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Saturday, 30 March 2019


Friday was a beautiful day and I was on dog-sitting duty while DD was off looking at park homes with a view to buying one. So I decided to spend the day in the garden as there is so much to do.  I also seem to have got my energy back after a course of Chinese herbs to help my gut.

My plan of action was to clear the 3 raised beds in which I usually grow vegetables. It all went a bit to pot last year due to poor health and not being able to eat much of what I normally grow. I also hoped I would have moved by now but I can't do that until DD finds somewhere to live and moves out.

Anyway I started with the nearest bed where I had grown edible flowers a couple of years ago and they had seeded and spread. It looked a mess so I just left one little beetroot plant which had somehow survived the winter and a few of the flower plants around the edge.

Next was the strawberry bed or what was left of the strawberries after the drought last summer. The last two years have seen bumper crops after I replanted them so I was hoping for one more good crop. I had lots of plants which had crept out of the bed and spread themselves around so I dug them up and put them back into the raised bed. There were more than I thought and they ended up a bit higgledy piggledy but hopefully they will be ok. It also left more room for the rhubarb which is near one of the blackcurrant bushes.

Before and after of the strawberry bed. At the top is some lemon balm, some of which I have left.

The top picture shows how neglected this bed is and as I don't have any immediate plans for this space, I left lots of forgetmenots, a couple of Welsh onions which flower and have pretty seed heads every year.  There are also two spinach plants which have survived so I will start picking the leaves and hope I can tolerate spinach this year as I love it.

I also started cutting back dead stuff which I leave over winter for the birds when it goes to seed. Then today I made a start up near the house, beside the patio on digging up vinca which my neighbour planted years ago and it just strangles everything so it is a never ending task to eradicate it even though it does have pretty blue flowers.

The trouble is the more I do, the more I see that needs doing. Anyway it is lovely and peaceful in the garden with lots of birds flitting to the feeders and the bird bath. I love the goldfinches which are so pretty and have a lovely call.  On the subject of birds, while in the nearby village I saw a red kite soaring overhead which really made my day.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

When the sun shines.

It has been a beautiful weekend so finally got out into the garden yesterday to cut the grass both front and back and did some edging. I quite enjoyed it once I got going and it looked so much better.

In the front the tulips and wallflowers are out along with the marigolds which flowered through the winter.

The crocuses in the pots are flowering and the tulips will be soon. In the second picture, the quince is in leaf and the mahonia aquifolia is flowering. The grass has lots of bare patches where the dogs have been but it looks better short. Loads to do and only me to do it and without my usual energy so just trying to do a bit at a time and enjoy it. Today I cut back all the dead bits from the sage but lots of new growth on it.

Dd fetched the chairs and table from the shed and I did sit out in a sunny patch and eat my lunch.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Bread making

For years since I retired I have made bread in a bread maker bought for £10 from a charity shop. It finally died last year so I decided to make bread by hand. It's worked out ok except for the fact that now I don't have an airing cupboard, the dough takes ages to rise so usually takes all day from start to finish.

I googled the problem and came up with a couple of ideas. First is to put the dough into a switched off microwave  with jugs of hot water. Trouble is my microwave is not big enough for that so the other idea is to heat the oven, turn it off and leave the dough to prove over a large pan of boiling water.

That does work except I only had one large bread tin and two small so one of the tins did not fit over the pan of hot water so did not rise so well. All of my tins are old anyway so I finally bought two new large pans yesterday so that problem is solved. It still takes a while to rise the dough twice and that ties the oven up so I tried starting the bread before bed and leaving it on the breakfast bar overnight. That worked wonderfully so I am all set for the next bread making session.

I takes me a while but I get there in the end.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

The River Stort

A sunny morning but so cold and windy. At least the washing nearly dried before the rain came this afternoon. I was pleased to be inside this morning at the herbalist's then this afternoon with little GD and Ddil at Melody Monkeys. 

It was wet yesterday as well but Tuesday was sunny and dry so we had a lovely walk along the River Stort. We are only about five minutes walk to our stretch but DD sometimes drives to the next bit along to walk Poppy. We also managed to get Paddy into the car for a change.

Paddy in his smart coat.

First the bridge which swings up to allow access into the Marina, then The Moorhen where last Friday I went with friends for lunch. The bottom picture is Canalability which is a charity which takes disabled people on trips and holidays along the river.

When we moved here 31 years ago the Marina was a boating lake and my son loved taking a paddle boat out. We could also hire rowing boats on the river. The Moorhen is lovely in warmer weather because we sit at tables right next to the river and can have the dogs with us. Last week we ate inside but at a table overlooking the river so it was lovely. I had a mini mixed grill but it wasn't very mini. I was absolutely full. The Moorhen was built at the same time as the Marina. At the time it was sad to lose the boating lake but we still have lovely walks.