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Category Archives: Diary

Reflections 2019 w13

Today was a first.

My first Pirozhki. If you ever wondered what a Cornish pastie would be like in another country, this is one version. I had it cold and it was nice, but my brain was constantly thinking…God this would be gorgeous freshly cooked and out of the oven.

Beef, onion, cabbage and potatoes all wrapped in a bread shell, see Di – a lobby sandwich (an in joke for my sister), instead of a pastry case. Golden in colour, it just looked delicious, and I knew what I was having for dinner. No taster needed.

I have looked up a couple of recipes to find out how they are done, and I have found one done in a frying pan. My brain is now going along the lines of camping – can this be done on a Trangia? mmmmmm. I see experimentation in the future.

On other news the shed has been moved from one end of the plot to the other, with the help of my brother, and we will put on the felt tomorrow. 3 more mauls and the plot is just planting and paths, which can be done over the year.

I know I’ve overdone it today as all my nerves are tingling, even with extra pain meds it still feels like an army of ants are under my skin. But one can rest a little next week. The course work has been done, the shed will have been done, and the sewing projects will be started, the fox first I think, now that I have my two tones of fleece. I have several tones that would not work, one was an unseen replacement that is of such a bright orange it gave me the idea of doing a Nemo fish puppet.

My sons Happy memory stuffed toy, based on the opposite of the worry monsters, of his design will follow these projects. It is going to be interesting at least, and will include my first attempt of including a zipper and a liner pocket into sewing machine project. He believes I will be able to do it, so much so he has a non opening zipper for an eye as well. The optimism of a seven year old, and the challenge of turning his 3d object drawn in 2d into a 3d stuffed animal.

At least all patterns start with modelling clay.



Reflections 2019 w12

Well another day of making my disc bulges suffer, but another part of the allotment altered. This now makes 2/3’s of it done. At the weekend the shed will have a new home, floor and roofing felt. This will then allow me to get its current site level for the greenhouse to move location.

I am moving away from two greenhouses and going for one sidewards and a large cold frame, that is in itself 3/4 of the floorspace of the green house it will replace. This will, on bricks, be plenty tall enough for the pepper plants, to give some sort of scale. The roof can however be easily removed to allot plants to grow upwards as though they were on a plot, theoretically it should be a little more versatile than the greenhouse, and the benefit of having one greenhouse is having it side on for the winter sun, expanding the season.

So, 3 more maul jobs to go, and then a visit to the chiropractor.

I was asked by the psychologist last week if one enjoys the allotment, and the confusion was evident when I said no. It’s just one maul job less than last time, there is no sense of achievement because it has not been completed, and one does not know how long my body will keep taking the punishment, the Tramadol has increased on some days.

But that is what you get for wanting to completely alter the plot, the only things that have not moved are two apple trees, a crappy plum has gone and a pear has been transplanted, they were 10yrs old and a half day maul, armed only with a shovel, foul language and my weight. The pear is showing signs of life thankfully.

A huge amount of work at the beginning of my first year to make life easier in the long term, and standardising lengths of cages, fleece and netting.

Does my plot look like anyone else? No, it looks like I copied and pasted a design on a computer and then translated that onto the ground. That was the concept, to know exactly how many plants can be planted in each one for differing sizes. Therefore planting catch crops can also be calculated.

I sow in modules/ paper pots to give the plants extra time away from the slugs, and knowing the number has made this a doddle for the planning.

As for the slugs, it was my sons weekend to visit this week, and we completed the hedgehog house for the allotment, should one drop by and decide to have a banquet, a B&B if you will.


AGGHH it’s late…

This is going to be a quickie, I have run out of time that the meds will allow anything in the line of english.

I have been focused on the allotment again, but the schedule has changed. The shed is too warm in its current location and the asparagus had started to get mould on the roots. The potatoes are not fairing better, and need to be in the ground now, or very close to it, to prevent them from becoming jacket potatoes.

The fence by the potatoes has yet to be finished, and the compost bins at home needed to be emptied and then have the compost transported to the plot to coat the asparagus and the potatoes. But this delay causes a change here, which alters something else. It’s like crossing a river by stepping stones whilst putting the stones in place randomly.

But I have been able to do one bin, taken the compost to the plot and planted the asparagus crowns. I just have to hope that Tuesday will be dry so that I can Finnish the fence and plant the potatoes.

By then one should also have the seeds arriving to start filling the greenhouse with the seed trays.

Oh, and when I have not been at the plot, I worked out a plot placement diagram, seed chart and a 5 year rotation of the main crops. Why 5 and not 3? Because I read a study that came to the conclusion clubroot on brassicas flared up at 2-3yrs. Boy does that make it awkward when some brassicas are in for 1-2 years. The purple sprouting broccoli and Brussels sprouts have had their own rota.

Now I just have to print out a years worth and plan what follows when a plant comes out, as I intend to grow year round.

Crikey, 312 words, not so quick after all.

Reflections 2019 w09

Not much to report this week regarding the allotment, the only thing done has been a large leaf mold bay. Lots of shopping has however been done for it.

Wilkinsons have 2.4m canes in a pack of 10 for £3, and as all the canes over 1m on the plot  had to go, lets just say two shops have had their stock either depleted or very near to. The 1.8m canes are easier to get a hold of with very little price difference if the parking money is taken into account.

