Demolition Derby

I do love my new husband, and there are not many things I won’t do for him. However¬†climbing up on a rickety old roof to look at a rotten bit of wood that he’s just been smacking with a crowbar is one step too far.

I have always been the office girl. I google the best places to find things and then send him on a mission to collect the lovingly sourced hunks of plywood and roof felt. Bet he’s glad he settled for me, eh?

I am terrified of heights, I’m not going to lie. So I always knew that the roof repairs would have to wait until the light of my life felt energetic. Or until he got bored of me saying how ‘cold the allotment is’ and how ‘lovely it would be to be able to have a cup of tea in the dry’.

Well yesterday was finally that day.

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I finished work a little early so I managed to get there just as the sun was going down (4pm?! Christmas is coming…) and found MrT up a ladder ripping bits of roof off.

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He had already managed to get the old rotten sheets off and cut himself on the old felt, so all was going well.

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Until he found this.

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“Come up and have a look” he said.
“Don’t worry, its safe” he said.

So I climbed up the ladder and stood on a beam, and I am telling you now – That wasn’t safe.

So I swiftly climbed back down and watched him adoringly, giving helpful advice like ‘be careful’ and ‘don’t fall off’.

I was on screw patrol, and would pass up hardware and hunks of wood salvaged from the old chicken run so that he could add a few more beams to the ever wobblier roof. And he was doing really well until it got so dark he couldn’t see the ground!

So ‘we’ gave up for the night and went home for chicken nuggets. Success!

He is back up there today (bless his little heart) to board out the roof and get it as secure as possible.

It’ll probably be down to me to felt it tomorrow since the days are so short now, but hopefully I will be a bit less of a cry baby about it when I can’t see the ground through the cracks in the beams I am standing on!

Summertime update

Spent a lovely few hours down the plot with MrT this evening.

Its been super busy recently with our friends’ wedding coming up but thought i would show you all how its going!

Starting with the sunflowers for the top table display

My lemon cucumbers are looking fab…

And make great additions to drinks!

The greenhouse is starting to look like a forest

And the courgettes have gone from tiny to huge in a few days

The pumpkins are like triffids in the sun

But the onions are as big as they are going to get i think

I plaited them up so that i could hang them to dry in the sun without the Rottie Beasts eating them all!

Lots of planting over the next few weeks to try and get the winter greens in, so i will keep you all in the loop when i can.

So proud of 2018 so far, even if i have spent most of the time and effort working “behind the seens” on the bramble control situation!

Think i deserve that cider…

MrT can easily take A-Fence sometimes

The “Captial Spend Plot” is actually the bane of my life.
It makes everything so much more difficult!
Brambles and nettles are spreading like wildfire through the roots and no matter how much I dig they always return.

The same glorious weather that has helped my spuds grow has also helped the nettles sprout up, so the path to the shed is getting very stingy.

It has gone from this;

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To this in less than a month;

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So MrT decided it was time to stop the top growth from spreading any further before we dealt with the under-ground-problems of roots.

I managed to find us some lovely old railway sleepers for free online. They were intended to use as steps up to the log cabin at home but we ended up with too many!

These because the base of our fence. Because it was to be built on decades old concrete, we needed something strong and heavy that wouldn’t topple over easily and could be drilled in to.

He also decided to make use of the scrap pallets we seem to have collected from around the plot over winter.

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He dug the sleepers in as far as possible into the bank of mud, old roots, glass and plastic bags and then wedged it behind an existing concreted fence post hidden inside an ivy hedge. The plan was to then screw battons of wood into the sleeper and attach pallets to these.

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It took lots of wrangling and some swear words, but its in!

Unfortunately we had to call it a day here on Tuesday evening because he didn’t have his electric drill and the sleepers were too difficult to screw into without pilot holes. So after sawing the rest of the battons, we went home and had dinner like civilised people.

Last night i thought i would go back up and do what i could without his help, and I was actually rather proud of myself!

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We used some old corrugated plastic signs from MrT’s old work to stop the nettles from winding through the gaps in the pallets. These were just simply stapled on the back of the fence. They really help to cover up all the mess next door too!!

