Sunday, 25 May 2008

Redundant Again!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week but as you can see the title says it all! yep I've been made redundant again, that's the second time in 2 years!

So the posts maybe be a little light on the ground for the next couple of weeks while Rich and I try to sort out this mess, fingers crossed there will be new ideas and projects in the pipeline but many of these leaves less time for my lovely garden but I will continue with the blog as I love doing it.

Thanks to everyone who's bothered to read my nonsense musings over the last couple of months and hopefully normal service will be resumed fairly soon.

Monday, 19 May 2008

A New Project Afoot!

Ok we are officially mental, this is one of those decisions that seems like a brilliant idea at the time but I feel we will end up regretting it at a later date!

We have decided to replace the crappie, faded carpet that runs throughout the ground floor of our cottage, after looking at new carpets (none of which we liked very much) and discounting them, we started considering tiles instead. Great, nice idea, it will look lovely, now to find some tiles we can both agree on...mmmmm not so great.
After months of looking in the usual DIY and tiles shops, we still couldn't find anything we both really like enough to spend actually cash money on, so the outcome of all this... a reclaimed red quarry tile floor!

Yes, we have decided to go down the reclamation route, this is for several reasons, firstly the old tiles just look so much nicer, you can see the quality of the tile straight away, the other reason is the fact that most of the new tiles you buy in DIY store's are made and imported from other countries, China and Italy mostly. The air miles of these tiles really bothers me and that I cant seem to find a product like this thats made in the uk (and that are are affordable for mere mortals), so because their pretty and assuage my guilt we're buying reclaimed.

The only problem is getting enough of the same type of tile to do all of it (we're using 6" by 6" and 1" thick tiles incase you were wondering) and we have set ourselves a deadline of the middle of August (Rich has persuaded his poor Dad to help him lay them on his week off!) so I have from now till August to find some were in the region of 6,000 tiles!

Mostly we will be sourcing from reclamation yards, eBay and freecycle but if anyone knows of anyone who's lifting an old tile floor and needs to get rid of it please let me know (hell at this point even 1 or 2 extra tiles would be appreciated) we're happy to pay for them and collect (can you smell the desperation yet?)

So the posts from now on will feature a tile count at the bottom so you can see how we're getting on (I can tell your all hanging off you seats in suppressed excitement)

So there you are, enough tiles to do 3 rooms in 3 and a half months...No problem!

(Also I know technically this isn't to do with the garden but hey, its my blog so I'll put what I want on it!)

Total Number of Tiles: 20 (all from Freecycle)

Total Cost: £0

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Fruit Cages

Whew busy week, I haven't managed to most since last weekend, also the weather went rubbish meaning my photograph's are all a bit gloomy!
Anyway Rich spend most of a day last week building my 2 fruit cages (he's so good to me!), one for the Strawberries and one for the blueberries.

All made out of canes and old pallet wood we got for free, we only had to spend money buying the fruit netting and hopefully that will last till next year, you might notice the blueberries have a pretty big fruit cage, this is so they have a bit of room to grow also the birds around here are pretty persistent, I have seen them literally throwing themselves at the netting! clever bastards! And apparently birds will fly from the ends of the earth to eat blueberries so if we want to stand any chance of ever tasting them we needed a substantial cage!

The Tomatoes are also coming along nicely, we're giving them tomato freed about once a week and they seem to like it in the greenhouse and so does the grape, its putting on loads of growth, in fact I need to look up how you go about training grape vines before it gets to big.

Hopefully I'll be able to get in the garden and do some more tomorrow, weather permitting!

Saturday, 10 May 2008


I used to spend hours with my sister looking in my granddads pond, trying to see frogs and things, his pond was tiny but always seemed to be teaming with wildlife.
I'm really chuffed that our pond also seems to be chock full of little creatures, we have hundreds of tadpoles thanks to the local frogs that all seem to be living under our box hedge, millions of water snails which help keep the water nice and clean for everything else living there and this afternoon I spend 15 minuets spotting newts.

I must have seen about 8 in 5 minuets, I also spotted 6 or 7 Dragonfly Larva which is good news.

Pretty good for a small garden pond!

Friday, 9 May 2008

The Joy of Belfast Sinks

Ok "Joy" may be going a bit far (I'm not mad!) but I love Belfast sinks, we have 2 in the garden and a working one in our kitchen.
The compliment of garden sinks has been added to thanks once again to Freecycle, as usual Rich was kind enough to nip out and pick it up for me yesterday, unfortunately when he found the chaps house it was up one of the steepest hills in Bath (most of Bath is on a hill, as the whole city's build in a narrow valley), he had to park his car on double yellows and leg it up this guys drive with the sack truck, only to discover the nice man who had offered us the sink was about 80, so there was no way he would be able to help Rich get it in his car, he had to wrestle this huge belfast out of the garden, down the hill then lift it in to the back of his car, all by himself, I'm surprised he didn't give him self a hernia. I have been told that from now on any big heavy items will be collected on the weekend when I'm there to add an extra pair of hands!

This earned him some valuable brownie points, which was good because later in the day he managed to mowed over my red Jasmin, 6 Sweet Peas and my climbing Potato with the strimmer! Never mind, accidents happen, back to Morrison's for replacements!

Anyway, the new sink will be having radishes planted in it successively at 2 week intervals, so we don't end up with lots of rip ones all at once.

Elsewhere in the garden, the strawberries are coming on amazingly, they have loads of flowers on, I really need to nip down to our neighbours stables and nab some straw to put round them, to keep the developing fruit of the ground (its also discourages slugs and snails apparently) I also need to sort out some fruit netting too or the blackbirds will have them all before we get a look in.

