Archive for June, 2009

Garden Photos again

June 27, 2009

After last week’s ‘happy happy garden’ post I got a big shock.  When A got home from work, we both went back to bed for a nap, forecasting a long evening at a friend’s party.  On waking up, I pondered out to water my pots and found the lavender pot, with it’s 6 or 8 tiny seedlings, dug over by the neighbourhood cats!  I was furious.  We went out, got back late as predicted, got up late Sunday morning and found one of the other pots dug over too. 

This is one of the suspects…

He’s cute, but not that cute.  He’s also one of the range of 5 regulars who now appear in our garden whenever A tops up the bird feeders.  Damn cats. 

Speaking of bird feeders, our tallies are now getting impressive – and these are those we have seen in our tiny garden, and mostly feeding:

Sparrow – 1

Pigeon – 6

Crow – 1

Blackbird – 2

Magpie – 1

Yay!  That ‘s much better. 

Now I think of it, I forgot to mention a brilliant sighting a couple of weeks ago, when I went to the open air service at Oxford Crematorium with my Mum.  We were folding the chairs and wandering back to the car, when Mum looked up and asked what that bird was, the big one flying low overhead.  It was only a red kite!  They were pretty much extinct in this country, but have made a bit of a comeback.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one, and it was so close!  We both stood staring, absolutely gobsmacked.  It was just drifting around over the treetops, eventually disappearing behind the trees with a weird kind of screech.  Wow!

Anyway, back to the garden.  My window-box herbs are still doing well, even though I haven’t yet got round to moving them to t heir new, bigger pot:

See that basil bursting out of there?  It’s smelling fantastic now too. 

That’s the smallest of my bee-flower pots.  The plants are coming up well, still struggling with slugs and snails and goodness knows what else.  The bit of broken protractor on the floor next to the pot is my slug extraction tool.  Well, I’m not touching the slimy little beasties! 

This last picture is the dill pot.  The plants are coming up thick and fast, despite the sprinkling of peanuts donated by the birds on the feeder!  Still no mint, but we’ll see. 

So, what else has been going on this week?  Yesterday was A’s Uncle’s funeral.  It was sad, as expected, and A’s Mum was clearly devastated.  But that’s what funerals are for I guess, and at least she had a chance to get some of that grief out into the open.  I hope she feels better. 

No knitting group this week, but hopefully we’ll get together soon.  In other knitting news, well there is no news really.  It’s still plod plod plod with the cardigan – still on the sleeves.  And for light relief I do a few rows on the scarf. 

I’m thinking I really need a smaller project, maybe socks, to give me short term satisfaction.  The risk is, if I’ve got something more interesting on the go, I’ll give the other stuff up completely.  I can tell myself that knitting should be fun. I should be enjoying it, so I should give up on the stuff I’m bored of…but I really want the cardi and I’m loving the way the scarf looks, they are just taking so long to finish! 

So, this week coming…hmmm, not much to say really.  Nope, can’t think of anything but work.  Exciting!


A wierd week.

June 20, 2009

It’s been an odd one.  I’ve had a stomach bug for most of it, feeling rubbish and tired and with much-worse-than-usual pain.  I worked in the office Monday morning, then at home until Weds afternoon when I gave up, feeling grotty and miserable. 

Weds was our niece’s first birthday, so we’d arranged to go out for dinner with A’s immediate family.  It wasn’t quite the cheerful occasion it should have been though, because it turned out A’s uncle died on Weds morning, unexpectedly, in his sleep.  Understandably, A’s Mum didn’t feel much like celebrating.  I felt thoroughly unwell anyway, and everyone was a bit subdued. 

We caught up with A’s Mum again yesterday, and she was much more cheerful.  Hopefully we’ll find time to see her over this weekend, maybe tomorrow. 

Apart from that, there isn’t really much to say.  No hospital appointment.  No work news.  nowt much really.

I’ve been pottering in the garden again.  We got some more compost yesterday, and a packet of teazel seeds, so I dragged some more pots out of the shed and got planting again. 

There are three pots, all approx this size, in different spots around the garden.  We’ll see if they grow! 

The window-box-herbs are still doing well – the basil seedlings are growing fast, there are now a few parsley seedlings, but still only 3 or 4 chives.  I’m a bit concerned about drainage, as there are no holes in the container and I didn’t think to add gravel when I had chance.  I’m planning to move them into a much bigger pot, with better drainage. 

The wild flower pots are doing well, growing fast.  Sadly, they seem to have a fight on against slugs and/or snails, but in our natural garden, that’s their battle, not mine. 

