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Spring Life In The Garden.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Production and Reduction!

Good afternoon.

We are blustery here whilst dodging the hail and rain but all cosy warm inside.

I have collected eggs for the last time this month and we are at 63. Last month was 34 so that is a great improvement, and poultry life should be back to normal for most people tomorrow with the lift of the lock-down. Yay!

That is the production, and so the reduction is in my weight. I have been attending Slimming World for three weeks now and as it is the end of the month I thought I'd let you know I am chuffed to bits as have lost 8 and a half pounds so far! I lost 6 the first week, stayed the same the next and then 2 and a half last week. Going to stick with the plan as it really seems to be working for me. Basically I have veg breath, according to Jon from eating lots of chicken and veg stir-fry!

Well, here we are at the end of another month, hoping the weather improves soon and we are planning on being able to report some additions to our little patch very soon.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Outside Work For Once, And Welcome Back Brownie!

Spring is sooooooo close! These are the first daffs to burst into flower in the garden....

and these are first of many to be brought into the house!

and to finish off a carpet of snowdrops at the far end of the garden. Lovely!

I'm starting this post on Friday morning and I'm going to add to it as the weekend goes along. Friday is always a bit weird as when the boys are at school I have time to get just a few things done after they leave then I head out to do the food shopping at 10am. But as they have been away all week I've much longer in the morning every day before I feel I HAVE to get to grips with the jobs of the day, and today I am not going shopping until the weekend, so even more time! The boys are only away until today really YAY! as we are soon going to the Gramps at Nantwich to bring them home!

Today there is nothing left of Storm Doris; we thankfully managed to survive apart from the odd daffodil I saw today looking a bit battered. Any damage to those who weren't quite so lucky I hope is not too serious.x

As I didn't have to go to Aber I decided to get outside as, even a bit cold, it is lovely and bright today, as you can see. 

I've been looking at the seeds in the house this last couple of days so potted on the cabbages today which will be going in the prepared brassica bed, not the main one, about which I was getting myself in a twist the other day! I've put the cherry tomato seedlings in the Poly House at the same time; I'll keep an eye on them but they are looking quite strong.

By the way, these came the other day so I will know exactly what is planted where now!

I also finished the weeding on the main veg patch so both ends are now covered; maybe a bit late but all helps to warm up the soil, I think. (The hole in the yellow plastic has some black plastic underneath it so all is covered!) 

This is a great spot now; nearest end will be for beetroot and cucumbers, plus I sowed the climbing peas in a drainpipe today, too and they will go at the far end.

I've also sown a couple of lines of spring onions in the sink and popped the two trays I had in the Poly House along side them to see how they do. 

I think the reason my spring onions failed last year is because the Poly House was too warm for them.

After Jon finished work on Friday we headed to Nantwich to get the boys. We decided to stay over and go out for Chinese then come back early Saturday morning; Jon and I were awake at 5am due to an unfamiliar bed, he pruned his dad's apple trees then we left after breakfast managing to get home by around 10.45am. When home we had a quick lunch of sausage n mash then went to Aber to do the food shopping.

No outside jobs as we were all just glad to be home together!

This morning, Sunday, I made breakfast then Jon and the boys went out to finish logging the tree - has been quite a big job as a big tree. They stacked the woodpile and made a fire pile, too, ready for a drier day. I popped into the Poly House and did the second of two PH soil tests this week I was pleased to get done. I found the soil in the main veg plot to be 5.5 and the soon-to-be fruit patch was 6 - 6.5 so I guess the latter bodes well for the blueberries which have been on my mind recently. I also took a peek at the spinach I sowed the other day and it is showing its face a little!

Our water has been off since first thing so no washing-up has been done and it is piling up!! Adding to it is the tray from the chocolate brownie I made this morning. I have filled the tin and put some in the freezer for another day.

The boys have really missed them as I have been unable to do my regular amount of baking for AGES due to lack of eggs -  (it takes 6) -  but now things are on the up as we are getting back to normal. In fact last month we collected 34 and with this month almost at an end we have already collected 42 with 2 days still to go!

The weather is not good today, very wet, and the forecast is a bit the same for the coming week but the temperatures look as if they are improving  a little so we mustn't complain.