The Potatoes are starting to show through now, I also planted these at 3 week intervals so we don't get them all at once, the Peas too have suddenly decided they want to live and have shot up the trellising I put up.

All in all the veg patch is looking pretty good right now, I can't wait to be able to eat something from it though!

Up by the house the honey suckle that Rich's mum brought us is also going mad, I really need to put some more wire up for it to hang on to.

And last but not least, another new addition to the patio, made by me out of an old reel of industrially wire I got from Freecycle , a Hare that wont run away.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Let It Grow

I wish we had a three day weekend every weekend, I 'd get so much more done!

As usual for a bank holiday it has been pretty wet and crappy in Bath, but we've managed to get in the garden anyway, with occasional bouts of standing in the greenhouse while it rains.

Saturday was spend tiding up the greenhouse and potting on two more tomatoes brought from the garden center, a Sun Gold and a Super Sweet 100, these now join the two Moneymaker, the Harbinger and the Basket tomatoes, ok six is definitely enough, (even though I have room for two more!!) I really must stop buy toms.

Here's one of the Moneymaker tomato's, and you can just see the baby Basil starting to show through!

I also got round to putting the Bearded Iris I brought weeks ago in to the metal tub we got from freecycle, this will be going with my other Iris by the pond, they are apparently great for Dragonflies who like the tall stiff leaves to land on, the tub needs a few more Iris's at the one isn't enough to fill it, will have to keep an eye out at the car boots sales!

Rich spent most of Saturday chopping and stacking the wood we got given by a tree surgeon we met though freecycle, fingers crossed this may mean a great source of free wood for the future, the timber just needs to dry out for a few months before we can use it. So for now that means using the greenhouse as we don't have a log store yet, this will be job 365 on Rich's never ending list of stuff that needs building ASAP.

Space now being at a premium in the greenhouse, I though now would be a great time to rush out and buy a grape vine! So as today was another wash out Rich and I nipped out to a great garden center on the outskirts of Bath and he waited patiently as I deliberated for 15 minuets about which we should get, we ended up with a seedless desert grape as this looks most like what we would buy a the supermarket, we figured we only need to get 3 bunches from it, for it to have payed for it's self.
Grape Vines can be quite rampant if left to their own devices, on a lot of the websites I looked at when researching grapes (see I don't just jump straight in, I did proper research and every thin!) they said that you can plant the roots out side and train the vine back in through a hole in the window pane, but if you want to be able to control their growth then keeping them in a pot to inhibit the roots is a good idea, so this is what we have done.

We nipped into Morrison's on the way home to get a few bits and I found tucked at the back of the plant shelves a small pack of very sad looking Geranium plugs, in fact they look like they were started to get a bit rotten as they were too wet, so I rescued them and brought them home for on our patio. I potted then in to some of my old terracotta plant pots, I think their a bit small to cope with the damned slugs and snails yet so they can stay in the greenhouse till they put on some growth.

Speaking of which, the steady rain has meant the garden is looking very green, so many things seem to be shooting up, finally it doesn't look like bare soil any more.

The Raspberries are going mad...

...and so is the Rocket I planted a couple of weeks back, mmmmmm love Rocket!

I love this time of year, so exciting!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Freecycled Goodness

I've mentioned Freecycle before, and if you are related to me then I have probably bored you to death already about how great I think it is! Bath Freecycle does seems to be particularly good, loads of people have joined meaning there is usually loads of great things up for grabs and getting rid of stuff you no longer want is usually quick and relatively easy (except for those odd people who never turn up and offer no explanation, you know who you are!)

So far over the last week and a half we have managed to get the following from fellow Bathonions:

One 4ft Compost bin, new.

One Hatchet, hardly used.

Two metal buckets, one big , one small.

A very good week! We're pretty lucky in that as Rich works from home he can nip out in the day and collect stuff while the roads a fairly quite.

We've had some truly brilliant things off Freecycle over the years, the best by far being the 3 ledge and brace pine doors that only need slight adjustments to make then fit our door frames. Other stuff we've had include an old 1905 hand turned Singer sewing machine (in perfect working order), all our raspberry canes, two grape vines, a redcurrant bush, about a dozen strawberries, 40 patio slabs and (my favourite) over 120 old red bricks. I just love that to one person all this is just so much junk but to Rich and I it is all useful, much appreciated and most importantly represent a major saving in cash, there's no way half the jobs we've managed to do would have happened without the generosity of Freecycle, we had quotes for making up 3 pine ledge and brace doors which came out at about £60 each! There was no way we could afford that so the idea was shelved till we saw the ones on Freecycle.

It is also great for getting rid of large things that would be a bugger to get to the tip (sorry "Household Recycling Centers"!), especially as we have very small cars. Our old cooker was given a new home as was the washing machine, my lovely 1940's wardrobe (this broke my heart but it went to a really nice girl so I can live with that), our old kitchen units and work tops, an old slightly battered iron double bed frame and a large wheel barrow.

I cant help but think, that in this day and age, when NOTHING is ever free and we seem to be ever more distrustful of each other it is great to see something like Freecycle thrive, a scheme where things are given away with no thought of profit (admittedly there are aways a few idiots who will try to spoil it) mostly everyone we've come into contact with, both giving and receiver things, have been nice normal, every day folk.

This may just be me but I some how find that sort on encouraging...

Right I'll stop preaching now, and go watch Richard play with his new hatchet.