The pot I planted with dill is doing well, lots of little plants peeping out over the past few days.  And a few lavender plants are coming through too.  Only the mint is still missing from last week’s pots, but I’m sure it will get there. 

It’s kind of soothing to have that evening watering routine.  For now, at least. 

Knitting is still a bit dull, and not worth the photos…the stripey cardi is plodding along, it has a back, two fronts and two partial sleeves (which are rather boring).  The entrelac scarf is also plodding at the moment.  It’s good switch-off knitting, but not very exciting. 

This coming week…we’re off to a friend’s for the evening tonight.  Then catching up with A’s Mum tomorrow.  Then work next week.

Photo Saturday – mostly not knitting!

June 13, 2009

This week’s photo Saturday, as the title suggests is not all about the knitting for once.  There are of course a couple of knitting pictures…but only of the little dog I made for my friend.  I’ve re-done the spots as patches, complete with new ears and tail:


I have been knitting other things, of course.  They just don’t make for very interesting pictures.  I’ve been working away on my stripey cardigan, which now has a complete back and a nearly done left front.  Still lots to do though. 

I’ve also restarted my entrelac scarf…again.  I realised that I would run out of yarn before it was anywhere near long enough, so I’ve started again with just 3 squares across instead of the 5 or 6 I had before. 

I’m beginning to think I need some socks on the go?!

The rest of this week’s photos are all about the garden.  Yes, I’ve been at it again.  I’ve been watering stuff all week, when it hasn’t rained anyway.  I’ve planted some more:

There are two of these, one planted with dill and the other with mint. 

This big beastie has lavendar seeds in it.  I held back a few seeds for one of the pots in the front garden, but ran out of compost before I could plant them. 

Now, an update on last week’s plantings…some impressive results…

That is the window-herb-box…the many seedlings to the left are basil, and on the right (too small to see in my photo) are the first 3 chives!  No sign of parsley yet, but we’ve never had much luck with parsley for some reason. 

Next up, a sample of the pots I planted with wildflowers:

See that?  Seedlings!  All of the pots I added these seeds to last week now have at least a few seedlings, and of different flowers by the look of them. 

The next few pictures are of established pretty things in the garden, which I can’t take much credit for at all.

Those are our two roses.  The big red one in the foreground is called Royal William.  Apart from helping to select him, he’s all A’s work.  In the background (and turning up all over the garden) is our wedding rose.  It was a gift from my Dad when we got married, and it’s actually named ‘Wedding’ or ‘Marriage’ or something like that.  It has been moved once or twice, ruthlessly cut back on various occasions and always comes back stronger than ever.  It’s much more like a wild rose and is more to my taste than big flashy flowers like William.  That said, William makes a lovely contrast and truly stands out.  Plus, his scent is beautiful. 

On to my red hot pokers…

I call them mine, because I chose the seeds (or bulbs?  or whatever), I planted them, I watered them maybe twice, then I left them to get on with it.  I am a bad gardener. 

It turns out that red hot pokers don’t mind being ignored though.  There was just one flower the first year, one the second and then nothing for a couple of years.  But this year, well see for yourself, there are no less than 6 flowers there (one is hidden at the back, and smaller than the others)!  It’s so pretty.  The pot probably isn’t really big enough for it, but it seems to be thriving anyway. 

Finally, for photos anyway, we’ve added a couple of feeders to our bird-feeder pole. 

In addition to the original fat-ball cage, we’ve got a seed-feeder and a wire-mesh tray. 

Now, here’s the big news…we have birds visiting our garden!  I’m so happy 🙂 .  We put out peanuts on the wire tray, and they started to disappear after a day or so.  So we started paying more attention, looking out of our bedroom window.  Unfortunately, the cherry tree completely obscures our view of the feeders, but we can see birds coming in and leaving again.  So far this week, Ive seen big fat pigeons (twice) and a sparrow.  Nothing really exciting or rare or anything, I know that, but still – it’s a start. 

Okay, I’ve rattled on about the garden for long enough, what else do I want to say? 

Oh yes, I finally spoke to a real person at the hospital.  I was so surprised when she answered the phone that I forgot what to say!  I haven’t yet been booked in for surgery, but I should be on July’s list.  I’ve also got my record amended to state that I’m available for cancellations.  It’s worth a try. 

I’ve been a bit bad this week – I ordered 3 new books.  Two of them should be arriving any day now, the other is released later this week.  They are by Terry Brooks, and as I understand it are the connection between his Shannara series and his Word/Void books.  I’m so excited – not only do I get to read new Brooks books, but they might answer a lot of questions and link some of my favourite stories up.  I’ve started re-reading the Word/Void books in preparation for a massive Brooks-a-thon.  I’m going to read them all through one after another, all 20 of them!  I’m looking forward to reading the original Shannara books in a new context – it’s more than 20 years since I first started reading them!  That’s scary, am I old or something?  Don’t answer that! 

