Allotment, Harvests, Writing

Allotment – 01 2019

Well today has been a busy day, the weather was warm enough to allow us to venture out and we made our way to the park. I found the children enjoy the walk and by the time they get their they have used up a lot of their energy. As we finally arrived the plot the water tank was at 750 litres, my daughter was amazing and anticipating getting very little done, I was pleasantly surprised.

The early purple sprouting Broccoli had grown on brilliantly, one plant of the brussel sprouts had developed a large cluster of plantlets along its main stem. These I have brought home to harvest and set as cuttings, this will give me an opportunity to experiment to see whether they will grow on. As I left the children to play I cleared the garlic bed of weeds and planted the newly set plants which were full of wonderful roots, directly into the ground.

Next was to dig over the first small ground bed, last year it was home to a selection of cabbages which were wonderful additions to our Sunday dinner. After removing the remaining couch grass and straw it is finally ready to plant another crop. I decided to weed a further two beds before sitting to feed my daughter. The weather was mild, sun shining and it was nice to dig over the soil for the first time since last autumn.

The carrots had grown on over winter, they had clearly formed shoots as my daughter pulled them out I spread them out between the two boxes. This should allow them to grow on this summer to a edible size, there really is no need to re-sow when they are ready to get a good start this year. The Rhubarb has begun to sprout in the pot so I am devising a new space to plant them out permanently.

The late sowing of mixed Brassicas are growing on and a few lettuce had managed to survive the winter without being slugged. Our harvest was pretty good for the first week. several good carrots, a lettuce, two broccoli heads and the Brussel sprout cuttings. I shall be planting tomato, pepper, chilli and a few other seeds with the children this week.

A few strawberries and celery plants had survived the winter so again, along with our late sowings at least a quarter of the planting areas were productive over the last few months as I have enjoyed the winter at home. The strawberry beds were relatively weed free, so on the next visit I will be planting potatoes and any other seedlings that we manage to establish.

Despite hard work I have enjoyed the afternoon, thankful for a few hours we could enjoy somewhere different. A few hours of fresh air and sunshine is refreshing after weeks of looking after the children, their illness and exhaustion. Finally the paths were prepared, the grass was well ready for cutting and has provided some plants for the compost bin.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

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Family Postcards, Writing

Our Home!

Sometimes the days blur and before we know it another week on and you realise how special it has been to share it with those you love. I have shared amazing moments with my daughters, crossing milestones and enjoying the first smiles and burbles of conversation. They grow so fast and I am proud of them, I am quiet as my work for now is at home. Whilst they are off I am hoping to make the most of the days ahead, enjoying sharing their interests and watching our youngest grow it is the world we shall be ever thankful for.

As spring begins to show its many new shoots and leaves I will look forward to sharing this time planting new seeds with my children, while finding a space to share this with my family.

Happy journeys!

Cheryl

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Writing

Winter Garden!

Today looks a perfect day for digging over my pumpkin bed, but as usual the day has almost gone before I even think of venturing outside! the winter sun is elusive and the reality of an hours digging although tempting would mean leaving our youngest at home in the warm! This would not be a problem if she was a little older but for now I am enjoying the time at home, first smiles and babbles are blissful! I love how she snuggles on  my chest as though she was still inside my stomach, peaceful and content as always!

My daughters are fascinated by the Crochet flower centre I created, I may make a small mobile for her to focus on while she has floor time. I hate the weather this time of year, I long for warmer days to, open up the patio and enjoy our outdoor spaces. It is at the moment a fleeting visit usually as after ten minutes they are back in within a few minutes. I can see the buds on the trees and shrubs just forming along the branches, the frost killing off potential pests I am looking forward to another amazing harvest!

The front garden of grasses, shrubs and bulbs is host to insects and birds with this in mind I leave the deciduous grasses to brown. This allows the insects somewhere to shelter, I will leave it until the frosts are gone and cut them back. I look forward to my Daffodils and tulips as they increase gradually every year! The highlight of winter is the Pampass grass and Mahonia, the flower spikes are strong and last throughout the winter season and the yellow flowers provide colour until they generate their seeds which are just beginning to form now!

