Wednesday 29 April 2020

Listening to the rain

And loving it.

Michael put extra water butts in a few weeks ago and they are all just about full now. Every bucket and container without holes that I have is standing out collecting water.

Wales may be famous for rainfall but we do have spells of hot sun, low pollution levels, and wind. My garden is on a slope and runs roughly East to West, the soil is free draining and dries pretty quickly.

I have masks waiting for elastic, these are for my neighbours, it has been dispatched so hopefully will not be too long arriving.

I am reading more at the moment, Michael has a large book collection and I have only read a few. Dean Koontz is my current author of choice, I like a good thriller but no gratuitous blood and gore.

I have fabric and patterns for several projects, both garments and household items ready for the prolonged bad weather that we are bound to get once lockdown is eased.
The yarn stash has been delved into several times but does not seem to shrink. Socks and facecloths are the knitting of choice, I can manage those despite my sight issues.

Francesca is managing working from home wonderfully, we video chat most days, and she is getting out for an hours power walk most days. Fortunately she has a small garden and can work from her hammock on good days. It must be grim for those with no outside space, even worse for those with children.

I find it irritating when reporters want to know when lockdown will end and how much longer Covid 19 will be spreading. They may as well ask how long is a piece of string or why is snow cold. This is a new virus and it will be an age yet before any answers emerge.
We should be thankful that Boris is not suggesting any strange and dangerous treatments that may or may not contain Snake oil or Jeyes fluid.

I spent an hour, during a dry spell, tidying up round the greenhouse this afternoon. The wind and rain had showered the area with broken twigs and leaves, that is all in the compost bin helping towards next years crops. I will be spreading a good layer on the empty raised beds and any empty pots and troughs along with leaves, grass clippings and any manure that I may have.

The hour is getting late and I have Herbie to take round the garsden for the last patrol soon. A cuppa wouldn't come amiss either.

I hope that you are all making the best of lockdown and keeping safe.
                            TTFN                             Pam

Monday 27 April 2020

Good Morning

It's a very good morning here, the air is cooler and there are light clouds in the sky. We have the promise of rain tonight and possibly a bit more over the next couple of days.
I love the sunny days but my garden needs a long cool drink, and a few days indoors wouldn't come amiss for me.

The dogs shed an incedible amount of hair and the vacuum cleaner is working overtime, as is the duster. 

I turned a blind eye over the weekend and put up the first of the climbing bean frames and the brassica tunnel.
There are still seeds to be sown, but not till the middle of May, and seedlings to be pricked out or potted on.

The roses all had a feed, there are buds showing colour, I like to feed them at least 3 times during the season.
Likewise the acid loving plants, most of them are either in flower or making new buds and a feed helps them on their way.

I want to take the time to check my preserving supplies, any new lids will need to be ordered sooner rather than later. I don't want to find myself with fruit and veg to deal with only to find that I am short of any essentials.

Spices, sugar, salt and vinegars will all need sourcing and that may take some time.

I will be making my apple cider vinegar as usual and may need a few more kilner bottles for that. I ran out just last week so need to make more this year.

I usually grow round beetroot, Boltardy, but am changing to Cylindra this year, not only do you get more from each plant but they will sit in the ground for quite a while and a late sowing extends the season.

I am growing more things in pots this year, it has doubled my growing space. 
We still have the very top section of the garden to clear, when we moved in half the garden was a midden. It had been fenced off and used as a dumping ground. 

Once we had tamed the meadow grass lawn we started on it. 3 skips of various televisions, toys and domestic appliances, a few burning sessions and we had cleared enough to put up a decent shed, 2 storage lockers ( needed for Michaels tools) and a greenhouse.

A few months on and a pad was laid for compost bins and stone slabs (uncovered in the clearing) made me a work area for potting, pottering and storage.

Now I feel ready to tackle the last patch, my potting area will move there and designated storage for MY tools will be built. The slabbed section will then house another greenhouse or possibly a small growing tunnel, time will tell.

