Poppy Patchwork

My little bit of this big World

Tuesday 30 June 2020

June round up

I have spent alot on my garden again this month, I got a 3rd water butt, we both felt this was necessary as our dry periods are longer and the rain not so heavy. I also got 3 Acers, all together in a pot, I have been promising myself I would get a acid green Acer for ages, the final big thing was the lights for the greenhouse. I also purchased yarn, I have a pattern ready to start knitting and I paid for another Christmas advent pack. 

As it's the end of June I have my half year figures, I have spent more than I hoped, but I have a few structure items, greenhouse shelving and water butt was not on my list to do this year, it's still much less than last year. 

I am waiting for an answer for my refund request, from the purchase of 'Clark's shoes', I don't hold out too much hope, I do think I have been had. 

We filled the car middle of the month, 1st time since March, nice double saving made by not using the car and the petrol prices being so low. 

We only did one big shop in June, we are trying to keep our larder and freezer full, who knows when this virus will allow anything like normal life and at the end of this year we have Brexit, we do most of our fresh shopping local, the village and local Co-op needs all the support we can give them. We do have another big shop from Waitrose in early July, just to have a few different items and I have been popping to our local Lidl's. We are having to ensure we check all our food in the fridge, normally we would pop to shops a few times each week, going once a week means we have to watch dates on fresh food. 

Our waste is very good, we paid a man to clear some of the bigger garden waste, I did not want to have to wait for hours to get into our local tip, we are not wasting any food and are ensuring we watch our water usage, we don't have a meter, but with so much hot weather, at some point water will get low, our water butts are full again for the garden. We do have loads of plastic carrier bags again, but we will ensure they are used as much as they can, before putting them in the bin. 

Monday 29 June 2020

Busy clicking

It's been a weekend for crafting, I have done loads on this top, the colours look great knitted up, it feel just like summer and really relaxing to knit.
I have joined the two sides together to for the back opening and now knitting on the round, I will add buttons, but note no button holes, I will slip stitch most of these panels together and sew buttons on top, I am not the best at making button holes, so I leave them off where I can. This is 13" long, I need it to be 16" before shaping the armholes, and making the vest top.
I still am using the second hank which should take me up to 15", now it's a case of working out how much yarn I need and how much I have, I would like this top a just a bit longer. 
Crochet has been done, I love this blanket, as does Grace, every time I work on it she wants to sit on my lap, it's always a juggle to keep my work away from her fur.
I finished two more colour rows last night, the green is 11 squares, each row is one square less, so it's getting quicker to finish rows, I can see the finish line. BUT I have not stitched the ends in, so I still have loads to do. 
We have the happiest of grandsons, Will now has an electric Police motor bike, it has a box on the back where he keeps his notebook and pencil (he can't write yet), handcuffs, radio and his badge. He does have a new helmet coming, which is a police helmet, and loads of flat garden to ride around. He did have a car, but it was too bulky and not good on corners, now he is just like his Granch (hubby) with his love of motorbikes. 
We have had the best weekend, I have watched so much TV, Glastonbury through the years (huge music festival in south of UK), so much great music, it was such a pleasure, and I still have a couple to watch, two hours of David Bowie from 20 years ago. 
Today we would be hunkering down for Wimbledon (Tennis torment) and was hugely disappointed it was not going ahead,  but after other successes where TV replaces the live action with historic replays, we can't wait to see what is  on offer. 

We did pop and see Will, George, mummy and daddy on Saturday, and for the first time in months we both had a cuddle with George, I cried, mummy and daddy have decided to allow only grandparents to cuddle the boys, just making our own bubble with 3 families. 
We are planning to pop out this week, to B&Q (huge DIY store) and a garden centre, and will not cuddle the boys for the following 7 days, just to be safe, there is less virus around, but we still are not taking any risk. 

I did potter in the garden, I will post about my garden next time, I have not read anything, the TV took so much of my time. We had steady rain most of Saturday, all my water butts are again full, I won't need to water tonight, so a restful day planned. We are now having a true British summer, hot days followed by cooler wet spells, really good for the garden and I must admit I like the cooler days, it's good to have a break from the hot days.   

