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15 June 2008 @ 09:21 am
Nothing eats mint right? - well apart from witches who like it fresh in tea in pale bone china cups.

Yesterday I noticed that my formally flourishing mint plant had been badly munched - I found the culprit (forgot the camera) and removed a very large pale green caterpillar. I felt a little mean - he was kinda cute curled up in a leaf, but fat enough that I guess he's eaten 2/3rds of a large mint plant and was almost ready to move onto the next part of his life. (at this point he's nothing more than a stomach with a head attached and some legs - the rest of his cells are dormant until he's eaten enough to change)

I left him in the hedge next door, and hope he's not figured out a way to return to my poor mint.
09 June 2008 @ 04:13 pm
I could complain about the mornings trials and traumas, but it's over and done with now (phew), and as a result the dog is so tired he'll sleep the rest of the day.

Today I saw a kingfisher for the fourth time in my life, they are not common in the UK - we only have the one species- so i remember them - that dart of bright blue across the reed bed was such a thrill to see.

there was a mallard and her 2 tiny downy ducklings paddling up the back-water, and later a school of tiny black fish swimming down the lake - I watched them for 5 minutes, the steam - 5 or 6 broad seemed endless - were they some how looping back round to start again or is the lake really filled of 1000s of them.

Now I am sipping a glass of freshly made elderflower lemonade - Recipe from a dear friend!
06 June 2008 @ 04:30 pm
I have a squatter in the shed....she's about 2 inches in diameter and has 8 legs, and right now I'm not certain if i should encourage her to move on or not.....not at least until the rain stops.

She's appeared on a couple of occasions now and seems to be living under a tool box and spinning a fair number of webs - not sure how successful she's going to be since the shed is FULL of sawdust and the webs just attracted it.

Earlier I knocked a rune into a web and she came shooting out to grab it. i grabbed the rune just in from of her waving legs.

I don't really like spiders - and I'm not sure i want to continue to share work space with such a large one....but I guess it's her home too and maybe we can come to some kind of agreement.

in other news the snails are winning...they've had the lettuce and rocket, my lupins (my darling little baby lupins that had just got their new leaves in) and half the carrots. They've had a nibble on the vine and the pumpkins.

copper tape on order....
22 May 2008 @ 11:37 am
potatoes! or they will be one day....the idea is to bank up the earth around them when the plant starts to shoot.

more containers...valerian which needs potting, chamomile, lupins, carrots...

baby coriander seedlings...we're going to have LOTS of herbs
10 May 2008 @ 07:05 pm
tonight I gave in early and took the dog for his walk - he's been pestering since 4pm and just doesn't understand that it's just too hot for him earlier in the day. Poor animal. The change from cool to heat has been rather sudden this year.

So the dog had his walk - something of an adventure - the whole world and it's wife and hir dog seems to be out in the streets tonight.....sitting outside the pub smoking and drinking cold beer, leaning against their gateposts talking to their friends or in to cell phones lounging semi-clad in the parks. Students everywhere with revision or without.

Everywhere is green - a hundred shades clashing and complementing each other, someone been watering their patch of lawn and the smell of warm damp earth followed me a little way along the walk. The stomach rumbling scent of BBQ lured me at each corner....quick cook it while you can this might be all the summer we're going to get.

The cats too are out in force - sun-worshiping on roof tops, front gardens and unexpected walls. A few of them puff themselves up in indignation as I walk by with the hellhound. Fortunately he doesn't notice most of them - the one he did see slunk off at speed as the hound did his best beserker impression on the end of the lead.

I tossed the kong for the hound several times - he's very good at chasing and terrible at fetching so it's good exercise for me too (if a little frustrating) and today he was tired before I was....so tired and hot that he missed the chance to exchange insults with a jack russell in the pub and a large stout cat in the alley.
09 May 2008 @ 11:09 am
A month ago we had snow and a hail storm that left us with 2 inches of hail stones and spring seemed to be losing the battle against winter. Today the temperature is in the 70's and Summer is here - for a while at least. I am grubbing round in the back of the wardrobe for cool summer clothes and the dog is flat out huffing gently.