Seeds and plants have been ordered for the march onwards sowing, I had bought the Jan/Feb seeds last month, due in a couple of weeks, that will start with an earnest in the greenhouse. So between now and then one hopes to get the paving area done for the sheds new location. Dependant of course on the winter weather that is supposed to be here next week. One has been able to do quite a bit whilst the weather has been good.

And my body lets me know I have…Often

Other than that…

Two poems have been written, on has taken nearly two months to get right, but it’s hard to write about the darkness when your stumbling around in it, and I refuse to go back onto full time meds if there is no therapy to go with it. The other one was a challenge by a friend in one of my groups who misses the poetry sessions we used to have at another group. That flew out whilst sitting at Sainsbury’s for my Mum and neighbour to finish their shopping. It must have been on the back of my mind for some time, as the time one wrote about is from last February.

And I handed in a concept for a piece of art my art coordinator for a group asked me for. Not anywhere near what she was thinking, I hit that ball that far out of the park it landed in a different county.

We will have to see if that goes any further, as she cannot fathom the mechanics of the painting. Even with my working model.

Thats it for this week, hope you are all well.

Reflections 2019 w07

Two things this week…

1. The allotment continues to surprise me with buried items and “just how much wood is stored here?” One has had two burns already and if the pile is dry enough, one has at least 3 more burns, whilst I finish processing the old pallet wood to de-nail it for sawing, then it can be added onto the fence, one hopes to stop the neighbours bramble coming through. In other words…As I burn the stack of wood that is no good, I will be making more wood offcuts to throw on the fire. But once the fence has been done and the last two beds have been done, one will know all the other wood is to go. None is suitable for a new shed floor and that will be the last of the wood constructions. Still lots to do, but the mauling is coming to an end. One hopes that my back will last out.

2. The prototype of the fox draft excluder is going to be sewn together this week, once this has been done one can work out the tail pattern/size. With this being the first construction of my pattern it will not be in the fur, this way one can see any problems with alignment of the parts. And boy does this thing have a collection of parts, the fur version will have eyebrows to add a little more realism, and that will make the total pattern parts to over 6o. Not many of the parts join on the fabric pre cutting, and although the material is going to be the same on the trial it has been cut as though it would mirror the 3 fur colours on the final. This is my first pattern making, based on how to design a puppet, and there is a temptation to double the pattern size to create a fox puppet. One still has to complete the one that has been put to one side whilst doing this fox before that will come about though.

Reflections 2019 w05

I bumped into my friend the other day whilst walking in the downpour we had. And, with not seeing each other for a long while, had a chat, as the rain got even heavier.

He was working, making a delivery, and had to wait for the homeowner; I was already sodden, due to leaving the house with no adequate rainwear. Light showers were forecast and my clothing matched that forecast, the lack of dark clouds also gave me the false confidence of going for the walk when we did.

So here we were, standing under what could have easily been a draining bathtub, water flowing off the few areas that where fully waterproof, both of us were soaked.

But it was not this that got me to thinking…

It was how differently we viewed the weather. I dislike the rain, there are exceptions – like the spring showers that can come out of nowhere, then disappear just as fast when shelter is found, not enough to get you wet, but enough to get you to steam when the sun shines once more, rainfall on a tent etc. But he said he preferred the rain, this cold, winter, drenching  – over the snow.

I prefer the snow, especially walking in it. One can get around the walk much dryer than the same amount of liquid in rain form. A good layer of insulation and the snow can sit on the jacket to be shaken off occasionally, even Spot collects it on her coat. One has yet to get stuck in the snow in this car, and the last time I had to abandon a car was over a decade ago. But he drives a van, and apparently they hate the snow. He does not particularly like driving/walking in the snow either.

To put this into perspective we are both the same age, both live in the same area and drive on similar roads, we experience the same weather.

Its not like he has worse weather conditions.

But one  wonders…

Do I see the weather through an artists eyes, or practical eyes. How he spoke it was practicalities for him. I can see both.

Which perspective shaped my view of the snow to the point of having to walk in it when it first comes. Or are there hidden memories locked away in the dark recesses of my mind that hold the key to my positive viewpoint???

Reflections 2019 w04

Finally I have the pattern for the fox head at the correct size, at least for machine sewing it together, a note one will have to make when making a pattern again.

I do not know why the pattern comes out slightly larger when the masking tape is transferred to a flat plane, but apparently it does a little, well it does with this combination of modelling medium and this masking tape, it was a pain to get it ‘stick’ to the model maybe that has something to do with it. We will see in the future.

One now appreciates the cost for the patterns now that the time has been put in to get it to where it is at the moment, it could do the head as it is, but one is playing with the pattern to equalise the seams on the face.

Overall, one is happy with the second prototype head. This allows me to see where the final shape can be created with some more hand stitching as construction joints, the head is being stuffed rather than skinning a foam head like with the puppets. So the stitching will draw the facial features together where needed.

One has also played with the hair trimmer on the fur, and yes that is as messy as you would think, so the look should be as I imagined it to be.

Just the body, legs and tail to pattern out. It should be plain sailing after the legs are modelled.