Tag Archive | Planting peas in guttering

Our Rescue Dog Judy & A Paint Job

My blog is a little bit longer than normal this week …. I hope this is ok with you.

A Bit Of Good News:

A lot of people have been asking about Judy, the rescue dog we brought home in October.

Her first day home

Her first day home looking very thin!

I have written about her a few times, but for those who don’t know, it was clear from the start that she had a lot of problems and by December she had bitten a dog and we had to contact a behaviourist for help.  We tried training her with treats, clicker training etc. and she had a ‘kalm aid’ in her food and a pheromone diffuser plugged in the house all day long.

We were beginning to think we were getting somewhere and then the next day for no apparent reason she would go backwards again and we were no further forward.  I have shed a lot of tears over this dog and I have been shouted out so many times for not controlling her (even though she was always muzzled and on a lead).

By February our behaviourist suggested we should think about re-homing her as she felt she was in the wrong environment.  However, as a last attempt to help her we decided to take her to the vets for tablets to calm her down, which did help her a lot in the home, but outside she still couldn’t tolerate cars, lorries, bikes, dogs, birds, men in dark clothes or hats etc. etc.

I have got to admit at this stage we found ourselves thinking that we couldn’t do anything to help her and we were devastated.

A 'cheeky girl' found cuddling my daughters teddies

A ‘cheeky girl’ found cuddling my daughters teddies

Then six weeks ago, a wonderful person called ‘Michelle’ from my gardening forum, emailed me to say she had just listened to ‘Steven Havers’ on Radio Leicester and he was a dog trainer / behaviourist and sounded really good.  I rang him and he visited on the 27th April.

I have been taking Judy to his classes each week since and in just five weeks, Judy will now walk along side other dogs on her extendable lead without reacting.  Mr Thrift counted twenty two dogs surrounding her a couple of weeks ago in his class and she wasn’t barking, lunging or taking any notice of them!…It is absolutely incredible to watch.

Previously in the home we had also blocked all our windows with a plastic ‘film’ to give a frosted effect so she couldn’t see out and bark at everything she saw…..this week we have also managed to remove the film and she really doesn’t bark too much at all.

We still have a long way to go, as she isn’t so good on the short lead yet and though she is better with cars she still doesn’t like the lorries and motor bikes and next doors dog is still a big problem for Judy, but we have come an awful long way in a short time.

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 We are very pleased with her progress and I’ve got to say Steven Havers training is brilliant….it is obvious that he has so much experience with dogs and right from the start he said that Judy wanted to learn.  He concentrates on training the ‘owner’ rather than the dog and he uses praise to reward the dog and not food treats.

Hopefully very soon we can also try and wean her off the tablets that the vet gives her.

So thank you Steven for your continued training and advice and thank you ‘Michelle’ for emailing me with his details.

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A Walk In The Park:

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Last Sunday I woke early and took Judy for a walk in Western Park at 6.45am.

The sun was shinning, there was no one around and it was so peaceful.  I felt like I had discovered a place that no one else knew about, it was absolutely magical.  I have never heard the birds sing this beautifully before.

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“In the 19th Century ‘Leicester Corporation’ purchased the land for £30,000 to create a park for the people of the ‘West End’ of Leicester and it is one of the largest parks in the City covering 73 hectares.  The park was opened in 1899”.

Leicester City Council work hard maintaining this park and they have recently put lots of signs around giving interesting information about the wildlife here:

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I have lived in this area for nearly twenty years now and it is only since October (when I have been walking Judy) that I have realised how beautiful the park is and how lucky we are to have it on our door step.

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There is also a 400 year old Oak tree in the park, that is nick named the ‘Old Major’.  I have walked past this tree many times without really taking much notice…..but when I stopped and actually took the time to look at it, it is absolutely magnificient.  My photograph below doesn’t really do the tree justice:

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There are so many beautiful places around me that I have walked past without noticing or never bothered to go and see.  I feel it is time for me to take more notice of the things that are right under my nose and I will write about them as I do.

