It’s true, you know?

A little and often gets the job done!

Do you see the sneaky bramble?
Gravel hidden from sight…

It’s cold but I braved some leaf gathering, some tidying in the greenhouse (moving some trays around) and kneeling on the knee pads and weeding some of the couch grass in the gravel under the apple tree. You can see those random paint pots also got shifted. It’s given me a bit more incentive to crack the whip on pooch patrol, as standing in poo is not the aim.

Leaves and apples hiding the gravel…

Leaves hide the poop, but don’t stop my wellies from getting covered. I’ve got some seeds to track down as well, as I can’t find the beetroot. I have lots of trays in the greenhouse, and it was pleasant in there today for a change. Maybe we are not going to see the snow after all, as other parts of the country have.

However I managed over an hour outside and lots of it was in the garden outside. It’s the garden housekeeping role at the moment. Weeds, leaves, couch grass and rotten apples needed chucking in the brown bin. And I could muse on the online nightmares of this morning. I bought a tray to hold the dog bowls to try and stop the food from spreading all over the floor and an email today said it would be 4 to 6 weeks delivery… I’m still waiting for things I bought for Christmas in November so I feel resigned to the new reality of delivery post-Brexit and mid Covid…

Tidy-ish 😊
Paint tins away 😀

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!!!

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!

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

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!

Ouch!

Smallest is home after throwing up and she had her earphones on. Husband is in the shed, and ditto, so no one heard me… I had decided to clamber over the piles of logs (was it wise?) and investigate the space behind the shed.

These chunks are too heavy for me…

Which was weedy and filled with firewood in waiting. I pulled out a few weeds and was trying to clamber back. It would have been fine if I had not stepped down too hard on a pile of very soft sawdust. My foot went down and down and was close to my ankle snapping (I think) and me being stuck behind the shed for quite a long time.

Some bindweed coming over from next door.

As you can guess I did manage to put some weight back on it and fumble my way out of the space I no longer want to explore. I think I may be stuck to the house for a bit. Again not helping the grand scheme of things. I feel I may grapple with leg pain for the next few days. I said I’d work tomorrow as well. I don’t need to be hobbling round exam rooms. Ouch!

Needs cutting back but I didn’t take my snips on my clamber!

Firewood n Halloween?

Think we will have a few roaring fires between now and Halloween as a lot of seasoned logs were split today. Not taking the credit as I was still eradicating spiky things – brambles and a neglected rose/crab apple? It was covered in brambles so that it was almost hidden. I’m not sure whether it has ever been pruned in our five years here. But the brambles were coming through the fence so originate next door.

Sunday with rain drops!

But I have had a sickness bug so even if it had been dry for five minutes I didn’t feel like being outside. My stomach still feels a bit dodgy. I only went to work for 3 hours on Friday but was it enough to pick up a bug from the college? Social distances were observed so I should have been far enough away not to get the germs… No one in the house has this? It’s not the symptoms of Covid and I don’t like being sick! How mysterious!

I think our gardening adventures are going to be curtailed of October continues to be wet. It would be nice if the rain would do one…