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Next step is to carry the fence along behind the greenhouse and as far as we can manage! Hopefully by next year we may be able to enjoy the spring without worrying about stopping the bramble branches from dropping over and rooting…

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Just to stop them travelling UNDER the fence now!! Hmmm… more thinking required on that one.


On the upside…

Look at these!!

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Need to make sure i go up there every morning and water them now.

At least the upside to having missing windows is that they have some ventilation through this heat wave!

Sunday Sunshine

Morning!

We have had a lovely but very busy weekend organising wedding stuff the past few days, including spending a few hours having a fabulous drive down to the wedding venue in Shrewsbury. I can’t wait, it all seems very real!

In return for my wedding organising day, I went with MrT to a new motorbike shop so he was pretty pleased too.

When we got in it was still lovely weather so we popped down to the lottie for a bit… glad we did because look what my neighbour left me!

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So many toms!

So while MrT chopped the tops off some milk bottles for me, I dug up my over-wintered strawberry plants from the greenhouse.

He potted these up in to the new milk-bottle-homes and I started planting my toms!

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More toms, less space!

I was told last year that my planting layout wasn’t very economical, so I am following the advice in this years planting. Apparently if you place your tomatoes in a staggered formation, you can fit more in a smaller space and still get enough air circulation to avoid blight! Lets give it a go!

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So Leafy!

Now you see all those fluffy bits on the greyish area on the bottom of the stem? They turn in to roots! So I take off the seed leaves and stem (those funny shaped ones at the bottom) and the next set of leaves up.

Also, you notice those shoots appearing from the tomatoes ‘elbows’? Remove those whenever they appear, no matter how old the plant. They sap all of the nutrients away from the main stem and fruit trusses and make your crop smaller (apparently!).

 

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This is how it should now look!

Now dig a hole big enough to cover the roots and that greyish area of stem.

When plating tomatoes, its good to add a bit of fertiliser beforehand. Lots of people use eggs and banana skins, but I just put in some fungi powder and crunched up egg shells.

Now is also the time to put in your tomato collars if you use them. I haven’t invested in any yet but I have heard good things! They make watering easier and help the fruits avoid splitting.

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All in!

By the time you have finished, your plants will look about half the height that they did, but don’t worry. They will have a huge root ball now and grow much better.

Water them in really well, but don’t get it on the leaves. Water on the leaves makes them burn and go spotty. It doesn’t harm the plant in small areas, but it can wilt them quite badly!

Don’t they look fab!?

So while I was doing that MrT had watered all of my onions, garlic and spuds, replaced all of my weedguard, fed my chickens and quail and made this stunning bit of wall art

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Strawberry wall!

Isn’t he a good egg?!

We had a lot of trouble with bunnies and slugs eating my fruit last year before they were ripe, so hopefully this will help avoid that. It also helps with recycling all of that dreaded plastic! Just make sure you poke some drainage holes!

Now just to repaint the wall and it’ll look ace.

I am so proud of him
It’s still not worth a new motorbike though…
Maybe when he has built my fence!

Say hello to my little friend…!

So today my friend came to The Goose Roost to help out and get her little patch of land ready for her wedding flowers.

Meet Rachel!

We had to check the chicken run before doing anything else, as unfortunately two doors down lost 4 overnight to MrFox and had to dispatch another thanks to a bitten leg and foot. Luckily ours are safe, but i will pop back when MrT gets back tonight (11pm ish) and take the dogs up to wee everywhere…hopefully that’ll keep them at bay!

He has got babies living on the wasteland (the fox not MrT!) so i dont blame him for being hungry, but i do wish they would only take what they eat, not kill several!

But anyway…back to our wedding workout. The area was pretty clear. It wasn’t all that great to look at at first though!

Her little area!

Rach is having a beautiful cobalt blue and sunflower wedding, so we want to make sure that the flower heads are ready for the end of July!

What she doesn’t use of this plot will be grassed over to create a lovely seating area for the summer, and to also keep the weeds down for another year until we cultivate it.

