Saturday, April 24, 2010

Little green shoots

Good evening everyone!

Another day spent pottering around in the garden as it was a lovely out there. Did another chicken course and that went well. I did shock them all by wearing shorts, but summer is here after all. Any excuse to try and turn my milk bottle white legs a nicer shade. Cornelia was a star and was passed around without too much fuss! Agnes decided to flap around, but to my surprise, Elsbeth was quite content having a cuddle. That is a first!

After two weeks, my courgette seeds have finally broken through. Might not be the most exciting picture I have posted, but when you plant a tiny dry seed and watch it emerge into a tiny plant, I can't help but marvel *smiles*

Having transplanted my spinach, to make way for the tatties, I caught the sparrows trying their luck. Now safely protected by a couple of bamboo cloches!

The free tomato seeds I got with a magazine are doing ok. I usually buy in tomato plants, but grew them all from seed this year. Perfect little plants. Mum will be getting a couple and I'm sure next door would appreciate some.

Talking of sparrows, or should that be larks?, I am up with them tomorrow, A nice early flight to Aberdeen for the night and will then be flying to Stockholm with Jase as we have a trip together on Monday!

Heard from a good forum friend tonight, have been worried about her, so glad to hear that she is ok. Time passes so quickly and before you know it, it is days or weeks and things keep plodding on as normal.

My hayfever is still playing up but getting better. Not sure if the daily elderflower intake is working but will keep drinking it. Will have to smuggle some into my liquids bag to take with me to work. At least Kleanex is profitting from my runny nose.

Sat here watching Lord of the Rings for the hundredth time. Wish I lived in Hobbiton! Such wonderful little underground houses. Eco living at it's finest.

Blimmin' freezing tonight. Was tempted to light the fire, but refuse to put the heating on until late autumn now. Maybe if I had finished my quilt, that would keep me warm, but it is sat on the table still needing to be wadded (?),backed and bound. I will get it done as have worked really hard on it so far.

Sleepy vibes are calling me now, need to be up at 5am. Hideous time of day. At least it is starting to get lighter in the mornings, so not such a shock to the system. Travel mug of tea for the journey, set up by the kettle. One thing about earlies is that you do become very organised and can stumble out of the house quite quickly!

Night night,

C x x x

Friday, April 23, 2010

A couple of new arrivals.

The sun is out and the past week has been glorious. I was lucky to land back on Thursday morning just hours before the airport was shut for 5 days. Shame that I was due to be off anyway! The volcano that erupted in Iceland has caused massive chaos around Europe, as the ash cloud meant that most of the UK air space was closed for a few days.

Spent yesterday outside in the sun, pottering around the veggie garden. Cleaned out the hens and then cracked on with digging over the raised beds. I fixed the cover for the strawberry beds and gave it a top dressing of 'grow bag' compost. Managed to get caught by a few stinging nettles through my gloves. My God, they hurt!

I went to the garden centre a couple of weeks ago and saw an old sewing machine tucked away in the corner. They often have a few odd things inside, like an old stool, lampshade etc. I took an instant liking to the machine and wondered where I could put it? Decided a week later to give them a ring and see if it was still there. It was. Welcome Doris the sewing machine!

She is a 1920's Hexagon, the precursor to Singer or so I am told. In full working order, complete with a wooden lid and key! Not bad for £20. Still trying to play around and work out how to use her. The bobbin and threading is proving challenging, but I will get there eventually. The sewing action is so smooth, I think she will be a joy to use.

The sparrows have been feasting on the spinach for long enough! Just as the new tender leaves are poking through, they dive down and grab them! I decided to plant some spare strawberry plants in the trough and covered the whole lot in enviromesh that I got for Christmas. That ought to stop them!

Dug out the watering system from the shed and dusted it off. Most of the back garden and veggie area are now linked up, to save me watering all summer long.

Parsnip seeds are in, along with a row of radishes either side to remind me that something is there. Also planted some King Edward potatoes even though I never do too well with tatties. Beetroot also went in, with some more spinach for the hens.

The girls spent a bit of time in the 'posh' garden, whilst I sat on the patio reading a sipping home made elderflower cordial - in an attempt to try natural hayfever relief! Not sure if it is volcanic ash setting me off, but have been sneezing and itching for days now. Within 2 minutes, the girls had scratched the moss out of the borders, along with stones and the bark mulch. Nothing a quick rake didn't solve. getting 2-3 eggs a day, 4 when Cornelia can be bothered!

I had a delivery this week! An eglu Go, in sunshine yellow! I have been after one for a while, to use at my hen parties and for any hen sitting I do over the summer. I haven't built the run yet, as that will take more patience. Jase is wondering where we are going to keep it, as it would be a shame to keep it empty........

Have a hen party tomorrow, so scones have been baked, table laid and everything ready. Best get to bed now as hadn't realised it was half past 12!

Have a good weekend everyone.

C x x

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Buntings a go go!


Back from Spain, one flight home and easy-peasy. Managed to have a quick cuppa with Jase before he headed off to work.

Am now in shorts, yes, you heard right. Didn't you know? Summer is officially here. It must be. I have been wearing shorts for 4 days and we had a Barbeque on Saturday. Lovely sunny weather with a freezing breeze. Hence the fleece to keep me a bit warmer, but my milk bottle legs need some rays.

