Tag Archives: garden

The Garden Update

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted about the garden, but we’ve certainly not been slacking.  Neither of us can quite believe we’re enjoying doing the gardening so much.  Despite the fact that I have a suspected hernia, I’ve been trying to help Grete as much as I can but she’s having to do most of the heavy lifting now.  In fact, the pain really flared up a couple of days after I carried the top soil around from the car to the back garden last week.  Anyway.

Grete’s done an amazing job sorting out the left side border, we both put in a lot of effort getting the soil under where the deck had been turned over, cleaned out of bricks and rubble to some extent and mixed in a bunch of new top soil.  We’ve seeded that with grass, hopefully to get it looking like the other side and stop the soil washing away in the first heavy rain we get this year.  We’re still not sure what to do with the exposed brickwork and fence panels, but we’ve got some wooden edging we hope to use to hide some of it when I get the chance, and as for the rotten wood holding up the fence panel, that will have to wait until we’re both a bit more confident.

We stopped in B&Q today and picked up 6 shrubs for the right side, and a Japanese Acer for the area we’re grassing to replace the honeysuckle, so hopefully they’ll all put down some roots and do well.  The weather is certainly on our side.

Updated some photo’s at the picasa page (here if you’re really keen), and here’s a couple of my favourites of the cats from the last couple of weeks.

Not a cat! A plant!Bubbles enjoying sun and shade at the same timeShe'd been rolling in the dirt and needed a cleanThe great black hunterShe loves the stick

The Deck – Day Two

I had some work planned today (actual work overtime style) so didn’t expect to get into the garden.  However, the servers behaved and it took just under 3 hours (9am-11:30am) instead of the planned 5 (9am-11:30am), and I couldn’t resist getting the saw out and having another go at the deck.  I was feeling pretty positive and upbeat and that translated into a serious amount of work.  The deck is now gone, with Grete’s help, and we can finally use the garden furniture we bought several years ago without having to sit in the grass.  Now we just need to tidy up the metal brackets in the walls, sort out the wood that we have to leave in (it’s supporting a fence panel but needs repairing and protecting) and then see what we’re going to do with the concrete.  We’re looking at modular decking at the moment which you can just lay on top of solid surfaces.

Bubbles isn’t happy – but she’ll adapt.

From The Garden

Gardens and Decks and Saws Oh My!

The people who built the deck at the rear of our house used regular wood (not treated) and regular screws (not the kind of things you should be using  outdoors), and so slowly the deck has rotted away.  We got a quote a few days ago for someone to take it away and replace it – £2600 or there-abouts – which is well out of our price range.

We knew there was a concrete patio under the deck, so rather than not be able to go out at all, we decided to get rid of the deck ourselves.

I thought I’d put up some pictures showing the history of our garden, including the start of the deck removal process.  You can check them out on Picasa over here.  I took up the first batch of planks using a regular hand saw, but man that was a lot of effort, so we popped out and bought a power saw.  That made it more – exciting – certainly.

I won’t tell you in full detail how we got the rails around the top of the decking down because it’ll only scare you as much as it scared me.

So much for me deciding I was going to have a lazy day playing Lord of the Rings, apparently I won’t let myself be lazy at the moment.

From The Garden

Gardening

Grete removed all the dead / overgrown / weird / scary plants out of the little strip of soil in front of the window in the front garden last week.  It sort of looked a lot tidier and then it suddenly looked a lot like it was empty so we popped into B&Q today and got some plants (not many).  We got a few more bags of ground covering bark for the back garden borders as well to keep the weeds down.  We bought short plants which will hopefully spread and cover the soil surface and flower during spring and early summer, assuming they survive long enough.

Here’s how it looked after being emptied –

Emptied!

And here’s how it looks now with the few plants in it –

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Guests!

Nice visit from a couple of friends on their way south from a few days on vacation.  Was really nice seeing them both even if I had to be rude and half-work while they were here.  They seem to have brought a change in weather with them – was overcast until they arrived and now it’s sunny and hot!

Can’t complain – fingers crossed it lasts the weekend we might get some more garden stuff done.

Chopping wood

I sat down earlier to play some Lord of the Rings, I thought maybe I’d try and catch up on some deeds.  If you’ve not played, each area has a number of different deeds which end up giving you titles or small improvements to your character.  Among those deeds there are kill deeds, both basic and advanced.  So you may have to kill say 100 goblins for the basic deed and get a title, and then another 250 for the advanced deed and a virtue reward (character improvement).  In some locations, the quests you do end up ensuring you kill plenty of the relevant creatures, so the deeds come naturally, but if you group with a few people or move through an area quickly you find you easily move on before the deeds are complete.  Even on your own, some deeds involve creatures that are small in number, hard to kill or just out of the way – so there’s always a reason to go back and do them.

But it’s tedious.  Killing 250 wargs, especially on low DPS characters, is not something that takes a few moments.  This is doubly true in areas where the creatures still give XP, since killing them is still an effort.  Not life or death perhaps, but you still need to take care and avoid too many at once.

So it was with all that in mind that I set off to Eregion to kill wargs, half-orcs, and assorted other creatures.   I didn’t have more than 60 kills in any of the deeds and they all needed 250 in total.  I think I had maybe 15 wolf kills out of the 250.  After about 20 minutes I realised if I was going to be doing something tedious that made my hands hurt, I may as well go into the garden and chop the wood that got left over from my pruning a couple of weekends ago.

And now I can’t make a fist with either hand.  Chopping, sawing, cutting and piling.  Probably got half, or maybe just over a third of the wood chopped into less than 1 foot sections.  Some went into our brown wheelie bin (collection on Thursday), but most is piled up in the grass next to the remaining huge pile still to be sorted.

Still it feels good to make some progress with it and we’ll see how my hands are tomorrow – I may try and get some more done.  Typical British spring weather out there – windy, sunny for 10 minutes, overcast for 10 minutes.  Constantly taking my coat off, putting my coat on, taking my coat off.  Enjoyable being out in the fresh air however – and it always amuses the cats when one of us is in the back garden.  They’re not really sure how to respond when we’re in their domain, so they tend to run around being scatty and amusing.

Bubbles spent 15 mintues sitting on the shed roof staring down at me – with a sort of ‘yes minion, chop the wood, clear my grassy playground’ look on her face.

The Sunday Tree Massacre

I picked up a book earlier and nearly made it into the lounge to do some reading, when on a complete whim and mostly because the sun was out, I dragged my lumbering body outside and pruned our two biggest trees.  By pruned of course, I mean heavily chopped back.  And by heavily chopped back I mean massacred.  They do look a lot better though – hopefully I got them before they expended too much energy waiting for spring and they’ll survive.  I suspect they will since the huge tree at the bottom of the garden was ‘removed’ and it still manages to grow back each year.  Grabbed some photo’s of the trees, the pile of wood we now have to get rid of and our troll, who’s settled into the garden nicely.  Click for full size pictures.

Our little troll (by the shed) Tree at front (down to 1/3rd height) Apple tree at rear, seriously pruned Apple tree at rear, with house in background Pile-o-wood (with bright sunshine) Long shot of the wood (and sunshine!)

Frost came visiting

Totally clear night last night (Saturday to Sunday, since technically I’m writing this on Monday morning), so it was always going to be cold.  The frost this morning though was amazing.  On the shed roof it looked a little like snow, but the grass and leaves on the ground looked like they’ve been coated in sugar.

Tried to get some shots, but not really pleased with how they came out.  I’ve whacked a Picasa album up (including the shots of the snow we had recently) which you can see over here.

Here’s my favourite shot though (click for full size) and check out the album above for a couple more.