Saturday, 26 October 2013

Composting

This blog entry is all about composting. It is much on my mind at the moment.
In the last few years a new initiative has been introduced in our district whereby everyone has a green bin.
The idea is that you fill it with any garden waste and it gets taken away once a fortnight.


 There are rules about what goes in....nothing with a diameter over one inch and nothing with soil on.
As you can imagine a garden the size of ours produces far more waste than this at certain times of the year.
In the past we have managed our garden waste very well with four compost heaps side by side.
Looking a bit full at the moment .....


Every now and then we have a bonfire at the bottom of our garden (after 6 p.m) to get rid of waste which cannot be composted or cannot go in the bin because it is full..... rose prunings and old matted roots etc.
There is much talk in the village about nuisance bonfires....people lighting them during sunny days and forcing others indoors and spoiling their washing days.

One of the best purchases we ever made was a shredder. So far in our gardening lives we`ve had three shredders. This one is by far the best as it never gets clogged up (touch wood) It is light and easily managed.
It`s a Bosch. 
There is nothing quite as satisfying as pruning a shrub and immediately reducing it to shreds. It takes up a lot less space too. The great thing about this shredder is that it will take softer material.  


In the autumn we usually put up a temporary wire netting bin. 
Later this is used for leaf collection using a garden leaf sucker. 
Being surrounded by woodland we get rather a lot.
This rots down in plastic sacks and is perfect for our camellias as a feed and mulch.


Our home compost is not perfect by any means. We are not the type of gardeners who religiously turn the compost. This is too much work. But it seems to do well enough and rots down in about six months to a rich dark brown soil. Steve often sieves it and we use that for our containers. 
The rest goes straight onto the garden.
It sometimes retains seeds but this makes for very interesting finds which I pot up 
and sell at our garden openings.

On the whole our composting is in control but I do get a little agitated when the bonfire pile gets too high or too wet.....or if my gardening habits are dictated by how full the green bin is.


Back to the crafts.....


My latest little mouse. He`s called Morris and I found the pattern free on Pinterest.
I don`t follow crochet patterns that well and have to really concentrate.
This one is for my great-nephew Aiden.






Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cob Roof and Reptiles

Thank goodness for an afternoon at the garden. It was rather grey but the rain held off.
There is still lots to do before the winter.
Paula and Anne joined us and later Jamie and Julia brought Frazer for his first visit to Freshwinds. I hope it will be the first of many and that he will grow to love it as we do.

Gardening is in his genes.

Anne tried to mow the long grass but the mower was playing up.
She did a lot of weeding especially in the fruit net.
Paula pulled up some old  sweetcorn and planted some onion sets.

Steve worked on the cob roof trying to get more wooden slats on. Each had to be sawn to size.






I worked on this bed moving sedum to another bed.....


....thinning out over-large perenniels, weeding and transplanting forgetmenots.

I also trimmed the wild flower strip. It hasn`t done so well this year. A fresh start next year I think.



I trimmed the comfrey. It will be going on the compost heaps. It was not a pleasant job as some of it had gone a bit slimy. I should have worn gloves!!



Whilst working on the flowerbed, I was thrilled to come across this newt. It was fairly lively. 


At home I have been experimenting with patchwork shower hats.
If anything, I would use thinner fabric next time.


My lavender pads are bigger than I usually make. They are designed to go under your pillow to help you sleep better.



My next post will be about composting.







Sunday, 20 October 2013

Gandalf Visits

After rain all day yesterday and our plans at the garden being thwarted, 
we were glad to get there this morning.
It was great to see Anne after such a long time, back from a holiday in Tanzania 
where they had a wonderful time.
Steve worked on the cob shed, protecting the tops of the walls from the worst of the rain 
which came later in the day.



I cleared the last part of the long path....nettles, brambles, thistles, burdock and dock.
I had to move a lot of posts, canes and stakes first.


We need more chipped bark. Nearly finished the last lot.


I also cleared the asparagus bed.


There was still a lot of colour around.
















The pond was very full. Wish it was like this all the time.



We harvested leeks, carrots and beetroot.




 I spied my next job.....cutting the comfrey. I could do it more easily if there was room on 
the compost heaps.



The reception area has taken on a harvest theme.


And Gandalf came to visit.



And finally introducing my new nephew Frazer, with his mum and dad.






Friday, 18 October 2013

Harvest Hymn for Children


Michaelmas Daisies purple in the border,


Big fat leeks all standing up in order,


Whiskered barley talking in the breeze,


Low hung boughs of laden apple trees,


Chugging engines ready for the reaping


Pounds of chutney labelled for the keeping,


Giant marrows winning every prize,




Bubbling jars of elderberry wine.





Stocky-built trawlers landing with their catches,


Berries gathered, never mind the scratches,












Warm and hazy Indian summer days,
Swallows leaving for another place,

Fruits are bottled, others in the deep freeze,












Silken poppies blushing in the cornfields,

“Don’t bring muddy boots into the hall”,


Golden onions hanging on the wall.




Well I didn`t quite make it with the photos for each line but not a bad effort.
This is one of the songs I taught the children for their harvest festival. 
It resonates quite strongly for me as each line conjures up a memory.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Harvest Festival


Incredible skies over Winchelsea this morning as I made my way across the marshes 
for the childrens` harvest festival.


The beautiful church basking in glorious sunshine at 8.45 a.m.


The graveyard where Spike Milligan is buried ("I told you I was ill.")


I made my way through the decorated doorway.


Inside, the grand piano was ready and waiting for me, there were lots of parents and children arriving with their harvest gifts
and the sun was pouring in through the fabulous stained glass windows.


I had time to look around before playing restful music.


The service began. The children sang beautifully and I was very proud of them.
We sang the four songs we have been practising for the last few weeks.

The church has had a flower festival over the weekend and looked truly stunning.
























One of the most moving displays was on the largest tomb......


....taking its cue from Millais` painting.


This is a copy in the church.


Other tombs were most touchingly decorated.


The school display was near the entrance.


The font was depicting Winchelsea`s close links with the sea.


I greatly enjoyed the display depicting music.



Outside in the bright autumn sunshine, I stopped to view the allotments in the village wondering how much produce for the church came from here.
All the gifts from the children are going to St.Michaels Hospice.

Driving back along the marsh road to Pett, and spending the rest of the day in my two gardens,
I had plenty to be thankful for.