Monday, 2 December 2013


 I shall start December with a mulch of well rotted horse manure (some of you think this blog is a bit like that don't you) - here in the oriental poppy bed with Adam Booth's flying birds.

There are gaps in the bed where we seem to have lost a plant but I have several grown from seedlings in the shed as replacements. 

The gradual process of weeding, clearing and mulching goes on. The manure creates a wonderful rich moisture-retentive soil though one has to avoid putting it by the grasses (they like a poorer medium) or too close to tree and shrub stems as the manure can soften up the bark and increase the risk of infection.

This bed had a few nasturtiums covering it and these, now slimy, have been removed. This is not before I have saved some seed for next year - placed on absorbent paper to dry and then put in a paper envelope. 
I have gathered them a bit late - should have been done before the first frost - so fingers crossed they will be ok - even if the are not, a packet does not cost a fortune.

There is a mystery wheelbarrow outside that I found when I returned from bashing the little white dimpled ball about (golf).
I think it is a sign that the occasional garden help  has been back and the wheel barrow another sign of his return. There is plenty for him to do.

R has been great collecting windfall sticks as kindling and we now have a good heap at the back of the house.

It certainly saves me getting out my blunt hatchet and chopping sticks.
She has been preparing for Christmas already - making mincemeat for the mince pies. (She makes the most fantastic short crumbly pastry). (She does not agree with my Lake District bent for a good dab of rum butter under the hot pie lid to melt and YUM!!! - she thinks is ruins a good mince pie.
Rum butter is just brown sugar, butter and rum - spread it on hot toast too - more YUM!

I have been having an 'it does not work' 'yes, it does' 'no it does not' time for a week or so. The air conditioning on the beamer went, was repaired at great expense, went again (a fuse) and now I wonder if I was charged for a new unit when all it was was a fuse. My big A3 colour printer would not print yellow so I ordered a cleaning cartridge, then just before using it tried once more and the yellow was ok. 

So from yellow to brown fingers - I cannot get the basil from the supermarket to last in our kitchen. It thrives for a month or so then goes all limp and flaccid. I wonder if the shop uses some exotic form of basil that will not thrive in a humble northern English kitchen. (Or I am just a clumsy assassin and the basil is rather particular with regard to its feed and watering.)

Changing the subject - what can one do with a hundred corks (no suggestions please) as I have been saving them for years thinking there must be something clever I could use then for in the garden - cannot think of anything. No terrible insects so no need to dangle them from the brim of my hat. There must be something creative like sell them to the SAS to use for night time camouflage - burn the ends and darken their faces stuff, cheap fishing floats, even as stoppers in bottles.

The garden is silent and still, waiting with baited breath for . . . ? Me I suppose, so out I must go and muck in (literally).
Time for a cuppa first though. (And then it might be too dark to go out?)

Update, R has just come in - the wheelbarrow is mine! After I left this morning the Fedex man came with a delivery and got stuck - half and hour of all sorts until R pulled him out with her Yaris!

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