Well the last week or two has been fairly sedate, lots of weeding, deadheading, more weeding, some extra weeding with a side order of weeding mostly. MrC has spent a lot of time mowing, he’s got a bad base of tractor bum.
I’ve been spending a time in the kitchen, we’ve got produce coming out of our ears, so the freezer is filling up with beans, sweetcorn and plums and I’ve been batch cooking lots of meals to use up the glut of tomatoes. I made some tomato chutney which didn’t turn out too terrible, although I’m never asking MrC to “pick up some red wine vinegar for me please” again, he came back with a bottle that actually costs more than red wine! Needless to say I didn’t use that for chutney… MrC and I made plum jam (he did most of the cooking part of it, I find the “rolling boil” you need to do slightly terrifying). It’s surprisingly satisfying doing all this, if a bit time consuming.
After the hedgehog incident, I’ve stocked up on supplies for treating injured wildlife, if it can’t be fixed with hibiscrub, sudocreme, purple spray or a hot and cold bran poultice, I’m out of ideas anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be treating everything that passes by, injured pigeons are buzzard snacks, but things like hedgehogs are a bit special and I’ll always try to help them if I can.
Mr and MrsC came over on Sunday, and the boys got to play with their new toys, all day I could hear the lovely sound of power tools getting things done. Unfortunately, Mr C is a bit disappointed that we’ve now run out of hedges to trim… They’ve not played with the chainsaws yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.
I’ve been tackling a massive patch of comfrey and baby brambles that I’d let get horribly overgrown, the comfrey’s is now in a big pile as both current composters are completely full, we’ve another couple on order. Comfrey makes awesome compost, so I’m trying to look at it as a crop rather than a pain in the ass I’ve got to weed…
Finally unearthed the rhododendrons from under all the weedage and gave them a good feeding. I’ve completely forgotten what type they are, so hopefully we’ll get some lovely flowers in the spring.
My neighbour and I seem to have a good bartering system going on at the mo, I’m giving her apples, plums and beans and she’s giving me eggs and a couple of lovely butternut squashes. My squashes have been a bit of a failure, none of the flowers set to fruit, until a couple of weeks ago, they’re growing nicely now, but I don’t know if they’ll fully mature/ripen before winter. Next year I’ll grow them outside where they can be more easily pollenated and hopefully set the fruit a bit earlier.
We had another visit from Mr and Mrs C snr and we all decided to tackle an area that has been bugging me for a while. For the last year we’ve been burning anything that’s flammable and the site of the fire was a bit of a mess. We’re still going to need a fire site, but the current one is in the wrong place, so time for a clear up.
MrC snr fired up the rotovator while Mrs C and I hovered behind him like seagulls following a fishing boat. We picked up all the weeds, stones, bits of metal that had been in the fires (nails, bolts etc). I then switched to raking, levelling the area ready for seeding. Didn’t quite get the whole area finished, but it’s close.
The next couple of days were a complete washout, torrential rain, but it did give MrC a chance to practice his new hobby, trying to unblock the drains…
Saturday I took some of the plants that I’d been bringing on in the greenhouse and planted out in the front borders to give a bit of Autumn colour and gave the borders a good weeding and deadheading.
Sunday was another busy day, Mr and Mrs C snr came round once again, we finished off the fire area, and that’s been laid down to grass seed (which the rabbits dig up, and I resow, until it finally germinates) .
The area next to the house was cleared by MrC, the bamboo that was dug out last year had made a re-appearance, so he’s dug all that out. This bed receives no direct sunlight, so I’m planning to plant it with ferns and hostas that should hopefully thrive there. MrC dug in some of the compost I’ve been making to enrich the soil, and it was pretty good compost (*sprains wrist trying to pat own back…)
We had lunch at the local garden centre, the Sunday roasts there are very good, and came away with a weed incinerator, and a tonne of seeds that had been reduced to 50p a packet. The greenhouse is already filling up with seed trays I’ve planted up and I’ve not even really started yet, February is the big month for seed sowing, looks like MrC is in for another winter of tripping over seed trays in the house. Bless him, he doesn’t say anything, just has a slightly resigned look on his face, the result of 25 years of living with a fruitcake I guess….