Springtime, sort of…..

Afternoon all.

I’m writing this partly because I’m locked out of Instagram again, despite having verified my details (again) and clicked on more pictures of traffic lights and fire trucks than I can count. I’m so glad that they clearly have a lot of time on their hands over there, what with not seemingly blocking far right content and suicidal content, and age inappropriate content etc etc…. but hey, at least you’re safe from any pictures of my dogs or the garden for 24 hours…. sigh…… I am genuinely concerned that I won’t be able to get it back and the 8300 followers I’ve built over 5 years will be gone. I don’t really know how to rebuild from that, but it’s not confirmed yet, the automated message says the review is “usually within 24 hours”, and that’s not until this afternoon. We wait and we hope. And we remind ourselves that in the great scheme of things, this really isn’t important. The hard part will be telling my friends where I’ve gone should it come down to it, but we’ll cross that bridge when there is a bridge to cross I guess.

The birds are singing and the sun is shining here, for the last time in a while before a weather forecast that would have Noah nipping to Mr Brico for creosote. I’ve been working on the “bramble hell” outside, and today I’ve managed to strim and subsequently mow a patch of grass for the first time in 4.1/2 years, so I’ll take that as a win. I think we’re now in a position to call 2/3 of the acre of neglected orchard, manageable now, with the rest hopefully following behind in rapid succession once we get another dry spell. -4 degrees outside last night though, so woke to a heavy frost for the first time in ages. I can’t wait until nighttime temperatures are reliably mild so I don’t panic at 10.00pm that I’ve forgotten to put a plastic bottle over the first shoot on my new peonies, or give myself a hernia manhandling massive plants back inside off the front step.

The plant situation inside however, is fully out of control, and not nearly over yet, in fact it’s just beginning.

In the hall is currently, an orange tree, a 5ft lemon tree resplendent with no less than 19 picture perfect lemons, a variegated lavender, and a Bergamot. The living room window ledge has about 50 plants from sweet peas to tomatoes, Bipirra peppers, aubergines and jalapeños. The chest of drawers in the same room has about 50 plants waiting to germinate from cucumbers and marguerites to peas. Lots and lots of peas. The kitchen counter has the smallest germinated seedlings under a grow light, lots of rudbeckia and herbs for companion planting. The bathroom has the priority seedlings on both a heat mat and under grow lights, most excitingly my loofahs are there, and 3 of them have now germinated. I’ll keep you posted on progress there! Yes they don’t grow under the sea like sponges, they are actually a type of gourd and you can grow them in your veg patch. One dried the exoskeleton can be exposed by peeling away the skin, and voila – a perfect (hopefully) loofah is born! I make my own soaps as you know, so burying a slice of this in my soap moulds is the plan. You might think that’s quite enough to be going on with, but they’ve now spilled over into the dressing room upstairs, where all the best and most established plants have gone, I think there must be at least 200 in total at the moment, and I haven’t pricked nearly everything out.

Then there’s next door, currently containing 22 Dahlias in pots and excitingly my turmeric plants. I seem to be using our “spare house” as a plant nursery….

Got issues? Much?

In other news, Figs has a massive tick under her chin this morning, and I can’t keep her still enough to get it off. That’s a 2 man job to look forward to this evening when hubs is free. I’ve taken that as a sign to give everyone their first dose of flea and tick meds this year, both cats at the back of the neck, and a tablet each (the size of a damn discus) for the dogs. Now, if you have pets, you know the struggle is real here. Tecqnique for Sheldon, French Bulldog and professional glutton, create golfball sized cheese wrapped nugget of tick tablet and administer to cake-hole. Num num, no chew, down it goes. Good boy.

And now the Podenco…… I know from previous rodeos, that a whole tick tablet is not going straight into a Podenco on the first attempt. We try quarters. Wrapped in a cheese slice. She takes it, runs into another room where you watch her effectively suck the cheese slice through her teeth, and administer the quarter of the tablet unscathed onto the doormat. We try again, same method. Tablet reappears, but this time mushed to a paste. Third time, tablet reappears but his gleefully gobbled by Sheldon, who now has flea and tick protection superpowers. Admit defeat, and call for backup, in the name of the human that the Podenco actually likes. Husband arrives quietly confident. Wraps quarter of tablet in cheese slice, quarter of tablet pops out of podenco gums and onto the floor. Wife face palms herself.

I called for the big guns. A tub of chicken rilettes. Managed to get a quarter of a tablet into her before she realised a game was afoot. Victory! Tried to repeat it with another quarter tablet, more filtering the good stuff through her teeth like Hannibal Lecter, and a little – tink! as the tablet pings off the tiles. Gah!

Last chance saloon, cheese slice, chicken rilettes and remaining tablet, chopped into a paste as fine as a thrice sieved pea-puree on Masterchef. Then I smeared it into her bowl so she’d really have to lick to get it. Then I did a victory lap of the kitchen singing the theme from Flash Gordon – “she saves every one of us”. You get the general idea…. You make your own entertainment in rural France I tell you!

So, brave Jedi, for those of you undertaking similar animal medicating duties soon, I salute you! You are the best of us!

Laters….. V xx

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