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare”.

William Henry Davis

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This week in my garden:

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I started by thinning out my kohl rabi and my beetroot.  I used a pair of scissors to just ‘snip off’ the unwanted plants:

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My wall flowers had finally finished flowering, so I dug them up and planted the dwarf peas I was growing in guttering.  They were a bit ‘leggy’ but I’m sure they will be fine.  I am trying to plant in every area possible, so I thought the peas would grow nicely using the chicken wire fence as a support.  All I need to do now is stop Judy from destroying them!

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This week I also planted my french beans and some more lettuces:

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….And gave the area under my bay tree a bit of a tiny up:

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In my home this week:

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At the beginning of the week Mr Thrift was poorly with a viral infection.  When he started to feel a little bit better, I made him a vegetable soup to get him to start eating again.

I had an ’emergency’ bag of mixed vegetables in my freezer that I used and I’m glad to say Mr Thrift enjoyed it.

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(You can find the recipe for the soup here.  I didn’t use all the vegetables in the recipe, I just used the pack of frozen vegetables together with potato and onions).

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In the home this week I also made a big batch of pasta sauce to freeze.  I love the days when I can take something out of my freezer, defrost it and then just reheat it in the microwave and add it to pasta.

This recipe also doubles up as a pizza sauce too.

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I had also ran out of my dishwasher liquid, so I made some more.  I make it with ‘soup nuts’ and it saves me a lot of money in the long run.

You can find the recipe here.

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As you have probably guessed, I struggle to sit still and I like to keep myself busy….On Sunday I mentioned to Mr Thrift that our bathroom looked awful.  I gave it a lick of paint when we first moved into our house thirteen years ago and it hasn’t really been touched since then. The plan has always been to have a new bathroom suit as the bath, sink and tiles are really old and have seen better days, but we certainly can’t afford this for a very long time.

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Over the years our window blind had also become discoloured in places too:

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…..So on Monday I decided to spruce it up a little by giving it a lick of paint….it actually took two coats in the end, but I was very pleased with the result.

I put up a new blind and changed the light and shower cords, so they looked fresh and new.

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After I put the shelves back up I gave all the families toiletries a good sort out and put them back neatly.

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I then put our shower curtains back up….unfortunately we have to use the curtains to stop any water from going down the side of the bath.  We have tried numerous times to seal between the tiles and the bath, but unfortunately it never works as the bath is slightly too far away from the wall!…so we have resorted in lining the shower area with two large shower curtains.  Unfortunately this area doesn’t look good, so I cover it with a ‘nicer’ shower curtain on the outside of the bath:

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Incidentally, you can see in the photo above my handwash.  This is a Marks and Spencer ‘luxury’ hand wash bottle that I refill each time with cheap ‘value’ bubblebath…..no one ever knows and it saves me buying expensive handwash.

So overall, I am very pleased with our bath room.  It still needs ‘gutting’ in the future, but until then it doesn’t look quite as bad:

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Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday at my usual time.

Have a good weekend!

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An Easter ‘Catch up’

Hi to everyone reading my blog today.  It is nice to be back in ‘blogging world’.

On Friday evening, the temperature fell low enough for a ground frost to occur….I knew it was coming because I follow the BBC weather very closely at this time of year.

There is always some confusion about when a ground frost occurs…people typically think the temperature needs to be below zero degrees for a frost to happen, but this is only true for an ‘air’ frost.  A ‘ground’ frost can happen when the temperature falls below 3 or 4 degrees celcius.

Unfortunately, after walking around the allotment site I noticed that not everyone was aware that the frost was coming and the frost had damaged some of their potato shoots poking through the soil.  You can see in the photograph below that some of the leaves have been blackened by the frost.  If you know there is going to be a frost then it is best to earth your potatoes up to limit the damage.

