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Path Edging And A Few Odd Jobs

After our fence was blown down in the gales last week, I had to wait until it was fixed by our lovely neighbour before I could continue with my new vegetable patch.

In the mean time I caught up with a few little jobs that I hadn’t quite got around to:

I first labled my homemade wine:

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I then finally sorted the basil that had been hanging in my kitchen drying for ages:

  In the summer my dad gave me a pot of basil from the supermarket and as I didn’t use it up I hung it in my kitchen to dry.  After a couple of weeks I transferred it into a paper bag so the bits didn’t go everywhere as it dried:

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The result was lovely dried basil, which I crunched between my fingers to remove the big stems and then I passed it through a seive to remove any remaining twigs:

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As there was only a small amount of dried basil I just topped up the jar of shop brought basil I had in my pantry:

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I also then turned my attention to Christmas and made sure that I had everything I needed for my Christmas presents. I only had the odd thing to buy as I tend to buy presents through out the year, either in the sales or if I find something unusual that I know someone would like.

After this I sat down with some lovely Christmas music in the back ground and wrote all my cards.  I like to take my time to do this as I have a few people that I only write to once a year, so I like to tell them what has been happening in our lifes:

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And finally I sliced an orange to dry, ready for my Christmas decorations. I arranged the slices on a piece of greaseproof paper over my radiator and I find they dry in a week or two without needing to put them in the oven.  I usually put a little hole in each one when they are nearly dry so I can thread some wire or ribbon through it.

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I absolutely love to see dried oranges around the house at Christmas.  The photo below shows the arrangement I made last year for our mantle piece:

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I was pleased to say that our lovely neighbour finished fixing our fence at the weekend and we now have some concrete posts that have been cemented into the ground, to strengthen our fence.  Hopefully this will withstand any further gales we have:

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So I removed the rubble from the old concrete and took it to the tip and then I had a general garden tidy, clearing away the bits and bobs I had laying around.  You can also see in the photo above that I put my old chair back in to position ready for next summer too:

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It’s funny what gets dug up when you have work done in your garden isn’t it…..I found a ‘pig with wings’ that I had completely forgotten about, which must be thirteen years old!….I’ve got to be honest I don’t know how or even why I have him, but I’m sure I’ll find a place somewhere for him to go.

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So now the fence was complete I could carry on with my new vegetable patch:

The ground wasn’t very level as I had dumped the old grass in a pile when I laid my new lawn in September, so I had to move that before I could start.  I had covered the grass with weed suppressant back in September to kill it, so I just spread it over my new area and I will just dig this into the soil for now and it will probably be rotted away completely by Spring time:

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I had already decided to have wood chip paths inbetween my new beds, as this would be cheaper than buying slabs.  However, I needed something to stop the woodchips from spreading into my beds…..so I brought some wood sawn treated timber to edge the beds and I set about making them:

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I have quite simply screwed them together using corner braces and screwed on bits of wood to secure them into the soil.

I didn’t think there was a need to have raised beds as the soil I have is good and it would just be a waste of money to ship in top soil.

I then forked over the area where the first edging was going to sit, removing any weeds as I dug and then I fitted the first edging making sure it sat level and in the right place:

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I then fitted the next edging and repeated the above to make a third bed too:

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And that is as far as I’ve managed to get this week.

I have two more beds to complete and unfortunately for Mr Thrift, I have three or four more slabs to lay next week (so I need to sweet talk him into helping me again).

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a great week!

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My Problem Dog & My New Kitchen Garden….

Unfortunately things aren’t going too well with our lovely rescue dog, Judy.

For those that don’t know, we brought her home from the RSPCA in October and it was evident after a few weeks that she was a very anxious dog.  By December she was so frightened of other dogs sniffing around her that she actually bit a dog….I was mortified at the time.

We then contacted a behaviourist who has been working with me since December and after six weeks of training Judy, she was ‘tolerating’ other dogs a lot better…..until a couple of weeks ago two separate dogs within two days would not leave Judy alone and eventually she reacted badly to them (thank goodness she was wearing a muzzle).  On both occaisions their owners ‘ambled’ slowly across to me oblivious that their dogs were causing Judy a problem (even though I had shouted across to them to ask them to call their dogs away).

Judy on one of the rare occaisions she stands still in the garden

Judy on one of the rare occaisions she stands still in the garden

So we are now back to square one and Judy cannot tolerate any dogs again.  So I have been walking her at quiet times around the streets instead of the park to bring her stress levels down, however this has had a knock on effect….poor Judy has been getting more and more stressed with the buses, lorries, motorbikes, people with hats on, or people with walking sticks, prams, etc.

On Monday she even got upset at some new road works on a quiet side street and just would not walk past them and I nearly had to ring Mr Thrift to come out of work to pick us up in the car and take us home!

At home she is now continually pacing around our kitchen table during the day and running up and down the garden over and over again, without stopping.  In fact the only time she settles is when I hold her next to me, or in the evening when our curtains are tightly closed and everywhere is quiet.

So I emailed our behaviourist and she suggested we gave medication a try from the vets….so this is what we have done.

I feel that I have tried so hard to train her without success and I have used plug in diffusers, collars and things to calm her in her food and nothing is now working.  It really isn’t fair on her to live this way, so I feel this is now the only option.  I am hoping that the tablets are just for the short term and the vet hopes this too, but the vet also said that some dogs do need to take them long term….let’s hope not.

The medication can take upto two months to fully work, so I will let you know if things improve.

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In between my problems with Judy this week, I have been working hard to finish freezing the crops I brought home from my allotment before I gave the plots up.

I have now frozen my celeriac, brussells and some of my parsnips:

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I do still have quite a few parsnips left to freeze though, but I will do them in the next few days:

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My New Kitchen Garden

In my new kitchen garden I have been making a new path to follow my washing line.  I know some of you may think this is strange, but I do like to hang my washing out even in winter, as it saves money when I don’t use the tumble dryer and I think things seem so much fresher when they have dried in the wind.

I started by using a couple of the weed suppressant paths that I made for my allotment last year (you can read how I made them here).  I then used bundles of ‘hazel’ tied together with wire, to line the path.  This is hazel that I grew at my allotment and brought it home when I knew I was giving the allotment plots up.

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I then finished it with wood chip that I had also salvaged from my allotment, though I am yet to finish the end of the path nearest the fence, as I am not sure if I want to go all the way down to it yet as I haven’t finished planning the garden.

  I am pleased with how it looks so far:

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I have also been replanting the fruit bushes and autumn raspberries that I brought back from the allotment.  When I first brought them home I just ‘heeled’ them in as I hadn’t prepared the ground at that stage:

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I have now planted the fruit bushes and the raspberries, making sure I prepared the ground first by removing any weeds and adding a lot of compost to it.

I have lined our wire fence with the raspberries and our other ‘chicken wire’ fence with the two blackcurrant bushes, a white currant bush and a gooseberry plant.  These were fruit bushes that I only bought from a nursery in September, so I didn’t feel guilty about bringing them home from my allotment and I also have left plenty of autumn raspberries at my plot for whoever takes over.

I have also laid a couple more weed suppressant paths so I can get to pick the fruit (eventually) without treading on the soil:

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So my kitchen garden is beginning to take shape…..it looks a lot different from the ‘before’ photo on the left:

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I have also decided to put the big metal pots that I also brought back from the allotment, outside our back door.  I will fill them when I get around to it, though for the moment I have now stuffed them with some of the nets I also brought back.  I’m not sure what I will be planting in them yet….I must finish planning my new garden!

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Last weekend I managed to finally buy some seed potatoes.  It was very, very strange just buying a few instead of the big bag I usually buy each January for my allotment.

I chose a few ‘marfona’ seed potatoes (a 2nd early which I particularly like) and some ‘desiree’ potatoes (which are a reliable red skinned main crop variety).

They are all chitting nicely in our bedroom as this is the coolest room in the house, next to my remaining butternut squashes……how romantic we are!

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Yesterday I finally got around to sowing my leeks and broad beans.  I should really have done this last month, but I’m sure they will catch up.  The leeks are a variety called ‘Lyon 2’, which I haven’t tried before (I got the seeds cheap in the autumn) and the broad beans are an overwintering variety called ‘Aquadulce’ that should really be sown by the end of January.

I have sown plenty of seeds so I can take a few plants to my mother-in-law this year, for her garden.

The seed trays are sitting nicely in my cold greenhouse now:

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To finish off with, it was my eldest daughters seventeenth birthday yesterday (where does time go to).  She asked for a ‘chocolate indulgient cake’ i.e. a cake with her favourite chocolate sweets on.

I baked a three layer cake using my usual ‘throw it all in‘ recipe and covered it with a chocolate buttercream frosting and used kit kat sticks, maltesers and chocolate orange to decorate it.  I think a little imagination goes a long way….and she seemed to really like it:

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Anyway, that’s enough for this week.  Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back as normal next Friday.

Have a lovely weekend!