Before I get onto Ratty and related difficulties, I am sure you can stand the suspense, here is a photo taken from the kitchen doors looking south to Morecambe Bay over my pots. They are planted up with tulips and yellow pansies.
I went to the Manonthemarketstall, garden centres all over the place but yellow pansies I could not find. There were mixed selections and yellow with white blotches and small yellow but not big yellow ones - until - I went to get the groceries at the local Booth's supermarket and there they were outside in trays of 6, much cheaper than the garden centres too!
The pansies will flower all winter and spring - the yellow flowers contrasting well with the dark tulips I have chosen.
A few crocks are put in the container bottom and then a 5 cm layer of compost. Then one layer of bulbs, a little more compost and a second layer of bulbs alternating with the one below. Finally there is topping up, planting of pansies and a good watering. We should have a splendid display in the spring.
P. the strimmerer has been! Is coming back for half a day!
However he is thinking of giving up gardening and going off to a rig off South America, 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off and some dosh. He could charge a lot more for his gardening but won't - well he has a bit as I insisted.
So, the place looks a lot tidier, at last.
One consequence of the strimming is that it has revealed many sticks fallen off the ash trees. Some have been collected and will be used as kindling for the wood burner, the rest went on the bonfire which I lit and fumigated next door with acrid smoke - whoops, sorry.
The leaves are falling like yellow snow and littering the lawns. The easiest way to collect them is to put the mower on a high setting and vacuum them up. They can then be put into a plastic sack with a few holes in the bottom and left to make leaf mould.
Before I rat on a bit - it is surprising how some plants, after virtually dying back after early flowering, do so again. The oriental poppy below is lighting up a dark corner.
All right - Ratty time.
Have we caught him (her) (it) ?
The clear answer is NO! and I have given up because, no matter how I tried to prevent it, robins got to the trap and two died!
Now I have done R's bidding and tried to catch cuddly Ratty but I will not sacrifice robins in the cause.
R took my biggest marrow to the Harvest Festival at her church - and brought it back - no one wanted it. So, I have bought 100 little jam jars and will make marrow and ginger jam for the church Christmas fair. I will also make some green tomato chutney as they sit in the drawer and remain stubbornly unred. Then there is still fruit from last year in the freezer so that will be a jam session though the only music will be on the CD player.
It is time to sort out the veg beds - the sweet peas have all but stopped flowering and the rest is winding down. Clear them, weed them, manure them and fork over, then leave to settle down. The winter frost will break up the soil.
Time to get some kindling in and light the burner. It is getting more chilly.