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I was lucky as I only planted my potatoes over Easter so none of mine are showing yet:

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Over Easter I also planted the peas that I sowed in my guttering a few weeks ago.  This is how I get my peas out of the guttering:

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First I use a draw hoe to make a small trench the size of the guttering, ready to plant the peas.  If it’s been dry I water the trench.

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Then I use a spare bit of guttering and I lift one end of the compost to slide the guttering underneath the roots of the peas.

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The spare piece of guttering ‘pushes’ the peas out into the trench that you made with the draw hoe.  This is much easier when you use smaller bits of guttering instead of larger pieces.

  I then use the draw hoe again to push the soil back around the peas and the compost that they are growing in.

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I like to support my dwarf peas with chicken wire and canes and then I use cages to stop the birds from eating my pea shoots:

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I also planted my climbing peas.  They are a variety called ‘Peashooter’ which give lovely big pods with large juicy peas inside.  I planted the seeds at the beginning of April in toilet rolls and left them to germinate in my greenhouse and they have all germinated well:

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I usually use pea and bean netting to support my peas, but I get fed up of throwing it away each year as it’s impossible to untangle all the peas without it ripping…so this year I have invested in some plastic coated chicken wire in the hope that I can use it again and again, so eventually it will pay for it’s self:

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After planting the peas I used the same cages to protect the pea shoots from the birds…

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Things are growing well in my polytunnel now.  I also planted four spare tomato plants and a spare cucumber too

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In the right hand photo you can see the red lettuce that I sowed last month is growing nicely now together with the Webbs wonderful lettuces in the same photo.

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This weekend I prepared the ground for my wildflowers and sowed them.  I am hoping they give me a good display again this year.

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During the last week I have also planted my parsnips.  I sowed them at the beginning of April in kitchen rolls and they germinated well.  I make sure I plant the parsnip before the root reaches the bottom of the tubes to avoid the roots from ‘forking’.

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When I plant the parsnips I make sure that none of the tube shows above the ground, as the cardboard works like a ‘wick’ and dries the whole tube out underground, so I use scissors to cut off any excess tube above the compost.

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I covered the parsnips in plastic bottles just to give them a little bit of protection while they are small.  I find that plastic bottles need a bit of support so they don’t blow off, so I push a stick in each one at an angle so it doesn’t damage the plant underneath.

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My curly kale is flowering now so I have packed away the netting that was covering it and I will leave it for the bees to enjoy for a while, as there aren’t too many nectar rich plants around yet for them.

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Over easter I had some great harvests from my allotment.  It does take some planning to have vegetables to fill the ‘hungry gap’ but the planning is worthwhile:

'Hungry Gap' Vegetables

‘Hungry Gap’ Vegetables

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The cauliflowers were sowed a year ago, together with the spring broccoli….but they are worth the wait.

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At home my garden is starting to look like a garden centre with all the plants that I am in the process of hardening off!

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And my greenhouse is rammed full of plants too:

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A couple of weeks ago I planted up my hanging baskets.  I don’t bother with proper hanging basket liners, I just use a compost bag with the black side on the outside.  It works a treat because the plants grow over it so it can’t be seen and because it is plastic, it helps to keep the moisture in during hot spells.

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Finally today I thought I would show you something I made for our friends funeral last Monday.  I decided to have a go at making a wreath using the same method I used for my Christmas table wreath.

I bought some white chysanthemums to use, but everything else was from the garden as I knew he loved his garden.  He also absolutely loved Leicester City Football club and had supported them for many years and it’s such a shame he didn’t see them promoted to the premier division, which happened just after he passed away.   With this in mind I used forget-me-nots, so that the wreath was blue and white – the Leicester City colours.

I know it wasn’t perfect like the florists flower arrangements were, but I put a lot of time and thought into it so it was special to Dan….the last gift I could give to him.

I hope he looked down and saw it.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday.