Of This and That

Yesterday was sunny, quite warm and deliciously Autumnal. I spent the morning working on my garden, as my pigeons circled overhead, keen to see what I was up to and to keep an eye on my activities. Pigeons are very sociable and their cooing and calling very soothing. They also spent time resting in the highest branches of a tall River RedGum – you might just pick them out to the middle of the photo.
I felt quite like Matisse, who loved his pigeons, spent much time with them and painted them often. His friend Picasso also painted doves and the sitter for his famous peace dove was one of Matisse’s flock.


– some lovely paintings featured here.
I have been searched online all morning for Matisse’s wonderful painting of a treeful of doves, but it has so far eluded me. I have it on a treasured postcard, part of a collection assembled over 50 years or more. It always gladdens my heart, and did so long before I kept my own birds. It is so important in life, particularly in the adopted life, to find and treasure the things which gladden the heart, lighten the spirits and help the pain. They give us something to love, goals to aspire to, warm feelings to immerse ourselves in, when all around seems forlorn and we feel ourselves forsaken, abandoned, unloved and uncared for. I have always found great comfort in birds and animals, as do many adoptees. Cats have been with me all my life, generations now, all stripes and colours and I am currently looked after by three of the finest – an ageing tabby with golden eyes and an apricot underneath and twin tortoiseshells, who are as different as cats can be.
Emily, the tabby is a gardening cat. She and her brother spent their first six months with me supervising the making of a new garden, which came to be called The Citrus Garden. They spent time climbing the almond tree overlooking the new garden, helping with the planting and chasing the hoe. That garden reached it’s maturity some years ago and is now past it’s best, in need of some serious refurbishment which hopefully will happen this Winter. It has geraniums, irises, wormwoods, Pride of Madeira, lavenders and one citrus left from the original plantings. There are roses and honeysuckles and the theme is yellow, orange with a touch of blue. The centrepiece when it was made was a Golden Wattle, now long gone, but replaced by a self-seeded offspring which looks healthy and now well over 3 metres high. The garden was fenced and gated to be self-contained and a disincentive for geese to move down the plot to the front and onto the road. It has worked for the most part, except in the most droughted of Summers when determination and intelligence win and a new escape route is discovered. A goose is as smart as a dog; two geese working together are as smart as three dogs and so on……. vigilance is required at all times, plus a good dose of bribery in the form of carrots, apples or other treats.
I have been unable to garden for over two years due to ill health, so it has been refreshing, if difficult, to get back to a more outdoor life. I have done things this last week I thought I would never do again. When the courtyard was paved last December a brick path was lifted and dumped outside the gate along with all the trimmed paving bricks and the remains of a palette not used. I have been using them to build two small walls, making slightly raised beds, in which I’ll plant herbs, some vegetables like red silver beet, kale, broad beans, garlic and parsley. Sweet peas at the back for fragrance and bunches of pretty flowers to pick. Mint will be confined to a pot, as will some other herbs. Here’s progress so far. Sorting the bricks with the help of my little friend, who is hunting anything that moves – ants, blades of grass, you get the idea!
IMG_8293 IMG_8294
Once I would have got this job done in a day, with ease and been able to lift a full barrowload of bricks. Those days are gone and I’m lucky to keep my balance, stay upright and lift a few bricks one at a time without after effects. That is my new ‘normal’ and I’m glad of it. It’s certainly better that being in bed wrestling with pain and trying to be absorbed in audio books because I can do nothing else. It had it’s joys! This is better.

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