janewilliams20: Rose (garden)
It's Spring. No need for a coat. And everything's been going right, pretty much.
Into town to pick up a prescription that I'd ordered by phone, yesterday. It was ready for me. I have no idea how, they must have bypassed all the usual procedure. Met a couple of friends from MIND, sat around in the sunshine and had a chat for a bit.
Off to Hitchin, where I had a little more trouble finding a parking spot, but the lady who was vacating the one I got also passed over her ticket, which ran for another hour and a half!
A rather lovely motor-trike parking up, and I stopped and admired and chatted to the owner.
Ducks, moorhens, geese etc. on the river, snowdrops in the churchyard.
A book faire.... well, it would be rude to resist, wouldn't it? Travel guides were down to £1 each. I now have a little guide book for each of half a dozen German cities.
David's Arts and Crafts had the black relief outliner I was getting for someone else, didn't have the white I wanted for myself, and didn't have the apple-green paint, but did have a set of six that included a chartreuse green that should do the job. Also gold.... and four other colours that I already had :(
Back through the market, picking up a freshly cooked Pad Thai and sitting by the river to eat it. Yes, lunch outside. It's spring!

Onward! I'd skipped visiting the Harkness Roses garden centre opposite the Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living last time I was over there due to stress overload, but it sounded like a good place to look at greenhouses. It was, fairly - they had the wooden type I'd seen before, and other pretty things - and a full rack of vegetable seedlings, ready to go out! I'd wanted to get something into Poppy the Veg Trug, so picked up a tray of rainbow chard and another of mange-tout.

Home.... and Poppy has had the surviving lettuce moved to the front (how they got through the winter is beyond me, but they did) and chard put in the back, next to the fully-grown one from last year. The mange-tout are in a couple of the big round tubs, with climbing facilities ready for when they're a bit bigger. Yes, bought them and planted them the same day - I must have found my Round Tuit!

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Still not as much as I'd hoped, but not bad. Two chutneys got made, the mango and the BBQ sauce.
The Battle of the Herb Bed has had some refereeing, and as a result, the bay tree is a lot smaller and neater, with most of the lower branches removed to let smaller herbs have a chance. The Sage has likewise been chopped, and the Tansy both chopped and tied back. I want to leave the flowers going for as long as possible, the bees love them, but having something that size spreading all over the path had to be stopped.
So I now have tansy flowers in a vase in the kitchen, smelling lovely, and sage flowers looking elegant in the lounge.

Meanwhile, I'm reading up about diabetes, and blood sugar control. "Don't eat things that are high in sugar" is pretty simple, though learning what those are is more tricky. Which fruits are too high to risk was non-obvious, and I'm still trying to work out if bananas are good or bad.
Then there's Glycemic Index. Low GI Good, is the easy answer. Low GI being unprocessed slow release carbs, things like brown rice, and wholemeal bread, and... cake? Yes. Cake has a lower GI than any wholemeal bread. Some potatoes are more glycemic than glucose. As a useful number, it's about as good as BMI :(
There's another Magic Number called Insulin Index - the extent to which the food prompts the body to start making insulin. That's usually proportional to the carbs it gives you, but with some useful exceptions. Wikipedia is as far as I've got. but it's quite interesting
and this, which shows carrots with a higher GI than honey.
The banana conflict, by the way, is that while they're high in sugar, they're also a great source of potassium, and that's a Good Thing.

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Surprisngly well, actually. I got a lot of things done that weren't in the plan, mainly because I had a Dave around to enjoy, so we did things that it made sense to do together - like eating lunch out. Saturday he was working days, but Sunday he was on change-over, and Monday he managed to wake up much earlier than usual, so that was a day and a half of "ooh, look, I have a husband".  Lunches have occurred at the Lounge and at a Toby carvery. We also went to the Homebase 15% off day and got a new strimmer, a new laundry basket, and some more plants (aubergine that already has small fruit on, my one having failed due to neglect, and some herbs to go in the front bed), acquired and used bird food, watered everything that needed it, and on Monday, investigated a furniture place near the Toby and may have found a new 3-piece suite that isn't too expensive.

Despite two meals out, I've stayed in WW point limits, not even using exercise points or weeklies, and have lost 2kg this week. No major milestones, but I am now on less points per day than before. I'm feeling healthier - bouncy and efficient, with "brisk" being the default walk, rather than "amble" or "plod".

Techy stuff - both the new phone and the tablet now run Android 4. Ah, yes, new phone - Dave and I now both have phones from Virgin Media, same people who supply our broadband, TV, and landline. It's a pretty good deal. MIne's a Samsung Galaxy 2, and so far, I like. I'm very impressed by how easy transfer was - once the PAC code was in, and the number switched to the new phone, all my apps, wallpaper, everything, transferred itself automatically. Well, all except the WW app I use, that isn't on Android Market any more, so I had to re-download.
Also discovered that if I load Dropbox to the phone, it'll automatically upload any photos I take to my Dropbox account, so they're waiting on the PC for me when I get home. Handy!

Sewing? That kirtle has gone from a length of fabric and a cutting diagram on the back of an envelope to an almost-complete garment. Side-gussets, facing for the neckline (it's  a good job I never throw anything away, if you were to lay that facing out flat on the inside-out-kirtle so you could see the shape, it would look a lot like a linen trouser-leg, and for good reason).
I need to do some hand sewing where the gussets meet, to get the seams to work, and to finish off the ends of every seam so I don't have dangling threads or a tendency for things to come undone.
It would be a good idea to either finish all the seams properly (no chance) or to run the zig-zag machine over them (some chance) before they fray to death. It would be nice to hem the bottom, and the ends of the sleeves, rather than rely on the selvage to do the job.
What I've absolutely got to do, to make this usable, is the eyelets so the front opening can be laced up. Before that, I plan on sewing that facing seam in place on the outside - hand stitching is probably easier than the machine, as well as looking better.
Three evenings, plus some of Friday (morning before I leave the house, probable hand-sewing time in the hotel Friday night/Saturday morning). I'll do it.


Jun. 28th, 2012 03:29 pm
janewilliams20: (Default)
 So there I was turning the contents of the fruit bowl into fruit salad, and I chopped a very ripe papaya open and scooped out the seeds.
Seeds. The obvious next thought was "I wonder if I could grow them?"
I know nothing about papaya beyond them being on the cheap in Asda and tasting nice. Pass a netbook, and Google

Yes, I could germinate them, though it would take about a month

But the results might be rather big, and not like this climate.

I could eat them. Me? Cookery? Salads? Who, me?

They're about to be rescued from the food waste.

Edit: when I moved on to the mango, I carefully avoided any such thoughts.

Further edit: papaya and friends, ready to cost me zero WW points.
Actual fruit salad
janewilliams20: Rose (garden)
I wanted a tomato to slice into a sandwich, so naturally, went outside to see if there were any left to harvest, and came back with a complete punnet. Picked some fresh lettuce while I was at it.
It's November, isn't it? Frost, gales, ice, slush.... fresh lettuce? No, it isn't in a greenhouse, just a pot on the patio. There's a lovely blue sky out there, and when I go into town later, I doubt if I'll bother with a coat.
Incidentally, this year's tomato success story is "Minibel". Cherry, "dwarf", and while reports of it being so small it'll work on a windowsill aren't true, it works nicely in a pot, either trailing or with a bit of support. Supposedly an ealry cropper - well, this is November, and it's still going.
janewilliams20: Rose (garden)
Well, possibly not, but we have at least confirmed that the bottom of the garden exists, should fairies wish to come and inhabit it.

The honeysuckle is now a LOT smaller than it was, the winter flowering jasmine has also shrunk slightly, the dog rose is back under control, and the "flower bed" now contains a lot less grass, the contents of the grow-bag from the tomato greenhouse, a small stick that Spaldings promise me will become a multi-coloured buddleia nexy year, quite a lot of thyme, some (surpise free gift) bulbs and some (un-surpise free gift) violets that were intended for the free illuminated hanging basket that I have no intention of filling this year.

