Sunday, November 4, 2012

Scratched! or how I beat the behemoth and lived to tell the tale

I'll let you into a secret: one of the great joys of not working is having time to do everything else. I mean that sounds really obvious doesn't it, but most people just don't get it. When you're working right, you have this big list of things you have to get done. Mostly those home and garden maintenance chores that you don't actually mind doing, but by the end of a work week you're just too plain fagged to really get in the hours needed to get them done. So you start on the weekend, don't manage to finish, and then the job stays half done for months on end as chore after chore seems to top it on the priority list. You're frustrated at it sitting there half done, staring at you, taunting you, making you feel guilty. Not to mention all the sarcastic remarks you may be getting from significant others. And no matter that the honest truth is you just don't have time hey?

Taking time off isn't the total answer, because when you have been working hard you need a holiday, you need to relax, recover from the stress of working and not feel pressured to get all those jobs done. Sure some people spend their holidays doing just that, and if heavy duty home landscaping is your way of relaxing from the stress of your work life, good on you. Just I prefer going skiing!!

Now that I'm back home, with a few months still left before I head back to work, I've drawn up a list of chores that need doing and I now have the time and energy to actually get them done. But it's not like I get up in the morning and put in a solid 10 hour day. God no!! It's much more organic than that!

I recently had a chat with my neighbour George, who is well and truly retired but leads a very active life revolving around a great garden, vege patch and home made wines and fortifieds. He and Pat reckon they've got enough Mulberry wine to get them through the rest of their lives, and they don't mind a wee dram first thing in the morning before the daily chores. No they aren't lushes, but a couple of old hippies ahead of their time, and I'm quite a fan of their ginger wine, mmm!! Anyway, George agrees that the way to be productive is to potter along, do a little of one chore, move on to another, maybe relax for a while with a beverage, read a book, spend some time on the internet (more Pat's realm than George's), then another chore and so on. And because you don't have just the weekend to finish the job, you start to see real progress. Yep, brick by brick that darn pyramid gets built!!

My current garden list has 16 items on it, and I've just hit the halfway mark. One of the really big ones was item number three, something I always considered a perhaps insurmountable challenge and it had, frankly, become kind of personal. Yep, that darn bougainvillea!

I'd had enough of the regular pruning. I was sick of the nasty scratches from the mother of all thorns. I realised that a paying tenant wouldn't keep it under control. It had to go. And just in case you have no idea how big a job this might be, pop over to this post from last year when I had my last attempt. When I'd given up in frustration after watching it all grow back again. After my neighbours had also risked life and limb helping me pull a huge amount of it down for council collection. Yep, a big job indeed. BTW, the photo above is from before last year's effort, I didn't let it get that bad again!

This time around I have time on my hands, and every Tuesday there's a bin to fill so week after week I have been cutting away at that bougainvillea and sending it to the tip. I may have sustained secateur blisters but it's all for the better good. I've had the joy of chainsawing some massive limbs (no, not mine!!) and have only the final stump to remove after drenching it with herbicide. Sometimes you've just gotta use poison folks!

And at last I can say with a great feeling of triumph and elation that the bougainvillea is no more!!

No more will I sustain inch deep puncture wounds to my fingers.

No longer will my arms be scratched and bleeding.

I won't have to repair the wheelbarrow inner tube again, or pick out numerous thorns from my thongs (they're rubber footwear you non Australians!)

And shadecloth over the pergola is so much easier!!

Now to move on to building that tyre wall....


  1. Did you remove the stump? How did that go? I have a huge stump that is difficult to dig up, so I'm sawing cuts in it and applying diluted glyphosate.

    1. I did indeed end up removing the stump, but only a few months ago!! I poisoned it with glyphosphate and pulled out any new shoots that developed, and at last got around to removing it. Because my garden is sand, it wasn't too hard to just dig down and eventually pull it out. good luck with yours.