Next door are away overnight, so we are looking after the Bantinies. They are so cute and squeak like guinea pigs. I have collected 5 eggs in 2 days so far, not bad from 3 of them. Have just cleaned out our hens - just a quick 'poo pick' and refill of food, changing of water type clean out. Doing 2 chicken courses this weekend and next, so they will get a thorough clean out before then. Things are picking up. Must be the warmer weather and the springtime urge to keep chickens.

Picture of the bunting I made last week and forgot to take a photo of!

Even the 'anti-gingham' Jase liked it and asked where we could put it! I put fabric both sides, so you don't see the back when it is flapping in the wind. That would never do! I think this one is already sold.

A friend has designed a logo for my website (the one I still haven't set up) and I really should start doing more work for it. Just never seem to have the time.

Had a go at making chana masala this week. I love it when ever we go for an Indian and met someone at work who gave me a recipe. What a faff soaking chick peas overnight, then rinsing and boiling, but I promised I wouldn't use tinned chick peas. It turned out rather well, even though we have enough for a small army. Talking of small armies, I made enough sticky toffee pudding for them too! Maybe I should invite some soldiers over?.............

Up at the crack of sparrows tomorrow for a 6am start. Will leave here at 4.15, but only 2 days until my part time week, so looking forward to that. Lots of planting to do and (more) weeding.

Better go and plan dinner. Something with chickpea masala and sticky toffee pudding I think.

Have a good week everyone!

C x x x

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A cat litter tray?

A brilliant blue cloudless sky all day today! Really felt like spring had arrived. Weather set to be good for the rest of the week. I spent most of today in the garden, a spot of weeding, planting seeds and soaking up the sun. Lovely. The plum tree at the back is nearly in full blossom....

Wasn't needed at work today, gutted, as if, so got up early and headed for the hairdressers, then onto the garden centre. Big mistake. £35 on compost, grow bags and seeds later, I returned. Decided to sort out my seed box and get rid of old paper packets of long forgotten veg and flower seeds.

Being so impatient, I lifted the bags out of the car, without waiting for help, and gently moved them to the back garden. Not gently enough. Am feeling the tightness across my lower back AGAIN! I cannot seem to do any lifting without my dratted back hurting. Hot bath for me tonight. Might invest in one of those 'old people sock-puller-oners'. Is that even a word? You know what I mean. I'm sure Innovations will have one on line. Unable to put socks on without hoiking your foot onto your opposite knee in the morning is shocking. I am only 35! Ok, 36 next month, but still a spring chicken!

My new seed collection is ready and 'filed' in planting order. OCD lives and breathes in the shed too! How many wooden plant labels is too many I wonder?

I sowed peas and sweetcorn in my bargain lidl seed trays. Popped lids on top and then a 'mouse barrier' block to stop those pesky critters eating the sprouting seeds. Hope it works. They love my peas!

The Girls have been laying well, now that the 'bird cannon' in the field down the road isn't going off every 45 minutes. We are getting 3-4 eggs a day and I have boxed up a dozen to sell. Still have a couple to make muffins tomorrow.
Pru and scruffy, 3 tone, Elsbeth, ready for their close ups. Cornelia and Agnes were camera shy and retreated to the eglu. No eggs from then today, but they deserve a day off.

They spent today in a self dug crater. All 4 dust bathing in dry soil and wood chip, loving the sun.

Whilst weeding the veggie garden, I found a few parsnips that I forgot to dig up and use.

Cracking, aren't they? Will definitely be planting more this year.

French marigold seeds sown - not a big fan of them, but they work well with companion planting. Tomatoes sown, as are some courgette seeds! All coming along nicely. Need to sort out the watering system next.

I discovered a raised section of soil under the weed suppressing membrane today. Another Mole family!!!! We are surrounded by fields and they choose my veggie garden to make tunnels. Blimmin' things.

Mowed the front lawn for the first time this year. Looks lovely apart from the winter moss. Might have to get the hens onto that!

I had forgotten that I planted rhubarb in the back garden a couple of years ago. The leaves are huge and it seems to have come up overnight. I will turn it into crumble this year and pop it in the freezer.

It seems that everything is bursting into life. The currants bushes are looking healthy, even my neglected gooseberry bush is showing leaves. A few more hours of digging, weeding and top dressing and I think we are set for a bumper crop of flowers and veg. Happy days.

My quilt wadding arrived in the post! I went for natural cotton and will probably regret it, but it is so soft and cuddly. Shame it will be sandwiched between the top and backing. just need to cut it to size. Being an awkward so and so, my quilt isn't standard size, so I had to buy enough wadding to cover an Olympic sized pool. Must remember - Measure TWICE, cut once!! Been caught out before.

Made some bunting this week and forgot to take pictures, will do so tomorrow! Just need to find somewhere to hang it.

The house that backs onto ours, has been rented out to a Lady with 2 dogs and a cat. Operation 'net raised beds' will begin soon. A 4 pawed onslaught on freshly dug veggie beds must be avoided at all costs. I might sprinkle catnip seeds in next door's garden borders!!! Hee hee.

A bath with lavender oil, to soothe aching backs, is calling, so will sign off now.

C x x x