Doubling up!

I have doubled my readership this year! And it’s not even Christmas! We’ve started doing Christmas early, and even have four advent calendars… two bought at great expense from a garden centre we visited to see the Christmas decorations! Seems like Garden centres still are the place to go for startling lighting displays. And the only place on the last weekend of November that actually had advent calendars…

Well, almost. The teenager had an orthodontist appointment in Hitchin today, and I popped into M&S. They had some! So we now have one each! I don’t get to that retailer much now and other retailers had run out, so it’s a Pat on the back rather than a plug. A rather random selection of chocolate advent calendars.

I am still looking for work btw. It would have been nice to end 2020 on a high with employment that makes me sing, but I am sticking to what I have. (My views over this rubbish year are over 2,000! I don’t know how that compares to other word presser but I don’t advertise much…) I am now looking forward to seeing the gardening article published Stateside in March next year, but we’ll get through all that chocolate first. Seasons Greetings!

PS I purchased the calendars I could find. I’m sure others are available if you plan ahead! 🥳 Major supermarkets were out, we did try! Family favourite? Not any left!!!

Indoor pursuits (or, I am struggling)…

Nowhere is there a manual for Just Do Whatever It Is You’re Avoiding… I know I just need a kick up the rear but it’s not that simple. I see pictures of things people do or make and I go, yes I used to do that. It’s cold outside and I have things to plant, mostly bulbs, but I went outside earlier and it took me longer than expected to put sticky numbers on the wheely bins. My fingers weren’t behaving.

I’ve pulled out recipes, both online and my granny’s handwritten fat-stained journal of handwritten go-to favourites with minimal instructions, and nothing appeals. There is a sewing machine set up on the pull-out cabinet in the bedroom. It took me, butter fingers, ages to thread it this morning and then I was easily distracted by other things.

Searching out the Covid detritus!

What does this make me feel about chasing some proper work? Rubbish! I do want to work again but the current climate is, well rubbish, too. I want motivation and faith to tap me on the shoulders and say, Oi, Do This, It’s Guaranteed Income and Job Satisfaction!

And I haven’t found a recipe for the blocks of chocolate, that doesn’t involve ingredients we don’t have. The cupboard is full of the lockdown 1 tins and the Lockdown 2 bulk purchases of pasta, bread flour and tomatoes. So my search for a recipe is limited by the same challenges I’ve set the kids in recent weeks: use only what we have in the house, Korean Kimchi being a lucky find by the oldest!

Granny’s secret clootie dumpling recipe! Shh 🤫

And it’s turned three o’clock just like that. Maybe too late to start baking, or is it classic procrastination? Too late to start sewing and cutting up bit of fabric, or am I scared I am not up to it any more. Unemployable, therefore not a creative bone left in my body? Did I say it was cold outside? Maybe I’ll take the dog out…

Oh dear I can’t go to work like this!

I’ve ripped my sleeve!

I just went out to spread some blue slate in the front garden and I am filthy and ragged! I was told Hubby thinks it’s too sharp for the back as the slate was too sharp for the dogs paws so the buy3 get one free offer has gone down the sides of the front path. The rainbow gravel was already slipping about so the blue slate will perhaps do the job of holding the white in place.

Four bags have not gone far! And it looks ok but I might need to buy some more. I was thinking I might use the extra to fill my circle but I’ve run out. At some point we will order a bulk bag of some kind of gravel (and sand) for the back but it’s slipping down that list again. Even the shed is in jeopardy!

I shouldn’t have spent so much on birthday boy but I always spend before I get paid… I better get changed for work! It’s zero hours and some months it has been zero so I will take it if it’s offered!

Ooh the weeds! Normally under the car…
I wasn’t going to cover this bed as the tree trunk needs removal!

Damp but sunny!

Ok I said I’d go out and it was fab out in the sun. A bit soggy underfoot but that’s what wellies are for! I’ve filled the brown bin and pulled down some overgrown Ivy. We’ve been here five years, even if the last (and third, see my earlier blogs) one is a difficult blur, and the Ivy is taking over the pillars on our wall. We were told on our survey that the pillars needed recapping (and I even got prices from the slab guy in February) but again it slipped down the priority list.

Ivy cuttings

Rather worryingly the Ivy (auto capitalising!) has pushed its way through the brickwork. And annoyingly I am a bit too short to reach it without steps… I’ve pulled off a lot if I’ve filled a wheelie bin? But some of that was stuff that’s been sitting around and should have gone in the collection I missed! I know very shoddy on my part, just hoping that wasn’t the last of the year. Then I will be very cross. We pay extra for the brown bin collection but it may not be the full year?