Every year I divide and take cuttings from my garden, I shall take some as I do my first prune of the shrubs, placing them aside until later in the year. These I tend to donate to friends and family for their gardens or allotments. It is something I get great satisfaction from and costs no more than the time, soil and plant pot in which it is taken in.

I started making a mandala, I found a pattern but again found it easier to work from eye. I shall practice crocheting pattern squares to improve my skills. Between chores, sniffles and Neve’s needs I am grateful to have time to try something new. I will be planting Tomato seedlings soon but for now I will watch the sunlight dapple across the tree’s in the garden, and enjoy my time at home!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

Writing

First books…

So today I have managed to type a few pages while my youngest has napped! Two more than yesterday and I have potted on other seedlings and discussed with my youngest the protocol for lifting seedlings does not involve relocating soil but carefully removing the plant! As she began to put the pot back, realising her idea of planting and mine was completely different! if I was a toddler I would probably want to fill the carpet and drive my toys through it, but not feeling the messy play vibe I managed to prevent my front room becoming a mud pit!

After a while typing up becomes a chore, especially when there are a billion other jobs to do, this takes no time at all but you can guarantee I apply the idea to anything constructive and I spot a whole other set of work to do! Today is my daughters first book day, Peter Rabbit is a great gift and she is enjoying a little book time,  she loves the vibrant pages of her new books, almost as much as me enjoying her excitement at reading them!

I have checked the greenhouse and my onions are just beginning to show, a few green shoots is a great sight and signs that the season will soon be upon us. Apparently today was an amazing fishing day, as we have been busy I decided a girls day was probably going to involve some warm soup and a nice cup of coffee. The latter I have not quite managed yet but my soup was a highlight!

It has also brought my toddler into the idea that she can read to her, so as she has never been a fan it is a bonus for her too! So while my youngest daughter is enjoying her dinner I shall attempt to complete a few more pages before focussing on something more constructive!

I will try not to giggle at the torrential rain pouring outside! did he take his umbrella?

Happy homework!

Cheryl

Allotment, Writing

Happy Horticulture!

So todays rain has put a dampener on any ideas of allotment work! I plan on potting on my seedlings into larger pots as they are growing on nicely, my daughter is thriving so I am maintaining my calcium and oil levels with M&Ms… I am ensuring a good calorie content to fulfil current demand! Lets face it, it is difficult to maintain without a good balanced diet, which has to have a few treats!

As I have found a quiet moment, I thought I would answer the questions I posted for my own bloggers!

1- What is your favourite Flower?

As a foliage loving person the flowers I value the most are those that grow out of season and brighten up during winter and early spring, that feed the pollinators! Pansies, pelargoniums, heathers and hyacinths for winter; HORT – An Autumn Garden and daffodils, Ribes and Blossom as they signpost the beginning of spring warmth and growing season!

2- What landscape instils calm on a chaotic day?

For me it is the view from the top of the Scottish mountains, or a walk along the beach with the wind blowing through you hair, crisp air filling your lungs… there is nothing more exhilarating!

3- What is your strongest practical skill?

My horticultural knowledge, resourcing and planning skills, allow me to complete projects without hours of researching. These skills allow me to provide well for our large family.

4- What is your favourite craft?

Knitting has become my best skill, due to the finish quality and the ability to build my own patterns if necessary.

5- What is your most unusual food craving?

Beetroot and peppers have become my favourite to add to salads and sandwiches, I find they are zingy and wake up the taste buds!

6- What if anything, is on your learning bucket list?

I have Crochet at the top of my craft list, macramé also catches my eye and if I ever have my own planting of willow I would like to craft my own woven creations. I would love to have a kiln and try pottery! the list is endless!

7- Have you a favourite Author for a rainy day?

As a teen it was Terry Pratchett, but it would probably be Margaret Atwood as I found the previous works enthralling!

8- To me sweetcorn tastes of summer! what is your sunshine food? 

