The Changing Seasons, October 2020

Work in progress; a metaphor for life. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Mulch.

If October could be summed up in one word, that word would be mulch.

It’s been a good month for gardening with lots of warm, still days, so the Big T and I have been super-busy making new borders and raised beds, sewing seeds, weeding, planting and transplanting — you know the drill.

Early on we took possession of a mulch mountain and have gradually eroded it to barely a hillock. 

And while the garden now looks significantly different, it’s really not photogenic. But with luck (and a bit of rain), by November’s Changing Seasons, I’ll have something to show you that looks more interesting than relocated piles of mulch.

In the meantime …

Garden success #1: transplanted lemon verbena thriving. Image: Su Leslie 2020
Garden success #2; kaka beak (Clianthus maximus) grown from seed. Image: Su Leslie 2020
Garden success #3; experimental wicking garden. Beetroot almost ready to harvest. Image; Su Leslie 2020

Apart from gardening, I don’t feel as though I’ve done mulch at all in October (see what I did there).

NZ’s general election seemed to split the month in two, and it’s only with hindsight I realise how anxious I was about the outcome. In the end, the Labour Party made history by being the first under our proportional representation system able to govern outright. While this does mean the government can’t blame inaction on conservative coalition partners, it also means that the Green Party, despite an increased number of MPs, won’t necessarily have a place in government. And NZ’s woeful record on addressing climate change and basic issues of social justice will probably remain woeful.

But in the spirit of accepting personal responsibility for our part in the climate disaster, T and I abandoned the car and took a ferry into central Auckland on a recent visit to the art gallery.

I continue to play with art materials; more for the joy of experimenting than with any particular result in mind. Alcohol inks and air-dry clay are my current favourites.

About the Changing Seasons

In last month’s Changing Seasons post I asked for feedback about the guidelines for posting, which have been unchanged since this challenge was established by Cardinal Guzman in 2015.

Thanks for all your comments.

The general feeling seems to be that we’re mostly happy that the structure allows us to share our reflections on the month in whatever way suits us, and the guidelines are mainly for anyone new to The Changing Seasons.

The things that were mentioned were the limit on photo numbers and the requirement to only use new images. Most people who mentioned the shot limit agreed it was a good idea (though we all admitted to exceeding it).

I am aware that most of us follow a very large number of blogs and do so actively — engaging with the content beyond simply hitting the “like” button. My own view is that having people read my blog is a privilege I must continue to earn by doing my best to be interesting, and respecting the value of your time and engagement. For me that means editing the text (and then editing it again) and trying to only use images that help tell the story.

As for the requirement to use new images; I’ve always seen that as a request not to bore readers by recycling shots they have already seen.

I had planned to include draft text of some updated guidelines here, but as I’ve already written more than usual, I’ll do that in a separate post.

Until then, feel free to add comments to my musings, and of course link to this post in your own so that I can update accordingly.

Update

Tracy from Reflections of An Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Ladyleemanila

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Pauline from Living in Paradise

Natalie from Natalie the Explorer

Lani from Life, the Universe and Lani

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Gil at Talking Thailand

The Changing Seasons, September 2020

Fallen kowhai blossom. Image: Su Leslie 2020

After a dry and quite mild winter, September has turned very cold, very wet, and very, very windy.

Instead of sitting on the deck, camera in hand, poised to capture shots of tui and kereru gorging on the newly arrived kowhai blossom, I’m sitting indoors (wearing Ugg boots) watching the beautiful yellow kowhai flowers blow around the lawn.

I’m sad not so much for the missed photo opportunity but for the loss of an important food for our native birds.

September has been THAT kind of month.

Between the weather, the pandemic, a surgery that doesn’t seem to have made anything better (though at least not obviously worse), and a general low-level exhaustion — if I weren’t hosting this challenge I’d be wondering whether I should even participate.

Indeed if it weren’t for a trip to the Muriwai tākapu (gannet) colony last weekend, I doubt I’d have a post.

But if anything speaks of the changing seasons, it is migratory birds.

When I visited Muriwai in mid-August, almost no gannets had returned to the colony from their wintering in Australia. By last weekend, all of the main breeding sites were densely occupied; nest-building was clearly visible, and I suspect that many of the birds may already be incubating eggs.

Having spent the winter discussing the building of new raised beds and garden areas, T and I had planned to spend some serious time on the various projects this month. We’ve made progress, but until the wild weather passes, we won’t be able to finish building and actually plant anything.

In the meantime, the blue borage and calendula are growing like mad, and my motley collection of pelargonium cuttings have all taken and are waiting to be planted out.

About the Changing Seasons

When I took over hosting The Changing Seasons from Max at Cardinal Guzman, I carried on using the format that Max had developed.

Over the years though, I think that we’ve all evolved different ways of approaching the challenge and for some, the original guidelines may seem prescriptive or even off-putting.

My own view is that The Changing Seasons is simply an opportunity to reflect on the month that has passed, and to share those reflections in whatever way feels appropriate. For some bloggers, it’s a framework to record and reflect on particular interests and projects — like a garden. For others, every month is different, and so there is no set way of approaching it.

I think we do need guidelines, especially for those who are new to the project. But do those we have still work? I’m interested in your views.

In the meantime, here is Max’s original statement.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month

Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month

Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

One thing that won’t change though. Include a ping-back to this post, and I’ll update it with links to all of yours.

Update

Ladyleemanila

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Lani from Life, the Universe and Lani

Xingful Mama

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Sarah at Art Expedition

Brian at Bushboy’s World

A Wonderful Sheep

Joining us this month is the Textile Ranger from Little Wild Streak. Pop over to her post and say hi.

Growing

A week of glorious sunshine has delivered lots of new growth and flowering in my garden. It’s especially exciting to see the plum blossom, but I think the bees are happiest amongst the borage flowers. You’ll have to take my word for that now — I was up too early to catch any in action.

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge | Pick a Word offered Growing (amongst others). I thought I was done yesterday with Comfortable — but how could I resist flower photos.

And it’s Friday.

#fridayflowers

Last photo of June 2020

galangal repotted Su Leslie 2020

Brian at Bushboy’s World had the wonderful idea of posting the very last photo he’d taken each month — whatever it might be and whatever the quality.

He’s invited us to join him, so if you’d like to share your last photo of June 2020, here’s what to do:

  1. Post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for the month of June.
  2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
  3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
  4. Create a Pingback to Brian’s post or link in the comments
  5. Tag “The Last Photo”

Also my Wordless Wednesday