Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Getting Plastered

Before the winter sets in we are determined to get the cobbing plaster completed. We tried some back in August but we found that it dried out too quickly and cracked.
We decided to wait until cooler weather and then the drying process will be slower. 
We set aside the whole day, coming home for a break in between.
We find that the cob mixing for a plaster surface is a lot easier than cobbing for the walls. But still hard work.
In the end we managed 6 loads. It spreads over quite a large area.
Here is the process.....
Four spadefuls of clay.
Two spadefuls of sand.
Chop up the clay lumps finely and add water.
Add the gluten mixture....flour and water heated up.
We hope this will help the permanency.
We cut straw with scissors. We had tried a strimmer before but it made a mess and went everywhere.
This was added to the mix thoroughly.
Then it is time to begin.
I used bare hands as I like to feel as I mould.
We sprayed the previous layers to help link the two together.
Here I am just about to slap on the first load.
We took turns with the mixing.
And we were jolly glad for a teabreak with Paula`s fruitcake.
We were pleased with our efforts.
We think we have covered about one third.
A productive day.


Sunday, 8 October 2017

T.Shirt October

The weather has been lovely and looks set to continue.
The autumn garden is full of bees and butterflies and utterly delightful.
We are gradually labeling all the Michaelmus daisies. I shall be thinning them out, as soon as they have finished flowering.
I have done some fairy gardening.....all the special items have gone into storage in the cob shed. The tiny shrubs have been trimmed and the fairies are in hibernation.
I have tied in all the new growth on the willow, trying to loop it at the same time.
We have been thinking what this area looked like this time last year.
Steve added more home-saved sedum cuttings to the cob shed roof.
We want the plants to overhang the black plastic.
It seems to be working.
I have started the flowerbeds. I`ve been trying to thin out the marjoram, beloved by insects, but taking over.
I planted it up with myosotis and daffodil bulbs.
I couldn`t bear to cut the M.daisy back just yet.
 The rabbit wire is a nuisance when I am clearing.
Unfortunately I found a rabbit hole on the inside!!
Some posts will need replacing soon. 
Steve has been clearing vegetable beds.
Another job to be tackled soon, is to train the raspberries. It`s a bit of a jungle in there.
Thinking that I might trim back more blackcurrant growth.
My rule has always been take out three of the oldest branches every year, but Monty Don had suggested taking out more.


There is still plenty to harvest.
And the colours are wonderful.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Autumn Almanac

Having been a teacher for 40 years, we are usually to be found on a Greek island as the new term gets under way.
This year was no exception....we have been to Keffalonia.
It was a totally lazy holiday apart from our two daily swims in the sea and our ever increasing pool lengths.
Lots of crafts to enjoy and insects to marvel over.
Plus the sunshine of course.

And we came back to mild weather which was a bonus.
We even spent the day on the beach collecting seaglass to add to our horde.

A couple stopped to chat.
They asked me if I`d found any diamonds.
I said "No, but plenty of mermaid,s jewels."

We have been on a couple of autumny walks. The number of acorns under each oak tree is amazing.
I can`t help but pick up the biggest ones.
I will probably plant some.
The fungi are always fascinating.

 In our own garden the colours are intense.
Lots of clearing and planting going on.


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Armies of Caterpillars

The tiny fairy yurt has been dismantled for the winter.
It is sad to see it missing from the corner. 
It has been a lot of fun for visitors, both young and old.
It was such a lovely day and it took me some time to settle to a few clearing jobs. I was so enjoying a gentle wander round.
The first thing I saw was an army of caterpillars on the nasturtiums growing in the compost.


I also noticed the dahlias on the compost heap are doing very well.
The sunflowers continue to be stunning.
This is the first year that I have had vases and vases of sunflowers and it`s all because I like to grow the multi-headed ones. Of course I don`t like to admit it, but I am wondering if the impromptu pruning had anything to do with their floriferousness. 

Anne came along and completed the clearing of the asparagus bed.
A good job done.
I made a start on the shrub bed......cutting back montbretia, cardoons, catmint and daisies......
..... it doesn`t look as if I have done much.
The dahlias were disbudded.

Other flowers enjoying the sunshine......

And once again there were myriads of butterflies and bees around.
Steve spotted a huge moth but we`re not sure what it was.
When it`s wings were open there were flashes of red.
No photos I`m afraid.
We all had a lettuce.
And I have to say the kohlrabi are much better eaten when young.
I suppose the same could be said about many vegetables.
This is another job for another day.....
weaving in the new willow growth.
The newest sedum plants on the cob shed survived the strong winds. 
Now the whole garden has to survive a week without us!