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Things we have done

♥May. 17th, 2017 // 08:11 pm
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The swallows have come back: we've seen lots of activity in the last few days, including plenty of flying in and out of the stable, so we didn't scare them off. Phew!

The bird 'flu restrictions are, finally, over, which is also a big phew. The ducks are very happy to be back in the garden, and it's meant that we could put the boys in the stableyard, which was getting rather overgrown, so that the field could have a rest. It's currently raining steadily, and set to keep doing so for a few more hours (another phew!), so hopefully the grass will be able to get a bit of growing done tomorrow without being instantly munched back to nothing.

It's been quite hot for the last couple of days, so the Jug Of Minty Water has reappeared in the fridge:


It was much appreciated this afternoon when I came in from weeding the jungle front bed, which is always a sod and got away from me rather this winter, not helped by the lack of ducks disturbing the weeds. It's taken me a week, but at least it's not quite a Forth Bridge job.

I finished off the quilt from my workshop:



("How did you get it done so quickly?" someone asked me at a fabric sale last weekend. "I've had my mother-in-law staying..." I replied. Then she mocked me because I was carrying bolts of fabrics in two solid greys and three beige patterns, so I picked up a plain teal as well and bought some just to show her!)

Does anyone fancy having a go at some orchid identification? I'm stumped by this one, which is potentially more troubling than it would otherwise be as it's in the field we borrow in the summer and I don't want to let the boys near it if it's rare!


It's probably just an odd common spotted, but.... It's not monkey or military, or an insect one. The pink buds make it look like a burnt, which I don't think we get around here and the petals aren't right for anyway. The petal colours look a bit like a chalk fragrant, which is local, but the shape is wrong. That pink border, and the lobe shape, have me quite stumped. It *might* be a lady, but I can't see any 'arms'. They do have the pink buds, and the two-lobes on the petals, though. Hmm. I might go and have another look at it tomorrow....
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That was quick!

♥Mar. 29th, 2017 // 06:56 pm
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Quicker than expected, in fact: the new floor's all done, when we were expecting it to take until tomorrow. Unfortunately, we'd ordered things like new shelves, rugs and little felt pads to go under the furniture to stop it from making scratches for delivery tomorrow to tie in with it, so we're still a little short of furniture in here. Hopefully, we'll be all sorted by tomorrow evening. Hopefully.

Jo is pleased that she has her sofa back. The sofa bed was just not a suitable substitute, her legs were always hanging off the edges.

Both the anemones and the horses have been making the most of the sunny weather we've been having recently:


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Springlike

♥Mar. 27th, 2017 // 09:47 am
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(Only not today, when it's currently rather foggy. Does seem to be clearing, though, and at least the fog is a sign that the wind has died down!)

We've been seeing lots of little flowers appearing in the woods, including wild strawberries and cuckoo flower/ lady's smock. There's a fine patch of violets up a tree, as well:


After the usual sense of weeks with little progress (sewing together piles of small bits of fabric to make piles of slightly larger bits of fabric), I got to the stage of sewing together the blocks for my Storm At Sea quilt (started on a workshop a few months ago) so all of a sudden I've got a quilt top ready to start the actual quilting:

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out, although Mike says that he can't look at it for too long without his eyes going funny. (Also pleased that, in the end, it turned out that I didn't need to get more of the fabric shipped over from the US!)

Today, we're having the new garage door fitted, as well as having the old living room and hall carpets removed and the floor levelled. The floor guy just said "You might want to look at this..." and showed us a drain cover in the hall. We're guessing that it's at the point that was once the back door to the house, and that it isn't actually connected to anything any more, but we're really not sure. Fingers crossed that it never needs to be opened up!
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Flowers

♥Dec. 24th, 2016 // 04:31 pm
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My flowers, a week and a bit ago, were half a dozen amaryllis stems. My mother told me I had to put canes up the middle of the (hollow) stems, or the weight of the flowers would make them flop over in the middle, which I dutifully did.

This morning, I cam downstairs to find that one of them had flopped over anyway, right behind the flowerhead where the cane didn't reach. I threw it away and put it down to bad luck, but then another one went while we were walking the pooch and I decided I'd better do something. I put some florist's wire around the weak spot on all of them, but it wasn't keeping the floppy one entirely upright, so in the end I poked a cocktail stick into each stem, just behind the flower, and have crossed my fingers.

Then I went and got some greenery from the garden, to confuse the eye and make the supports less obvious. We'll see how they do, and I'll know for next time!



(I also, today, got an arrangement of roses from my sister via M&S. I suspect my recent experiences will have me going 'tsk' when they don't last as long as I think that they should.
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Where did the time go?

♥Oct. 25th, 2016 // 11:34 am
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I've been very crap at updating recently, probably a sign that I've not been doing anything very exciting!

There's been a fair bit of gardening going on, mostly weeding but also taking the finished plants out of the vegetable patch. There are still some tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in pots in the conservatory, but I don't think they'll be productive for much longer. Mike managed to mow the back lawn, for the first time since before our BBQ: it was in a bit of a state! I must get my sweetpeas started for next year, and think about the practicalities of my plan to turn the bee garden into a polytunnel for the tomatoes. The tomatoes did terribly this year, as in we've already finished the passata that I made (last year, it lasted until April!).

