Friday, 25 September 2009

Trying Times...

Have you ever felt that the wind has gone right out of your sails? Looking back over past posts the Linzi who wrote them was really happy and embracing life. She has been gone for a while now. I wonder where she went? I'm hoping she comes back again soon, as I don't like this dreary miserable girl she left behind. Trying times are character building I'm told. Hmmm.....

The dark nights are closing in fast, and a new bite in the wind has all the trees positively glowing in their new shades. You can see the rich tapestrey of colours spreading every day now, getting closer to shaking all those leaves off in preparation for the driving winds and rain.

Love this creeper growing in the courtyard, the newest shoots are holding out against the decay and inevitable drop just a little longer than the old hands who know the drill. They will succumb in the end though, and before we know it new shoots will be emerging from the bare woody stems faster than I ever remembered them grow before! Isn't it amazing?

On a lighter note more tomatoes are ripening every day. None have made it to the kitchen yet - we keep pinching them off the vine every time we walk past them! Never tasted tomatoes as good!

Have a lovely weekend everybody! I'm off to find my hard hat for some serious character building - health and safety and all that!

Linzi x x

Sunday, 23 August 2009

How Do You Weed Yours?

Have been cropping more than just small holding quantities this month! We've gone all industrial and brought in the hay - vintage style!  


Poor Farmer John has had a dicky leg for a good few months now, but still thinking he's a young pup got himself in a fix a few weeks ago when he fell and knocked himself out chasing the young un's outside the pub. Witnessing it left us all very shaken and more aware of the vulnerability of his age than we ever had  been.

The next day we went to see him with some food, only to find him out in the fields, bloody bandage still on, bringing in the hay. "Ye can't waste a good day lass," was his response to our chiding that about needing rest. So we humped in the bales with his son-in-law until there were none left. My experience of crop farming in the past had been charging around in big shiny tractors and trailers with back wheels on them bigger than me, having fun until the job was done. Working on Johns farm felt like a step back in time! Amazing to think that with just a little more time and patience you can still get the job done without the latest technology and best equipment, just a little harder graft! And to be honest, I think we enjoyed it all the more! 

I will confess, I have always had help with weeding the flower beds, the ones actually in the ground with the real soil that is. My containers and raised beds with compost in are dead easy to do, the weeds don't seem to get in so deep - so obviously I grow more in those! Maybe Steve didn't know what he was doing either (although that I very much doubt!) I suspect he was just to polite to correct my gung-ho throw it all away style and made the best of the job he could! Joan, however, was less passive, and upon catching me weeding asked what on earth I was doing! "You don't just throw shovelfuls of soil out with the weeds!" she told me, laughing her head off! I was so embarrassed at my apparent wasteful ignorance that I giggled inanely and took off with my wheelbarrow to hide the evidence before anyone else saw! Wish I had asked actually asked her how you were supposed to weed! I'm now guessing that just shoveling compost on top of all the soil I take out isn't quite right. So is weeding like eating a cream egg? Is everyone is different or am I missing something really obvious? Pray tell me, please, how do you weed yours?

Sutton's seeds were right about calendula being a favorite with kids as its really easy to grow - even I managed it! Its simple daisy like flowers are a beautiful dense orange, and its bloomed all of our short growing season, with buds still on yet! Will definitely grow that again next year. 

Cosmea was a favorite as well, simply stunning plentiful plants, and the range of colour is fantastic. Slower to come through are the rudbeckia. Checking back through the blog, I sowed them in February, but the flowers are only threatening to come out now. Shame as they looked stunning in the gardeners world show - clearly the problem is me!! Next year if I grow them again think I will feed them every day and try a sunnier spot! 


The tomatoes have also taken their time coming though, but what they lacked in August quality they will certainly make up for in September quantity! Little green baby toms are coming on every day - can't wait to get my greedy paws onto them when they ripen!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Buzz about summer

I don't know about you, but for us this summer has been pretty lovely so far! The sun is shining warm and proud everyday, not hiding behind the clouds in fear of the rain like last year! My skin is slowly turning brown, well, less blue than usual, and now with the nights so long and warm, it's great to be able to play in the garden or take the boys out for a good walk on an evening! 