I need to get the kettle on as it is almost tea o'clock and the dogs are sprawled on the sofa sleeping.

Have a lovely day wherever you are and stay safe.

                TTFN                                                     Pam

Thursday 23 April 2020

Many thanks

Lots of thanks for all the comments, I should have said that yesterday.

Just as many to all the people who are still working.

The health and welfare workers.

The bus drivers, who get many people to work and back.

The shop staff, from the tiniest coener shop to the largest hypermarket.

The men and women who transport goods from one place to another.

The list is long almost enough for a book.

There are many who shop for those who cannot, collect and drop off newspapers and so on.

We are now fostering 2 dogs, a tiny 7 year old Jack Russell and a   young Chocolate Labrador pup, the owner is a neighbour who is now working such long hours that he cannot manage his dogs. Herbie is beyong happy, after a totally mad free for all that lasted a good hour, all is now at a satisfactory pace. At one point Herbie and the Lab, Revi, collided with the damson tree and shook it. The tree rocked and they were showered with white petals.

The little terrier, Poppy, has staked her claim to Michaels lap and almost lands before he has sat down properly. I forsee lots of entertainment while we have them.

Of course, just like small (and not so small) children they all wanted the same toy at the same time. Just as with children all the toys were confiscated, and they didn't care one iota.

Luckily my garden is Herbie proofed so nothing will be destroyed, and if by chance a pot gets knocked over it will not worry me.

The last of my seeds arrived today, all in time for sowing except for some tomatoes which will now wait till next year.

I have an abundance of plants and there will not be an inch of space to spare or an empty pot to be seen.

I hope to be able to share the crops around as my freezer space will  not hold it all. That is if it gives me a crop, of course.

I still have weeding to catch up on, but not too much, a session tomorrow should see it done. The ironing was done but there's another basket now. The floors have been hoovered and or mopped and dust levels are back to almost zero, it doesn't last long with the doors and windows open and 3 dogs stirring the air.

Painting has been put on hold for a few days, just to let the dogs settle into the new routine.

The cauliflower pizza crust was not bad at all, we will have it again. I didn't stick to the recipe, I added lots of fresh herbs which tasted great.

Tonight will be an mushroom omelette with salad and perhaps a few sneaky chips or maybe a jacket potato.

Now it is time for a long cool glass of squash and perhaps an apple.

Take care and stay safe.

                      TTFN                                                  Pam

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Sun, glorious sun.

As a May baby I love the warmer weather and am lapping this spell up. I keep out of the intense rays though, long sleeves and a hat and working in the shade.
My skin is so fair that I turn to a beetroot crisp in no time at all.

Yesterday was a flurry of sewing and getting another batch of masks sent off, no idea how many I just cut, sew and press till there is a decent pile and get them sent off. There will be several care workers sporting pastel shades and flowers upon their faces, I hope that it proves amusing for the patients.

Today I am running up some for friends and family, the suggestion that we will have to wear them in public has been aired too many times to not happen.

There are stacks of young plants itching to get into the garden but I am being cautious, there is still plenty of time for a frost. The greenhouse will have to cope, if it becomes untenable I will plant out the sturdiest and cover with fleece.

My water butts are doing well, Michael had doubled several of them up a while ago, I am using the water primarily for the ericaceous plants. They may not be food plants but they give lots of pleasure.

I have a food delivery today, I have a prepaid slot and mostly I get what I order. There have been a few substitutions but most have made sense and things that I did not want have been passed along.

It amazes me that bread flour seems to be in short supply, there must be lots of new bakers emerging. Fortunately I had just stocked up when this all fell upon us.

I am making  pizza for dinner tonight, I have a large cauliflower to use and will be making the crust with that. I looked online for recipes and that one popped up, I look forward to trying it.

Life is ticking along comfortably, nothing much has changed for me. Michael is champing at the bit slightly, he was partway through a fairly long job for neighbours and feels that he has let them down.