Right, I think that is it from me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I look forward to catching up with what everybody has been getting up to.

Bye for now.


(Apologies for the differing colours of typing but I cannot get it all to turn green!)

Thursday, 23 February 2017

I Just Blew In From The Windy City!

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Just a quick post to say take care to all my friends in blogland. Doris is whipping up a storm here in Mid Wales. Batten down those hatches and I hope, if you have more of the same, that you are all keeping safe.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Monday Mumblings.

Hi. My last post was only on Wednesday but it seems ages ago to me.

This is a bit of a random post, no change there, with a few things I've been thinking about and doing.

Jon's cousin and other half came on Saturday lunch time and we have a great time. Our boys are away with the Gramps, thanks to our guests taking them back with them yesterday, until Friday so I have no time constraints for when they are due home, like snacks and tea making. Right here we are then.

My beetroot is shooting up well so I've decided to cram into the veg patch as much as I can when I plant it out.  Last year I grew what turned into approximately 3lbs and this made almost three jars when pickled.

I figure that as it is only really eaten in the summer if I grow twice, or three times, as much as that this year then I won't need to grow it next year; that is the plan anyhow!

I have been looking for seeds to grow sweet chilies but not been very successful so asked Dawn, you know who I mean I'm sure, and she gave me a good list to look for; this is one of the many jobs on my list of things to do!

As I got it into my head the other day to sow some spinach seeds the other day, a little thing came into my head

Think where things will go before you decide to sow! 
Label everything where possible or necessary

I decided to give my seeds in the house a little helping hand this week so...

this lot and those in the kitchen have been given some extra warmth; things are coming along well and can't wait to get them into the Poly House.

On Saturday I received a lovely parcel in the post; I have joined up with a Stationery Swap together with Jocelyn from The Reading Residence and here are my goodies...

In my parcel were pencils, a pen, post it notes, note cards with envelopes, a mini stapler, bookmarks, stickers, a notebook and stickers. All just lovely from a lady called Amy.

This Friday my blueberry bush offer arrived from my Grow Your Own mag. This morning I unpacked them and gave them a good watering, a little time yet before I get them in the ground.

A couple of photos from the garden. The herb sink is slowly coming back to life

and the garlic is doing really well.

The green picket fence, which you can just see at the far left of this photo, has been extended right up to the new gate Jon built. This is another creosoting job for me but to be honest I find it quite satisfying. When this is painted I have to do another coat on ALL of the fencing but I'll get a cuppa, my little seat and radio and be off!

Can't wait until I can see lots more things through the window of the Poly House!

I don't have photos of the process as I was too scared to look, but Jon and the boys took down a tree on Saturday morning and he is half way through logging it ready to season for next winter; he is LOVING filling up his newly positioned woodpile! (I heard about this book on the radio and I think I may have to buy it for him!

Great excitement, well at least from me, on Saturday morning. The girls gave us 5 eggs, and three today so far; things are on the up it seems.

After the boys had gone to the Gramps on Sunday Jon and I had a bit of us time in Aber. The usual, buying work socks, rodent killer and a PH soil testing kit. As you do!

We also sat and had a coffee, well Jon did. I was very good and didn't have a coffee as they had run out of skimmed milk and I watched him eat a caramel shortbread, too. (It is my weigh in tonight so looking forward to some good news and also going to the earlier meeting as don't have to get tea for the boys.)

Right, better get on. 

Bye for now.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Spinach, Spuds and Sprouting Seeds!

I got outside and did a bit today in between the few rain showers we had. Bit more sowing and growing news.

I was reading a magazine and I saw a spinach and ricotta recipe and I thought I'm going to grow that, spinach not ricotta,  if I can do it in a container. I had some seeds in my box so these have been started in the Poly House with a plastic bottle cloche to keep them warm.

At the far end of the garden we have loads of snowdrops!

I have been looking as my spud campaign which, to be honest is something I am a bit nervous about because it is such a big part of the sowing and growing. Here are my three lots of spuds chitting nicely.

Not sure that the Arran Pilot should have black sprouts on them. The others have been in the cellar until today but are now in the conservatory. If they start turning black I'll put them back there!