And Yes!! Johnny is home for a while!!! And just look at the new trick he has learned!! Fetch!!!! ha ha

Liam is swimming every day in the hot sun, even if he has nothing to retrieve he breaks into his own little routine and does laps up and down the river - so cute to see him puffing along! The little otter! Clyde on the other hand will only paddle by the banks until Johnny actually swims with him, the look of concentration and trust on his face until he reaches either Johnny or land is so heart warming, bless him!

During our morning walk, we pass a hive of bumblebees in the woods. The monotone buzz is so loud you could almost think there was a big heavy 4 stroke motorbike just in the distance. There are never any bees around, I think they must be getting warmed up to fly. Always makes me giggle. Can just imagine them all with their brightly coloured sweat bands on, dancing in unison, with the Queen Bee leading the class shouting words of encouragement as she stretches and grinds to Blondie! The poor little guys had been having a hard time the past few miserable summers here in the UK, finally looks like they are back on form again thank goodness!!

Couldn't resist raiding my potatoes, even though they hadn't flowered yet.... I know, I know I'm lessening the crop for later but boy do they taste good!!!!! 

Feel so proud plunging my hand in and pulling out a big 'un!!! Swing my little wicker basket and skip the whole 12 feet home!!!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Grass fever - like hay fever but worse!

Can you believe it's June already? Wow! Time seems to pass by quicker every year! Is this a getting older thing? I am terrified to blink in case I miss summer! Well, then again, I do live in England - it's been known to happen!

How beautiful is this? The epitome of a British woodland! Bluebell wood it's called, a local walk that we have driven straight past for 3 years at least twice a week and never noticed! What a magical walk that was, our last one all together for a while! 

Last month saw a massive surge of growth in the seedlings, bulbs and tubers, which are now all in their final planting positions, and looking around in awe at all the space they have to fill! Keep meaning to take pictures for you, but every time I remember too the light is bad! 

Luckily for me, some of the sweet peas survived the ducks un-relenting attacks by hiding behind the strong potato plants and they actually look like they may flower any day now! Some of the sweeties I had given away are already flowering, but I have put that down to them being on much lower and warmer climes. It's definitely not because I sometimes forget to water mine and Sarah waters, checks and cares for hers everyday! ha ha

With my very own action man pursuing and securing our dreams in lands far far away, I have been determined to prove that I can cope without being a totally pathetic woman and needing too much help! Not sure I'm pulling that off as well as I'd like to, but hey, its the thought that counts! So proud of you babe - your doing amazing!!! x x x 

One positive thing about being on my own is discovering how thoughtful and kind people can be, even those that you wouldn't expect to really bother! From quick chats to full blown dinners prepared and delivered, people can be so lovely - thank you! Friendships have sprung up, strengthened and grown daily, just like flowers in the sun! 

Friendships are not the only things growing in the sun! The grass is also doing a fantastic job, and since Johnny left, I have had what can only be described as grass fever! Its an all consuming, stomach churning obsession to tame the ever wild green carpet! There are enough crop circles to spark a 'the truth is out there' investigation,  but somehow its just not so much fun when there is no Johnny to scowl and reluctantly smile at them! Getting to grips with the new lawn mower has given a few giggles! Whoops! Wrong lever! Took 3 wheelbarrow loads to clear that one up! Silly marrar!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Why Do You Build Me Up Buttercup?

Do you remember when you were a little girl or a little boy and the butter question came up? 

A simple yes I like it just didn't cut it. The only way to check if any of you really did like butter was to thrust a buttercup below the chin and if you lit up yellow you were telling the truth!

We spent endless hours in meadows searching for them, with no need to keep in touch with our parents by mobile phone, and the only worry in our little minds was whether or not we would go in deeper than our wellies crossing the little burns (or brooks or streams) that trickled across the fields. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could go back to those simple days? 

How things have changed in 20 years. Have we got meaner as a race or has the media got better at portraying the bad things that happen in the world?

On a lighter note, I dearly wish that buttercups were so hard to find in my garden! Maybe its just they do better in England than in Ireland, but I can't move for them here! No matter how often and how carefully I dig them out, they just keep coming back with a vengeance, bigger and stronger than ever! Tips on how to shift them organically would be fab if you have the time.....

Thought I would share this with you. It's called Lady's Mantle

This is one of the plants that got me excited about flowers for the first time ever in my adulthood (along with bluebells !) No matter how hard the rain came down, and how glum it made me that I couldn't get work done, this little beauty made it all happy again when I saw how it clung to the droplets of water with its beautiful leaves. It thrives on neglect and comes back year after year, regardless of how much of it Louie snatches on his way past, of how little I water it, and of how cold the winter gets. Doesn't it look all wonderfully leafy and magical? 

