After the coldest winter in fifty years we are now having the warmest October. A mini-Summer during Spring. In slightly more northern states there has been a heat wave. Here in Tasmania we are merely gently thawing out, and cautiously exposing our alabaster limbs to the unaccustomed warmth and sunshine. After an insane week of cleaning last week, I spent the weekend quite unwell, and had to spend quite some time reading in the hammock to recover.
The old pear tree was in full, glorious bloom, and covered in hundreds of honey bees, several dozen tiny black native bees, which hover like dragonflies, and a solitary, rollicking bumblebee.
Despite wasting much time on the project, I could only manage a photo of a bee's backside. They were truly very, very busy.
So many lovely books, from a recent library raid. I won't bore you with them all, but - Elizabeth Gaskell! I haver never read anything of hers before, but have now remedied that. A contemporary and friend of both Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, her work reminds me most of the novels of George Eliot (Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda). I loved the novel North and South which lays bare some very entrenched prejudices of Victorian society, and has some salient points of view about modern relations between capital and labour as well. I also had a volume of her Gothic horror short stories, which were intriguing but not amazing, all except for the tale of Lois the Witch, set in Salem at the time of the witch trials, which was frighteningly modern in these days of religious extremism.
But it hasn't all been about lying about in the hammock. I have nagged and encouraged all the girls to clean and vacuum their rooms, and throw some things away. They have also washed their windows, taken all of the winter bedding off and washed it, and cleaned out their clothes cupboards. My room is now home to large piles of clothing that needs to be sorted. Hmm, that wasn't quite what I hoped would happen. I have mopped all the floors, and the only rooms left to spring clean are the bathrooms. I am waiting for Rosy to make good on her promise to climb up on the ladder and clean all the mould off the ceiling (yes, I will be paying her well..), then I will attack the lower reaches.
Then, there is the garden. Our cold, cold winter wreaked havoc with my poor lemon trees, so now that there is little chance of more frost I have been pruning off the dead branches. Luckily lemon trees adore a good pruning once in a while, and hopefully these will bounce back. Next, feeding them prodigiously. Lemons love to eat.
I have also been transplanting perennials around the front garden while it has been the correct phase of the moon for transplanting. Soon, I will be able to plant the spring garden, and in anticipation have been weeding, digging and feeding various promising patches of earth. Come this time next year I hope to have a whole garden full of raised beds for planting, but this year the great project is the Chicken Palace, which is close to completion..