Clearing Ivy!

My new slabs are being neglected for the home office plans now! A concrete base sat under the littlest shed which was decrepit and overrun by Ivy. That base will form a base for the rejigging of the middle shed to form a more practical potting shed while it will be replaced with something more practical for home working as it looks like the future may encompass more of that. And I have enough cut down to fill the garden bin on Thursday after collection…

Decapitated laurel!

This morning saw me doing weeding and sweeping and decapitating the laurel. It will not survive the footprint of the potting shed, which will have to be swivelled so that the window is on the opposite side of the shed and repairs will have to utilise the best panels kept from the tiny shed. I was visited by Red while pulling up strands and strands of Ivy around those concrete blocks and the apple tree. While ivy seems to grow really well around the base of the apple tree, in freeing it from the base last year we seem to have promoted better apples this year. Here’s to chutney and crumbles this year!

Ivy removal and privet pruned.
Yesterday it was a mess!
Courgettes are flowering!
Apples!

And today has seen some changes!

We picked up a table from grandmas this morning and spent quite a few hours rearranging furniture so that our own dining table now forms a workspace for our youngest in the hall. Books have been moved and alphabeticized to another part of the house. A shed has been taken down. Another will move to its spot, and a new work shed will be built. So the original plan I had was to lose some sheds and get a home office? Hmm pipe dreams (unless I write a best seller?)! But there was lots to be sorted both in and out today.

But although I describe the table as space for the youngest, we now have more workspace inside, and maybe it can be used by me to try and get some thinking/planning done without the need for hiding in my bedroom. And the rearranging of the shed is definitely a bonus, and it also spurs me on to do a little bit more to the garden to make this possible.

Apples are appearing!
Contents of a shed and lots of things needing binned…

Despite my enthusiasm for the garden beds and the veggies we have grown. I have to admit to not having the patience or the energy for continuous planting and growing vegetables. I love the tastes of homegrown but it’s a lot of work! We’ve done a lot of pruning and that has caused lots of things to grow better. We have some big apples appearing and possibly some gooseberries and rhubarb, so after a day of shifting furniture, tomorrow is for baking!

Little shed will be replaced by bigger shed from behind the garage.
Family task reorganisation of the books…

A select view of Life?

I mentioned before that I try to always be a glass half full type of person, but I apologise if what I feel at the moment is largely angry, depressed and hopeless. If I am honest I can’t even go for a coffee and discuss it with a friend, only meeting people fleetingly on my exercise excursions isn’t the same.

We are having a morning of making plans I think, before taking a run over to grandmas with her 83rd birthday presents. She has been horribly curtailed by C19, as she had a senior adventurers pass to get around Greater London and used it daily until lockdown. We have things to return too as she stayed in February and left behind a handful of her belongings. In return I will take her some brightly coloured flowers for the garden and a pot we picked up from the Best Before Cafe in town. We also got some brownies from The Cakey Lady, which I will advertise as a hardworking family business. (And they were enjoyed by all!)

Lily just flowered!
Freeby…
Osteospermum

But working all week (four mornings) has made me feel more positive, and the discussions of shed development has made me feel a bit more positive about life in our little enclave of LGC. Life is good here and we do have lots of projects to start/finish if we can stop spending time on our gadgets. We bought the house as an ongoing project, and the garden is constantly changing with new things in bud. And I know I concentrate on blooms mostly in my photos but that’s because often the flowers grow alongside the weeds! I edit those out…

First (red) crocossmia!
Not sure what this is? First time we’ve seen…

Much needed Rain!

The hottest days have cooled down again. Today is fresh and I feel quite good about the weeds! Shock horror!

Actually I lied! But I have discovered another horror! And we identified this new terror after it had chewed it’s way through lots of buddleiha… and I spotted the leaves first, then the huge beetle which was identified as a cockchafer beetle or a May bug. They will eat trees, bushes and flowers! The larvae grow underground and eat roots then the bugs emerge round about now. Eek! Not what I wanted to hear. I honestly don’t want the adult eating my garden but I am not going to go out and exterminate them… catch 22!

Chewed leaves..
Vine Weevil AKA cockchafer beetle AKA May bug native to Europe.

I went back to work this morning to a very different college/exam setup. I was wiping everything multiple times. Think I will take gloves tomorrow! Afternoon to relax methinks.

Clematis atop the apple tree.

Not sure whether life is trying to be normal again?

Having done two days of work, I do feel like life has kind of returned to a pattern which is basically what I have done before everything shut down. Normal it isn’t though, nothing about life is secure and measured and predictable. Even the weather is joining in and letting us have rain, sun and storms. I have to say it’s more comfortable now than the heatwave several weeks ago. I want to do more to change the garden but the slabs and digging is easier in the dry, not so hot weather. That was this morning but afternoon had some rain.

Lily we planted last year.

I wandered round the garden and the neglect has caused some new flowers to make appearances.

I’ve also been looking at some of Letchworth’s gardens which were to have been open to the public in June and they’ve been released as a virtual display and I’ve now looked round about ten. They give me some hope for mine but many are actually 25 years or more under the same family and show me that I need to start building more plant areas and thinking about introducing more plants.

