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Category Archives: Gardening

Reflections 2020 w06

On Friday I finished the green house, it is ready for the growing season. Shelving made from the old greenhouse frames has been done, custom made for the square trays I bought for the job.

I just hope it needs no repairs after the storm that has come through last night and today. A neighbours roof has lost several tiles, they are not small ones at that, and after venturing out this morning one has seen a scattering of tiles, branches and twigs over most of the roads, the storm has left it’s mark. I hope that it has not left a trail of large destruction for others who had the brunt of it.

And why would one venture out in such weather???

Art supplies.

A new style of painting has started to be learnt, narrowboat/folk style, to be exact, and this requires new brushes and a new pad to be gessoe’d black. The brushes I have are either too soft or too stiff. To a non painter this must seem illogical, but other painters who do varying styles will know of the need. A carpenter dose not have one saw, nor does a mechanic have just one type of spanner, it works on the same principle for artist after the stroke left by the brush in hand.

Having said that…There is a slight hoarder aspect to the whole process, or rather a perfectionist quest for the perfect tool.

Some thing I think can be summed up quite well by the thought I had when overhearing a mother discussing her daughters selection of art supplies for purchasing…’You have all that?” “Yes, I am doing a large project.” “I understand that, but I don’t think you need all of that.” “Some of it is for general college use as well, I always use a lot of pads.” “I agree on the pads, and on the card for the project, but you can leave the pens behind – you have enough pens!” My mind raced to the question…

Yes, but are they the ‘right’ pens though?

I find out in a couple of days if the brushes are in fact my ‘right’ tools for the job.

Reflections 2020 w02

One entered the taste testing of the Chinese snacks this week, with an open mind and no expectations.

The pork floss was the first on the list; and it was the strangest thing ever to have crossed my tongue. The texture is like that of loft insulation, with a super absorbency of saliva. It overpowers the flavour completely, only after it has cleared the mouth do you get a subtly sweet hint of flavour.

I took my taste test in the kitchen, then I let my sister try it. She pulled the same face as me, whilst looking at me like one had tried to poison her. Dad on the other hand did not even notice, I swear his mouth sensors do not work, which is probably why he can eat tripe.

Second on the list was the honey barbecue cooked pork strips, the texture was a soft jerky/fruit leather affair, but alas the sweetness of the meat kept growing with each bite. It also is a no go for camping.

Thirdly was the original flavour crispy seaweed. This I was expecting to like as I regularly buy a brand of sea salt and soy sauce nori sheet snack. The texture of these however was more a cross of the sheets and rice crackers. Strange but not off putting. The original flavour however is too strange, there is something before the seaweed flavour that just does not do it for me, which is a shame as the Chinese version is cheaper than the other brand, and has less packaging.

So overall I’m striking three of the list.

It is the turn of the lizard fish snacks next…I have no idea of what that’s going to be like.

Allotment update…the mini greenhouse/cold frame/drying area has been glazed and two sides of the shed are painted twice. Cuprinol red Caesar is more orange than anything else. I will have the brightest shed on the plot.

I am sure I have photos of the plot in its original format. If I find them I will put up the comparison photos. One just needs to tidy up the construction site look first. And get the shed to match in colour. All whilst dodging the winter weather.

Reflections 2020 w01

One got to paint some of the shed today, the parts that were next to a fence in its old location, and boy did it soak it up. However, the preservative that is supposed to be red cedar – is definitely more… Orange.

The salad seedlings have sprouted and are looking good, nice and healthy in the greenhouse. Also the garlic and onions are looking well. The broad beans however have had something sitting in them – B’ cats.

I have to work out what I can do to keep them off the plot. If they are not pooping everywhere they are digging up and flattening. Somehow I think i would get into trouble if I located the owner and posted a photo of the cat and its poop through their door, but it is acceptable for their cat poop to get on my clothing, footwear and hands whilst I garden.

I don’t hate the cats, I hate the law that says it’s ok for them to do it, but if Spot was to wander around pooping in the neighbours yards, that would be illegal because she’s a dog.

And yes the dog owners that do do that are equally disgusting…To the point I would create a new crime called A Dirty B*****d, complete with a national newspaper mug shot when convicted. Just so the paper can print Mr/Mrs XYZ today was found to be A Dirty B*****d is such and such court. For every pet found fouling without the owners picking it up and; I would like to stress this, BINNING it.

You may have worked out I ‘found’ some more today.

On good news I have purchased some Pork Floss, it will be trialed next week with my sister, who also wants to taste it. She does not however want to try the other snacks. In fact she definitely pulled her face at the fish sticks. I am giggling as I remember her look right now. Just wait until I get the item they did not have.

Here is the haul, my impressions will be forthwith upon consumption.

 

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Reflections 2019 w 45

Well, the plan for the leaf collecting went out of the window, we have had that much rain i would have had a swamp on the back of my car after just the one trip.

On the plus side my initial findings with the thermal battery in the greenhouse looks promising.

For those that have not heard of thermal batteries – they are just a way to collect some of the warmth the sun provides and then releases it over night time. Basically a hot water bottle…A BIG hot water bottle.

I have used an old garden wheelie bin for my storage. Simply filled with water. It took about a week before any change was to be seen on the min/max temperature, Mainly the min temp has been the focus, as one cannot theorise as to how intense the sun has been, the time available, nor the temperature variation of the outside. But one has been able to do a simple test…

What was the minimum temperature inside the greenhouse when the outside froze.

Without the thermal bank it has dropped to 2degC, with a high of 26degc.  With the thermal bank running for a week the max temp was reduced, as is expected because it partially goes to warming the water, down to around the 18-19degC. However, the Min temperature inside as the outside has froze did not drop any lower than 6degC.

This may not sound that brilliant, or that useful, and for the main part it is not. I am not likely to be growing tomatoes in it over winter. However I plan to grow winter salads, the varieties that grow outdoors over winter, indoors. My theory being that they should benefit from the extra warmth and protection, giving me a higher yield.

Well that the hypothesis anyhow…

Time will tell.

 

 

 

Reflections 2019 w45

It’s going to be another short blog again, eyes are closing and the room is swirling. Time for sleep one thinks.

The picture I have been doing for a friend is now done, though I will have to pass it onto her mum as she is not at group tomorrow. It is the plan B version of my idea, but I think she will like it.

As for the allotment, work continues at a winter slow pace, having to be off the plot at dusk means rain laden clouds can end work at 15:00hrs, not much time to play with in an afternoon.

However the leaf mould area has been extended and last years leaves are now in the Dalek bins for the final process. The open sided cage has done the job of exposing the leaves to the elements this year and 50 bin bags just fill one Dalek. This years leaves are having to be collected wet, as that is all the weather we are having at the moment, current count is at 40 bin bags. One should match last years amount, 50, by Wednesday, hopefully the weather will at least stay dry so more can be loaded into the car.

!00 bin bags was the target for this year. Will I do it? And will the weather stay dry enough to paint the shed?

I doubt it, that is why a tarp has been place over the first end to be painted to give it some cover. I will not be a great painting job, but it will help the shed over this winter. Bit by bit the plot is nearing the end of the building site era.

Reflections 2019 w44

The greenhouse is finished, and, after a lousy start, the replacement pains were cut.

Now anyone that has had the displeasure to have to cut used greenhouse glass will know, the normal technique that we are all taught on how to cut glass, has a high failure rate. that method being…Score, press down over a table edge where the score line is. You just end up hoping that the break is veered off to the waste side of the cut, so the glass can be nibbled away to the line.

This apparently is because the used glass has altered its structure over time, and now has micro cracks in it.

But this technique works..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvzvAaXR_oY&t=140s

I could tell you the technique, but I prefer that this chap gets the credit.

I went from 100% fail rate to 100% success on my first attempt of this method and techniques. Along with an oil filled glass cutter for £3.50.

If you ever need to cut second hand glass, give this video a  watch.

Reflections 2019 w43

It’s another allotment update this week.

The greenhouse has a new seals and a roof with one wall. One forgot how heavy glass gets when you move it around, especially overhead. So after finishing the roof, and numb arms, my lower back decided to join in the fun, one or both, of my lower back disc bulges have flared up, pinching a nerve or two.

I worked on a current art project whilst immobilised but I have to get the greenhouse finished before the winter weather halts play. So I went up today and did a side on it. One now knows about it. But it’s the wrong time of year to have a bad back. apart from the greenhouse.

Leaves have to be collected, lots of leaves. The aim for this year is a 100 bin bags worth. Last year I collected 50 and ran out a couple off months ago but have created much more space for them this year. I plan to be using free compost on all no dig beds next October.

On a plus note the onions are just starting to sprout, and a couple of garlic. The peas are being attacked by pigeons.

I’m working on that, but the greenhouse first.