I also find homegrown tomatoes and fresh peas from the pod are very sunny-licious!

9- If you had the chance to learn to grow anything what would it be?

I often take cuttings from my favourite fronds! I would love to grow ferns successfully from spores as I can propagate most of the plants at home with moderate success, which ranges from bamboo’s, shrubs, grasses, and alpines… Obviously seeds for vegetables and fruit are grown regularly to plant on in the allotment.

10- If money was no object what type of garden would you design?

I have an idea if I ever get my own vast space to garden, but ours has a vast selection of evergreen plants, deciduous fruit tree’s, shrubs and ferns. I chose this to ensure a large amount of evergreen foliage throughout the year, it is in a forest garden style with tree’s accenting and allowing shade to the garden. A few areas are oriental in design sheltered by bamboos and acers, designed for the children to enjoy the diversity of colours, shapes and textures of planting. The decked area is for architectural plants, with a pond and small growing areas to add fruit and vegetable plants throughout the year for the children to watch grow. It could almost be described as a deconstructed potager, play space and learning area.

The garden I would design, is dependant on space, location, and design brief as obviously it can be as small as a plant pot or as large garden, whatever it will be designed for the space being focussed on. A garden is a gift to those you love, an interactive space to share, brighten and inspires those who visit…a place to relax

 

So, thankyou to Tidalscribe for her answers to my nomination questions, I have added them to my sunshine site page! They were fabulous, alternatively visit her site to read them! If anyone wishes to answer the questions please do, I would love to read your responses!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Home Craft, Tapestry, sewing samplers, Writing

Thrifty

Today was quiet, chores completed I have searched for inspiration from my local charity store, Last week I found a sewing box full of stitching treasure which has allowed us to work together on our tapestries. Finally warm enough my youngest wrapped up, buggy in hand we ventured out to take a walk! Today I found some hessian ribbon which I intend to use as a canvas for wool based tapestries, this will allow me to complete lots of small samplers and at the cost of 50p it was a bargain.

I went in as my daughter is traversing clothes sizes so a few dresses and cardigans later I had found some gems she will look adorable in. One set was a tk max set still labelled with tights which had a Peter Rabbit style garden theme!

The next finds were t-shirts for all my children, obviously never been worn by their crisp material I spent twenty pounds and as they returned from school they were all thrilled with them! I tend to buy as seen with a house full it takes no time before they grow out of their clothes. I could easily go to a local superstore and spend a few hundred pounds but this way it is saved from landfill and given purpose.

I will have to go for new vests and grow suits but the few bits I purchased will look wonderful. My final treat was a crochet dvd that I will watch at some point,

I also found a few tea towels with bright lemon, red and orange accents within the fruit pattern so I plan on using one of them to make some fabric fruit. I have some filling left from making Senoir Skeleton, so when I get a quiet moment I will attempt to make them!

Finally I found a few books including two 0-6 baby books with shiny, silver and black graphics for my youngest to focus on and a felt book on shapes for my toddler, I have to say they were enthralled by them, spending most of the afternoon looking through and reading them!

Happy Crafting

Cheryl

Home Craft, Tapestry, sewing samplers, Writing

Samplers and Snowflakes!

The sight outside is mesmerising as the snow falls outside, I never lose the love of watching it cover the landscape, layering the canopy of the trees and accenting the many leaf shapes and branches through the garden! I love to see the excitement of it falling even if it is too cold to venture outside it is like being sat in our own snow globe!

Somehow yesterdays visit to the local charity shop solved my sewing dilemma as I found a sewing box for £4 which had three full packs of craft needles, with 2 scissors and a large selection of cotton reels in a variety of colours. Now we can all work together on our samplers, the needles themselves would have been £10 so, I was really pleased to have taken the time to ask as the box and contents would have cost a lot more to build up myself!

Anyway this means when my fabric arrives I will have plenty of threads to sew up my projects, I just need some base fabric to build them on and some wadding. So whatever your weekend project enjoy a peaceful Saturday!

As per request I have posted mine and my daughters samplers, for a six year old I think it is a master piece (the flower pot)…Mine has texture but is no great work, it is a work in progress, as is my larger project which I have paused as I need a few extra supplies!

Happy Crafting

Cheryl

Writing

Rays of Sunshine!

Thankyou Nanny Maryanne for your nomination! I have used my daughters afternoon nap to prepare the post to the highest standard as I could not find a sunshine blogger pic anywhere I chose my own! It really was unexpected in response to a blog on February Frosts, however I am grateful you appreciated it! You can Find her at URL: https://nannymaryanne.com/contact/

1-Why did you begin blogging?

I wanted to test out old computer skills and built my website, so I decided to share what I have learnt so, I started a blog to share my knowledge and skills.

2- What do you think is most important in life?

To make the most of everything  you have, to pass on the elements of life which matter! Skills, knowledge, resourcing and planning are key to reducing stress and ensuring a balance which can often make you feel positive and satisfied without costing a fortune. This is why I enjoy sharing my hobbies with my children, I hope to give them life skills allowing them to thrive whatever their situation.

3- Can you think of a time you laughed till your stomach was sore? What was it?

Laughing?  I have learnt to laugh inside as children need no encouragement! My toddler is hilarious but I spend too much time preventing successful mischief…to laugh would be reinforcing negative behaviour!

4- Can you name your first childhood memory, that you remember?

Probably saying I was going to be Prime Minister while crayoning with my nan!

5- What was the best practical joke that you played on someone or that they played on you?

Teaching my youngest son to stand at the door tapping his wrist whether my husband was late or not! I laughed a lot! Probably your recommendation!

6- What was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now?

Looking back, Take That were uncoordinated but cool! Even I admit they are still great! Everything seems to have got much cooler! However if I find value in something it is valued forever. I have always found practical skills cool! Its taken a while for a youthful investment to bring a real revival.

7- What about who you are attracted to appeals you the most?

My husband is calm, supportive between the sarcasm and can take on the demands of a large family! He reminds me of a mature version of aqua man, what’s not to like!

8- What has been your most embarrassing memory in your life so far?

One of my shoes falling to pieces! My mother had given me them as she loves to shop, something I do for necessity only, I was between classes and they fell to pieces…actually I laughed hysterically as I wandered around in my socks!

9- What’s the most annoying noise?

Silence! I am just not used to it!

10- If money and practicality weren’t a problem, what would be the most interesting way to get around town?

I like the idea of a converted double-decker bus, with a family of 8 we need the space! I would go a bit further than town if money was no object though!

Cheryl

If I am chosen the Wonderful Blogger’s I am nominating are?;

  •  Tidalscribe
  • Pumpkins and Bunting
  • The Magnolia tree
  • Mrs Craft
  • kelleysdiy
  • A Tangled Yarn
  • Adam leone
  • Willow creek Farm
  • Maddy crochets
  • losing the plot
  • You all enrich my WordPress experience  by the posts I regularly read!

The official rules,’ if you choose to participate, are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Here’s what to do!

1- Give a big thank you to the person who nominated you so others can find them! You are amazing; 

2-Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3-Nominate other bloggers and ask them your own set of questions!

4- Let the nominees know about the nomination in one of their posts!

5-List the rules and the Sunshine Award nomination on your own site.

6- Let the fun begin!

My Questions are;

1- What is your favourite Flower?

2- What landscape instils calm on a chaotic day?

3- What is your strongest practical skill?

4- What is your favourite craft?

5- What is your most unusual food craving?

6- What if anything, is on your learning bucket list?

7- Have you a favourite Author for a rainy day?

8- To me sweetcorn tastes of summer! what is your sunshine food?

9- If you had the chance to learn to grow anything what would it be?

10- If money was no object what type of garden would you design?

I look forward to your replies!

Cheryl

 

Home Craft, Storage, Writing

February Frost

Today we woke up to frost and snow, as I was pottering a few days ago I came across a flower press we had bought for our children, inside was a selection of well preserved flower heads, including a few lavender and crocosmia flowers, grass and ivy. I plan on buying a frame and working with my daughters to set them. I must admit I completely forgot about the press, so they have been left for a few years.