Half way through

We arrived at about 3pm to gloom and grey clouds, but luckily the weather stayed dry for us.

We managed to get it all dug over in about 2.5 hours and ready to rake and sow grass seeds later in the week.

Done!

Shes a good grafter and we had a good natter while we did it! Even managed time to have a luke-warm cup of hot chocolate. I must remember to take mugs next time….

Sowing sunflowers

Next stop was to pull up the few weeds in the greenhouse and sow the seeds. While she did her sunflowers (several varieties and all gorgeous!) I sowed some marigold seeds. Its way too cold this year to sow them direct, plus it means that we will know what is a plant and what is a weed. Thats always a bonus.

Very technical

I heard that marigolds are good to distract nasty bugs from eating you veg, so hopefully they will be around every bed this season. I had awful problems with ‘friends’ last year.

Look at those strawberries though…

It was Rach’s first time planting anything really, so a good opportunity to sound like i know what I’m talking about. In actual fact i just pulled up weeds and filled up a watering can, but we wont tell her that will we?

All in!

How beautiful is this looking!

I can’t wait to see things staring to sprout. We saved some seeds to sow more in a week or two so hopefully at least something will have flowers on for The Big Day.

Ready to be raked

Productive afternoon to say the least!

Makes me want to paint over that red though…..

Wooden it be nice…?

One day he will regret setting eyes on me, if he doesn’t already.

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Today’s job

This was MrT’s chore for today. We had a break-in a few days ago and my gates were already battered and rotten so it didn’t take much for them to break completely. Luckily nothing went missing (they were disturbed) but it gave me an excuse to get a new gate sorted.

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Loaded up the car

Since we had bought a log cabin at the end of 2017, we had loads of spare tongue and groove wood. MrT found a use for it here!

His first job was to remove the old gates and save as much of the furniture as possible. We wanted to use these big hinges on the new gates. Recycle and reuse!

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Gate ‘bits’

Next up, unload all of the bits you’ll need, along with lots of things you won’t and stand looking confused for a while.

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Planning stages

The first real step in the actual construction was to build a rectangle from the thicker pieces of wood. It is really important to make sure that the corners are all square at this stage, as otherwise your gate will be squiffy! We used metal heavy duty right angles to hold it together, as the wood was too thick for screws to go through square and we didn’t want to faff about cutting angles in the rain!

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Fag break. 

Then its just a matter of screwing the tongue and groove slats on to the rectangle.

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Screw in the boards, while I clean up the hinges

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Ain’t he a cutie!?

It took three of us to lift the gate into place when the hinges were on.

One good tip is to place the top hinge bracket upside down. This will stop potential bad-guys from just lifting your gate off its hinges! It’s more of a faff but its worth it.

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Brew Break

He also boxed in the bit of wood at the top of my posts which stops them from bowing inwards over time. He is a good egg.

We decided that for extra piece of mind we would add an additional horizontal bar to attach another hinge to. Unfortunately by this point MrT was hungry and grumbly so put it level with the floor instead of gravity…

It might look odd, but never mind, i can;t complain when he has done all of this for me on his day off!

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Just cosmetics left now

I then started on the painting. Because we had used leftover wood, some were red (horrendous!) and some plain, so I had to pick a colour which would cover it.

We used Cuprinol Ducksback in Silver Copse. It took three coats to cover but it got there.

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Hmm that’s not MrT!

After he had eaten and was less Hangry, he put the lock latch on to keep the people out and chickens in. I passed the painting over to him while I supervised and ate chicken sandwiches. We are a good team… sort of!

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Painting

A neighbour bought over some barbed wire he had just put around his gate after the break-in. We decided against it though as its awful stuff for the dogs and wildlife and sods law says the only person it will keep out is me when I forget to pick up my key before locking the padlock!!

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Almost there

Hasn’t this been a great days work!? My dogs will now be safely enclosed while I’m digging away and all the snoopy people can lean over and look but not just wander up and down and terrify the life out of me!

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Job well done i think