Monday, 31 October 2016

Paint & Posts

I had a bit of a crafty day today.  The morning began with the front gate.  We painted the front windows and doors last year but ran out of steam before we got to the gate needed fixing at that time anyway so it was left.  Andy got round to fixing it over the summer and it was up to me to paint it ... so it got left again!  On a warm day last week I gave it two coats of dove grey and then spend ages on Pinterest looking at photos of gates.  I can get lost on that site for hours ... there are some amazing gates, honestly! ... but all I wanted was a simple stencil design.  The one I chose was printed onto thick card and this morning I stuck it onto the gate ...

The stencil has been filled in pale green (to match the front windows).  It is the first time I have tried anything like this and I am quite pleased with the outcome.  The photo below makes it look very pale ... it stands out a bit more in real life!

 While I was waiting for the first coat to dry I got out the tool box and bits of wood from an old fence.  Now you may not believe this but I can assure you I have never had any woodwork lessons in my life ... mine was the last generation where girls did cooking and sewing and lads played with wood.  Well. I measured the pieces; I sawed the pieces; I hammered the bits together; I realised too late that one piece was upside down and the door was too small so I had to pull it apart and start again ... but after a LOT of sweat and swearing I was the proud owner of .....

 .... if you are still wondering it is a luxury hedgehog house!  I am just glad I don't have to make a living from woodwork .... how anyone can saw in a straight line I do not know!  Yes, it looks a mess but I had a lot of fun making it and Andy had a right laugh when it was finished!  Anyway it doesn't matter because the hedgehog won't mind as long as the roof keeps her dry (which it will) and I took it up to the top of the lane (really need to think of a name for this place) and covered it in dead leaves so no-one can see what it looks like anyway!

I put a few cat treats round the door to entice a new owner to find it.  Unfortunately my lovely pet, Isis, died this week so she won't be needing the treats.  We had eighteen loving years so she is missed. x

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Mad as a Box of Frogs

Happy Halloween!

Well, summer has gone then! How did that happen?! The clocks have gone back and we are plunged into dark evenings ... so how do we cheer ourselves up .... we dress kids up as ghouls and stuff ourselves with pumpkin soup and parkin. I used to love Mischief Night as a child and a week later was the Bonfire party.  Great!

Obviously this is a busy time for us all trying to get the garden ready for winter.  All our apples have been picked and the veg patch cleared.  The green bin has been filled to overflowing with things I have chopped back and I thought the place was looking okay ....

... yes, the grass could do with a cut but we still have a bit of colour about the place .... then a friend came round and gave me her view!  All she could see was the weeds and the moss on the paths and the untidy parts!  We have completely different ideas on gardening.  I don't do tidy gardening.  Everything has to muck in.  I don't have blue or pink borders: I see a space and fill it. Weeds survive in my garden because I don't see them in the chaos!  The path gets swept sometimes but this is outside so it doesn't have to be spotlessly clean. One of my neighbours is not impressed by my attitude either.  He likes to see neat shrubs with clear soil, or better still bark chippings, in between. I won't change.  Too many plants: too little space!

This sorry state of affairs is a small wooded road verge at the top of our lane.  I wrote to the town council last year asking permission to go in and plant a few bluebells.  They told me the land didn't belong to them so I should contact the Borough Council.  The Borough Council didn't own the land either so I should contact the Highways Department.  The Highways passed me on to Direct One (or something!) and the nice secretary told me my enquiry had been passed on and Mr ---- would be in touch.  I never heard another thing.


The brambles are as thick as my arm and saplings and shrubs are being strangled by ivy.  People dump litter and garden waste in there which just makes it worse.  I can't do the whole lot but I chose a spot in the middle and went in!

I cut back the brambles and rescued what I could (a couple of lovely red dogwoods now stand a chance).  There were lots of beer bottles thrown around one part and empty packets of tobacco but I was very surprised to discover a pair of stockings and black pants!  Someone is going to be disappointed when they see my handiwork then! 

Once my area was cleared I planted bluebells in the middle and some daffodills at the edge.  I have a few foxgloves and stinking hellebores to transplant from my garden and some spotted dead nettles.  I left piles of wood and dead leaves for the local hedgehogs to find and I think I will add an insect hotel before the cold weather sets in.  I don't want to make it into a cultivated garden, just a great space for wildlife that looks better than the mess it was becoming.

Part way there ...rubbish removed

Dead wood stacked at the back; nettles left in place; almost ready to plant spring bulbs.
In my working days I always wore heels and smart co-ordinated outfits.  I think I was viewed as being a sensible career woman.  Since my retirement I know my neighbours must view me as being slightly odd when I am still working in the garden even though the light has faded around me!  I must be "that mad gardening woman" to people who do not know my name.  This impression was confirmed when a neighbour saw what I was doing and laughingly told Andy, "She's as mad as a box of frogs, your wife!"