 I creosoted the base of the Belfast sink today so that is another job properly finished. I also measured it today and at 96 x 53cms so it is a really good size for the purpose for which it will be used.

Some exciting news on the seed front. I have spied shoots on both the cabbage and beetroot seeds which were sown on Feb 3.

I have put to soak both Alfalfa seeds, keep calling them Falafal😆 and Spicy Salad Sprouts.
I had some muslin, not Muslim! and a couple of rubber bands so job done until tomorrow.

I have also pruned the apple tree, for what it's worth so chuffed with a few jobs completed.

Oh and in other news, I went to my SW weigh in on Monday and I lost 6lbs! This is quite normal to somebody new to the plan but I fully intend to lose at least 1lb so I have lost half a stone by next week!

Right that is for now. Looking forward to planning some jobs for next week when the boys spend half term with the Gramps; we'll miss them but they'll enjoy themselves and we have some tidying up in their rooms to do.

By for now. 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Pounds, Sinks and Fence!

On Tuesday evening we were in Aber and on the spur of the moment I decided to join Fat Club

Image result for slimming world

I have always been a Weight Watchers girl since I first attended to lose a few pounds before Jon and I were married, then after having and losing babies. However, I enjoyed the meeting and really did need some structure to shifting the weight - a bit more than I thought after my initial weigh in to be honest but never mind. I have joined I guess what you would call a virtual fitness challenge by pledging to walk the equivalent of the London Marathon. I has already figured out a two mile walk so I am using that three times a week, two done already and with the weather being bright and cold it is a lovely time to be out. So watch this space for some, hopefully, positive updates.

So out on my walk out on Wednesday (second of the two so far) I saw the first daffs near to home that are in flower along with some snowdrops. (No photos as I try to have my walks free of everything apart from what is around me.)  Love it! Spring is surely on the way and I have so many daffs in the garden, more than I thought I had which I think have been churned up with recent work which is great.

Jon has finished the fence building in the back so my task was to do the creosote painting. Had great weather for it this last week so got my radio, a seat and set to it. I ran out of the stuff with just a few panels to go so purchased another container when out shopping on Friday so this coming week I am on it, hopefully.

Yesterday the boys began helping Jon clear the woodpile before it was being moved.

This is how the spot looks now...

and here is its new spot where the four of us moved it to this morning.

This will make it so much easier to fill up the house piles/baskets via the conservatory and we plan to build another kindling store and alongside that a coal bunker;  this be abe to be filled from the roadside. A really useful project that will be ready and in use next Winter.

This morning I have also got ready the Belfast sink for my spring onions and lettuces. I'm so chuffed with this and just hope they grow as planned.

First of all I put a layer of stones for drainage on the bottom; there is of course a plug hole, quite a big one, but as the sink is level this does not help too much and it is in the corner.

Then I put in some bought compost, some of my own and some blood and bone meal along with the compost from our not very successful mushroom growing kits.

Final result is a really useful sink full of earth ready to grow in. I plan on creosoting the base so, hopefully, snails and slugs find it tricky to climb up if they fancy a nibble on the lettuces!

Also today Jon has made me a new gate so we can keep the chickens out of the growing area; a little rustic affair! You can see where the sink is from here, too, and where the water butt has been moved to the other end of the room to let. 

We are chuffed to bits how things are coming along outside and all of our achievements! I can't begin to go into all the talk we have had today about the plans we have for the future; we are fit to burst about how we know it will all work out for us but I am sure I will share it at some point!

Right must dash as I can hear the drier beeping and me and Alfie are heading out for his piano lesson at 6pm. I normally wait in the car but it is soooo cold tonight that I think I will sit in this time!

Bye for now.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Brrrrrrr But Bright, Yesterday!

We were very pleased that the weather was lovely yesterday. It was the kind of day that started off with you needing a coat but after you got into your jobs it soon came off. Jon and the boys were working on the fencing that will edge what will be the parking for the B and B rooms; it looks fab. Still a bit of work to do as I am on creosote duty when we get a dry day and the actual area for parking will have stone chippings down eventually.

Jon then made a start on some steps so we could get down to the chicken house instead of going through the gap at the bottom of the garden. The boys were taking the dug up earth away in the barrows to the other end where we needed to level up the ground at the gap.