Fairies? We're getting close.
"I know a bank (flat bit of ground) where the wild thyme blows (tick)
Where oxslip and the nodding violet grows (tick)
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine (honeysuckle - tick)
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: (will dog-rose do?)
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night....

I'd better look out for some oxslips.
janewilliams20: Rose (rose)

The other week, I spotted a micro-irrigation kit in Aldi for £6, and bought it.

Today, I pulled it all out of the pack and started serious inspection and measuring.

It comes with an adapter to fit it to an outside tap, which is good. I've tried it on the tap at the front of the house, and it works - sort of. A bit of a leak twixt tap and screw-fitting - they suggest PTFE tape, and they're probably right. Trouble is, we'd need to unscrew it whenever we wanted to use the big hose, and screw that one instead, The big hose also leaks in the same place.

Futher measurement suggests that once I've run the hose all the way round the house, there isn't going to be enough of it. Easy solution: back round to Aldi, and pick up a second kit.

Back to the "connect it to the tap" problem - the kit suggests buying an extra part that will connect ths hose to a standard full-size hose adapter - such as our big hose already uses. That would mean no more screwing and unscrewing of ajoint we're trying to make water-proof, just leave the existing bit in place and click on the required hsoe each time. Only trouble is, they don't suggest where to get this bit from, and Google only finds me other people with the same problem.

A thought. There are other micro-irrigation systems, if vastly more expensive. If any of them use the same bore hose, their adapter could work for this. So I headed for garden centres with a small sample of my hose in my pocket.

Yes. A system called "Gardena" uses the same bore: 4.6mm, it seems. They had one left of a thing that looked as if it would do what I wanted, and would cost me £16. (A starter kit equivalent to the Aldi one would have cost me about £60). Further inspection on-line once home agrees that this is the gadget I need. Only one trouble:its link to the "standard" hose click-fit is male. So is the junction on the tap. I'm pretty sure we've got a female/female somewhere, but I'm not sure where, so operations will be delayed unti Dave gets in. He can probably advise on how to attach micro-hose to wall, as well.

Since the websites for Gardena also supply a connection to make their hose compatible with Hozelok micro-hose, I think I won't be bothering to look at that - I know it's not compatible!

Next problem to solve is getting micro-hose into plastic Aldi greenhouse, through theplastic sheet wall, without causing irrepairable damage. I think a punch and an eyelet may be called for, the sort of thing normally used on tents. Better see what the sewing room can provide.

Then again, experimention over for today - it's raining.

Edit: Dave is now home, and as expected, knows where the female/female adpator is. It's on the other end of the big hose. The big hose that already runs from front to back, and is a lot less prone to damage than the tiny one. So I take the hose, click off the current sprayer, click on the New Gadget , hook hose into the hanger for the strawberry pot, and.... yes. That'll do. Time to get down to some design of where all the junctions go.
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Because one swallow does not make it summer, and the one I saw sitting on a line was all on its own.

We did go round a car-boot sale, and acquired some more books (*), a new top, two "Piggin'" ornaments, and breakfast. Also realised just how stiff and achey we were after all that gardening :( After seeing some bluetits inspecting nest sites yesterday, we thought we'd provide them with more choices, so two more nestboxes went up today, one from the RSPB, one from a garden centre (nice slate roof that goes well with the slate area in the back).

Salad lunch on the patio, watching the butterflies. No, it's not summer at all, honest.

* Books included yet more Italian phrase books, and a wonderful "European" one that covers 14 languages including Dutch, Polish and various Scandanavian ones. Murhpy's Law says that this means our touring holiday will probably never get out of France.
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Nothing very exciting, from anyone else's point of view, but I thought I'd better let you all know I'm still around.

Read more... )
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Friday, Dave phoned me in the morning to say he'd be working later than expected, was pissed off with life, and would like to spend the evening sitting on the patio with a bottle of white wine. I looked at the weather, and what was in the fridge. He got to have a three-course dinner on the patio, complete with white wine in a chiller and the freshest possible salad: the lettuce is growing right there on the table, pick what you want.

