Wednesday, 29 March 2017

New Doors and Missing Frogspawn

A bit of a mixed bag today so I will choose my title at the end.

The last part for the yurt doors arrived this morning so the finishing touches were completed.
Anne came soon after breakfast, on the workmax, with its back end lined with carpet. One of the yurt doors was loaded up and off she went.
Later in the afternoon, we walked down to the Woodland yurts and saw the first door in situ. 
I think it looks great.
 Anne and her dad Don, had been working on site nearly all day.
We saw the new shower working.
I went to check on the frogspawn and saw none.There were two ducks on the pond. I don`t think they eat frogspawn though.


On the way back through a field of new lambs with their protective mothers, stamping their feet at us, we passed the sloe in full blossom. What a sight!
 Back at the garden, we had a welcome teabreak before continuing with our jobs.
I am still developing the peculiar area between the cob shed and the stable. Carpet, chipped bark and odd bits of turf.

What seems a long time ago now, this area housed the first compost heaps.
We`ve also done a lot of cob mixing here.
Steve had another go at the alstromeria. It is such hard work as every single piece has to be lifted.
Just a bit more to go now.

Doctor Who is guarding the bottom entrance. After dressing the last scarecrow in bright, new clothes, she is now watching over the butterfly garden. Her new name is Kathryn.
We had rhubarb and Greek yoghurt for pudding.
Yum yum.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Robin`s Nest in Witch`s Hat

Steve has been busy making yurt doors so I`ve been to the garden on my own again.
It was a lovely sunny day. Tim was busy shepherding sheep into different fields, lambs and their mums were safely grazing and the donkeys happily chomping in their field.
For anyone planning to come to the farm in the next few weeks, you are in for a treat....
....primroses in the lane....
....the nearby woods full of anemones....

....the lambing season about to begin.

My main job today was to fill the old water trough.
I cut out some turves and laid 3 slabs then I wheeled the trough on to that.
I got a barrow load of well-rotted manure from the barn. I loaded this on top of a good layer of polystyrene, to keep the weight down.
Next I pinched nice soil from beds all over the garden.
Finally I planted it up with dahlias.
I hope it provides a colourful spectacle in the summer.

By then I was ready for a tea-break.
Anne came along, in between jobs and we discussed lots of ideas.
We went to the cob shed to get poor old Gandalf out.....this might be his last year.
Despite being inside for the winters, he is beginning to show signs of wear.
We were just looking at some glittery curtains, when we noticed some dried leaves and mossy bits on the floor. Up above we discovered that a robin has built a nest in the witch`s hat, which has been hanging there ready for the next fairy days.
The pair of robins were around the garden. They are flying in and out under the eaves.
No eggs yet but I will keep you posted.
Around the garden, blossom continues to delight me, buds are fattening on the new quince tree and on the crab apple. The grass has had its first cut thanks to Nigel.

The Jury`s Yellow camellia is flowering but looking a bit sickly. It could do with some feeding up.
The little magnolia stellata is trying its best..
And a few daffodils made it through the winter.
After a good chat with Dave, the rabbit man, I came home at 5.30.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Creating Who.

This scarecrow has not been created completely from scratch.
Previously it was Tom, a nice link really.
So ..... I began with the frame already made, with its articulated arms, making the dressing so much easier. I have waited a long time to get this one started so it was good to get going.