Jon decided to take a tree at the end of the chicken enclosure down whilst he had the chainsaw in hand. This of course means more logs, but also immediately, of course, the boys began whittling branches into swords!

I did more work on the fruit patch and I'm really pleased with the effort I have put into it. You can really see how it is coming along now. My Grow Your Own magazine came this week and on the front was an offer for 3 blueberry bushes, all for the price of the p and p at £5.95; sorry Tracy, didn't mean to sound too smug, chic! I was chuffed with this as was exactly what I wanted for that area when it is finished. Photos soon.

I went out to the Poly House on Friday morning - YAY!! with a cuppa of course.

As shopping day was moved to Saturday I had some spare time so I sowed the following: three trays of seeds for beetroot, another spring onions, cucumbers, Italian beef tomatoes and cabbage. On Saturday morning I sowed 2 types of aubergines. I am moving them between the top kitchen window and the conservatory as it has been very sunny in the latter. 

Alfie's group, along with the others at his Stage School, are putting on a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie in June. He is really looking forward to it but also knows there will be a lot of practise and hard work required. God help me if I turn into a Dance Mom!!

I noticed over the weekend that NOW my Poinsettia decides to start growing red leaves!!! 
I will find somewhere for it as i will keep it going until the festive season, sorry for that.

That's all for today.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

What If Anything Inspires You?

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I was thinking about this after I heard something on the radio earlier today and I was 'inspired' to write this positive post.

I am inspired by people I see on the blogs I follow and on a more shallow level I am inspired by things I sometimes see on Pinterest!

But I am mostly inspired by people I see living a life like very few others, whilst all the time achieving and succeeding.

I love, love, love Ben Fogle, or Fogle Pants as he is affectionately referred to in our house. His series of New Lives In The Wild has been one of our very fav programmes since it began. There have been some wonderful stories of endurance, perseverance and ultimately contentment in very difficult situations and environments.

Whenever I watch these programmes I always feel at the end that I really should, and definitely could, try harder at making the most of our life here in Wales. Don't get me wrong, I don't consider that we live someplace anywhere close to those featured on Ben's series, but simply because of that I know I should make so much more of an effort because we don't have a battle in wishing to provide for ourselves.

I need to remember that there is sooo much we can be doing to provide for ourselves and our boys.

Here endeth my lesson to me!

Bye for now.


Spring Is On the Way. I Think!

Storm Doris is blowing her best outside just now and forcing her way down the floo(?) of the Rayburn by the sounds of it!

However, whilst in the garden yesterday, along with the daffs which are peeking through, I could just see signs of the snowdrops which I also thought I had lost with the work we did on the garden recently. Soo pleased.

Yesterday I got round to giving my store cupboard in the kitchen a lick of paint. It was not going to be a big job as the aim was simply to brighten up the space and make it look cleaner. I brushed the walls down and got rid of all the cobwebs then made a start. It is a really useful cupboard but I don't have any more shelves than I need in it as it would then just become a dumping ground. No clutter in there!

The seeds I started off on January 17 are coming into life, especially the Spring Onions on the left, and even the cherry tomatoes are showing signs, on the right. Yesterday I moved all the trays into the conservatory as it really was quite warm in there but put them back in the evening, along with it being 60 degrees in the Poly House early afternoon.

Cooking still involves comfort food just now including pies and casseroles so tonight is sausage casserole; also sausages cooked in Mango Chutney - thanks to Tracy at Our Smallholding Adventure; she is making her own Mango Chutney and suggested this- mmm!

Whilst in Craft at the weekend Jon came across a bargain for the next room we are refurbishing to let out; a fantastic heated towel rail for just £10. Yay!

A few days ago I received the last lot of seed spuds I had ordered from Thompson & Morgan and the Charlottes also came with a pair of potato gloves, a bag to grow each ot the five tubers in and a stack of seeds. The spuds are in the dark in the cellar room until time to chit them.

Right, I think that is it for today - bread is proving and there is baking to be done for the cake tin, again; no sugar-free February in this house!. 

Stay safe everybody with the stormy winds some of us are having and we'll catch up soon.

Bye for now.