Saturday 27 June 2020

Freedom at home

Hubby made marmalade cake again, we both love this moist cake, we have just 1 slice with our morning coffee each day, this time he used triple fruit marmalade, again very tasty. Have you any other recipes Maggie?
Our outside table, we have had for years, hubby stripped it back to tidy it up and match the chairs, sadly one side support for the struts had started to rot underneath, so hubby purchased a new larger square table. This is not the end of the story, the struts have been cut out and are stored in my shed, they will be handy for replacing struts on my greenhouse staging, the legs are stored as well, 4 lovely bits of hardwood, the rest has been chopped up for burning in our chimenea on a cool evening. 
Our new table is much bigger, but we often have more people here for BBQ's, it's darker, but it's just stained, hubby will sand it down and match the seating next spring. We are both pleased with how the decking is looking outside our patio doors, this view we see every time we sit inside. Grace managed to get into the photo, it was taken early morning when it's still cool.
I went on a Clark's shoe sale site and ordered 2 pairs of half price shoes, I was very pleased with myself, but a couple days later I got an email to track my parcel and found they were coming from China, I rechecked the site, it does look authentic, but it was a case of wait and see what they send me. My parcel arrived yesterday and as you can see, they did not send my shoes, I got a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses, which when checking the site I visited I find they don't sell. I have requested a refund and a return label, I won't pay to return the glasses as the error is there's. I think I have been caught, oh well expensive lesson to learn.  

We did not go for a walk on Wednesday, it was just far too hot, even for the water front, we avoided the shade as we thought it would be mobbed, the news at 10 o'clock showed beaches here in the south full of day trippers, no social distancing, other places shut roads when car parks were full, loads of angry drivers.  We stayed at home, inside when it was too hot for us, I got loads of knitting done, I've finished my 1st hank of yarn and worked out how long I can make my top, I was asked how I can unpick and start again a question I am often asked, simply if it's not perfect I would only see the mistake and not the lovely top I have made, and that would stop me wearing it. I have always been the same, so starting again is always for me is an easy thing to do. 
Thursday and Friday was much the same, I am always fascinated that we can both spend all morning doing bits and bobs around the garden, keeping busy, when most our jobs are done. I have started removing the slate from my herb bed, and moved the much bigger Rosemary plant nearer the back, I have more to do, but I'm not going mad to get it all done quickly. I am toying with a trip to a garden centre, we have not been in one since early March, but I need a few items, I can't get from shops in the village. 
Daughter visited with Will and George, we stayed inside as it was so hot outside, we kept our distance, George on the rug on the floor, Will ate most of our fruit harvest, he loves all fruit, I had purchased some English strawberries as my plants are new this year and not fully producing. As ever we caught up on everything and everyone. We had a video call and saw baby Dominic and his big brother Jake for the 1st time. It's the simple family things which keep us going.
Today it is raining and much cooler, we got up to 32 on Thursday, I had been watering the garden tubs each day, the rain will top up the water butts as well as giving everywhere a good drink. So another inside day, which is OK, I have plenty of hobbies. It's becoming a typical English summer where it's sunny all week when most people are at work and wet at weekends. 

Thursday 25 June 2020

Saving money in the garden.

