Sunday, February 05, 2012
It is customary to show off the snow we get gifted to us before we get sick of it and it turns into a muddy slushy mess, so here are my contributions to that custom. :-)
Feel free to skip if you are already up to your patoot in the stuff and more than ready for the thaw! :-)
Action shot! Otherwise entitled 'How to Throw a Snowball at Yourself'! LOL
Sophie loves snow football!
A perfectly iced table showing we had about 6 inches of snow in all overnight.
The most astonishing thing I've seen so far this year...
icicles hanging from ...
and I kid you not ...
hanging from a spider web!
naturally the water on the bird table freezes and the Maggies were pecking at solid ice yesterday, so I pulled out some old plastic containers I never use and filled one with water and put it out yesterday afternoon.
This morning it was apparently frozen solid, so I brought it indoors, and replaced it with one of the others.
After twenty minutes or so I saw it was yielding around the edge so I tipped it upside down in the sink to let the block of ice melt.
But, it was only solid across the top and around the sides. Turned out I had a perfect ice bowl full of water!
I tried to take it out of the sink to get a better pic but broke part off one of the sides. Still, you can see the rest of it, still half full of water.
In other news...
I'm having a rest day. I dug a path through the snow from the back door to the bird table and another from the front door to the road, and that is me done for the day. :-) I haven't had a lot of sleep, and I have some interesting pains here and there, so I'm taking a break from exercise. Not as much of a break as I would have, had the snow not materialised, but there you go. :-)
So, not much of an entry for my first day with my new exercise notebook. :-)
Never mind. I'll be playing Just Dance catchup, and working on Wii Fit Plus routines again tomorrow, noting my scores and minutes in my notebook for the various Spark Challenges I play.
I won't be able to go to the Big Garden tomorrow. It will be too treacherous a walk sadly, and I don't know anyone who could give me a lift.
But, if it clears up enough, maybe I'll be able to get there on Thursday instead. :-)
Enjoy your Sunday!
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Just a very quick blog...
I've found out where all the local blackbirds live. I've been missing our pair and their young. I think they've moved into this bijou block of Ivy Flats just down the road from us...
There's the Hubby doing a fly-by! :-)
Seriously, though, I must have counted 9 separate blackbirds while I was walking through this small alley yesterday. :-)
Today marks the end of my second exercise notebook in 8 months!
I started this one on the 6th June 2011:
It was an A5 notebook, and I'd filled it up by the 23rd October.
Then I started using this one on 24th October 2011:
Today I filled its last page, so tomorrow - Day 204 - I start another new notebook:
I wonder how long this one will last! :-)
Here are a couple of photos of the snow we have so far outside the house:
It is about an inch deep at the moment. They are telling us we will have quite a bit more than that by morning.
Last Monday at the Big Garden, I built a little fence from scratch! And here it is!
I may not make it to the garden this coming Monday if the snow hangs around, but we'll see.
Maureen Lipman is in my bathroom! LOL I always keep a book in there for those slow fibre days, and her 'I Must Collect Myself' is the latest in my collection. :-) I got the idea from a friend many years ago who kept books by Thelwell and A.A. Milne in her bathroom, among others. :-) I spent many a happy few minutes in her bathroom whenever I visited.
So, what do you read in your bathroom?
Saturday, January 28, 2012
We have a plague of Roadwork Pixies in this area at the moment. These creatures descend on our roads, dig holes, and then disappear, leaving road traffic and pedestrians alike with the most amazingly intricate hazards to negotiate.
This is what a trip between my house and Waitrose currently looks like...
Bottom of my street:
Outside the Co-op:
Opposite the walkthrough to Waitrose (note the newly filled in hole in the foreground as well as the new hole further down the road on the opposite side):
Proof that the Roadwork Pixies do eventually creep back and fill the holes in again... In this case, during the time it took me to get my groceries. :-)
They are sneaky little critturs these Roadwork pixies. Just for fun they like to occasionally take their Mini Diggers and use the buckets to mangle stray cables that happen to be in the hole they dig.
A while ago you may remember me mentioning that works at the other end of our road resulted in a power outtage of some considerable size and duration when a digger went through both electricity cables and Virgin's media cables.
This time the Roadwork Pixie at this end of the street (see pic 1) put his digger bucket through our electricity cable. Sadly, this was not a very smart Pixie. He sat on his digger trying to ring the electricity company as one by one, local residents went down to ask if he was the reason for the sudden cessation of their power.
The reason I say he wasn't a very smart Pixie was not so much that he sat there for all to get aerated at, but that he only managed to take out our side of the street from number 2 to number 26 (my house!) I mean, if you are going to do the job, do it right and take out half the town for goodness sake! ;-) If you don't do a thorough job of it chaos and rivalry ensues! As in this case. :-)
Instead of total cameraderie in our street, I had the dubious honour of having the neighbour on one side as bereft of electricity as me, and the neighbour on the other side happily using his power tools and washing machine, oblivious to the chaos just the other side of his fence. LOL Not to mention the gloaters across the road, smug in the knowledge that they could still watch TV and play on their computers, while waving their nice warm cups of tea at us. LOL
But once we had established that the Roadwork Pixie was at fault, by dint of going down and asking him ourselves what he had done (he must have got heartily sick of us all by the end of it), Tara and I toddled into town for a bit of a mooch, hoping that the cable would be fixed by the time we got home.
This was particularly important to me because I just happened to have a load of Just Dance Bingo's to dance and claim - the largest number in one go that I'd ever had! Five Bingos! Quite the collection! But unless the power was restored I couldn't dance the dances to claim my bingos.