I feel for those with no garden, I would find it difficult to be stuck indoors with just a single hour to exercise. The thought of Herbie without the garden to burn off his energy fills me with something approaching horror. 

One thing I did not mention was that we said goodbye to Ben in January. He had a good winter but started to go downhill fast,  we saw the vet who agreed that it was for the best. Ben was deaf and mostly blind, he was not interested in eating and was sleeping most of the time. He is in the garden, safe under a stone slab, in one of his favourite spots.

I think that's about it for today, nothing exciting, just another day in the complaints though. I don't miss the endless traffic in the slightest, instead of watching the vapour trails of air traffic I watch Red Kites, song birds, rooks and the odd magpie and to my delight the Cuckoo is singing loud in the valley again.

I wish you all well and safe.

                              TTFN                                     Pam

Monday 20 April 2020

Where, Why and How.

Where have I been? Everywhere and nowhere baby.

I went through a long dark tunnel, I only emerged because the wonderful Jess plucked me out.
The joy from our friendship, her gorgeous girls ivy and Hazel and not forgetting Will is a shining light in my life. We speak most days and Ivy is a master of the telephone conversation.

Why did I stay away so long? No real reason.

It is not so easy to pick things up after a prolonged absence, and the longer I procrastinated the more difficult it became.

How did I manage to get back? Quite simply I was looking for a post from a few years ago (the early years seem to have evaporated) and couldn't understand why I struggled.

So here I am, warts and all. Older, greyer but still wrapped in colour.

My eyesight has deteriorated significantly, the cataracts are growing. I was due for an eye test in February but with the craziness erupting around the world I cancelled it. Once we come out of the other side I will join the queue and get tested eventually.

It means that fine sewing, cross stitch, embroidery and knitting with dark shades are out of the question for a while. I do have daylight lamps but am happy to knit through my stash of lighter yarn. The WIP count has gone through the roof as I am knitting socks and putting them on hold before adding the heels. I plan on spending a few evenings (many probably) adding contrasting heels using all my scraps at some point. 
It also means that I can decide who gets which pair for That Time of the Year nearer the time.

Luckily the weather has been pretty sublime and my garden is showing the benefit of my time spent on hands and knees. 
The greenhouse is stuffed to the rafters with plants, trays of seedlings and modules of freshly sown seeds.

I have a lovely neighbour who collected, and delivered, several bags of well rotted manure from his parents farm.
There are potatoes in pots, mangetout in the garden, spring onions and carrots making a green haze over the soil. Strawberries waving their flowers at all the busy buzzing bees and hoverflies. The plum and dsmson trees have been frothing with white blossom and the apples were in competition with their shades of rose, pink and white flowers. Jostaberries, gooseberries and various coloured currants are all looking fecund and of course that stalwart of the garden, Rhubarb is keeping us healthy and well supplied in the crumble department.

When the sun drives me in search of cooler surroundings and gallons of tea, coffee, squash, water I have been sewing masks. I had plenty of quilting weight cotton, ordered some iron on interfacing and elastic and got cracking. Some of my neighbours have them but most are going to Michaels son who works in the care sector.

I I had the fabric I would sew scrubs but I am doing what I can.

What about Captain Tom then? How amazing is his achievement?
With the backing of the public many of the NHS heroes will get a reward in their lifetime as well as after. reward is the wrong word here, recognition, heartfelt thanks, gifts of love, I struggle to find words to express my feelings. 

Closer to home a little gift to my postie, refuse and recycling collectors for a coffee/tea/pastie/whatever, goes a little way to thank them for their daily forays.

Look what's happened. A search for something has opened the floodgates and my sewing machine is waiting. So is the ironing but that can wait on.

I hope that you are all safe and well. Managiing to keep mind and body occupied and happy. This, like most things, will pass and all too soon it will be "do you remember..." and "what on earth did we do all that time"

                TTFN                                           Pam