This is another lovely plant, I took a cutting from a plant in my raised bed by the back door, I was worried it might die in the winter months, the parent plant survived and is now showing loads of new growth. So this cost me just time.
I purchased this plant in July 2016, it cost 99p and was tiny, I was making a garden in a broken pot, it grew and grew, I cut it back last year after watching Monty on TV, and the 3 stems all grew and the stem of the old plant grew again. So this year I cut back the 3 newer stems and potted them all in this pot, they all look healthy. 
I have loads of soft wood cuttings, both the Lavender and Salvia hotlips have rooted and are growing. I have another 3 cutting of hotlips on the go. I have eucalyptus which don't look too well, but they can stay for longer, I am hoping one might root. I have passion flower and clematis cuttings, in hope I can create new plants. 
I watched Monty on TV Friday night he did hydrangea cuttings in Purlite, no soil, so hubby wanted us to have a go, so here are 2 hydrangea, 1 clematis, 1 rose which we did on Saturday, all looking good. In the second pot I have 2 acers, they were from very long branches, my thinking always is 'if I don't try I will never know'.  
My next project is with this Oak sapling, I purchase a sage plant and this was growing in the pot, there is no way I would want an Oak tree in my garden, but I was not going to let it die, so it's tiny, I love Bonsai tree's, I am going to pot this in a shallow dish ( I have a spare one), use the restrictive compost and see what happens. I still have my Acer Bonsai, but it has no leaves, it's not dead, just not growing.
Most of these plants here have cost me nothing or just pence, the green shrub came from a neighbour, the Agapanthus I separated a plant in my garden and moved some here. The Salvia hotlips cost me £1 for 2 plants. Not so cost effective are the eaten French marigolds, I got them cheap from Lidl's, they still have some growth, so I will leave them, they might come back. 
I hate to waste anything which comes into our house, I still use a coffee filter jug, I looked at pods for just a short time but did not like throwing away the pods. Through the summer (hot) months, I save my ground coffee and filters, they dry out quickly, the greenhouse smells wonderful. This gives me a good supply to last through the year. 
The dried filters I use in the bottom of pots, instead of crock, I prefer the filters as they allow water to drain, not so quickly as crock. I do keep broken pots to use with the filters in bigger pots. The coffee I pop on the surface of my garden when I have problems with slugs and snails, they don't like going across the gritty coffee. I don't use huge amounts to upset the balance of my soil, but I do use more around my roses and on acid loving pots. Most days we make 3 pots of coffee, so I do have a good supply, the drawer I store these in smells wonderful each time I open it. 
I swap plants as often as I can, I separated primroses last month and passed on loads of new plants, I have new strawberry plants this year and will keep all the runners for new plants. My daughter purchased some white lavender plants, which I potted up for her, a bit fell off one plant, so l planted it, it would be nice to have a white plant. I have got very brave on splitting plants, something I refused to do for years. Later this year I will dig up my beloved Peony, both daughters want a plant, so I will take roots from the edge, I would be devastated if  I killed this plant, the new plants will be tiny, and will have to be grown in pots for a few years.   
I look at our local selling Facebook pages and have purchased loads second hand, our garden is established and most times I don't want to add brand new items, they always stick out, which is only good if like Kirk I want a statement pot. 
I always purchase good compost, I have had some terrible outcomes with cheap compost, I do get through loads of plants, I garden organic, and bugs, slugs and snails as well as the birds have their feed, I do try and limit the damage, but I can't use chemicals, we do have hedgehogs in the garden, whose numbers are in decline and I can't risk hurting them. 
I think the honest thing to say here, is I spend more on my garden than all my other hobbies, as my stash spend list shows each month, but the joy I get from working outside, and the joy we both get for sitting watching wildlife, looking at the plants is immense. We both love to stop for morning coffee and cake and just sit, often for an hour or more, because that's what a garden is all about, enjoyment. 

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Now in a heatwave

I have started knitting, I could not find a design I liked so I decided to knit the design I purchased the yarn for, but with a few changes, the length would be adjusted, firstly I found a simple pattern which used the same yarn weight and needles, I then did a test swatch to get an idea of my tension. I used the simple pattern to help ensure I have enough stitches, this should be a bit loose at the bottom.
I started knitting on the round, and found it was rather big, so I went back to my pen and paper and started again, this time I decided to have the opening at the back as shown in the original design, the opening will go to the middle of my back, I am not putting button holes in, I will sew buttons on top and ensure the back does not open. The design will not have the flowing bottom section, I am ensuring I have the correct width, so it looks correct, I don't want it a tight fit. This so far is less than half the 1st ball, so I have enough yarn, I am loving the colour, it's so bright and summery. 
I often pop my item on the floor when taking photo's, it's a bright spot and often the item is big and here I have loads of space, as you can see my production team as always are on hand, they are a nosey 
Two more books read, we spend time inside at the hottest part of the day, these books are over 200 pages, but I am a quick reader, I might have a break from murder and read something different, there are loads of books in this series. These are 45 and 46th read for this year. 
I have been looking for an acid green acer for ages, and promised I would have one this year, then lockdown came, I saw some being offered by Groupon, but worried about the quality, so I looked on line, these came from 'You garden', through Amazon, the packaging was great, I would use them again.  There are 3 plants in this pot, for now I will keep them together, but I am considering removing the red plant. 

