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Spring Life In The Garden.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Little Bit Of Everything


Today's post is about this and that really. 

Yesterday I baked bread, see the first prove as I was watching The Great British Sewing Bee and forgot about it! The lemon seed from Dawn it showing signs of life! My poinsettia from December is still in bloom with new leaves coming. (I have a bit of a reputation for keeping my Christmas plants alive as once had one for 5 years!)

The most exciting part of this collage of photos is that we had our own salad leaves with tea on Monday. Fantastic!

I went out for a walk with Jake yesterday and took my Food For Free book and phone with me so I could try and identify a few things. 

As I left the house I noticed a bush in flower and don't know what it is. Very pretty and pink, though.

This is the view across to Tregaron as I walked down the Swyddffynnon road.

Here is the gate down to the cycle path which as the old railway line, this way is towards Aber

I have been doing my best to identify an Elderflower bush somewhere as they should be in bloom and fruit soon I think. Is this one?

Jake and I meandered back..

 and Jake looked like he was in need of a good drink, although he'd tried to drink the steam we go past dry!

On the road back to the house again I saw this mum and two lambs resting in the shade.

 It was a lovely walk out.

Now this is a before picture.

I am due to have the mobile hairdresser to me today; recommended by various people. Being as low maintenance as I am I truly can't remember the last time I had it cut. Anyhow, I have decided to get shot of most of it. I can't WAIT to have it done so it is super easy to wash and does not take ages to dry- not that I possess a hairdryer.

Ok, off to collect the eggs and do a couple of jobs before my transformation occurs! I left a message for a top soil supplier earlier so hope to hear from him today and get that sorted once and for all - feel like I've been going on about it for weeks.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Ok, So This Weekend...

This weekend we have mostly been rained on, but have managed to get some jobs done.

Saturday morning did not come bright and sunny - quite the opposite, pouring down. I had made a Victoria Sandwich cake on Friday and for the refreshments table at the local plant sale. Luckily it was only in the centre across the road but this still presented difficulties in getting the cake there dry and in one piece. I forgot to take a photo due to the tricky situation but I went for a cover of a big Pyrex basin. I filled the cake with fresh cream and jam and then cream-glued some sliced strawberries on the top. (I received an email from a friend later entitled Delicious which said, and I quote "you really set a new standard today!!) I bought these for the garden..

and managed to leave my raincoat there I discovered this morning!

The boys had a birthday party to go to 4-6pm so I took them and Jon had a bit of us time and had our tea before the boys came home, stuffed and tired.

This morning Jon was getting the caravan resto to the point of almost done and I was putting chicken wire over the strawberry patch and baking bread.

This was in between rain showers, but I also got a couple of the plants from the sale into the bed as well as cleaned out the chickens. We decided to go into Aber and have a spot of lunch, Jon needed new work gloves and I had decided on a new planter so I could pot on the squash plant. 

When we came home I headed straight to the Poly House and I re-housed the squash..

and began re-potting the beef tomatoes as they have started to really come on a bit. Extra to the ones you can see I am taking a few to my sister at the weekend and giving a couple to a friend.

The boys were lounging on the trailer reading but helped fill the watering cans for me as I needed them. 

We discovered a second can in Jon's workshop so I'll have to sort out a rose similar to Ilona's over at Life After Money as we can't find the original one.

Here is a quick look around the Poly House. No time for Pic Monkey so sorry for the trail of photos. The living lettuce I bought then planted,

the sugar snap peas,

the salad leaves

and the sweetcorn.

I was given this book by a friend the other day and it has some lovely photos inside.

I have a shelf in the kitchen behind the door and have been trying to decide what to put up there so thanks to some inspiration from this book I think the shelf is looking lovely.

A couple of close ups.

Right I think I am all up to date. I hope the weather with you wasn't too bad this weekend and that you got jobs done or enjoyed some time with family and friends and, as always, I look forward to hearing about what's to do in blogland.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Grateful Beyond Words - Mindfull Of What We Have.

Last year, after I'm not sure how many weeks of tests, worry and uncertainty, we received Jon's diagnosis for his lung condition. We were house hunting at the time when we did not know what the situation was with Jon's health. It made things difficult beyond belief; to be positive about really wanting to move, not telling the boys anything until we were sure and getting on with life in general.

After chest x-rays and CT scans we were told he was suffering from one of three things; single cell lunch cancer, lymphoma or Sarcoidosis; we needed a broncoscopy to determine for sure. 

On May 20 2015 we were finally told it was Sarcoidosis. We had never heard of this disease which is benign but can be quite serious. It is described as a snowflake condition because it can present in so many different ways, including cancers, as well as being diagnosed in the eye, brain and other parts of the body. Jon's symptoms had included red insect-bite like marks on his legs, major flu symptoms in the beginning, fatigue, a persistent dry cough and the scans showed a huge swelling of the lymph glands in his chest.