And here are my sweet boys having a peek over the wall at the rabbits running rampant in the field (literally!) Bless them (the dogs, not the rabbits)! They were dying to leap the wall and give chase, but thankfully didn't (they have pulled me over, and through worse in the past!)

Have a lovely weekend,

Linzi x x

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

5 Minute Gardening

Gardening is a very personal thing, its all things to all people. For me its not an all consuming passion (yet) and I don't feel horribly guilty when I don't get out for a day or two in the green playground. It's always a treat, never a chore, and without the luxury of an abundance of free time to give the hours and hours a beautiful garden needs, a spare 5 minutes here and there in the flower beds will suffice for now. The weeds will always grow quicker than the flowers, and the bees seem to like them so they can't be as bad as we make them out to be! 

Everything is all brand new again and even cutting the grass is a novelty right now. We are lucky enough to have a ride on mower for the lawn and a push mower for the driveway. Fun all round - we get to make really cool defined stripes on the driveway and zoom around making patterns in the front garden. (think the patterns on the lawn will be a one off - Johnny was not impressed with my crop circles, but hey, I had fun!!) 

Following a very sound peace of advice from Landlady Joan, who really knows her stuff, I took a spare 5 minutes to plant the Chives she gifted me in a place "where the dogs can't pee on them!" Obvious really, when you think about it, but then the best advice usually is! They seem quite happy in one of the old hay mangers below the kitchen window, and will be handy to get to when I forget the spring onions for the champ.
Must get trimming the outside of the manger, that grass is taking over the moss! Only noticed just now!

The seedlings are coming along slowly, so won't bore you with totally unidentifiable pic's of little green leaves, thought this pic would be a bit more fun for you.

It's Clydeybops with Johnny's skiing (a.k.a onion chopping) googles on! Bless him! 

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Leggy isn't always good!

Ducks love sweet peas!!! Huh!!!

Was halfway through making a 'Free to Good Home' sign (humor) when I realised that this was not the ducks fault, the eternally hungry cretins that they are, but mine. The plants were obviously too young to survive an attack by the white feathered destroyers, and shouldn't have been out anyway. They should have been hardened off and toughed up properly. Hopefully a mistake that won't be made twice! 

When getting the rest of the sweet pea into the cold frame to harden off properly this time, I found some cells with poppies in. They were the remainder from the seed tray way back when i was twisting stems together to make bigger bunches (what a dumb dumb!) and guess what? They were still alive and growing! These poor little beggars were so weak and straggly that I shoved them into a permanently open cold frame rather than throw them in the bin probably out of laziness more than anything else!  But they looked great! Tight little bunches of leaves, not the biggest, but so strong. Comparing them to the big bunches of poppies I put out, there was no question that the house poppies were far to floppy and leggy to survive in the real world! Another lesson - leggy isn't always good!!! 

The ducks are all nesting now. Feel so sorry for the girlies stuck on their nests and trying desperately to scare away anything that comes near them to no avail. But it will be lovely to have some baby chicks around again. Such a cheery sight to see them waddling behind mum, all in a row. We always end up hand rearing the little runts that get left on their own. Sadly most don't make it (we have been through the whole Sex and the City cast in names now and it never gets any easier) but some do survive. We had to hand rear these 3 last year, as their mum was killed by a nasty dog who was allowed to run free by his stupid stupid owner. 

They are all grown up now and still making us giggle! Cheeky minx's!

This mum is nesting in the bastille next to the house, you can just see her little red beak to the left of the pic, trying to scowl through the wall at us. Bless her!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Know Your Enemy......

Sounds pretty obvious, and I really thought I did. I had thought about what would be visiting the garden and put all and sundry into neat little boxes of what would be good and bad for my flowers and veg. 

Slugs bad. Snails bad. Rabbits bad. Dogs bad. Disney bad. Brother Louis bad. Moles bad. Mice bad. Linzi probably bad (no point kidding myself)

Bees good. Worms good. Louie poo good. Farmer John good. Ducks good - 17 of them should keep the slugs at bay.