Already this morning it is hot, we have stripped and remade the bed, which will be on the line soon, nothing beats clean linen bedcovers, hubby is out playing Petanque soon, I will take the time to steam clean our wooden floors, everywhere is so dusty with the doors open, the recent rain storms have washed away most of the smells from next door, experience tells us in this heat they will be back by the weekend, so we make the most of our outside space when we can. 
Later I will go for a walk with grandsons and daughters, along the beach at Hillhead, I will have to drive there but it's still quite local, I am hoping for a sea breeze.
We are being allowed more freedom, for me it's a scary time, I feel safe with hubby at home and in our village, and with both daughters, but I am worried about others, everyone interprets the rules differently, some disregard them, so life is going to be interesting. We have no plans to pop to a pub or eat out, BUT we will have a coffee and a cake at our local bistro in the village, we are supporting our local companies, already we have taken our winter coats to our local drycleaner. 

Monday 22 June 2020

This wet weekend

Hubby downloaded these books onto my Kindle, I have read all three, they are from a set of 17 books all with DCI Ryan based in Newcastle area. They are billed as stand alone books, but follows a much longer plot, in each book they refer back to previous cases (books). This make 44 books read this year.
I found the fabric to match this yarn, it's a light weight cotton, they go together perfectly, I am now looking for a pattern for the yarn, the company were not able to send me the missing ball from my order. They offered me a full refund, but I have chosen to keep the 300grms I have and find a simple pattern, I just love the colours. 
I have finished these socks, they are another Christmas gift, I purchased loads of colours in this yarn back in January and will start another colourful pair. 
We have another grandson born on Friday, mummy (husbands daughter) and baby are both doing well after a shaky start, he was a big baby which caused a few problems. They live near Derby, so it will be ages before we see them, but we can keep in touch by video call. Our newest little man, Dominic, our 8th grandson, no grand daughters and now no chance of any.
Both daughters met up for a walk with 4 grandsons, looks as if they had loads of fun, without getting wet from rain, shame the rules didn't allow me to walk with them, still this photo, one of many sent to me, shows just how much fun they had. Another local beach, with Isle of Wight in background. 
Today George is 7 months old.
The weekend started dark, windy and wet, by Saturday tea time the sunshine was back, and it was hot, I spent an hour in the garden, I picked strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and some blackcurrants, sounds wonderful, but in truth only a small bowl enough for hubby and I to share.
It was too wet to visit daughter on Friday, so another day at home, I am feeling very hemmed in at the moment, but I really don't want to be going out anywhere, hubby went out on his motorbike and enjoyed an hour, he took his own coffee for when he stopped, there are some great viewing points locally, I had a lazy afternoon reading.
Sunday was Fathers day, youngest daughter popped in for a garden visit with Will, then home with daddy (SIL) having his special day with Will and George, we did not have plans, but managed a lovely walk along the water front. Later more reading and relaxing, but no garden fresh fruit, Will ate all our berries, he does love fruit. 
 I am also making plans to change the herb bed, I do love the herbs, but the design waste alot of space, I am hoping a friend can make me a metal ring for my tender herbs, if not I will be on the hunt for a structure to grow some herbs closer together. Hubby agreed the space could be used better whilst laughing at me, no more jobs in the garden !

Friday 19 June 2020

Mixed feelings in a Pandemic

It's been a good week, I've been mixing at a distance with family and friends, and boy do I need the interaction, as much as I love my hubby, it's great to see other people.

Monday, I spend a couple of hours in daughters garden, watching Will play, at one point he made this little greenhouse and planted some seeds. 