He has continued taking steroids for it since then and luckily there have been no side effects, no weight gain etc. We have an appointment on June 1 to hopefully find out if the lymph glands have reduced in size. I have to say he is soooo healthy right now - you can see by all the work being done at the house - but we have found anxiety is a huge factor as he can at times be unsure of whether he is relapsing, if he will always be here for me and the boys when they are young and so much more.

So we live with all of this daily - I am by no means alone in all of this I know -  this is just our experience of things. I think, in a way, we have been lucky to have the work and renovations on the house to do as it helped us to get through the after effects of the diagnosis, even though at times Jon has felt he might be doing everything for me and the boys as he may not always be here for us.

Phew, what a post. Sorry if this is depressing in parts but life happens to us all, good or bad, and I know I am able to get stuff out of my head by writing it on here sometimes. 

(Another major entry for my Journal of Gratitude.)

The sun is trying to shine just now but whatever the weather, literally, I am grateful for every second I have Jon in my life, even though our time together will never be long enough. You learn that you must make the best of EVERYTHING, not waste a minute and be grateful for all you have, and what you nearly didn't.

Thank you.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Baking A Go-Go


Nothing much to report just now apart from I'm having a bit of a baking session just now, in between other stuff. I have my bread on the third prove and have made a gingerbread cake. I've also just been asked to bake a cake for the refreshments table at our weekend plant sale - hope to get a few bargains from there for the garden.

The recipe for the gingerbread came from one of my fav books. (considering we have our own eggs I shouldn't be baking this really as it is made without eggs due to the rationing!)

I found it in a charity shop but didn't get to see the TV programme. I just love books like this, set around war time, as I think the pre-war and post Second World War history is so interesting. (Watch out or I'll be doing my hair in a Victory Roll if I'm not careful!)

I have been looking at it from the gardening aspect, the Dig For Victory campaign. I knew some people where I used to live who took this campaign a bit further - you may like to read a bit about it here

I love reading about the wartime; food aspect with recipes for potato pie, with jam! and everything from Make Do And Mend as well as making Christmas decorations and the general Keep Calm and Carry On attitude.

Just been to water the Poly House and the outside things; really thought we would have rain last night but nothing.

The gingerbread cake is out of the oven cooling. Will show you it later as having issues again with photos but trust me you're not missing much. I think I should have followed my instincts and used a smaller tin. Never mind I can always layer it with something like butter cream, but that doesn't really follow the WWII guidelines does it?

Bye for now.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Edith Making a Break For Freedom!

The weather is a little different to yesterday but not that bad; the blue is trying to peek through and the sun is ding its best to shine. 

Last week we were told the electricity would be off for a short time today so I took that time to do outside stuff. I had food for the compost bin to get rid of, some salad leaves to plant and a few other little jobs so chucked everything I needed into a box and headed to the Poly House along with a cup of coffee.

First of all I made a detour to Jon's shed and made this little sign. It isn't the most artistic item but I quite like it.

Next I went to collect the eggs. As I went into the enclosure I spied one of the ladies where she shouldn't be! Now I know the neighbour's side of the fence is a bit greener than the enclosure but that is not where she should have been; Chicken Stalag 17 the enclosure is not but she had somehow managed to get out; I checked all the fencing and she may have hopped over the top! It was Edith, matriarch of the flock, and the field next door belongs to the neighbour at the bottom of the garden. Lucky that it was Edith as she is the only one who will stand still whilst you pick her up so it was easy to put her back over the fence.

That done, I collected the eggs; five again today but there were remnants of a sixth egg in the box that appeared to have been eaten. Will keep an eye on that happening again.

In the Poly House I put in some radichio and mixed salad leaves. I was going to hoof out the salad leaves in the yellow tub in exchange for the squash plant but they seem to have rallied so will get a container for it at a later date.

The courgettes look as if teeny tiny veg are forming - very exciting!

Now in other news. Yesterday I got round to a bit of crafting as I had saved two baked bean tins and wanted to decorate them with faux vintage labels. I found some on Pinterest and went to work with my spray blue and trusty glue pot.

I have decided to use them for my stock cubes..

and the drinking straws.

Ok so I've vacuumed upstairs and have everywhere else to do, then will go clean out the chooks, after lunch, and I have the caravan curtains to iron.

Bye for now.


Name Change - It Is Official!

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I have decided to re-name the greenhouse.

From now on it will be know as The Poly House.

I will attempt to make a sign today; it will have to be from something I find in Jon's shed.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Membrane Mayhem In The Sunshine

Today has been yet another gorgeous day. I forgot to say that when in Aber on Saturday we bought new planters so we could move the courgettes and here they are; a bargain at £1 from Poundland. You can see the spring onions in the bed, too, next to leeks which I mistakenly planted as spring onions!