I also have less work now so I am hoping to get either a few more sunny or warm days or get myself up a ladder and finish the kitchen ceiling painting. The only thing stopping that is in my head, and the sudden dizzy spells that make me very much slower on the ladder. Less pleasant than it was in my twenties I can tell you. I could also take the garden rubbish to the tip if I get inclined to go round the garden picking up rubbish, fill the car, separate the types of waste and work out the times the tip is open (if it is under lockdown) and drive over there. That is not so easy either…

Little spiky bundle I left on the grass when I cut back the rose hips…
I can’t reach the top of the ivy 😂😒
Pandemic thoughts

November chills…

And drips…

It’s not been a week for gardening much but I spent this morning repotting some of the seedlings in the greenhouse. The poppies are growing wildly inside. I have high hopes for their transferrance into the garden next year.

I don’t know what this pretty flower is?

I’ve planted blue ones and purple ones and maybe, some copper ones! The seeds went into the little half toilet rolls and some shot up more wildly than others.

It’s cold in the greenhouse and some of the panes we replaced have slipped down after being battered by apples, so there is a small gap at the apex which needs to be blocked or if it snows this year I will lose them all.

Japanese anenome planted last year!

If it hadn’t been raining I would have been filling the brown bin with some of the choppings which we haven’t recycled yet. I was too busy this week at exams to get out when it was sunny. Oh well, I want to be working, but it seems like 2020 was not my year to find alternative employment. I shall have to rethink, as methinks my MS is a block to finding work in the general way. I have been trying for a while now and the length of time I have been trying to get something different is now going against me. Heyho…

Some replanted poppies,

A little tidier!

A bit more to add to the front and weeding the edges and trimming the spiky bush. Maybe that is going to disappear one day but blimey it hurts like crazy when I try to pick up bits I’ve chopped. I don’t always bring the right stuff but I used the paving knife to pull up some of the weeds in the crack.

I bought a couple of red-veined heuchera. The tree stump was trimmed back but I’m not sure I’ve eradicated golden rod…

Front path is looking better. I can’t wait for rain to wash the stones. They are still rather luminous but that is four bags worth and I don’t have any more.

Changing the front garden!

I started off digging a trench for tulips in the front garden and I dug a ten centimetre trench. It defines the area to the left which must remain garden and we had intended to make into driveway if we had the funds… (I need a job!)

Bulbs in their packets.

The grass was largely moss and plants I don’t want. Not grass at all. So I covered an area with weed barrier and used the bags of peagravel we got from my friend. It had a lot of compost mixed in so I’ve used that on the area of weed barrier and I planted some of my festuca glauca plants down the edge.

Tulip trench!
Ladybird investigates the weeding…

I’ve used four concrete slabs for walking, laid over some sharp sand and I will bring round some compost to fill some of the areas. But there’s lots of blooming golden rod and valerian which needs digging up. Those are my weeds if I’m honest, as well as the spiky bush at the gate which keeps regrowing. I’ve chopped it three or four times this year and I have to try and eradicate it before it gets too big again.

Tulip Bulbs!

Still ducking in and out between rain showers, the front garden is a work in progress but I think it will look good after we’ve had a couple of rains. I will try and find some other plants that will look good between the festuca. I saw some amazing heucheras yesterday. I sense a purchase…

Not finished but the garden is always in progress I’m learning!

Another post? For another day?

As it is spitting (Scottish term for light rain, in fact it could be called drizzling) intermittently, and I don’t like getting wet, I have time to write but actually I want to be planting! I purchased a couple of cheap plants in my favourite Woolworths replacement store. I have to plant the grasses too and bulbs. Next spring needs to have an explosion of colour! So there are more bulbs to plant too.

Rose haw

Lunch had been forgotten and I went for a packet to be quick. Bad move when something called Piri-something is left. Yuk! But the outside is calling. The Ivy has sprouted buds and I wasn’t going to cut it when it was sunny and covered in bees, but it’s wet now and I need to discourage bees like the monster that came inside yesterday. Seriously huge, like a bird buzzing furiously, I was scared for us all. I am not a naturephobe, more appreciate such beautiful creatures on the other side of the window.

We asked for it in chunks…
Don’t look to hard at this one?!?

Can I carry any of the tree chunks I need to pile up? Good question and I have new gloves so maybe I can try? These are coming recommended and I think will be good for all the prickly stuff.

These are flowering again…
I hope the striped rose survives trunks landing on it…

Still gardening!

It’s lovely out today and I’ve done some of the stuff I had been putting off. I’ve replanted the heuchera that was in the rotten garden box. It is beyond saving that one but I’ve popped the heuchera into the bed I cleared yesterday. I was visited by my friendly robin. Well I would be as I uncovered snails and all sorts.

Sun on the gladioli…

I’ve also done some digging but hey the sun is now too high and it’s my least favoured job. But I replanted the heuchera and was rewarded by a visit from Red. I buried the bulbs I put in on Saturday with a layer of compost from the rotten box so I’ve mulched the bed I cleared.

I’ve also ordered some super tough garden gloves as I am tired of fishing out thorns in the evening! And the tree boys come tomorrow. There is lots happening, like the snails it will happen, slow and sure.

Red.
Transplanted heuchera.