Wednesday daughter, Will and George came to our garden, we had homemade cake and lots of fun, Will helped me do some spadeing ( that's digging to the rest of us), we planted a couple of larger snapdragon in the side garden, George rolled around on a blanket on the decking, it's getting really hard not to cuddle any of them, but it was a happy family time.

Tuesday I met with some of the sign class ladies, we met in a garden, sat distant from each other, and enjoyed a catch up, we shared nothing and stayed within all the guidelines. 

Thursday was a stay at home day, some housework and plenty of reading time, just hubby and I, the heavy rain has filled all our water butts and the garden is looking good. I had some me time, painted my nails, I have been wearing a bit of eye makeup this week.

Today, if the weather clears I am visiting daughter at home, her new garden furniture arrived, it's the final part of their garden makeover, so we can sit in comfort in the sun or sit at their table in the shade, watching Will enjoy his new level garden. 

Its been a perfect week, seeing family and friends is such a simple thing, I hope to see Josh, Sam and eldest daughter this weekend. I know they are all fine, we are in contact all the time, but nothing beats seeing everyone healthy and happy.

We have only stayed local the rest of the time, still mainly shopping for food, we have in the village 2 wonderful shops, one a hardware store, the other a cheap store, both independent,  both useful to pick up needed items. It feels safe in our village. 

I did start this post differently but I deleted it, it just became a long moaning rant, as with loads of others I have yo-yo my way through the last 3 months, seeing so many people (neighbours, local and reported on TV) breaking the rules, all the negative reporting on TV news and in the papers. South American countries now have horrendous numbers and Asia and Africa struggle, it is also scary as outbreaks, the second wave is appearing in China. Some people are acting as if it's all over, getting on with their lives, but we are are not relaxing, not yet.

Monday 15 June 2020

Harvest due

I purchased this fruit cage this spring, as we now feed so many little birds, I felt my berries needed protection, it works well and does not look out of place so near our seating area. I have not covered my raspberries, so I am sharing them with the birds. 
Both my blueberries and blackcurrants are beginning to ripen, I have started picking some, we won't have enough to freeze or make into jam, but from now on we will have a supply of fruit fresh each day. I do have a pot with 3 strawberry plants, new this year, so only a small crop. 
Inside my greenhouse, I have 2 cucumber plants sharing a pot, I have cut loads of flowers from the bottom, they never grow big or straight, so I prefer to remove them and wait a bit longer. This year I will keep on top of trimming these plants to stop them getting huge, I only require 2 cucumbers per week, so I won't grow as many as last year. The tomato plant in front was grown from a seed from a shop purchased tomato, I want to see if I grow them at home are they more tasty. 
In front of the greenhouse  are 2 tomato plants, both these will produce small tomatoes, both plants have green fruit on them, I have placed my plants here in pots for many years, always getting good results. 
Not a harvest, but flowers from seeds purchased in Spain for me by a friend, these are beautiful, but only flower if kept in my greenhouse, it's nice to have space for flowers. I have loads of soft wood cuttings here, most look good and I am hoping to have loads of new plants.

The raspberries are being picked every couple of days, this is the 1st year we get to eat them, in the past few years different grandsons have helped picked and ate most of the crop.  I have blackberries as well in the garden, but they fruit late summer, my gooseberry busy I dug out, it was not producing, I have decided I will purchase another plant and hope to get a rhubarb growing in a huge pot. 

I have salad leaves, rocket, coriander and parsley growing in pots, some in the greenhouse and some in the herb bed, so salads should be lovely and fresh. I do also have spring onions to sow, a few each week, to spread out the crop. 

I always say my garden space it small, but I have through the 11 years we have been here, worked out ways to make the best use of the plot, fruit is always a great harvest, the plants tend to grow upwards, which means I can grow more. 