This seems logical doesn't it? Well, actually, after this week, ducks are now firmly in the bad box. They have systematically savaged my lovely little poppies until there is nothing left of them. I can't even blame rapid disappearance of them on the rabbits because I saw John (the duck, but looks like one of the village locals) in action, ruthlessly pulling at the leaves until the whole plant popped out and then greedily eating what he could, while trampling the other plants he didn't want into the ground.  How rude!! 
He and his mates have also had a go at the sweet peas planted out only yesterday, but thankfully don't seem to to consider them so much of a delicacy!! Thought I would show you a pic of them just in case they decide they are quite nice after all!

You will be pleased to know that I accepted these setbacks gracefully!!! The beauty of nature, is that nothing is predictable, not what pretty flowers will grow or what the ducks and rabbits will eat, not the amount of rain we get, or when the frost stops or when the sun comes...... Its lovely, and what keeps all this fun!

Here is naughty John himself having a  bath in the little brook that babbles through the garden. 
So cute!! You just couldn't stay angry at him for long!!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Enjoy Every Moment.... Johnny Danger I love you!!!!

Today I got the phone call I always dreaded when Johnny was out on his motorbike. Thankfully he was well enough to make the call himself, and for that I shall be eternally grateful. 

Racing in the car to the scene of the accident, trying to be brave and as mature as I should be at my age, I clung to the fact that he said he was ok (even though he had said that when he cut his finger off with the chainsaw, when he had rolled the dumper, when he rolled the land rover....) 

When I saw the bike lying broken all over the busy road and the cars queued up with the sides taken out of them,  the feeling of grief was overwhelming. He couldn't be ok, judging by the state of the bike, he just couldn't. The ambulance door was closed, were they working on him? Had the shock hid his pain when he had rang me? What was that wet stuff on the road? Composure went out the window and I wailed like a baby. 

Luckily a policeman steered me away from the horrible sight and took me to the ambulance, and when the door swung open, there he was, sitting up fine! I had never been so pleased to see him in my life. 

He had flown and bounced about 50 feet up the road, and had he not had his leathers on, his strong, solid, familiar little body would have not been in one piece tonight. In fact he may not have been with us at all. 

Danger really is his middle name (he changed it by deed poll for a laugh, but don't tell his mum!) and honestly, the boy could break a crow-bar! He gets into so many scrapes and situations. He always tells me he is unbreakable, and I guess I have half believed him up until now. But he isn't. Life is fragile, and precious, precious, precious. Your own little world can shatter in seconds, with no warning. Make the most of it while you can.

Someone was watching over my action man today, there are no words to say how appreciative we are for more time together - we will be making the most of every minute.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Into the garden!!! (And nothing's died yet...!)

I hope you all have been having as beautiful weather as we have here! Disney has been making the most of the sun's warm rays. Look at him helping to warm up the flower beds! Bless him!!

Our snow drops are all out in full force now, with crocus' making an appearance, and the daffy buds are finally forming and bobbing in the breeze! I think the long awaited spring is finally here! 

For the first time ever I am noticing the buds appear and growing daily on the trees and shrubs, hosta's poking tentative rolls of leaves up, and all that looked barren and dead from winter slowly starting to rejuvenate. How have I not noticed this the past 26 years? The earth has never felt more magical to me, it feels really special to be aware of and play a part in it for the first time in my life!

The air is alive with bird song, and filled with the promise of what's to come when mother nature awakes fully. Hopefully she will not mind me bumbling along beside her trying to make things grow and be pretty!

But the arrival of warmer weather isn't good news for all of us! It means lots of burst pipes for the boys to fix! Here's a picture of Johnny and his apprentice in action fixing a leak sprung in spring! Liam crawls on his belly behind Johnny in the tight spaces ninja style to save the day!!

Johnny banged his head after that pic was taken. Haha!

With the sun on my back all week, the temptation grew ever stronger to get down and dirty with my plants in the soil! Like most beginners, my keenness will probably end up killing most of what I started off and nurtured all winter, but I accept this cheerfully! The lesson will have to be learnt the hard way to sink in! 

All winter I spent a good few hours (and many bottles of wine) a night, poring over what went best with what, what to plant with what for easiest rotation, what would shade what..... (You get the picture!) I made the coolest plans for my beds ever on my laptop, all neatly labelled and easy to follow.... And you know what? When it came to actually planting, it all went right out the window! 