Saturday, we hit the garden. We weeded the front border, and put more spring bulbs in the gaps between the daffs (then took some pics of flowers).
Daff borderDaff macroPansy

We managed, for the first time, to hang washing on the whirligig rather than indoors.
We went and got a growbag and a mini-greenhouse designed to sit over it, assembled it, and found it to be a perfect fit next to the existing mini-greenhouse (with shelves, more suited to the seedlings and aforementioned lettuce).
My herb bed has been tidied, and a Big Pot planted with the things that can't go in there: prostrate rosemary (because the main bed seems to have got Kill-all-rosemary-itis), two sorts of mint, and some oregano to act as "ground cover".
Herb pot
Main hedge has been trimmed, and the end tree (dead) cut out.
We saw butterflies!
Tortoisehsell on daisy
The various bird feeders have been refilled.

We then ate the lamb stew that had been simmering in the slow cooker, and pulled out some bits to go on the BBQ on Sunday.

Sunday, up early, but going "ow, bits of me hurt, we did a lot yesterday didn't we?" Went round the local car boot sale, paying next to nothing for various useful things - then realised that the weather, while still dry and sunny, was now too cold for a BBQ.

So, Spring now seems to be over, having lasted about 36 hours.

Incidentally, one of the things I picked up for "not much" was a Borrowers omnibus. I'd loved those books as a kid, found a scruffy paperback copy of one recently, and been hoping to find others, so getting the whole lot as a non-scruffy hardback was great. Yes, I did finish reading it before lunch.
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Got greeenhouse outside, weighted down, and (thanks to Dave), attached to the wall.
Found propagators to go in it.
Got seeds.
Found bag of seed compost in shed.
Put seed compost in propagator cells, applied water. Watched as water sat on the surface of bone-dry dust-like seed compost and totally refused to soak in :(

Have left the things sitting in water both top and bottom. Will plant seeds in the morning, if it behaves: or may take the whole lot out, put it in a mixing bowl, and INSIST that it gets wet in an even manner!
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Today, I have built a greenhouse. OK, so it's only a little one, but they were doing them in Aldi for £15, and this means I can get going on tomatos and herbs and other fun things a bit esrlier. I've been trying to have pot herbs in the kitchen, but there isn't really room except on the table next to the radiator or in the dark, and neither work.

I took the Big Package on to the patio to assemble - it wasn't raining much. Extracted instruction leaflet. Since it was raining a little bit, took it indoors to read. Interrupted by crash from outside as chunks of plastic-wrapped metal were blown across the patio. Looked at kitchen table, looked at package size, cleared table, went and got package back in again.

It was very easy to assemble, and the final bit said "Place... only... in a sheltered position where it is not exposed to strong winds." So I did that.
Greenhouse in sheltered spot
Remind me - I was doing this because I didn't have space in the kitchen, right?
janewilliams20: (Default)
I have a newly-dug herb bed, and I am replanting it.
Pic and details over on Flickr...
New herb bed 10th May 2008

But the question is, what am I going to do about Mint? I try to grow it in containers. It usually dies. At best, I get a straggly thing with a few coarse leaves. I'm considering giving up on the "container" concept and just sticking it in the bed with the rest: but I've heard from others that it's likely to take over the entire garden, given the chance.


Oh, and if anyone did want that patio table and chairs I mentioned in the last post - too late. A charity furniture shop round the corner has started opening at times outside working hours, so they got them.
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I'm on a course in London again this week. Same venue as in this post. This time I'm using the bus from Kings Cross, and it's rather nice. I'm told this is going to be a tough and intensive course, but the first day wasn't too bad at all.

For anyone else who wonders why I've been a bit quiet and not posting, I had a sudden whirl of people asking me to write things and proofread things. The most frantic deadlines are now over (unless Gregory Privat does any more two-hour-notice requests), the next ones (for [livejournal.com profile] newt) are end of May, so I can relax a bit and maybe even get some sleep.

