Allotment raised beds…

Spent about 45 minutes up at the allotment and managed to get a fair bit done in the time.

The freight boxes which we’d driven up and dumped there the week before were cut up into single panel height raised beds and two of the square ones were placed onto the site and dug over. It’s starting to look how I think we’re intending it to look and the final layout will not just look good buit should function well.

There are now 6 raised beds in place, 3 of which have been planted up. There are also two tyres there which define the edge by the shed. There will probably be enough¬†width for another two raised beds in front of the shed. If we’re doing a total of 2 or 3 rows, this could be another 6 beds. This could mean 17 raised beds in all. This could be 10 beds for all the individual families members with 7 left over.

I also took down measurements for the plot, including the various features, such as compost and shed. This will be put into SketchUp, which is a great 3D package, which will give us an easily altered and updated plan, which we can use for planting ideas and crop rotations. I find it’s easy doing this than drawing it out and it can then be sent to everyone and altered.

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Working weekend…

So, we had a really productive weekend and I feel like we got a lot done. On Saturday I shifted everything from the upstairs landing while Claire was at one of our friends kids birthday parties. It was 2 hours of non-stop fairly fast work needed to get everything shifted about. I had to get the two wardrobes moved into each of the bedrooms and also move everything about in the back bedroom.

The whole point of all this activity was to clear the landing area, ready for plastering work in the next couple of weeks. This is part of the work to render the house, which also includes a new loft hatch and blocking up of the loft window. So, all of that work needs a clear space, which we essentially now have (minus a few bags etc which can just be shoved in one of the bedrooms!).

The following day we all went out to the front garden to generally tidy things up a bit for the winter, but mainly to swap the flower beds which surround the front bay window, to the beds which are next to the pavement wall.

Part of the reason for this was to clear the base of the front wall of the house, to stop any moisture seeping through to the brickwork. This will also give us a chance to scrape off the old masonry paint and re-apply. The soil had been pressed against the wall and could eventually lead to problems. We’re going to put some kind of shingle/stones in there, with lots of plant pots on top.

We’ve had an amazing year of growth in that flower bed, including a Bay, Lavender and lots of Sunflowers + we had a few Borlotti bean plants in there which were quite productive. We also collected a load of lavender heads and also bay leaves and Rosemary.

The other reason for getting this sorted is the imminent arrival of the scaffolding for the solar panels. This will be setup on the 10th and we wanted to get everything cleared away from the base area. We moved the lavender plants to the opposite beds and hopefully they’ll be ok, particularly, given the freezing weather and snow!

Jamie was out there helping me shovel soil into the big wheelbarrow for 2 hours! He was also playing with his monster truck in the soil and using his little wheelbarrow to shift the soil. He’s really happy outside helping out.

We also all sat down and made some bay leaf-based things and I also finished off the Christmas door wreath, with some bay leaves, rosemary and a head of lavender.

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House jobs…

Over the last couple of days, there’s been a fair bit of progress in the house, with lots of small but useful jobs being done…

– The King size and double beds have been swapped over, meaning the king size bed is now in the larger boys room and the double is in our smaller bedroom at the back. This’ll work better particularly for the smaller room.

– Final wood store built and loaded with logs. I also chopped up a pile of logs which were on the large side and swept up the area.

– The acrylic shower door was trimmed at the base so it’s even all the way along. This meant I could also fit the plastic strip which stops leaks out of the shower!

– The three shelves in the boys room were fixed up.

– The metal blind in the kitchen has been taken down and the area behind and around it cleaned up and de-moulded!

– We’ve also started cleaning the floor of the bathroom and getting all the small flecks of paint off + the masking tape which I originally put down to mark out the outline of the sink unit, but which stuck hard to the lino.

– Fixed up two supports for the worktop in the kitchen, which replaces the unit which was taken out.

– Claire stuck up white sticky back plastic on the kitchen door middles and went to Wilkos for some red feature wall paint.

Jobs left to do in the bathroom (which have to be done before we start on finishing the living room) include:

– Final grout around bath and shower

– Paint touching up around edges

– Order and fit handle for shower door

– Sealing around bath panel base and floor cleaning

One final push and we’ll be there!

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Garden work…

Lots of progress outside in the end. We got the plant house up and secured in place and the car loaded with more stuff for the dump. The plant house was a 30th birthday present from my Mum to Claire.

Also managed to dry another 2 loads of washing! There’s still plenty of space along the south-facing fence and we now have 7 growing areas around the house; 4 raised or ground beds at the back, 1 growing plant house, front beds, hanging basket area by the kitchen window and finally, a potting/growing table by the old bathroom wall (which is SW facing and gets loads of afternoon sun).

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