Finally, tomorrow I’m going on an outing with my Mum.  Oxford Crematorium has an annual open air service, to which we always took my Nan after my Gramp died (that’s where they were both cremated and their ashes are buried).  When Nan died, we went to one more service, but it just wasn’t right.  We’ve been to the crematorium since, with flowers, for birthdays, after I got married, that sort of stuff, just never for the service.  This year, it is 10 years since Nan died.  It’s hard to believe, I still miss her so much.  Anyway, Mum and I both got the idea to go to the service this year, so we’ll be there tomorrow afternoon.  It’s a kind of happy/sad thing.

Photo Saturday – and not just knitting pictures!

June 6, 2009

This has been a good week, again.  I have had a few bad days (today is definitely one), but I have been waking up early even when I don’t have to, and actually getting stuff done.  This is a massive improvement and in turn makes me feel even better.  Until I overdo it and make the pain worse 😉

I went to the team meeting as planned on Tuesday, in Bristol.  I met with my friend T for coffee beforehand and had a lovely catch-up.  I went out for lunch with Caron on Wednesday, and gave her Maya’s birthday present.  I haven’t heard anything since then – I hope she likes it. 

The I took some time off – half a day Weds and all of Thurs and Friday.  A had an extra afternoon off on Weds, and all day Thursday too, so we made the most of the weather and went out walking.  On Thursday we made it over to Coate Water, on the other side of town.  Because it involves driving (still not easy) or combinations of buses, we haven’t been in ages, so it was lovely to get there and have plenty of time to enjoy it. 

Then yesterday, well, I don’t know what got into me.  I got up earlier than I would to go to work, for a start.  Then I did some gardening!  I have never before felt any kind of urge to garden.  At least, not strong enough to get out there and do it.  Although, I say gardening…all I really did was put some seeds in pots.  It’s probably even too late for them, but I enjoyed it anyway. 

I planted herbs, parsley, basil and chives, in a window box:

Then I found some wild flower seeds on a shelf, and pottered around our tiny little garden finding pots to plant them in:

Please bear in mind that our garden is intentionally untidy.  I like it that way, and so does A.  We would one day like to attract some kind of wildlife other than a hundred spiders and the gazillion worms who live in the compost bin.  Oh, and all the neighbourhood cats.  In fact, to that end, we have recently added a bird feeder:

There isn’t much evidence of anything eating it yet, but hopefully something will find it soon.  I’m no bird snob, anything will make me happy, just a starling visiting my garden for a meal would be lovely.  I realised just how many birds fly over our entire neighbourhood yesterday while I was messing with compost and seeds.  It’s a bit depressing, but hopefully if we fill the garden with green and flowers, not to mention food, we’ll attract something. 

After my weird gardening hour or so, I started baking instead.  I made some lovely ginger biscuits, which are nearly all gone already.  I also got carried away with plans for dinner.  We had taken chicken wings out of the freezer, to use them up.  Neither of us are particularly keen on wings, but we got them in the meatbox delivery so had to eat them.  I started looking for a recipe for chicken wings, and stumbled across a spicy baby potato dish we used to make loads.  I decided that would be a nice accompaniment.  Then I found a dish that consisted of runner beans in soured cream.  Now I love soured cream, and the veg box this week included some really tender, young runner beans – perfect for this.  Finally I settled on a spicy coating for the chicken.  It all turned out lovely…only the chillis in the potato dressing were much hotter than I expected, so after a bite or two, everything tasted mainly of chilli!  Still, it was nice and we cleared our plates. 

Anyway, on to knitting news…I’ve been working away on my stripey cardigan:

It’s coming along nicely…except I got so absorbed in the new episode of NCIS last night, I forgot to change colour, so I’ll have to undo the last 4 rows and re-do them in blue! 

I re-started the entrelac scarf I was working on in the middle of the week, just cos I decided it might look better with bigger squares.  Not only does it look better, it is going along so much quicker:

Finally, I have to re-do the spots on the knitted dog I made for Ali at work.  She has lent me some photos of Ziggy so I can get the patches right.  I might make a second one for her daughter too, if I can find the enthusiasm. 

That’s it for this week.  In the week coming I haven’t got much on.  I will be hassling the hospital for a surgery date again.  I’ll try to make it to knitting on Weds.  And that’s it, I think.