Www.letchworth-vog.org is the website to view!

Wild bindweed on a walk through fields last night. Almost pink outside.
Cornflower is purple – yes!

I’ve made some chocolate brownies and fingers crossed I managed the ingredients correctly but I have a horrible feeling I added an extra egg. That’s the MS I’m afraid. In 25 minutes I shall find out. Been doing the same Brownie recipe for 20 odd years (from the Independent) and I doubled it and confused myself. I also need a new brownie pan as it looks like all my baking trays have been used for roast vegetables and burnt to within an inch of charcoal. (Again not my domain, as I never seem to get the roast timings for all the parts together!)

Curry plant has so many buds…
Bramble flowers
First courgette!

But life is looking up, isn’t it? If you can get out in the garden you don’t have to worry about life on the outside, and the brownies are out of the oven in time for a good olde worlde high tea! And they were v tasty!

So my penance…

For cutting off the electricity my penance was weeding. Smallest helped but got to use my hedge gadget! I am not sure I will learn how to use that this year? But we/I pulled up lots of mares tail and pulled out dead valerian. That also appeals to miss helper? Hard to miss and not the prettiest when it is dying.

Valerian getting culled.
My nemesis

And the mares tail is everywhere… this may be the worst mistake of our house purchase. To not know the weeeds… Five years in and we haven’t really made a visible mark on the garden but my intention to be working and the reality are different. I am lucky to be working, don’t get me wrong, but zero hours don’t contractually make you well off. I will do as much as I can over the next month and see whether I can ‘magic’ something into my life that I had to put on hold, due to Covid restrictions like everyone in the world.

Thursday is our garden collection day and the grass cuttings are rather pungent. But adding a load of other weeds today made the front garden a little tidier. Little one didn’t get up to the top of the hedge but thoroughly enjoyed using my new hedge gadget and my new tipper cart. I have to do a little more digging and soil shifting to lay out the slabs I want, and we have to order a tonne of sand and some lime cement to lay the slabs properly. I am not a big strong builder and neither are the rest of the family, so we may be a while getting the slabs laid. Oh well…

The hedge is a bit taller than my youngest…

Electricity! Pah!

Just blew all the kitchen fuses! Making a toasty of all things but the charger for the lawnmower somehow got caught in the toasty maker and melted! Not sure what was more annoying about this… nearly losing my lunch or the gadget that makes our lawnmower easy to use? With no cable to run through? Well it has lost its cable for the charger so we may be looking at having to buy new battery… uurgh

Who knew making toasties was so dangerous?

The annoying thing about that is I have been nagging about clear workspaces till I’m blue in the face. And I was too hungry to follow my own advice. Determined as I was to get some food for a late lunch into me, I had even offered to make a toasty for hubby in the garage, and it was going fine until ‘POP’!

Lilies about to bloom

Not sure what this means for the lawnmower until hubby can check after work. I don’t do electrics – does anybody blame me? – garden bench is my place this afternoon!

Pretty sure these are blackberries (or brambles?)

Father’s Day! We didn’t Forget!

Early start with a cooked breakfast then a drive with a walk round Weston. We’ve never done this one and according to Samsung it was 1.8 miles. (Apple had it at over 4,000 steps…) Walking through fields I didn’t spot the electric fence corralling the large cows and I’ve realised I get anxious which I never used to. The dog doesn’t seem interested but it is a sheepdog and although very obedient, still a fairly new thing to worry about. I’m going to have to meditate later.

Big baker?

But we also had a tip off! Hubby and I drove to a Stevenage garden centre where they had tipper carts less than half price so less even than the wheelbarrows I saw in my favourite Woolworths (sic) which remain out of stock (when I was looking before).

First babies…
DIY assemblage…
Are mahonia berries poisonous?
Are these bramble blossoms?

And after a lot of bad words, it is assembled and in use. Not quite needed for picking our first potatoes but we have some of those for dinner tonight. And those were grown using potatoes that went to seed in the cupboard earlier this year. Little one spotted a big one (nearly a baker!) but we’ll see what we make to work out whether it just gets boiled. Something well worth growing.

Instructions were poor…

A Heatwave is predicted!

Life in Hertfordshire is tense. Parts of North Herts have a huge number of Covid deaths and that makes me feel nervous again. I am going to a meeting to talk about how to go back to work and four of my colleagues are already saying they may not go. That in turn makes me question my my readiness to go back. My doctor said I wasn’t high risk but other MSers have said that being on my medication makes me vulnerable according to their GPs. Who knows who is correct?

This also a new wild rose I’ve spotted?
Alstroemerias
This new rose has budded.

The UK has the highest death rate in Europe. That’s the scary bit and I have to wonder whether the uncertainty is adding to my fatigue levels and I’ve had other MS symptoms like dizziness and anxiety welling up. I have been out and about but I am lacking enthusiasm and energy for working in the garden. Things have gone crazy and with the rainfall we have had, the garden is looking healthy.

Something eating my sycamore…

I’d better watch out to keep the plants wet while the predicted heatwave hits at the weekend – in time for Father’s Day.

I don’t know what blossoms here?