On a wet, miserable, cold day, I made a complete and utter mess in the kitchen....I usually make them outdoors. And it didn`t take as long as expected.
A couple of days ago I made the head.
I used two layers of a jersey fabric, one thick and one of pink t.shirt fabric.
I formed the nose by putting extra stuffing and gathering round it.
The mouth is just a semicircle of chain stitch....very simple.
The head is fastened to the stake by lashing.
I reckoned that an extra bar across the waist area would make things a lot easier so after Steve screwed that on for me, I stuffed some leggings with straw and was able to use the same bar to hold them in place. In the past the whole body slips down after a while and had a dropsy kind of look.
When the leggings were on, the trousers came next.
Held on with safety pins.
In the past I have stuffed the trousers but this has a more realistic look.
Next I stuffed plastic carrier bags with straw and put them inside a t.shirt with long sleeves.
I used duck tape to hold them in place. I stuffed the arms with loose straw.
And I used bathroom buffer mitts for hands....reused. They are made of nylon and don`t rot. After lashing I stapled them as well. (They often slide off when the string loosens.)
I got some fantastic golfing shoes at the jumble sale (50p) and I wondered how I would keep them on so Steve created these "feet" with notches in two places.
I pushed these up into the leggings and lashed them with garden string.
The shoes fit snugly on the "feet" thanks to Steve`s precise measurements.
Next the polo necked sweater went on and the brown mac which came from M and S years ago.
The scarf, knitted by Paula, completed the outfit and in my opinion was the best part.
He had to wait til the next day for the wig.
I couldn`t resist trying it on.
I sewed it on. And finally the hat.
Now he`s just about ready to live in Freshwinds Garden.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Keeping Calm / Spring Fever

I have various strategies to overcome that feeling of being over-whelmed at this time of the year.
Number 1 .... you make a new year`s resolution not to grow so much and so far I am sticking with it.
Number 2 ..... you give yourself a do-able number of jobs for one morning/afternoon.
Number 3 .... you have no plan at all and just do whatever needs doing (this is Steve)
Number 4 .....   when you look around the garden, just enjoy the good things and mentally make a note of what needs doing next.
Number 5 ..... always remember that everything gets done in the end.

With all that in mind ..... it is still sometimes panic stations!!!!
Yoga helps.

It has been a lovely day, all the more so since yesterday was pretty dire. The new turf has been well watered and no hoses needed.
I did a bit of weeding in the honeysuckle bed.
Then I did the barley bags for the pond.
If you stay at the farm and visit the garden, do not be alarmed by these bags. They will be submerged by late spring and can look a bit odd. The idea is that the barley straw gives off natural chemicals that discourage the growth of blanket weed. It works very well.

Steve got going with cleaning the polytunnel. He did have to plan that because he had to take the soft brush.
It looks great.
I began a big tidy up inside. Lots to throw out and a few plants to sort through.
I planted 8 of last year`s dahlia tubers.`
(What a boring picture this is!!)
That`s better ....last year`s dahlias.
The rhubarb has gone mad.
Crumble for Easter Day pudding I think.

An area to develop.
Forgetmenots are just beginning to flower. They seed themselves all over the garden.
 Paula planted these alongside our new area.

A new project.
It may be filled with dahlias.
Another new project.
The damson looks beautiful.
It will be hard to prune it in May though, when the fruit has formed but it needs doing.
Some odd bulbs I heeled in, looking lovely.
I spent the afternoon pricking out tomato seedlings and cosmos in a baking hot greenhouse at home. Lovely to be out of the cold wind.

The new scarecrow has a head. Now I am waiting for a wig to come in the post!!
Happy days.



Saturday, 18 March 2017

Turfing News

On Friday the new turf arrived.
We got to the garden about 10 and Anne had been busy laying turf in front of the stable.
We set to and began on the entrance area.
There was a biting wind coming across the field.

The closest we will get to instant gardening.
Anne had ordered a bit more so we were able to do the two strips down the middle of the garden.
We decided that the rabbits were getting the better of us here.
It`s a shame because the wild flowers that grew there in the first years were lovely.
Other patchy areas in the orchard were covered.

In the afternoon, Anne and I had a check through the dahlia tubers. Though some had been chewed and bits had rotted, on the whole we still have a great hoard.


By then it was freezing, so we packed up about 4.
The first visitors arrived at the little house.
I`m sure they were cosy with the wood-burning stove.
Today we have been to the church jumble sale at the village hall.
I am pleased to say that we found all the clothes for our very specific new scarecrow.
(more news later)
Behind the first counter was the lovely Mary W, a keen follower of this blog. She helped us choose coats, jackets and jumpers.
At home after sorting through all the purchases, I began the head of the scarecrow.
He is a well-known character.
Watch this space.