Gardening

I must confess that M and I have been spurred into action lately with the promise of a special visitor to our little corner of the country. It’s been a long time since my Grandfather was able to travel North, but at his age that’s totally understandable. Just a few more days, I can’t wait until he is safely here.

We’ve lived with so many jobs that really should have been tackled before now and eventually it all becomes quite overwhelming. Neither of us enjoy gardening these days but I used to and I think it’s just the size and challenge of our wild ‘plot’ that puts me off, besides I do quite like it wild. Mature trees are lovely but expensive if you need professional help to keep them under control.  Currently we have a dying one that is absolutely huge and quotes to tackle it are equally huge. Big trees also create shade which has killed off most of the tough grass we laid ten years ago and moss and cow parsley have flourished. There is still enough grass to warrant mowing it but it’s not the carpet-like quality my Dad has achieved with his lawn!

Today M and I tackled the front garden weeds including the riverbank which was knee high in nettles. I do all the bits I can reach from the path and M gets his fishing waders on and uses the strimmer whilst standing in the river. Along with chopping down all the randomly self seeded sycamore saplings (some of them over ten feet high) with a hand saw it always feels like doing battle with the garden rather than anything more dainty.

So we’ve got nettle stings all up our arms and legs but it felt good to tame just a few parts of the garden. The dogs absolutely love helping. Harvey totally gets the concept of contributing to the bonfire. It’s the only time he will actually drop a stick or branch and not expect me to throw it. I suppose this comes from teaching him to help with bonfire building when he was a puppy. Unfortunately Riley tends to steal branches from the bonfire, take them somewhere shady and then chew them up. Not so helpful. We are lucky to live near so much water, the dogs have cooled down in our stream today but they also enjoyed their dip in the lake yesterday. Riley seems to swim up and down purely for the pleasure of it whereas Harvey is all about fetching.

Of course there have also been coffee breaks. We’ve found yet another new coffee place which might just become our new favourite. M is happy with this one because no one seems to like the Times crossword there. He gets a bit ratty if someone beats him to it and yet refuses to buy his own just for the crossword. I’m also happy with this new one because it is a few doors down from a very good charity shop that specialises in just vintage stock. We popped out for coffee and we came home with a lovely Β£5 cane chair (which E has currently adopted for her bedroom). I also picked up the little wooden box which seems to be a hand carved Victorian pin box with a name plaque which someone has filled in more recently! E is a big Harry Potter fan so it’s currently by her bed and being used for rings.

After the marathon gardening session, a cold shower and some wool winding I was ready to start a new crochet project. The pattern is called Tranquil, it’s by Sarah Hazell and it’s available in Erika Knight’s Ravelry store. It’s intended for EK’s studio linen which I was able to have a squish of last week but the item would have cost over Β£80 to make which is a bit extravagant for me. I ordered the Drops alpaca to make a cosier version, the sort you’d wear for late summer evenings. With the sale prices it has cost a quarter of the price of the suggested yarn and I’m loving the way this alpaca feels to work with.

I’m not too happy to find that there are going to be a billion ends to weave in, ok maybe not a billion but definitely over one hundred ends. I might even have given it a miss if I’d known that before purchasing the pattern but I will do a few ends every evening and hopefully it won’t seem as bad. Despite being hairy in a mohair kind of way this alpaca does not catch on itself so I’m a little worried the ends will escape. Mind you, I worry about ends escaping on everything I make so that’s probably just me.

Tomorrow our plans involve taking some stray garden equipment to the tip; we are still finding random flymos and leaf shredders left by the last owner. More nettle jungles to be conquered underneath the plum tree. We will be investigating whether or not you can buy new parasol covers since our frame is fine but the fabric is what we’ve called the ‘Oliver Twist’ look, i.e. it’s in rags! I will also be liberally re-applying the garden furniture paint to the bench that J jetwashed off a few weeks ago!

(E was very happy with her Yellow/grey version of the slouch bag. I could have steam pressed it nice and flat but I like the way it’s naturally textured. I’ve asked E to put it through its paces and decide whether or not it’ll need lining. Fingers crossed it won’t!)

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