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....