I've had a busy few days, our Zoom Makaton course worked well, just 6 students, so much smaller class, but 9am start at the weekend was a bit early for me, so we had earlier bed times. With Makaton each sign has a sketch, so we have 2 things to learn for each word, for now we will use simple signs for both boys (George and Will), I have plenty to practice and show hubby, so he can use sign as well. 
Saturday we had our 1st takeaway for months, hubby asked on our local Facebook page, which was the best Chinese, we went with the most popular, which we had not used for years and had a great meal, loads leftover for Sunday, not too expensive so we will do it again, with a good bottle of red wine between us. 
Sunday hubby took the outside table to bits to start sanding it, he also made rock cakes for this week's treat. We managed a walk and stayed dry, it was sunny no rain all day, but we also had loads of dark clouds which threatened rain. I spent afternoon outside, nothing much to do, loads of time in greenhouse checking on my cuttings and watering. I have finished the socks, I'm really pleased with them, photo next time, I have done loads to my blanket, but I'm itching to start knitting, but yet I've not had a reply to the yarn shortage. 
It's a sunny start here, lazy day planned after a busy weekend. 

Sunday 14 June 2020

Potty gardener

I love my pots, I am always showing them on here, I even did a post about them back in 2018, seen here, I did say I would cut back on the number of pots I have, and promised hubby I would not litter the new decking with pots, Well.............
Decking is clear only 3 pots, 2 along the fence are placed for the lemon smells near our table, and Kirk sits under the other table. Both tables have a flowering plant pot and there is a pot in the corner with yew in, but that's on the ground not on the decking. The chicken pot above is on the shelf along by our neighbours fence, seen here.
So how many pots do I have? 
Hubby will say too many, but I do love growing in pots, there are 2 pots in the front garden but these are hubby's so I'm not adding them into my count. 
  • 6 pots along the side of the house, 3 oblong matching planted with flowers, 2 planted with eucalyptus by front door and 1 planted with shrubs by dustbins. 
  • 9 pots at house end of garden, 3 on decking, 1 in corner next to house, 2 planted with Olives, 2 planted with flowers on table, and my chicken, which was a watering can. 
  • 19 in middle lawn area, 4 pots have fruit bushes in, 5 pots have plants grown from my seeds and pips, 2 have herbs in, 8 planted with flowers.
  • 4 chimney pots, 3 are planted with flowers. 
  • 22 in back section, 1 planted with Acer, 3 planted with Hosta's, 8 planted with spring bulbs and flowers, 3 planted with mixed plants, 1 succulent tower (3 pots high), 2 planted with saplings, the last 2 big pots are empty, but I would like more fruit in these. 

I am not counting in my greenhouse, almost everything in there is in a clay pot or a pretty kitchen pot, that's a lot of pots, most of them are not too big,  but I do have loads of time on my hands, to care for them. The back section up by my greenhouse is often a holding spot, the spring pots stay here most of the year and are popped closer to the house when they start to grow. 

I do love the bright blue glazed pots and have a few around the garden, most of the outside pots are much bigger, they have their permanent place and add height to my tiny spaces. All my other pots are years old, they are not plastic, I do like natural pots, I do have one hosta in a copper coal bucket, which helps stop the slugs. 

The fruits, Olive's and the pots on the decking are all plastic, all these pots are huge, so I use the lighter plastic, I don't move them often they are all heavy. The large Olive pot has a water system in it's base and also has wheels, we would not be able to move it, in winter we can wrap it and pop in down the side of the garage to keep it out of the wind. 

My pips and seed plants and the smaller Olive will later in the year go back inside my greenhouse, I have planned space for them inside. All flowering pots get 2 planting per year summer and winter, the rest stay in place all through the year. 

I do love my pots, I have a trio of Acer plants due, and guess what no pot to plant them in, oh well better start looking.

Lastly for honesty, I have 16 plants in pots inside the house, some are tiny pots with nasties in the bathroom, up to a big pot with my coffee plants in in the sitting room. 

