From the sublime to the horrific.

When I last wrote, I was lounging on a sunbed watching MrC sieve dirt whilst sipping a glass of Pimms. Alas, this state of affairs didn’t last long (about an hour and a half).  With works complete on the patios and paths, we’re on a deadline, 1 week until family and friends descend on us for a BBQ.

Before they come, I need to sort out the wildlife pond, every year this turns into a weed strewn mess. It’s a fairly big job this so with heavy duty gloves on time to remove all the bramble and nettle and other assorted weeds that have taken up residence.  I have finally decided what I want to do with this, I’m going to plant it up with mostly ornamental grasses and some self seeding flowers like aquilegias.  It does look nice once it’s finished and if I can get it planted up next year, hopefully there will be less weeds to deal with.

 

I also need to dig over and plant out the new flower borders we’ve created, with MrC snr’s help I removed the grass and then started digging. As we’ve had no rain for months now, the ground is completely solid, I had to use a mattock to dig them.  This weather is not ideal for planting but I’ve been watering them daily (takes forever) and with luck I won’t lose too many to the heat.  When the shrubs start growing this will all fill out and look amazing.

I managed to get most of the jobs finished in the nick of time and it was time to start preparing for the hoards to descend upon us…

I can’t even tell you how much I love having people over to eat good food, have a laugh and conversation, and Pimms, and for the kids to go nuts, the rules are simple, no running with the ponies, stay out of the asbestos outbuildings and a new one for this year, if you spray me when you’re having a water fight, your barred!!!

Carmella had the best day ever, 11 children to play with, she loves kids so much she was literally dancing with excitement and almost every photo taken where there were children, had Carmella photobombing the background “I’m here, I’m absurdly cute and tiny, make with the kissing already”.  Rosie also likes kids, but would struggle to eat a whole one.

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Many thanks to MrC snr who did all the cooking and MrsC snr whose mighty lists of what needed doing and the ticking off thereof were definitely key to the success of the day.

During the BBQ Jan had a word with me, she apparently had a garden table and chairs cluttering up her garage that need a home and would we like them, heck yes we would, very much please. Now she downplayed the fact that they’re awesome so when Mr and MrsC snr hauled them over in their trailer a couple of weeks later I was so delighted, they’re completely perfect, need a sand and an oil, but otherwise perfect, we wouldn’t have been able to afford something so lovely, I’m very grateful, and comfortable when sitting on them.

 

IMG_0638.JPGSo now we’ve got posh garden furniture, it seems that MrC decided that my tatty old plastic sunlounger wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore, he told me to watch out for delivery drivers as he’d bought me a present, and lo, a chappie turned up with a sack of paddock grass which totally made my day, MrC gave me call and apparently, that wasn’t the present, and an hour or so later a John Lewis van turned up and delivered a rather posh wooden sunlounger and my tatty old plastic one has been banished from the back garden. I rather like my tatty old plastic one though, and it will live on in the summer garden, although, I barely have enough time to lounge on one, I shall be hard pressed to give two the attention they deserve, but I shall try (and a sack of paddock grass is an awesome present, I got 2 presents in one day and I did nothing to deserve them, I married the best man in the world).

