Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Botanists required

What does everyone think? I'm hoping this plant is a redcurrant. it definitely had red berries last summer and the leaves are identical to the blackcurrant plants that I planted. Good old google says yes, but the pink flowers have thrown me a bit as the photos seem to have white flowers. I'm wary of eating berries that I'm not sure of, but the thought of letting edible fruits rot in my garden is an anathema. 

We also mounded up the potatoes yesterday, very exciting. Hopefully all the dirt will protect them a bit from the frost that may be coming soon judging by the weather forecast.

I also do a mums walking group up the Malvern hills on a Wednesday and the bluebells are in bloom a bit earlier than usual because of all the beautiful weather. So I took a quick snap to share the joy.

Plants are looking great in the greenhouse too, can't wait to get them into the patch!

Also got an automatic greenhouse opener a while ago and it's working hard to stop the seedlings getting scorched. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Another job off the list and our wedding anniversary

This weekend we got a little bit of carpet fitted upstairs. A few months ago we got some carpet from one of my mums friends. She was having new fitted and had a huge piece taken up and kindly offered it to us. It gets really cold here over winter and we don't have carpet upstairs at all and only in small patches elsewhere. As the house will be reconfigured we didn't want to buy new and have to throw it away at some later point, it's just so wasteful. So we have used the secondhand carpet in the hallway upstairs and baby girls room. We have also placed the other larger pieces in little mans room. It should certainly keep out some of the draughts from between the floorboards. It's not too patterned or anything so I'm super pleased with it.

It was also our wedding anniversary this weekend, 5 years.
My mother-in-law came to sit in the house on Saturday night once we'd put the kids to bed, so we had a lovely evening out, we went to the cinema and had a meal. It was like before we had the kids except once we'd left them, all we did was talk about them!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bat Report's back!

I got the report back from the people who did the bat survey for our planning submission. When the lady was here she said she wasn't sure if she'd put no risk i.e. no further investigation required or moderate risk i.e. we would need another survey where people have to come out in the evening and 'count bats'. I said at the end that I was not paying for another survey unless the planning authority said I had to! It was £450 just to have the hours visit I had the other week, can you imagine how much it would cost for an evening survey of a few hours with multiple people? Thank God she didn't find any bats or the cost would be astronomical.

Anyway, good news, she put that there was basically no evidence of bats in our roof, that they could potentially live there, but key point 'they don't!' My friend summed it up by saying a pygmy from papua new guinea could live in her loft, but they don't so what's to worry about.

This is the final step now and we are all ready to submit so I'm hoping we'll get a result in the next 3 months or so. Finally!!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Pottering in the garden

This weekend we've been pottering in the garden, mowing, planting, strimming and James has continued on the laborious job of pointing. We also hitched up the trailer to the back of the mower and moved a big pile of wood that needs chopping and seasoning off the front drive up to the back by the wood shed. James got a new chainsaw this week so was more than happy to chop it into lengths that I could manage to lift onto the trailer! It's got more power than our smaller one which is great to use at height as it's lighter and more manageable.

We also went out for breakfast with some of our wonderful friends and the kids at a sort of farm park this morning.

This afternoon I  did the first strim of the year which always seems hard work because the grass in the garden and round the verges in the lane gets so long over the autumn, winter and early spring.

The most difficulty I had was with the grass in-between the veg beds so I really need to get something down between them to keep the grass and weeds down. I was thinking of getting hold of some wood chippings as they're degradable and I should think fairly cheap. What does everyone else use in between beds?

All tidy for the time being

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Painting, potting and pointing

Today I finally managed to get a full coat of paint on the gate and it's come out a lovely shade of green. I even got started on the second coat before the baby woke up, so we're almost at the finishing line. The second coat goes on so much quicker, thank God. Who'd have thought a gate could have so many different surfaces?

I had just turned round and there was a little lizard sunbathing, I'm not sure what he was quite but it's the first time I've seen one in this country. Hasn't he got lovely toes!

James also got some more of the old mortar removed on the back of the house. He did fall off the scaffold again though, he is so accident prone you wouldn't believe it!