Yesterday we took a trip to the new nursery we visited last weekend on the way to Skimmer Island. I picked up some chive plug plants, some more herbs to add to the sink and toilet - parsely and coriander -  and bought some aubretia to put in the chimney pot along with some cute little flowers the name of which I cannot remember.

Today I have planted some spring onion seeds to make up for the mistake I mentioned earlier and had a tidy up in the greenhouse. I moved one of the straw bales into the garage and swept up a bit so now I have room for the compost we also bought on Saturday.

Tonight, in this just wonderful sunshine, I did a bit more prep in the veg patch by nailing some of the membrane we used in the strawberry patch to three of the sides of patch to counteract a few weeds. It will be held down by the illusive top soil!

And yes that is my cardigan hanging off the buddleia bush!

And a quick look around the poly house; I think I'm going to call it that from now in as it is a bit of a hybrid.

Tomato plants are looking great

and I never thought I'd see the day I tried to grow sweetcorn.

Right, that is it for me as I have a cup of coffee to drink whilst I whip round and see what blogland has been up to today then I'm signing off for the night. Probably catch up with you tomorrow.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Another Busy Weekend In Wales

Another weekend of getting stuff done however on Friday I took delivery of my canning kit - £7.99 with free post. I will use it for jam making etc, anything that needs a water bath.

In the greenhouse that afternoon I planted seeds for sweet pepper and caulis and moved the raspberry bush outside on the suggestion that it was too hot for it. I also started looking at the plan for the veg plot using some companion planting info.

Friday night I headed to Aber to do the food shopping. I left Jon with his latest project; he came home on Wednesday night with a small caravan that had been lurking in the yard at the saw mill. 

After some short negotiations he acquired it and has decided to refurbish it and sell it on. It is the right time of the year so hopefully we should be a winner on this.
Saturday morning it was my turn to let out and feed the chooks. I did this at 6.30am then put some washing up away, opened the curtains, tidied the boys' mess from the night before and then went back to bed!

A little later on Jon took some eggs to our neighbour and our favour was returned with some fresh rhubarb; a crumble has been requested.

The boys were messing around in the garden and Jon was on the caravan project so I put the washing out and then sat in the greenhouse getting the veg patch planning about finished.

We went into Aber for a couple of things and I had ordered this book, on suggestion from my usual source, so I went to pay and collect it. A visit to Charlie's brought us the gadget above it, a jam thermometer, so I am all set for my next round of making. (I think I will have to pounce on the strawbs as soon as they start or Jon and the kids will have had the lot!)

 This morning we were up and at it as I had bread and the requested crumble to make.

So in between more washing and the baking I roasted a chicken for tea, washed the trays and bits from the cooker and fridge in the caravan, the boys power washed the spare wheel and step it came with.

I stopped for my lunch and decided to sit outside. This, amongst other things, is the view from my perch on the step of Jon's workshop - in front, behind, to the left and right of me, plus what I had for my lunch!

After lunch I sorted the boys' uniforms and shoes for tomorrow then we went to the nursery we visited last weekend for a couple of things. The boys really wanted to go to Skimmer Island again so we did but, even though it was sunny, it was no where near as warm as last week.

When we came home I pottered in the greenhouse for an hour, Jon fixed the lock on the caravan and I put more washing out before we stopped for tea.

Now I just have two photos I forgot to share earlier in the week. 

This is the strawberry patch

and this is a living lettuce I bought and I have potted it and it is growing new leaves already.

Finally, The Great British Sewing Bee begins tomorrow so I shall watch it on Tuesday at lunch via the BBC I-Player.

I think that is if for my catch up. Thanks to the new subscribers to my blog via email and I should thank Dawn for her post as this led to the new visitors.

See you soon.xx

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Phew What A Scorcher!

The weather today is glorious and I think I could rent my greenhouse out as a sauna if Jon made a few modifications!

Right photo issues sorted so here are some from when Dawn visited. 

Here is chocolate and orange mint...

then these are the willow weaving kits. How cool are they?

This is the special lemon seed which I am going to pot this afternoon.

I'm lucky that I now have a wild garlic patch and it happens to be near some bluebelles; I only discovered them the other day!

Last night Jon and I were looking for anything in the shed we could use for planters. He came up with this so I must have the sweetest smelling toilet in the village! Ha ha!

The sugar snap peas are coming up well and the raspberry bush, which I will tell you now cost me £1 from Poundland, is looking really happy.

Other things around the garden include this tree which is shaped like a willow, squat and spreading out at the top with these lovely flowers.

This ivy with lovely purple flowers grows along the out-buildings.

The first lot of potatoes I planted at the beginning of April are showing well. 

I have another bag with five tubers in as Dawn was kind enough to bring me some growing bags.

See you later.