody roses! That was about seven years ago, and although all our roses were planted in seemingly very poor soil, full of stones and one in the courtyard, they have all mushroomed (can a rose mushroom?) into huge plants which threatened to obliterate the buildings.

In particular, the rambling rose “Pauls’ Himalayan Musk” on the front of our smaller gite had grown completely out of control, despite me giving it a good haircut each year. Good old George Paul bred this beauty before WW1, and god knows how many cussing gardeners have blamed him since that time. To be fair, it does produce some wonderful, small and scented pink blooms for a couple of weeks in May, but the rest of the time it just tries to block the gutters and find a way into the house underneath the roof tiles. No more of that, you overproductive rambler, you are going to be severely nobbled. Maybe it is just that everything seems to grow well here, and that it is south facing, but Mr Pauls rose is alleged to cover up to 10metres of wall; I measured ours at almost 25 metres! It took me three days to cut out all the smaller shoots and the dead wood, and despite wearing leather gloves (admittedly with some holes in) my hands are almost devoid of good flesh, most of it clinging to the prunings.img_0277This is half way through the job. Ramblers are supposed to be trimmed in the summer after they have flowered, but no way was I going to venture into that overgrown jungle, especially with my friendly chattering sparrows nesting in it. Working up a ladder with little room for manoeuvre is a great way to get a stiff back, and it took a good dose of whiskey in the evening to recover from the effort.img_0286The trumpet vine in the corner was a doddle in comparison, and even the fire extinguisher dogs moved away to avoid being impaled on falling rose thorns. But all done now for another year. We may well have no flowers this year, but at least control is wrested from nature for a while.

Our animals have done some pruning of their own in the field. Each year at about this time we lose bark from the Acacia trees. img_0280Always in strips, and it is rare for a tree to be killed. I reckon the goat is the culprit, but the sheep may join in as well, and all this despite being well fed and having a salt lick. Damage from previous years can be seen and is well healed, the bark moving in from the sides to try and cover the wound, exactly as it does in humans. But coming back from the wood I found another little tree with what look like teeth marks on it.img_0284

These wounds were very different, and I tried to find what had caused them on the old ‘puter. I don’t think it was Beaver, Bear, or Porcupine as was suggested, and guess that Brock the Badger may well be the culprit. I shall have to get one of those wildlife cameras and find out.

And finally, it is wonderful to see our dog eat a chicken egg. The three birds are still laying well in this mid winter, and so if we have too many Polly reaps the benefit. She is  discerning eater, and relishes every little unexpected addition to her diet. The offering is taken gentle in her mouth, transferred to the gravel courtyard, and then the tasty chicken excretia is first gently licked off.img_0289 A small hole is then made with her teeth and the ensuing fluid gentle licked off. When no more comes out , the egg is crushed and eaten, shell and all. It really is a gourmet meal for her, and takes several minutes. She looks like she would like a nice glass of port and a cigar afterwards, but I have to limit her input somewhat.


Responses

  1. Bear! Porcupine! Good grief!! What are your wildlife unsavvy advisors on?!

    • I think I got the wrong country….but will keep an eye open all the same!


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