I spent a lot of time in the greenhouse transplanting various seedlings into larger pots and even made a stop at a local garden centre as I'd run out of pots. They have this crate outside for people to put their old pots in to get recycled into something else, but I figured it's better to reuse than to put more energy into melting it down for something else so I half inched a whole load.

We also cut the shoots off a hazel tree that is in the weirdest place and I laid them out for some future use. It didn't take more than a day to realise I had to make some trellis for the peas and other climbers to grow up. So this afternoon we made a quick support for the peas that are hopefully going to grow up soon under their makeshift cloches (empty fizzy drink bottles). I've planted more as the first lot never grew, hopefully these will be more successful as the ground has warmed up in the sun this last week. If not I grew some in the greenhouse anyway and I'm just hardening them off ready to go in the ground over the next few weeks.

We also had a bat survey done at the end of the week for submission with our planning application. I'm not sure quite what she'll put but I'll let you know when I get the report. She said it would either be no risk or moderate risk, big difference you'd think? There are no bats living there but there's potential for them to live there!? Don't ask I'll explain what she said at some later point.

Wishing you all good weather and a great week.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Our Easter Weekend

The long Easter weekend has been packed full of activities for James and I and the kids. James does an annual Easter egg hunt for us and this year it was so much fun. I was looking at the pictures from last year and what a difference. Baby girl has gone from a small bump to a big baby.

Bump... baby
Not to mention the little man, he has really changed!

The Easter bunny left clues and chocolate everywhere!

I've sown some more seeds in the beds and they're filling up fast, not sure where I'm going to fit everything!

Crappy old mortar
James started back on pointing the house. He managed to get the side wall done last autumn, but when the cold weather drew in he had to leave it as the lime mortar wouldn't set properly. 

He's going to write up a quick post on how it all works. But for now here's a few pictures of where we are with it all.

The lovely job James did last year
Back wall with old mortar raked out

New mortar in, before being brushed off

I also started painting our gate, who knew it would take so long when the baby was napping, it'll still be half done next month at this rate. One it's done I'll post a photo.

Last but not least I strimmed next doors wilderness as it's so ugly from our window. I literally took the brambles back a few metres but it looks better.

Hope everyone's had a productive and fun break. Take Care.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Old faithful gets a service

James was helping a friend yesterday doing some building work so we didn't get to do anything at our house. Today though it was warm and we were itching to get in the garden. 

When we first moved here we needed a ride on mower for the lawn as our old electric mower wouldn't cut it (pun intended). As usual we couldn't stretch to a new mower and found one on ebay only a few miles down the road. When we got there to view the mower they said they'd always used it as a mower for in case their primary mower (super duper posh) broke down! It was an immense house and I don't think they were short of a bob or two so they were selling 'old faithful' as they called her.

James and I had a good laugh at the fact that someone else's old crap was our new amazing mower and the name stuck.

So we limped her through last year with only a new fuel pipe where the old one had split. We had so much other urgent business to attend to so she was just used and abused. Now it's time for the first cut of the year and old faithful deserves a service as she's been lonely in a barn for a few years before we had her.

Looking at the job in hand

Today was the day and she had new filters, oil and a spark plug. Wee man also gave us a hand scraping the encrusted mud off her and washing her down. When I did a quick cut the engine sounded great and hopefully she'll give us many more years service. The mower is all mechanical and so much easier to fix if something goes wrong. James used to work in a garage as a teenager and so his knowledge of old motors comes in handy with an old style engine.

Draining the oil (look at the filth round the engine)

Servicing kit

Sparkly new 'old faithful'

We also cut up a damson tree that came down in the strong winds we had this week and cut down a budleja that was growing wild in the middle of the front lawn and the evil thing was trying to scratch my eyes out and pull my hair every time I was mowing last summer. Well I got my revenge and it's been cut down. I really want to replace it with a few fruit trees so I'm going to have a look round and see what catches my eye.

I also got a few pumpkin seeds started but I've run out of propagator space so I'll have to wait until a few seedlings are big enough for transplanting before I get anything more going.

We also had my best friend and her husband and daughter over today for a takeaway so all in all it's been a great day. To continue the fun we've opened a bottle of wine we brought home from Malta, so we're relaxing in front of the tv for a few hours (watching catfish on MTV).

Have a lovely Easter everyone!