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I know I should be pleased the summer is so hot and lovely, but I’m not, in fact, this horrible hot weather can just get lost, the ponies have no grass to eat, which is a problem, because they basically just eat grass, they should be fetlock deep in lovely green grass this time of year, but all they have is a brown burned mess. Thank heavens Mr Murton our lovely local farmer had done a cut and bale of most of his hay fields and could bail me out (pun intended, come on…).  The ponies are loving the fresh lovely hay, but I’m worried, they are basically eating their winter fodder, in the middle of summer, what on earth am I going to feed them in winter?? Normally the farmer would get 2 cuts of hay, if not 3, but this year, just one, I think a lot of livestock is going to struggle this winter and I’ve a sense of unease, last year there was a shortage of hay because the winter was so wet and we couldn’t get the animals out on spring grazing until very late in the year so the price of hay went sky high, I dread to even think what’s going to happen this winter and it’s not just fodder that’s been poor this year.  In the veggie garden I’ve had a lot of failed crops, the onions were a disaster, I had to remove our entire grape crop due to grey mildew, all of my root crops, carrots, parsnips, celeriac and swede have failed completely.  Apart from the carrots (which Rosie isn’t allowed anymore as it causes her to have outbreaks of an affliction called mallenders), these are all crops I use to supplement the ponies diet in the winter.  It’s worrying and I’ve just got 2 ponies, my heart goes out to farmers with herds that they might not be able to feed this winter.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, sprouts and leeks are thriving, and my butternut squash is making a good effort at world (ok, garden) domination, the cut flower garden is producing a lot of flowers for the house and the soft fruit garden is bountiful.. The tomatoes are doing well, as are the cucumbers and I had to ask on a local facebook site if anyone out there would like some marrows as I was drowning in them.  I had a couple of people come round to get some, and one lovely lady bought round her 2 or 3 year old toddler when she came to get them, oh my goodness, Carmella went nuts, she spotted the child and tried her very best to get through the fence, neighing and jittering from hoof to hoof with excitement, of course she got pats and cuddles and kisses, and I had to apologise to the lady who came round as I’m pretty certain a large amount of any money she has in the future, will be spent on riding lessons….

Other news in the garden, harvest has come nearly 2 months early, garlic, the sad and tiny onions that didn’t die, and maincrop potatoes have already been lifted, which is crazy. Plums and apples are ready for picking, although the greengages which are normally the first fruit of the garden are hard and bitter and I wonder if they’ll ripen at all.  I very much hope this summer is an anomaly.

 

I’ve been writing this entry for about a month now and just not got round to posting. In the last couple of weeks there have been a few bad news items.  Poor little Carmella had a serious reaction to horsefly bites, she got incredibly itchy and took large chunks of her fur off rubbing on everything in sight, this needed a course of steroid injections, which worked nicely along with a soothing mudpack on the face which she’d rubbed so badly.  That’s the first time I’ve ever applied mud TO a pony, a big thank you to my friend horsey Maggie (I have to call her horsey Maggie or the hub thinks I’m talking about the cat) who gave me the powder to make up the mask…  Carmella now has a small but nonetheless significant ulcer in one of her eyes that with the advice of the vet I’ve been treating.  She’s such a good little girl for treatment, lets us pull her about with very little struggle, she had a vet check this morning and it’s not cured yet, so we’re continuing treatment, after Maggies eye problems and the eventual loss of her eye last year, I am trying not to panic too much.

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Yesterday, Rosie had a very nasty accident, I was putting the ponies to bed in the evening and Rosie decides as I’m closing the gate to canter at it full throttle and impales herself on the 8 inch pointy bit that locks the gate, that’s bad enough, but the pointy bit had a plastic tip on it, HAD a plastic tip on it, the plastic tip is now deeply imbedded in the pony. After checking she didn’t have an arterial bleed I ran to the house and made a panicked phone call to the vet who thank God gets here in less than 20 minutes. She had immediate surgery, the plastic bit was removed, wound cleaned and stitched and pony is drugged up to the eyeballs on painkillers. She’s hopping lame and the vet isn’t sure if she may have fractured or broken her shoulder, we’ll need to wait a few days to see if the lameness improves, if she’s still bad on Friday the vet will do some x-rays.  I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps I’m not cut out for horse ownership after all.

And finally, I am not without health troubles myself, about 2 months ago I started to feel off colour, in the same way I did when I had to have a huge ovarian cyst removed in 2017. I lied to myself for a while that I couldn’t be that unlucky, but after a slightly inebriated chat with my friend Marco, who was also lying to himself on a health issue, we had a mutual “I’ll go to the doctors if you will” pact.  The upshot of which, after many undignified tests at the hospital, yes I am that unlucky, I have a  cluster of cysts on my last remaining ovary, which I shall have to have removed as soon as possible.

I hate to end on a negative note, but I try to keep this as warts and all as possible.

Hopefully Rosies lameness will ease and her shoulder damage is just muscular and not a fractured (or a possibly life-ending broken bone), she’s definitely improved since this morning and Carmella’s eye will heal quickly and I’ll get sliced and diced and be back digging, weeding and chopping down trees soonest. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s a pic of my beautiful girls before their health problems being treated to a bouquet of willow leaves (one of their favourite snacks) by my darling hub.

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