Friday 12 June 2020

Keeping busy

I can taste the finish on this blanket, it helps most evenings feel much cooler, so having this on my lap gives me pleasure in more ways than one. It is now the length I require, so each row is one square shorter, so it's getting quicker to do each colour.
The top is my start line, this will be a my lap end, the section I am working on will be the bottom, I wanted the colours to match on both ends. I am going to edge this blanket, something I have never done, so a session on you-tube is needed to ensure I get it right, I have a different shade for the edging. 
Joy my yarn came, much quicker than I expected, this is for the summer top shown here, then disappointment as I ordered 4 balls of this yarn and only 3 were in the parcel, I have emailed the company, but their automated reply was bear with us, we are extra busy and down on staff, but we will get to you. So I can't start my knitting because at this moment I don't have enough yarn. 
But don't you love the shades, it looks and feels like summer, and  it's a bit thicker than my Spanish cotton, this is 100% cotton. I do have some fabric which would match this, I've had it for years, purchased on a trip to The Gambia for youngest daughter, she just never used it, it's a lightweight pure cotton. 
I'm doing a zoom course this weekend both mornings, with a 9am start, there is no chance we will be able to do the 2nd part of this course any other way, should be interesting. I have been reading through level one again, in places it's hard, some signs are different from the BSL I have already learnt.
I have been reading, this series I have read books 1, 2 and 3 I'm reading book 4, all with the same DI, these are lighter crime thrillers and an easy read, hubby put this set on my kindle. Once finished this book it will take my reading to 41 books this year. 
Whilst on a walk earlier this week we saw loads of boxes of books outside homes, I choose the top 3 books, 2 new authors for me and another book by Karen Rose, so plenty of reading to be done.

Thank you to everyone for you kind comments from my last post, I am extremely pleased with my weight loss, hubby has helped, he has been eating the same foods as me, so no preparing 2 different meals, and he has lost weight as well, it has also helped the weather was so hot, salads are easier to eat in the heat, we have salads most days for lunch. 

I have done nothing in the garden, nothing needs doing, we are both pleased with the views from our windows, we are eating raspberries and a few strawberries from our garden, I have purchase UK grown strawberries as I now consider them to be in season, and they taste wonderful, we both love eating seasonally, having a break from foods makes them taste much better when they come back into season, we can't do it with all foods, but we do it as often as we can. I finished making mask and packed the sewing machine away, and I've changed buttons on hubby's new blazer. Hubby is sanding the last chair from the outside dining set, he still has the table to do, in each case he takes the item to bits, sands and stains before putting it back together, he is a bit of a perfectionist, which I don't mind. After the rainstorms yesterday all our water butts are full again, and the garden has had a good soak, it's sunny now but more rain is expected.

We sorted some kitchen cupboards, doing so much baking has shown us what we use and what is just stored, youngest daughter took a few items home with her, we have a few more items, and with some books I have we will put a box outside this weekend, see how much can be passed on. 

We saw daughter, Will and George, on Wednesday, it was chilly, and George was on the sitting room floor with doors open, he is moving, always on his tummy and very interested in everything around him, Will was so good, he was allowed in to get his cars and doctors kit out. I was at one point showing him the robin on the bird feeders and I put my hand on his back, only to be told, 'don't touch, you have germs', bless him. 

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Changing and shrinking

I've changed so much since the beginning of lock down in March, I have lost 20 pounds of fat this year, I look and feel slimmer, it's great to pull out clothes I have not worn for years, my taste does not change, it feels as if I have been clothes shopping. 

As a child I always had very long hair at 19 I had it all cut for a fashionable pageboy cut, I wanted a feather cut but the hairdresser was unwilling to make that huge change, I did later get my feather cut, and since then my hair has always been short. A few years ago I grew my hair into a short Bob, it been like that for 4 or 5 years, now it's a long Bob, it looks OK, but I don't like it, it never looks tidy and blows all over my face, I could pop it into a ponytail, but again I'm not keen. The other thing with my hair is I have stopped colouring it last year, so I am shades of grey at the roots and a pale brown at the ends, I only had highlights so the middle bit fades rather than a line of colour. I can't wait until I can get my haircut again.

I have done nothing with my nails, fingers or toes, I am not taking care of my hands, too much gardening and hand washing, my hands are always sore, I use creams but never enough to sort the issues. I normally get pedicures and have brightly coloured toe nails, but so far I've not done anything myself. 

