Friday 26 February 2010

Cranford Mitts

I am very proud of these.
I started knitting again with the arrival of our lovely new grandson. And have got mildly addicted. Some of the things went a bit odd. I knitted him a tiny hat and then knitted a bigger one that ended up fitting son number two. Have unravelled that - son number two decided that he didn't like it! - and made these lovely mittens.
The pattern said that these fingerless gloves were inspired by the mittens worn by the ladies on Cranford (a programme which I find delightful) and that somehow added to the knitting.
Slight problem in that they are obviously made for the tiny hands of Judi Dench not mine but I'm sure they'll fit somebody :-)

Thursday 25 February 2010

Garden 2 - 25th February

Decided that since the cranes are flying over on their way north that it must be spring. Erected the tiny plastic greenhouse and planted some seeds in it, indoors. Just a few of lots of things in modules to see if any germinate and if not I can have another go later. Tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn, sunflowers, aubergines, chillis, basil, courgettes, melons, cucumbers, sweet peas, morning glories, lupins, verbena bonariensis, cosmos and zinnias. Bon courage mes petits.

(03 03 10 peppers, lupins, morning glories, cosmos, zinnia, aquilegia, agapanthus and achillea germinated - yay am so proud of myself :-))

Weeded the broad beans. Now know why the man down the road only planted his about a month ago. I decided to be organised and plant them in the autumn so that they would get a good start. They got a good start and then got frosted! Most of them are now reshooting from the bottom and have filled in the gaps with new seeds. The man down the road has neat rows of tiny plants that don't seem to be bothered by the frost and snow. Reminder for next year - wait until you see him plant his.

Took cuttings from the weeping willow tree in the empty house next door. These may be a bit late but have done as instructed by Geoff Hamilton so fingers crossed.

Feeling grateful that we have dug lots of narrow beds that can be reached without having to get on them at all. The broad bean bed was way too wet to walk on but because you can kneel all round it is easy to weed. Lots of edging though.

Trimmed what will be the box cubes. When we came it was a huge mass of box at least waist high and about fifteen feet across. When we cut - and cut and cut and cut - found that it was actually four plants and with the courage of the RHS pruning guide cut it back to four stumps which are now shooting happily and turning into cubes! Box here grows happily to twenty feet or so. I think originally it must have been a neat hedge around a vegetable plot with orchard beyond but that was a long time ago. One day ......................

Saturday 20 February 2010

Garden 1 - 20th/21st Feb

Lets see how well I can keep up a blog of what we are doing in the garden.

This morning started out bright and the meteo says sunny intervals, no rain. Felt the urge to 'get out there'.

Cleared the circle round each of the new fruit trees. Started by carefully putting the weeds on the bonfire and then thought that that was ridiculous because the trees are planted along the edge of a field of weeds so then threw them in the hedge where the soil on them might do some good! Then lugged some of M Mazet's cow muck to spread around each one. So they are now all clean and tidy and ready to start growing beautiful fruit. The apple trees show signs of life but the plums/apricot/nectarine/almond are still sticks. I did get them tar oil winter washed (or at least whatever English garden centres sell nowadays without the tar oil in it).

Edged and hand weeded the asparagus, and soft fruit beds. Put some general purpose fertilizer on them. Some raspberry shoots but not a lot else.

Him outdoors had an enormous bonfire yesterday with the branches that EDF cut down in the hedge and while he was playing with it, dug the two potato beds that are up in the top field.

Mid afternoon the sky went completely black and a cold north wind appeared and it is now raining/sleeting heavily. This morning in the two sunny intervals it was warm and birds sang but the rest of the day has been cold and grey and now wet.

Next day started sunny and turned very wintry again. Started weeding flower beds. Wish I could remember what was supposed to be in them! I bought a selection of cheap perennials from Lidl which have merged into the overwintering weeds. Some are obvious and it's a bit early for some so just basically clearing the obvious weeds. Too wet to get on to the beds so just edges.

Him outdoors finished pollarding the lime tree which I started but found too high. I think it's a disadvantage of trifocals that scrambling about in trees is very disorienting - or maybe it's an advantage! He also climbed up an apple tree that we had to cut most of the branches off to prune off some of the unwanted shoots.

An afternoon for reading in front of the fire I think.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Good job they make me smile

Our chickens are useless!!

Well, they make me smile every time I see them, but their egg laying is useless.

We have been discussing culling the extra cockerels for several days now. Deciding that we can't kill the ones that we've named but the three little ones would be possible. Can't do it today, it's raining, can't do it today, it's too cold, can't do it today.........................

Well we did it today. As usual in our life it was an, ok let's do it now sort of decision. Up, breakfast, out to the chicken run and grab them. Well, Him Outdoors grabbed them. Lots of fluttering around the run but once he'd grabbed them and put them in the box they just sat quietly. The others were a bit irritated at their breakfast being disturbed but didn't seem to bother. Then we followed the instructions given to us on our learning day (see first post) and we were fine.

Have to say, it's not something I want to do often and fortunately we won't have to. There are only two hens that lay any eggs and Mrs Wembley is sitting on three of hers so she won't be laying any more for months. Nina may well be laying but not anywhere that we can find them so she may well turn up with a load more babies (nine last time hence the name). None of her last lot of babies have laid anything yet.

As I said, it's a good job they make me smile.