We've had our first, very slight, frost of the year, the elctric blanket's back on the bed, and the trees are starting to look very pretty. We've also had our first (and second, third and fourth) mice in the barn traps, which I'm treating as a good thing because we didn't get so many last autumn when the rat was in residence. Still to come: first fire of the year, which I'm looking forward to!

In the house, I continue to be impressed with Freddie's Flowers (my second batch was cabbages and white roses, but I also still have a vase with some of the first batch in!). I've been making jelly and sewing various things that are mostly going to be Christmas gifts for people who read this, so no pictures of those, or aren't yet finished (this isn't like me, but the Christmas stuff jumped the queue). Mike's been busy at work, so it's just been me and the pooch more than usual, but we did have a house full of visitors at the weekend, which included going to the beach, looking at old churches, and seeing the Oysterband in Canterbury.

We were expecting the hunt this morning, but didn't see any sign of them (we did hear the hounds, off in the distance). The boys seemed entirely unconcerned about the noise, but we were quite glad that we'd already finished riding by that time!

We're having some issues with their hay this year, annoyingly: back when we first started using this year's batch, they refused to eat three of the first six bales, but then it didn't happen again so we thought maybe it was still a bit green. Over the weekend, though, they turned their noses up at two more bales, so I gave the hay lady a call. She says the culprit is false oat grass, which she's got in the corner of one of her fields (although though the internet seems to think it is palatable), so next year we'll be sure to take our hay from the other field (which is where we've previously had it from, which is why we've not had a problem before). She did say that later in the year (when there's less grass) they might be happier with it, which I'd also vaguely though, but I doubt GB will eat it.
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Here are some things

♥Oct. 7th, 2016 // 02:54 pm
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We're back from our holiday, where we climbed belfries, went to museums, bought lots of chocolate and pate and other tasty things, and generally had a nice time (other than Monday afternoon, which was stressful and yuck). We even had pretty good weather, just a little damp at the start and a little chilly at the end. Eurotunnel was pretty horrible going, pretty chilled coming back. We were surprised, in both Bruges and Ghent, by how tricky it was to find some breakfast (we tend not to bother with hotel breakfasts, because we don't eat enough breakfast for it to be good value).

Hotels )There are lots of wind turbines in Belgium, or at least it looked that way from the motorway. Most of them were just sitting there, looking like wind turbines, but there were a few that were cunningly camouflaged so that they blended seamlessly into the surrounding countryside:


I especially like the subtle gradient effect.

When we got back, Jo was very pleased to see us, as ever, and we were very pleased to see her. While we were away, as well as the stuff that she'd told me about by text message, GB smashed into the chain that goes across his stable door and pulled the fixing out of the wall. I'm really quite gobsmacked by this, and the only thing I can think of is that she left him on his own in there and took Bugsy away to be exercised. Because, you know, that wasn't just what I told her to never do. I've complained to the agency, and said that we don't want her back. I'm still not sure if she just didn't pay attention to the instructions (about this and about the riding) or if she decided that she knew better, but I'm leaning towards the latter given that when we got back she kept making 'helpful' suggestions about things we should do differently. Anyway. No harm done, other than to GB's doorframe. Girl Who Rides For NVNDN came and rode him for me in the week, and I jumped on for ten minutes last night: he seems to be ok.

(Oh, reply to my email to the agency: terribly bland "we're very sorry to hear about that, here, have someone different". I wonder if they'll actually say anything to her?)

At the Canterbury Food Festival a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued enough by the stall for Freddie's Flowers that I signed up to give it a try. Every week, they do up boxes of flowers that will look nice together and send them out to their subscribers (I think in London they deliver them themselves, mine came via DPD), although they're very flexible about how often you have them (you can set it on a week-by-week basis up to six months in advance). The spiel is that their flowers last up to a fortnight, because they buy direct from the farm. Because we were away last week, my first box has just arrived and I'm quite impressed:

I do like having flowers in the house, and there's not much that's pickable in the garden at this time of year.
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If you go down to the...

♥Feb. 4th, 2016 // 02:55 pm
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First celandine of the season, up in the woods:



We also have a handful of bluebells showing flower spikes, but I think they'll be a little while yet before they're out.

The logging work is finally finished, in as much as they're not going to cut down any more trees: the chap is now off on holiday for a week, and then he's going to come back to finish moving logs around and make good the paths. We have no idea how much actual making good he's going to do, particularly to the more minor paths.

(I was a little annoyed with him today. I went up to the farthest reaches of the woods, where he's only been working for the last week or so (when it's been fairly dry, so he's not made too much of a mess with his tires). He's not yet moved the logs from the work site to the big stacks, so they're in little piles scattered around amongst the (widely spaced) trees. And there are four little piles over about two hundred yards of the very obvious path, so that you have to scramble over brambles instead. It's not his job to keep the unofficial paths clear, but it was rather thoughtless of him to block one of the few non-muddy paths.)

There were midges in the stableyard this evening. Not right.
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