My selection of canvas arrived and as I began to search my tapestry books it became evident my daughter was keen to try, so after she had chosen a small sampler to try I drew it out and taught her to do a straight stitch. It turns out she is a natural and completed it with several hundred re-threads as she kept losing the yarn off her needle. It was nice to watch her work, I waited until later and chose a slightly larger project which I shall work on as an when I have a moment. The selection was of a variety of colours, types and sizes which will last me a long time. My compromise has been to use up wool that I have bundled from old projects, it makes a great texture to the project that traditional yarns would not give.

My seedling and onions are still growing, the moulds and fabrics are on their way but for now I will enjoy creating and adapting the sampler I chose! In the few moments I get!

Happy Crafting!

Cheryl

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Grow Your Own, Propagation

GYO – Winter Planning!

Today (Monday!) was meant to be allotment day! however with a house full of colds and house bound children I have sent my husband to check the site, as we have not been for a few weeks. I have still some beans and peas to sow, I am building a book for my Son and daughter for choosing home tasks, with a little poetic narrative and visual prompts to support learning areas, I hope to use it through summer. I cannot type up any of my other work (Entertaining little gem…who is finally participating in daytime!)

So today I am nursing, reading and researching while I have a moment to sit! Waiting for fabric panels and moulds to arrive, hoping for a good report from the allotment…

The afternoon arrived with the news that my plot has needed a few things repairing but as the pictures show to say our last visit was before Christmas it is looking pretty good. The water tank is still half full, pipework intact the felt may require looking at to ensure it is all getting to the guttering, we collected a massive roll for £15 last year so as with the summerhouse the roof will be looked at on the next sunny day.

The fence despite its deep footings had required fixing again, however my husband secured it before we left to ensure our first visit is one of work and not maintenance;

Spring Jobs;

  1. Paint shed and fencing.
  2. Dig main land beds.
  3. Purchase scaffolding boards
  4. Find 15 slabs
  5. Remove rooted brambles
  6. Collect nettles for the water feed barrel
  7. Check compost in centre bin (2 years on)
  8. Cut grass and edgings
  9. Dig potato bed
  10. Clear winter plants

To mention a few, my decking board beds barely lasted a year so I have decided to make the three beds stronger and deeper to reduce weed growth and the longevity of the space. I hope to use the compost dug from the first year to fill the new beds as it has been left composting for two years now, it should be ready for use.

As my husband but spade to the ground which gave off a fabulous ringing sound, so I am at peace knowing that I can enjoy my work at home without worrying about preparing the space! The ground is frozen solid as the video of him raking showed, there was no need fretting not even a centimetre of movement.

My broad beans, Brussels and Brassicas are still growing on nicely, I will either have a harvest or extra seeds so, whichever I harvest it shall not be wasted. My new seedlings already for potting on in the kitchen are soon to be moved into a cloche outside, and I am looking forward to setting tomato seeds, Peppers and chilli’s this weekend. As I find these will grow well indoors until the frost clears, then they can be set outside in the green house when the temperature warms.

I have found our old supplier of manure who supplies 60l bags, donating a percentage received to our favourite horse charity, so when we can I will be collecting around twenty as I know a few people who will not get around to collecting their own! I shall enjoy trench manuring the bed for the pumpkin and sweetcorn bed, as that will be two years of nutrients into our main beds through crop rotation. It also builds up the soil levels from the first dig ensuring you do not have low ground beds.

My four raised beds are sat waiting for old crops to be removed and seedlings to be set in, along with our cloche beds these will allow us the ability to grow a variety of crops without the addition of covers and cloches.

On the restructuring of the strawberry beds, I plan to slab the area outside of the shed as it is the perfect place to sit and work. This bed has been broken due to the constant walking around and I would like a space for the children to sit and draw or paint while we are working on other areas. This space is south westerly so in the warm days we can set our parasol and ensure a space that they can sit out of the heat of the sun.

The joy of winter is preparing for another spring!…Another season of growing!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl