Did I say it was COLD? Too darned C O L D…

Seriously it hasn’t gone above 1 degree outside and you know it doesn’t entice me to go anywhere near a pair of wellies and a winter frosted garden. Nope! I always make great plans, and my kids have helped to make me focus, on the television? A film is on as I type and I can’t really move off the sofa…

Lockdown hacks…
Yesterday’s activity

I don’t publish many pics of me as I’ve said before but it’s a resolution I am determined not to break. Lots of people do zooms like it was second nature so here goes. We are not editing out the messy bits of planting all those daffodils and things yesterday. I can still smell the rosemary in the centre! But the tray wasn’t punctured and I have a feeling we may have to remedy this if the rain comes on…

Messy view of greenhouse

I don’t see myself going out to the greenhouse as it’s only fractionally warmer than the garden. Time for another resolution? Check the greenhouse regularly, even when it’s cold!

Do you see what I see?
Definitely bulb shoots! 😆

And wandering round the garden every so often reminds you of the hard work of last year? I worried the squirrels would find them but spring has sprung and handfuls of bulbs are pushing through the soil. I can’t wait!

Ok it’s sinking in now… Let Gardening Club begin!

I have no work which means I’ve got very little money. If anyone has a magic money tree perhaps I can get a cutting? January is a rubbish month in terms of being cold and shivery but combined with Lockdown 3, home schooling Day 3 and not being able to know whether a Covid germ is lurking, a penniless January 2021 is shaping up to be a corker! Kids are working on whatever has been set/sent digitally on Satchel One, TheSchool App, and from yesterday, Google Play and Classroom and books which were delivered by the school. We are lucky in that reconditioned pcs mean the kids have their own but I know locally some families are only using phones for the online stuff. If you have a spare pc there could be someone who would be grateful for it?

This young tree needs moving…
We planted yesterday’s purchases.
Messy greenhouse with newly planted artichokes, sunflowers, fennel and honesty.

We will do a bit of planting with my rash purchases yesterday. I don’t spend much but collectively it was significant. I have to stretch till the next money comes in. Heyho I’ll get my middle-class/posh artichokes planted and then we can have food which you have to work at finding the edible bits…

Gardening will have to be cost free from now. Getting mucky is going to be our learning experience for sure. I’ll use the growing poppies and books to check they are really poppies and to monitor the expected growth so we know when to pot out.

A cold pic of me yesterday…
Think this banana (?) should have been fleeced … whatever is growing at the bottom is doing ok!!!

Garden centre to the rescue!

There is a definite shortage of logs. The shop we normally get a bulk order from are not returning our calls, and the garden centre where we got 2 bags before New Year are waiting a delivery. I went to another garden centre this afternoon (I need no excuse) and they only had two bags of the reconstituted timber logs… and I was told that people are raving about them! I may be a convert, and the designer side of me quite likes the orderly nature of my log pile now.

I bought some flowering plants and a shallow tray. I couldn’t help myself. A job for tomorrow? Absolutely. I bought some more seeds too, so I have to start wrapping up warm and setting some Gardening Club homework seeing as S is missing that this term.

Method in my madnesses for sure. As day 2 has seen a weary 9 year old sleep most of the afternoon after doing her class tasks, I feel justified in getting her to help? This home school business is ok so far!

Even round logs 😀

Supplies…
Seeds! I loved having artichokes in our allotment and they look like Scottish thistles…

The day in January when everything wakens up!

Not a fan! January is hard when you’ve not got everyone at home? So when you haven’t moved from the sofa normally, now you’ve got three people very aware.

I had a panic attack, or MS hug, or something scary happened in the wee small hours of the night. Maybe it was unrelated but I got up at 8.30 ish to the news that BTECs will go ahead… NO! I was invigilating tomorrow but I don’t know why these are going ahead, while lockdown intensifies. After last night, I took the decision to give up the only work I have for now, for the safety of my family, and me. It’s bonkers that they have agreed alternatives to cover the GCSEs in the summer but students and staff will have to continue with these exams now?

I have never been all that good at helping bulbs from school grow. Well done S x
Lots growing but not a clue what…

I sent off an apology. Giving up paid work in January is not easy at all. It’s hard and makes me feel terrible but obviously my body needed to tell me, by squeezing my torso very tight, to take care of me. It will be tight financially but obviously I need to look in other directions for my income. I must prioritise and keep trying to do my bit in other ways. If my hubby can work through the coldest months in the shed…

I managed 20 minutes in the greenhouse. I cut some toilet roll tubes with the shears… that was enough. There’s not going to be glowing tales of planted seeds today.

Not so neat with shears!

It’s a time for planning!

I have received a few gardening books and spent a bit of Christmas money on magazines and books. I also received lots of catalogues… So I have things to inspire my garden this year. (A few of my Christmas purchases are still caught up in the lorry blockades but that is delaying the excitement of Christmas) The ground is a bit soggy at moment to do a lot but seeds can be planted and things established for the growing season. It’s cold out there but we have the greenhouse en site and brown bin to fill with garden waste. I just need to read some of this to give me inspiration!

I have both daughters at home as we will be home schooled until, well, more of us have been vaccinated. Sensibly, teachers unions have objected to the opening of schools in Tier 4 areas, and all of Herts is now Tier 4. I haven’t heard whether the college I invigilate at will now close too. I can only hope… too many people think they will be ok, but there are too many examples now of victims, including MS sufferers.

So I have good reason to change my mind about working, even if I am a key worker. Much rather have a potter in the cold greenhouse!

Desperately seeking heat…

‘we have subscribed to your blog’s email notifications, it’s quite the soothing read…

That was the nicest feedback I’ve had since starting my blog. I know sometimes I go off my subject but I try and connect to the main subjects as I go along.

And I am shivering a lot in the start of the year. We ran out of firewood… and it’s too bleeping cold to make any more. Well not make but chop and despite buying what I thought would be a useful gadget, it’s for kindling and not the splitting of logs…

We picked up two bags of logs from the nearest garden centre but I’ve not rationed them correctly apparently, despite having a funny spell this morning, (maybe my Tecfidera?) I am now shivering a lot! Not much cheer for January but it’s always like this? Brexit, Covid and Tory incompetence will just add to the gloom.

Christmas Eve!

I never thought I’d be in the garden on 23/24th December, but I just picked some onions. We planted months ago and then left. I need a garden housekeeper really. It’s cold, wet and muddy out there but I needed to check on the panel in the greenhouse which has been shifted so there isn’t a gap. And lots of poppies are still growing in the trays which need to be planted out in the spring. Knowing me, I’ll probably misjudge this and put them out too soon… if the UK has snow tomorrow will it also snow in March? Seasons are a changing?

Onions for soup!

I think I am making soup after all. French onion soup, perhaps? I don’t think we are traditional much at the moment? Making our own traditions or making it up as we go along!

Stockpiling loo roll for seeds…

Poppies will hopefully survive the cold as they are under glass. Loads and I hope they are all the colours in my head and don’t turn red if our soil is the wrong ph…

Mostly happy poppies
Some of the seeds were online purchases but I don’t remember which… hope they aren’t to be feared!

Christmas Eve Eve!

Oh in case I forget, Merry Christmas to one and all, even the beepers… Drivers in my city drive me crazy! Beeped twice in a run around the block? I don’t want to speed but I’m getting used to the car. Crazy 4by4 tractors are the worst… we’ve gone down from one so can I be allowed? The road layout of a Garden City, after all, is meant to help you get around but it doesn’t mean you don’t have stroppy rude drivers?

It really doesn’t fill me with goodwill when I get beeped by the same person twice. Our road being one of the longest in Britain (seriously) also has some of the worst roundabouts and passing places the locals use but newbies don’t acknowledge. We have lots of double yellows but those are rarely followed. It’s probably not possible to introduce new markings but when the old familiars are regularly ignored on our street, it doesn’t help.

Banana and chocolate bread. My friend used this as a birthday cake and I loved it!

I’ve baked today and made a star-shaped Bundt with chocolate, peanuts and banana. I got a tin and realised today how expensive it was. (Oops) It is going to be used a LOT to make it pay for itself! But the bits we broke off (they overflowed the tin) are tasty!

I also used my recipe from a South African friend and made Banana Bread with optional chocolate. We have cakes for Christmas and I’ve used up some of the black bananas from the freezer. Using up lockdown food! Yum!

Ps We have no idea how to remove the star-shaped cake out of the tin! Think it might stay in there! And the Korean meal for Christmas Eve is also under preparation. Hope that’s yum too. Bon appetite everyone!

Hmm…

My life has been changed in the last few days by random virtual connections. Brexit and Covid anger seems to be pushing away our real connections for pleas in the distance from these virtual connections. I like playing virtual scrabble but I keep connecting with people who want to make connections via gmail. I already do messenger, zoom and WhatsApp but can I not do this one too? Well I only wanted to play Scrabble…

I also ended up talking to a young girl in Costa Rica rather randomly. I hope she finds a way round her issues and I felt sad because she just needed a big hug!

So it was too nice now that we are Tier 4 restricted not to get outside and clear a whole bin full of leaf detritus from the back. Hubby is weatherproofing the lastlegs shed as he discovered lots of decay and animal mess during the week. They even got into a box. Glad I got our curtains out and up before the wee beasts found those! We also need a bike shelter…

I do love hearing from people about things they like in the blog. Again, I wish you all a happy Christmas wherever you are! 🧚‍♂️🎄⭐️🎄☃️❄️🍾🥂🎄🧚🏻

Full of leaves… should make leaf mould but I won’t use it! Just more clutter we don’t need.

I’ve been planting again!

I’ve used toilet roll inners to make little pots for the greenhouse. We are encouraged to recycle after all. I’ve got a selection of seeds to grow red leaved shrubs and I planted half of the three packets today. I think it was ricin communalist, communis impala and a carmencita Bright red. So I planted 15 of the seeds and saved the rest for the spring. I am starting to add my own flavour/colour to what’s there. I get inspiration but it’s been taking a while.

I bought two camassia cusickii bulbs for the front. Hopefully this will give me some delicate blue flowers by the front drive bed. We have to sort the pane in the greenhouse too.

Poppies – we have a LOT of poppies!
I will have to check what the seeds were that I planted! The envelopes had Latin names…
Loads more poppies…
Some are bigger than others! I might have to bring them inside if it gets too cold?

Our planned shed/dismantling the decrepit one is on hold presently but the garage is getting a new heater. Life in 2020 isn’t what we expected but hopefully with a vaccine or two in circulation we can start to plan a bit more. I’m certainly planning on filling the greenhouse this year. I will be a little more vigilant of the contents when I purchase very specific plants.

Slight gap in the greenhouse!