I have an amazing suntan, like most of the UK , lock down has been spent in the garden, but I have T shirt tan lines, gone are the days of wearing swimwear to gain maximum suntan.

The final change is my attitude, I loved going out with hubby, we started visiting UK cites for short breaks, we love garden centres, but neither of these hold any joy, we are not planning to go anywhere, as we are being given more freedom, we both choose to stay at home, it feels safe at home. We do walk to our village and use local shops, not the cheapest option, but we both feel we have to support our local businesses. I have made online purchases, you can get most of what you need, I have always preferred to go to a shop feeling we have to use shops or they will be lost.

The hardest change is not cuddling our close family, many members are spread around the UK, visiting is not an option, but missing them does not go away. 

How have you changed in these strange times and are some of them permanent. 
This week I have hit my 2nd weight loss target, I have dropped another level, my weigh now starts with a 10 rather than 11 or 12 stone, I am really pleased, I am now focusing on my last target, to be below 10.7 (147 lbs), I will still be over weight, I can't see me getting to 9.7 ( 134lbs), I'm happy to be back at my weight same as I was in 2010. My BMI is 26.1, it was 29.5 at the start. We celebrated with home made pizza for a late lunch, naughty but oh so nice. 

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Things to come

We now have a 3rd water butt, these 2 slimline ones are just outside our gates, collecting water from our house roof, I have another bigger butt by the garage. Hubby has put all the over flows in, one from the higher butt to the lower, and another in the top of the lower butt to the drain, already one butt is full and there is water in the 2nd.  
I am watching just how quickly the cucumber plant grows, it stays inside the greenhouse, there are 2 plants in this grow bag. The 2 tomato plants are outside in separate pots in front of the greenhouse, so the glass reflect the heat and light. I have a 3rd plant growing but I have deliberately ensured it's behind to lengthen the harvest period.  
Fruit bushes are full of fruits, I'm going to have great harvest this summer, Blackcurrants stems are full. I have 3 blueberry bushes, 2 in the big tub, one is an early cropper, so the season again will we longer for us. The bottom photo is my pink blueberry bush, my sister gifted me this bush, it's in it's 3rd year and I hope to have some fruit this summer. We covered these with my pop up fruit cage to stop the birds eating our crop. We are already eating raspberries, I sorted the summer canes last year and for the 1st time we have early raspberries, and soon we will have a few strawberries. 
The Olive tree is full, it looks beautiful, but if not enough of these drop, I will remove some, the tree is ornamental and whilst I would like some Olives, I don't want to weaken it in any way. The smaller bush which I brought back from the brink of death is not showing any signs of flowers or fruit, if it has flowers I will knock them all off before they set to fruit.  

We are both pleased with the gardens front (hubby's) and back (mine), after 11 summers here they are sorted and not too much hard work, I don't suffer with many weeds in the back, and hubby pulls any small weeds out before they can root down. 

I am overjoyed with the greenhouse, I am always in it, I will want to purchase some more nasties, I have room for more in my display, but I have no desire to go to any garden centres, I might look on line. I have already ordered a pot with 3 Acers in, I have wanted an acid green Acer for ages and had decided I would get one this year, before the lock down stopped normal life, the company had loads of recent (in June) reviews and they were on the whole positive, I will have to wait and see what arrive, plus it's attached to Amazon, so I have their backup if I need it.

Husband has finished sanding and staining the outside bench and again it looks fantastic, he had to replace some of the screws but now it's strong and looks like new, just my chair and the table to do. It has made the outside dining set look new again, and I love the shade of oak, you can see the grain, which I love.   

The only space not producing again is my raised bed outside of the greenhouse, it should be for cut flowers but again it's almost empty, I have popped all the spring bulbs from my pots in for next year. I have a couple of Dahlias, but I would like flowers sooner, I might check our local market on Wednesday, but they need to be plants I can cut and bring into the house. 

The recent rain has helped the garden, it's looking great, with having fake grass it is always green, and always makes the garden as a whole look good. We have never regretted removing our natural grass, I was unsure at the beginning, but it works well for us. 

I often say the garden is finished, but I'm always making plans, what are you planning in your garden this summer. 


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