There was also a fluy thing that hit both of us for a few days, and we spent a fair bit of last weekend in the garden, reviving the herb patch. It's been dug over, the edging replaced, and slightly enlarged. Next job is buying replacement plants to go in it (ooh!). But finding that kneeling down and getting up again had a >50% chance of making me head towards tunnel vision and blackout was something I could have done without. Blood pressure down to 115/75 - I'm usually around 135/85, so something odd there.

I think I'll spend the next few nights just catching up on sleep. Saturday was 12 hours, and could easily have used more, last night was another "stop writing at 2 when I fall over", followed by the alarm going at 6.

A random thought: [livejournal.com profile] telynor, what are you doing Friday afternoon? Because I'll be in the Old Street area, with a Travelcard to take me out to zone 6, and I get let loose at around 3 in the afternoon.
janewilliams20: (Default)
Sunday after Dave had gone to work, the builder who'd done our bricking up came round, Read more... )

Weigh-in Monday night Read more... )

Back home and refreshed, did some serious pruning of the Apothecary's Rose, Read more... )

Then, after planning an early night, got attacked by a story. Read more... )

Tuesday morning once Dave was home: dig up and pot rose and rhubarb. In fact it rained and we got no builder, but at least my plants are safe, and the rhubarb decided to split, so I have a root for [livejournal.com profile] tattercoats to try again.

Then off to the doctor to get the results of my bloodtests. It seems that everything is boringly normal, and my blood pressure is down lower than we've seen it for years. Still need to get that liver scan done, though.

Tuesday evening - backswording. Read more... )

Wednesday - evening off, Dave was on days, so home. And knackered (he's been working silly hours for far too long).

This is Thursday. Builder's back today, he and his son arrived just as I was leaving.

The assorted gears and motors and things for my BUA arrived yesterday. Read more... )

Plans for tonight: hug my husband.

Plans for Friday: LondonGlorantha pub-meet in the evening, Read more... )

Plans for Saturday: go to see Anthony and Cleopatra Read more... )

Plans for Sunday: might go to an extra back-swording session, might not.
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Been de-stressing and hence not updating much. So a catch-up, with multiple cut-tags.

Weekend - Pete and Shirley came round for Saturday afternoon and evening.

Read more... )

Sunday, caught up on some sleep. Read more... )

Sunday afternoon was Summer, Read more... )

Monday... work, the usual. Helen's birthday, and I now have a really nice source of E-cards, so I used it. It had been a couple of days since I last did a note/card to Enid, so Read more... )

Should have gone back to slimming/exercise class in the evening, but still feeling tired (and achey from the gardening), so skipped it. Instead, pulled out the fabric for Dave's new cloak. Read more... )

And then, late at night, I did a final check of email/LJ, and found Vaurien's post saying that Enid had died. Oh. Oh, various words that won't be appreciated by filters. Yes, it was expected, yes, it was as he says, in many ways a relief, yes, she went in the best way that could be expected under the circumstances, but even so... Didn't wake Dave to supply hugs, it's not fair. Bears are perfectly capable of soaking up tears. I expect I'll drivel on more about this over the next few weeks, I'm just starting to realise how much she meant to me. Dave did the sums - I'd known her for 18 years.

Ah well, on to more cheerful topics. Tuesday night, I went back to back-swording class for the first time for far too long Read more... )
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I'd thought I was going to have to work this weekend - in fact I got away without that, but did spend a lot of Saturday catching up on sleeping (it's been a busy week). And dozing in front of the PC while searching the photo archives for things for the new month's Scavenger Hunt.

And then... BBQ, car boot finds, running )
janewilliams20: (Default)
Got up to find Rain. Drat. Pulled plants out of car and put them on the patio table, so at least they can get rained on. Dithered around the house for a bit, then... market, more plants )


May. 19th, 2006 07:27 pm
janewilliams20: (Default)
I'd more or less decided I wasn't doing much with the garden this year - we're away almost every weekend, and for two and a half weeks in June, and there's no point in inventing work and watering that won't get done.

Only... guess what? )


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