It was very hard letting go of the little plants that I had nurtured and watched grow bigger and stronger almost daily since November, but after a 'test night' (where I put a few poppies out and they didn't die or get eaten) it was time to shove 'em all out into the big bad world!!! I was like a woman possessed when I got going, stabbing holes in the ground and frantically shoving plants in like there was no tomorrow. It felt good!!!

Have attached you a pic of 1 of the little plug's, isn't it cute? Was very proud of how they came out like proper garden centre plants! I've had nightmares about them crumbling in my hands when I tried to get them out of the pot! 
Got the majority of the poppies out in some of the stone raised flower beds (when I had actually planned to plant them as meadow flowers around our rough garden border - Oops!) and some potatoes planted in the big wooden half barrels. Haven't even remembered to label the potatoes! How rude!!! I only bought 2 types so it shouldn't be too hard to identify when its up and ready to eat!
Above is a pic of 1 of the beds. Not into formal, so rest of it will be filled with a mis-mash of everything I'm growing, hopefully it will look wild and natural! Well.... That's the plan at the minute anyway...... 

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

An the award goes too......

I have been really naughty for not passing on this blog sooner, and for that I sincerely apologise. Things have been a bit much here lately, but we are slowly getting back on top of things!

Ok, will get the bossy bit out of the way first! When you receive the award, say who it is from, and put a wee link to their blog. You then pass the award onto 5 other blogs, creating links so it is easy to view them. Hope that makes sense!

There are so many fantastic blogs out there, this was really really hard to whittle it down to just 5! So here goes! In no particular order.....

The first blog I would like to nominate is Where is Jacob Our Bracco?
I really hope you do not think I'm being frivolous in nominating you, but your search for your beautiful boy has really touched my heart, and I feel that as many people as possible should be aware of, and if they can, help in your efforts to get him back. Cannot imagine what you are going through, and sincerely hope that your pain will be over soon, with your boy home safe and sound.

One of my absolute favorite blogs is Adventures In A Field. Ferris is amazing!!! Have a peek at her in this very exciting time in her life. Not only is she really cool, she is realizing her dream to have a beautiful, energy efficient home (sorry Ferris, I'm sure that's the wrong term!) She has been fantastic to me, giving me so much sound advice, and not once making me feel like the simpleton that I am! (Although I'm sure it's very tempting!)

Live To Garden is also a fab well! I love this blog! Flowergirl is the same age as me, good fun, and a real proper gardener, something I very much hope to be someday myself!! 

Gardening Tips is another great blog! Everyone who reads this must follow it right now! Its so full of brilliant tips and ideas! 
It's Karen's first season playing at growing things as well, and she gives me such a giggle at her descriptions and views on things! She also full of enthusiasm on everything green and brown (except for rats, which I is fair enough!) What a lovely, happy blog!

So that's it for now! 

Clydey is giving me the eagle eye, so I'd better finish up and get out on the poo run!! 

Sweet dreams!

Linzi x x 

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Pearls of wisdom......

Had the funniest piece of gardening advice yet, just had to share it with you! 

Our TV Ariel man is another organic veggie grower (they are popping up everywhere, isn't it fab!!) so just had to drag him round my little baby plugs (is that the right word?) when he came to do a job this week. He's very matter of fact, and is a firm believer of growing for fun and not getting too tired down in the science and seriousness of it all. (Trying to adopt this attitude myself, I figure it will save me loads of disappointment when things don't work out how I imagined them to)

On asking the very Geordie Tony if he thought my poppies were sick or why they may be wilting, he scratched his head, poked 1, and offered the following pearls of wisdom..... "Never worry 'bout the poppies man, they could grow on a baldy heed!" Still laughing as I type!! 

Maybe you needed to be there, but hope that that little nugget at least makes you smile! Going to keep watering them and hope for the best!!!! 

Linzi x x

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

An award!! Me???

Wow! I've received an award!!! My blog is fabulous!!!! (Well..... Karie likes it...) Thank you very much Karie! Not going to inflict a Kate Winslet reaction on you all, but will say, I'm really touched! Check her blog out on this link. She has a fab life in the rural south of England, is an amazing artist, very witty, and devotes her life to the care and rescue of all kinds of animals! She really cool!!! It is now my duty to pass this on to 5 people who's blogs rock, so stand by, it could be you!!! haha

Was debating whether or not to tell you, but figured that if I did, I would be too ashamed to start again if temptation got really bad, so here goes...... On Monday I quit smoking!!!! Was kind of by accident (like most events in my life!), but going to try and stick it out this time! Please don't judge me badly, I'm trying so hard to be a better person, and my taste buds should be working again for the home grown veg in the summer!!! What an incentive!!!

