Wednesday, 2 November 2016

win some, lose some

There was a very light frost this morning, no more than a dusting on the grass by the chicken house and a layer of ice on the car windscreens.  It was not even enough to blacken the foliage of the dahlias, but I was glad I took the succulents into the conservatory a few days ago and had finished putting the pelargoniums in the greenhouse.  The nights are forecast to be chilly all this week, and I must remember to go and put the mouse guards over the entrances to the beehives before the bees can acquire any unwanted furry lodgers for the winter.

Mr Fidget went for his follow up appointment at the vet, and his temperature was back to normal. The top end of normal, at 39.1 degrees Celsius, but just within the normal range.  He presented a very different picture to the cat the vet saw on Monday, sprinting about the room when he wasn't being physically held down to have his temperature taken, and the vet thought that whatever he'd had, he was getting over it, though she reassured us that it was right to take him for the follow-up appointment even though he looked a picture of health.  We bought worm and flea treatment for the kittens while we were there so that she wouldn't feel she had totally wasted her first appointment of the day.

At lunchtime I discovered the wrapper of a packet of six wholemeal rolls I'd left on the kitchen worktop had been ripped apart and the tops of three of the rolls gnawed off.  We agreed that all bread would have to live in a cupboard in future, and I suddenly realised I'd had a lucky escape leaving the packet of emergency fruit cake by the coffee machine.  I don't think we are underfeeding the kittens.  Their backs feel exactly right, nicely covered, not bony but not fat, and the vet didn't express any anxiety about Mr Fidget's weight.  I'm afraid they are simply inveterate scroungers, especially Fluffy and Fidget.  Eating half a packet of wholemeal rolls does not even count as snapping up unconsidered trifles: those rolls were supposed to be our lunch.

The frost was not enough to end the autumn run of salvias.  Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii' is having a great year.  It makes a big plant, taller than I am, and is thick with bright sugar pink flowers at the end of every stem.  Down in the bog bed Salvia uliginosa is still blooming electric blue.  It is tall, not as tall as 'Bethellii' but inclined to flop, and likes to run gently at the root.  Unfortunately it has now hit the front of the bed and can run no further, while behind it is increasingly hemmed in by a vigorous Persicaria.  I see from my planting spreadsheet that I planted it a decade ago, so it has come through some pretty savage winters, two long and cold and at least one extremely wet.  I must see if I can chisel some little rooted bits from the front edge where they are going to waste, and pot them up with the view to starting another patch further back in the bed where it would have more space.  The Persicaria is going to need editing: it has over-run the Selinum wallichianum as well.

The Systems Administrator's cold has developed disastrously.  The SA had hoped to finish chopping down the brambles in the meadow this week after making such good progress last week, and admitted he now understood how I felt last winter, before deciding he didn't feel like any supper and retreating early to bed.

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