The city is turning green - it started slowly, but now everyday there are more leaves - it reminds me how much I like this city.

The blackbird chicks have hatched....loud chirps from the nest each time Mum or Dad show up with a beak full of grubs. Neither parent seems hugely impressed with us - while they're not dive-bombing us (at least) they shriek at us from the roofs and fences. Doesn't make one feel very welcome in ones own garden!

So far the mint, basil and coriander seeds we planted the other day are sprouting - little tiny green leaves! yay for fresh herbs.....later, this evening, maybe when it's cooler I will plant the tomatoes into their grow bag, start the potatoes in their pots and a few other seeds....and remove as many snails as I can find. Thus far we've evicted 30 or so of the creatures.
05 May 2008 @ 10:50 am
I have a deep love of recycling, repurposing and reclaiming things. Anyone who orders from me is likely to get their purchase in a reused jiffy bag - I have a constant supply of them from work....wands are likely to arrive in incense tubes, whiskey boxes or sometimes pringle tubes if my co-workers have had a binge.

Most of our furniture has been given to us or found in the street - I may hate our sofa but it was free! The day after we moved here I made a list that included bookcases, a laundry basket and something to sit on. We opened our front door and there, on the other side of the road were three bookcases, a laundry basket and an ottoman style thing to sit on.

Recently we've been needing more storage (and more bookcases) and have been looking about in the thrift stores for something appropriate.

So yesterday, driving home I spotted a pine chest-of-drawers and a little desk in someone's drive way. We paid a little money for the two items and took them home.

it turns out that not only is the little repro-desk exactly what I needed in the studio - more storage and a fold out writing surface...it's also a rather good investment should I ever decide to sell it.

what's better is that I didn't have to go out and buy something new for twice the price that would last a fraction of the time.
02 May 2008 @ 05:36 pm
Three years seems to have long enough for our last abortive attempt at gardening in our tiny, postage stamp size backyard to have faded...and for a chance reading about growing potatoes in tubs to lead to a trip to the garden centre and purchases of compost, tubs, seeds, seedlings and assorted paraphernalia.

The last two afternoons in between rain showers the pair of us have been hard at work in the garden. S has been planting seeds, herbs and the baby vine that we just couldn't resist...while I've been pruning the jungle. It's amazing how much foliage and detritus can come out of such a small garden....but we're winning.

This afternoon, after an hour long battle to prune the rosemary - it's small tree size, back into some kind of shape I looked up to seem a blackbird, beak stuffed with grubs....following his gaze we spotted a tiny nest, high in the branches of the rosemary. We backed off and came in for a cup of tea, Mr Blackbird fluttered into his nest. I'm delighted to have a birds nest in our garden!

After the tea we will resume our battle with the chaos and try and deal with the last corner, and hope that my snail collection hasn't escaped.

The reason for the failure three years ago of our gardening venture was snails. We're infested. I will not put down poison....and while I could use beer to trap them I do not want the dog to either find and drink the beer or find and drink the dead snails and slugs. Thus we're removing any that we find to the other side of the house - it's a terrace so they'll have a hard time finding their way back. Other organic and dog proof snail deterrents gratefully received. (ideally I'd like a hedgehog to move in).

We're concentrating on herbs - in tubs - everything that we want to eat has to be up high due to the dog....we'll have two tubs of potatoes and two tubs of carrots...maybe some lettuce. I've also got some lupin seeds which seem fairly snail resistant. and yes there's that vine......that one I'm hoping for the best with....it's in a tub, in a sheltered bit of the garden and it's got a nice bit of trellis to climb and if it fails to grape, I always need pieces for ogham.
28 March 2008 @ 05:03 pm
"Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side, and the truth"

babylon 5
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only a thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.