On the plus side I smell lovely now, but I'm pretty much horrible to anyone who dares to catch my attention! Hopefully this will pass, for the sake of my relationship! Going on lots of walks and playing in lots of compost to try and be a nicer person! 

Managed to sow 7 lots of each Cosmea & Africian Daisy, Arctotis - New Hybrids. Quantities sound so small, but all my south facing windowsills are now full and with the temperatures so low and with the snow still falling, I'm too scared to put my bigger babies in the cold frame thingy! (Do you think it would kill the sweet peas or am I being a drama queen? Seriously need space!) 

You must be bored of looking at my offerings of scrawny little seedlings, so thought I would treat you to the catalogue pictures! I will be amazed if mine end up remotely like these, but here's hoping!! At least it will give you a giggle this summer comparing them!

Africian Daisy



That's pretty much it for tonight! Hopefully I will be in a better mood and will see the funny side to my life again soon!!! 

Goodbye for now,

From a nicer smelling, cleaner living, award winning (joking I'm not that conceited), dying for a dirty old fag, Linzi x x 

Thursday, 26 February 2009

More than just green fingers!

Never mind green fingers! I have green hands this week!! With the park opening looming for another season, Johnny & I have been scrabbling around like wee rats trying to get the place looking perfect. My job yesterday was to paint the outhouse floors British racing green! Hope it sticks to the floors as well as it's stuck to my poor skin!!!

Tunelessly blasting out whatever parts I knew to random songs that came into my head and of course, shamelessly flashing my builders bum at the whole of the courtyard (stops any customers coming over for a chat!) I merrily got on with the job in hand! 

It got really gusty outside, so had to shut the door to stop the whirlwind of leaves trying to get onto my lovely glistening floor. When I finally made my way across the room, everything was painted except for the outline of my feet.... literally, my hiking boots will never be the same again! Tried to push open the door..... Nothing happened. Thinking it was just a bit stuck, I rammed it with my shoulder, bearing in mind that I couldn't move my feet, or spill the paint, or drop my phone on the floor or in the tin of paint. It was at this point I realised I really needed a wee. 

Use your phone dum dum you think..... I eventually thought of that too, after the total panic had subsided.... but it had no reception! How rude!! Phone now also green. Gave up trying to use my initiative and yelled help like the feeble woman that I am until a sniggering Johnny finally came to the rescue and let me out. He has no idea how I got stuck in there. Figures 'someone' must have sneaked up and locked me in on purpose, just must not have heard them as I was singing so loudly....... Hmmmm....... 

The broccoli and african marigolds space hoppers are growing great guns now!!! The Space Hoppers are the smaller seedlings. Bit worried that they both may be bolting a bit though. They are not under cover at all, get turned every day, and are on a south facing window. What do you think? I always imagined broccoli to be really squat and just get fatter and fatter every day. Didn't imagine them starting of little thin things! Guess I have more in common with them than I thought.... Green skin.... Growing round as I age.... Hope I taste as nice!!! Not that I want to be eaten. That wouldn't be good! Anyhow... moving on!!!! Can now see 2 teeny tiny shoots on the rudbeckia sowings as well! She is finally coming out!

Off to try and scrub these poor hands some more! Not sure I like being a broccoli! 

Friday, 20 February 2009

There's no place like home!

There has been a lack of blogs this week - 'cause we have been on holiday!!!

Well armed with a big tv, home cut logs for the fire, more clothes than we would wear in a month, enough dog treats to last a year and dvd's a plenty (picked by me, so of course all totally unwatchable) we set off for our much anticipated break! 

We were greeted (after finally finding our romantic getaway by tearing down a lot of country lanes, taking a few wrong turnings and exchanging a lot of cross words) by what I can only describe as either a very friendly local, or a maybe a little bit drunk man. Either way, I got stuck with him! Johnny left him to me with a smirk, and set off exploring the cottage on his own. He had fully unpacked the car, and the man was still there yakking away! We had no option but to let the boys out with him there, their poor eyes were crossed they needed pees so badly! 