We had a good time. I was broke, but Tara had pocket money, so we strolled around, she bought a couple of CDs and we came back via Castle Park, and were delighted to see the swans close to the footbridge:
And on the way back past the railway lines, I was struck by the amazing red of these branches:
Not to mention that the gorse is in flower - in January!!!
And one of the neighbours had these crocuses nestling in her front garden:
Sadly, we came back to find that we were still power-bereft, and indeed, were settling into the kitchen where we could have the benefit of heat from the gas cooker, and a table for some candles so that we could at least see well enough to play Monopoly in the rapidly encroaching darkness, when the power finally came back on 5 1/2 hours later! So, a mad dash to the TV and the Wii and I did my dances, and was lucky to only lose one Bingo because of the delay. :-)
So that was Friday! :-)
Well, it is late, and I must away, before the hot water bottle loses its heat. It is a pretty cold night tonight.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. :-)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Well, I'm back at the Big Garden. Yay!
We closed for a month over the Christmas and New Year period, and started back last week. Unfortunately I wasn't able to be there last week thanks to being unwell (you may have noticed I wasn't here much either), but yesterday I walked up to the garden, eager to see how it had fared over the break.
The garlic I planted has started peeking up from the soil! :-)
The polytunnels cleaned up beautifully from the vandalism, thank the gods, so no lasting damage there. They also survived the gales more or less intact.
Not everything escaped though. Some of the hazel fencing was bent at angles not conducive to a state of uprightness. :-) So the work was on to replace the sections that were beyond repair.
This is the sort of thing we were woking on:
They had started the work last week, when new stakes for the upright supports were created and hammered into place.
When I got there yesterday morning, Wayne, Bill and Billy were already hard at work coppicing Hazel, stripping the suitable branches back, and sizing up pieces for the weaving. Never having done anything like this before, I was eager to learn, so I dropped my bag in the shelter and grabbed a pair of secateurs before joining Wayne who was stripping the side shoots off suitable large branches with a lopper. Wayne making the thicker sticks for the large fencing panels, so I started trimming his offcuts for use elsewhere.
After creating a number of thinner and willowier sticks, Jo came up and suggested I use what I'd made to get a little practice at weaving by working on the low pieces that surround beds before trying to assist in tackling a large fence, which requires a fair bit of muscle.
She showed me where a row of stakes had been placed ready for a fence around one bed, and described it as being rather like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, and we all know how much I love jigsaw puzzles! :-)
A few sticks had already been put in, so grabbing an armful of the sticks I had already prepared, I completed the section all by myself.
At this point the rest of the Monday gang arrived, and we soon had another willing pair of hands lopping side branches off. Leaving him to it, Wayne and I went for a well-earned cuppa, during which he told me about a free course concerning waste-busting.
I hope it pans out. I've contacted the organiser for details. Apparently you do a one day course on waste-busting
Then you commit to spend at least 30 hours in the next year passing on your knowledge to others at shows and sucklike. Wayne thinks they are doing their next training session on 18th Feb. And the course is held practically behind my house! Talk about a convenient location! :-)
Once Wayne and I finished our cuppas, we went back to work, me still trimming branches and helping Craig, while Wayne went to the big pile to find suitable sticks for the large fencing panels.
I wandered over there a short while later to get a lesson in the building of a large panel.
It is hard work! Apparently, coppicing hadn't been properly managed before the Big garden came along, and as a result we don't have as many of the optimally bendy sticks to use at the moment as we'd like. This means you can have quite a wrestling match weaving long sticks that are up to 1 1/2 inches in width in and out of the upright stakes. You also have to be very careful not to let the stick snap back and whack you. Wayne still had a bruise on his chest from being whacked last week!
So, there were three of us working on this panel. What you do is...
You choose a stick, measure its length, saw off any excess, then begin the weaving process. You start each stick on the opposite side of the first stake from the previous stick, and bend it to and fro round each stake in turn, taking care not to let it slip off any of the stakes you've already wound it round! :-)
Once you have wrestled it into position (and one or two needed a fair bit of wrestling) you push it down the stakes as far as you can, then use a lump of wood to bash it the rest of the way down until it sits snuggly on top of the previous stick.
Then you select your next stick and repeat.
My arms and shoulders are aching this morning, and my right hand too, Can't imagine why! LOL
Hopefully, you can see in this pic the half-built fence panel right in front of the green shed. That is the one I helped with. :-)
I had a chat with Bill about my bramble problem as I was packing up to come home. Looks like I have my work cut out because the only way to get rid, apparently, is to dig it out. He suggested that I work to get it to ground level while the weather is still cold, and once the soil warms up in the spring, rescue my herbs from the space, and then dig the bramble roots out as best I can. Apparently, one of his allotments had previously been used to grow cultivated blackberries, so he knew what he was talking about, having had to clear the space himself before he could use it! :-)
I suspect that I may be lucky enough to have a couple of willing pairs of hands to assist with the digging part in the spring, in return for my assistance on their allotments! :-) Chores like digging out persistent root systems are much easier when done in good company. :-)
I was still on a high when I got home, and as the recycle trucks were due to pick up garden rubbish this morning, I grabbed my gardening gloves and secateurs and filled a couple of sacks with bramble cuttings, while rescuing chairs, a table and tools from the overgrown and intertwined bramble in the process. :-)
I hope you all have a lovely day. I'm going to take it easy today. The weather isn't conducive to further bramble chopping, being as it is raining rather persistently. In any case, bits of me are moaning somewhat after yesterday's hard work. :-)
Catch you all later!
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