I didn’t post a post yesterday because the day before a Terrible Temptation arrived in the letter box along with the newspaper and the electricity bill. I put the bill on the pile to be opened next Monday and focused on the Terrible Temptation. It was only a hand made flyer, but it had great little sketches of all the native plants in their three day sale and some of those were just the ones I had thought to make into a hedge along one of our boundaries.

My friend was up for a trip to the big city, so off we went yesterday to the edge of the big city only, to the nursery where we bought up large and proceeded on to another we wished to visit for vegetable seedlings and seeds and for a delicious lunch at the attached cafe. Actually the seedlings were just the excuse we made to ourselves in order to have the lunch! That didn’t stop us both spending more than we intended on plants, including an avocado tree C.J. and I had been thinking about buying for weeks. We looked like Burnham Wood coming to high Dunsinane as we made the hour and a half journey back to her place and then a further half hour to my high Dunsinane.
By the time I arrived home it was nearly dark so the plants got put, still in their pots, to shelter for the night under trees and in a well protected garden where they snuggled in between the established residents.

Today was the day to face the reality of planting an avocado tree and a half dozen seedlings that are borderline for this early in the spring, so that they might have a chance of success.

First, dig a hole. How simple and easy that sounds until I survey the piece of ground where we intend the tree to grow. With the warmer temperatures and high rainfall, montbretia has threatened to claim back what we wrestled from it’s grasp in the autumn, so out comes my wonderful Stihl line trimmer that I am in love with almost as much as I am in love with my cat who comes just after my husband. It needs new blades, but CJ used it last and the tools for changing the blades are nowhere I can find them and he is in the middle of the West Australian desert right now. Oh well, the old blades will just have to do. The little darling starts beautifully as always and is soon roaring through the montbretia, but then I see how long the weeds have grown around the caravan so decide to tidy them up before the threatened rain hits and at the same time I can cut back the long weeds in readiness for planting the hedge plants. Two fills of the tank later, I decide I had better stop and get on with the hole digging, so the trimmer gets a good brush off and put away.

This is all made difficult by the fact I haven’t used the machine for at least three months and my muscles are shaking and my hands have pins an needles from the vibration. I go to get a drink of water and can hardly lift the glass to my lips without spilling it! I still have to dig that hole, no argument and no more procrastination.

The top spade depth is wonderful rich soil full of worms (some half worms after my indelicate intervention in their lives I am distraught to report), but then every spade thrust produces a bone-jarring message that there is a layer of broken up rock to get through. Oh great, just what every tree planter wants to discover! Through this layer with much wiggling and lifting out of large rocks with my hands, I hit clay. Oh, almost as good as the rocks! Avocados do not like to have to put their roots through clay, preferring to take the easy way out by dying unless planted in nice friable soil where they can dessicate at the first sign of a dry spell unless tucked up under huge layers of mulch and watered. They are proper little prima donnas when young. I can think of some family members they resemble…no, I won’t go there! Well there is nowhere else to plant a tree that will eventually, if we can get it through the dangerous years of adolescence, grow into an impressive, tall and handsome adult, so I shall have to think of a strategy. Yes, of course, plant it shallowly and build up around it with compost (it is a voracious feeder, the avocado) before putting on a layer of mulch. Great idea except just at the moment I don’t have that much compost available! As part of yesterday’s extravagance I do have a couple of bags of good fertilizer in the form of sheep pellets and blood and bone, so I mix lots of that with seaweed gathered earlier from the beach and some of the soil dug from the hole. The tree is now ready to be planted and the wind is really getting up some volume and speed, so a stake will be necessary and wind cloth to make a shelter. Off to the bamboo patch to saw through some big bamboo to make a support stake and four stakes to hold the wind cloth. By the time I have walked all the way back to the house. Did I mention this place for planting the avocado is on the side of a hill that is by now taking on the dimensions of Everest? The bamboo and everything else I need is at the bottom of the hill in different places so it is necessary to go up and over the top of the hill for most things. Now it is back to the house for an iron bar, so heavy I can only just carry it in one hand as long as I stop every few metres and rest one end on the ground and a sledge hammer I can also just lift with the other hand and the same priviso. It is too steep to put them in a wheelbarrow. They would simply slide out, so I make staccato progress back to my planting site. I swear the magpie in the huge pine tree not far away is actually laughing at me. Hell, I am laughing at me! Where did that super strong woman who could do anything a man could do, disappear to? Who is this unfit old woman staggering along under the weight of an iron bar and a sledgehammer? I don’t remember when she happened! By the time I have used the iron bar to make holes in the ground for the bamboo stakes, my arms have gone on strike and are refusing to allow me to lift the sledge hammer high enough to whack them further into the ground! Two are shorter and I can manage them but have to resort to returning over the hill to the house for a hammer to try to get the remaining three into place so they will hold at least until CJ returns and make a proper job of it (urgh, did I say that??) By now I have realised the roll of wind cloth is not long enough to go round the whole thing, so give in to the inevitable trip to town for compost and windcloth and make do with a temporary sheltering wall on the windy side. I drag the iron bar and the sledge hammer down the rest of the hill to the driveway so I can pick them up in the car to take them back to the house. My body just will not agree to carrying them again!

Tomorrow I shall plant the small plants if my muscles have recovered enough to build another wind shelter as my vegetable garden is on the top of the aforementioned hill and the wind can be ferocious. In the meantime they are still quite happy in their very social shelter. I wonder if my avocado shelter will still be standing up or if it will have collapsed onto the prima donna?

Now I am off to my friend’s place for dinner for which the cat will shun me when I return, so a lonely night awaits while she sulks in the dining room instead of sleeping on the bed with me! It is not hard to count my blessings. Through all my challenges today, I have a healthy body, lots of purpose in my life, a wonderful, if temporarily absent spouse, great friends and as much as I need of everything important. I give thanks, I give thanks, I give thanks.