They exploded out of the car, their leads wrapping me up in knots with this slightly odd man, who was in his dressing-gown, and proceeded to cock their sweet little legs on everything they could see, which unfortunately included my leg. I am still taking this very personal Liam!

The idea of lovely lakeside walks and beautiful views from mountainsides had us so excited in the run up to getting away! The lakeside walks were great in practice, as being right by the lakes, all going was flat - but those mountains - oh boy they were tough!!

The dogs were no help at all climbing up the steep and narrow rock passages! They had pulling us off the rocks turned into an art form by the time we reached the top. 

All red, grumpy, sweaty, in a very dark mood, huffing and puffing (and this was only me, Johnny was of course finding nothing a problem, the little slug!) we finally made it to the top, to stop for (another) well earned rest...... Only to be see loads of children having picnics! Have to tell you, I was gutted! Have came to the conclusion that they had to have been air-lifted on!!

But enough moaning, we had a lovely time, and nothing beats tasty food in gorgeous pubs, with a good old pint and our dogs curled up at our feet! Bliss!!

As beautiful as the lakes are, it made us realise how special a place home was. (And before you Cumbrian's get all annoyed, i'm a wee paddy and Johnny's scottish, so its not a time old Northumbrian grudge!) So it was nice to get back as well!

And excellent news, the seedlings for the broccoli and africian marigolds have hatched!! (Is that the right word?) The Rudbeckia is still in hiding, but she is apparently quite shy takes a bit longer to come out, so she's not written off just yet!

Oh, and the seed potatoes are chitting away nicely on the kitchen windowsill thanks to Ferris Jay's brill advice! Rose end up and in the light, not to hot and not to cold! Thanks you! x

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Get Me!!! The Gardener!!!!

I'm walking with a new swagger in my step today, 'cause I'm a proper gardener!!! 

Had a lovely day! Sarah popped over with her black Lab Betsey & we set off for a lovely walk around the circle with Clydeybops. The snow started to thaw last night (finally!!) so we weren't slipping around too much for the first time in 2 weeks!!

For once Clyde was really well behaved, think he is starting to realise that he is not in fact a Staffie, but a Lab. He hardly pulled at all for once, and even listened to me calling him and came for treats 3 times!! Progress!  So nice to go out for a walk with one of my dogs and actually enjoy it! 
Have you ever read A Home For Rose? Its a lovely book written by John Katz. Would really recommend it. He believes that to have a better connection with your dog (and ultimately, a better dog) you need to improve and become a better person, then the dog will improve, as the problem has never been the dog, but you. Really trying to become better, and I swear, with a bit of Cesar & good old treats, its working!!

When we got home I got my propagator out and sowed some seeds!!!! 

Will be boring you to tears now, but here's what I planted:

21 seeds of Africian Marigold Space Hopper 
14 seeds of Broccoli Ironman F1
7 seeds of Rudbeckia Moreno

Keep taking off the lid to check if anything has sprouted yet (which is stupid I know, just so keen!) My posh new labels, written in my neatest handwriting ever look pretty cool too!!!

Sorry about the genetically modified veg. Not a chav I promise, just ordered the seeds before reading all your lovely blogs, and promise if I stick at this I will do this properly and naturally next year!

Portrait is of my 2 special boys (Clydey is behind and Liam to the front) which was sketched by the amazingly talented Karie Ann Cooper, whom I am very proud to call a friend. 

Off to crack open a bottle of red, have a lovely night!

Linzi  x

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Winter Wonderland.... Again!

Had more than a dusting of snow today! Those big fat flecks just keep falling!

Good old Mr Kirtley brought us bread back from the shops so hopefully we won't starve! 
Actually I'm being a drama queen, the freezer should have something in it..... I'm sure through all that ice there has to be something edible.... I suppose if the worst comes to the worst, there are always the ducks....
Humor humor!!!

A stupid driver came to the door today with a lorry load of stuff for Four Gables. Told him where to go and where not to go, as he would get stuck in the snow otherwise. He wouldn't even look me in the eye when I was talking to him, think he was too busy looking over my shoulder into the middle ages were women weren't allowed to speak!!! 

Sure enough he went straight where I told him not to and got himself well stuck!! He had dug the gravel right down through to the matting below with his stupid wheels and left massive ruts everywhere! 

Wigam's to the rescue!!! Even the farmers tractor had bother pulling him out, so made him give the farmer money for his stupidity. 

Stupid man took pride telling me in front of all the workmen he owned his company and was the big boss. Steam was coming from my ears, but you will be pleased to know I refrained from telling him that he should have known better!!! The big tube!!!! 
Had to make him admit that I had asked him not to do what he had just done though - his blush was much better than having a pre-menstrual rant!!! 

Poppies are still not dead!!! Whey hey!!! May have got away with my total stupidity!!! Attached a wee pic for you to have a nosey 

Linzi x 


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A rat.. and some potatoes.....!!!

Been working my little bum off all day, hammering away on the laptop to try and get ready for opening.

Luckily, I was in my living room, with a gorgeous view of all those little blue tits, robins, wrens and the lovely birdies with the golden chests (sorry not very good at spotting!) to-ing & fro-ing to the bird feeders for a nibble, with the poor big cumbersome ducks trying their best to fit under the tiny bird house for their share. It was idyllic with the pure white background of this mornings fresh dusting of snow.

With Liam & Clyde being very sweet for a change, and taking turns to give me kisses and warm my feet, I was starting to feel quite smug about life. Serves me right! Just then I noticed that a dirty big rat had scared the tiny birds away and was shoving at the ducks, whilst stealing the peanuts from my feeder! A bang on the window didn't even scare him away! How rude!!! 

Poor Johnny had to spend the rest of the day in sniper position until he got a hit. He was already annoyed that the DHL package was potatoes and garlic for me, "how sad are you, getting spuds in the post!!!" (not much is happening at the minute so a DHL van is cause for excitement and elbowing to get the parcel when it turns up our drive!) 

Not much chance of planting my goodies for at least another month! How on earth do you store them? They will be rotted by the time the sun comes out and melts all the snow away!! Oh Lordy! Why do I start these things?

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snowed In.....?

More and more seed packets keep arriving! Get all excited until I think about where I am going to start them off.... What am I going to do??? Having a major stress now! Johnny bought me 2 mini grow houses, but the snow looks set to last for a good few weeks yet and they are simply too cold to put anything in for a good few months at least (whether I have murdered them first or not!) At this rate, if I ever manage to grow anything it won't be ready till at least October!!! 

Dug out the court yard today to finally get the car out. Well... Johnny did! Turns out we are not totally snowed in - if I had actually ventured further than the drive I would have realised that the roads were clear - opps!!! 

Brother Louis seems to be making the best of the weather, his spirits are up despite not getting out for nearly a week now bless him. My little scruff muffin! Isn't he cute?

Right! Off to pack for the weekend show!! Need to earn my keep!!! 


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Why Do I Start These Things?

After repeatedly insisting to anyone that would listen - no make that anyone around - that I was now a gardener, and asking raised beds for my birthday, I had to bite the bullet last week and order my carefully selected veg and flower seeds!

All South facing windowsills are already filled with sweet peas which really need to be supported, just haven't got round to it yet and lots of red Flanders poppies. The Flanders poppies were lovingly separated out of the seed tray last week, and put into their own little cells - well.... kind of... They looked so small by themselves so after carefully pulling seeds out by 'true leaves' (just learnt that term it means not the seed leaves) I grouped at least 3 little plants together and rubbed them between my fingers to really gell them together. Took me about 5 hours to get half way through the tray - when the most unlikely flower expert you will ever meet  - Ant the stone wall builder -arrived for a dukey cup of tea. 

Gleefully he informed my that I had probably murdered all the poppies as you were not supposed to touch the stems - opps!!! And stems are supposed to be kept straight - not screwed and stabbed into the holes made for them with pens and the like!!! Silly marrar!!

They do look like they are slowly dying off on the windowsill now but I'm determined to keep them in my care until riger-mortis has set in! 

So thats that. Think we have established that I'm not going to be a natural. So as not to lose face, my experts and unwilling mentors, Farmer John and Ant the stone wall builder will have to be plied with free beer all summer to try and prise some, well make that any, advice at all from them.

Off now to study more books. Everyone seems to just assume that you will know which way to insert a sunflower seed, (on its side? Pointy bit up?) or what is a seed in the pot puri jumble that has been lableled Africian Marigold by DT Brown. Need a book simpler than gardening for dummies.... Hmmm....