Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Back on 1 April, I posted asking for suggestions where I could plant my broad bean and pea seedlings that were originally intended for my allotment but now had to go into my garden.

One of my readers, Sue, came up with a brilliant suggestion - get hold of some growbags, hold them up by their middles so they flop down into two halves, cut along half the plastic folded in the middle and, voila, you have two smaller - but deeper - containers made from one bag.  Genius.

So that was what I did, and found a patch of space where they would fit.  I planted them up a few weeks ago, before the rains came, which they enjoyed, and then the sun came, which they enjoyed even more.  Many, many, many flowers have been produced and if the bees have found them then, hopefully, we'll shortly see the start of the bean pods developing.

In fact they've grown so leggy that yesterday I had to dig out some small bamboo canes (some of which I'd grown myself!) and tie them up as they were flopping all over the place. 

This is what they look like now (clicky for embiggening):

This is a variety called 'Masterpiece Green' which grows quite tall, produces lovely flavoured broad beans and, most importantly, seems to be blackfly resistant.  I don't think it's marketed as being so, but I grew them last year and there were hardly any; the ones I'm growing so far this year also seem to be blackfly free and if you've ever grown your own broad beans, you'll know just how disgusting it is handling pods that are covered with the little buggers.  So I highly recommend this particular variety.

Next to the broad beans and not in growbags but just ordinary pots are my sugar snap peas:

I've crammed quite a few plants in each of the three big pots so I don't know how they'll do.  They're just starting to develop flowers so I might get one or two pods off them.

While I'm here, I thought I'd show you my blueberry bushes as well (and, no, that's not a euphemism for anything).  I dug these out of the ground at the allotment and brought them home with me as they weren't especially cheap plants to buy in the first place and I didn't want to leave them there.  I found the biggest pots I had to transport them home and they've just sort of stayed in them but, having said that, they seem to be doing pretty well.  I have three bushes - an early, middle and late variety - and I had a few berries off them last year but it looks like I'll have a lot more this year:

All those white flowers will hopefully turn into berries.  You can just see them starting to develop on this other plant:

All in all, I'm pretty pleased that my beans and peas seem to be coming along, and that the blueberries don't seem any the worse for wear for having been ripped out of their comfy home, stuck in a cramped container and bunged beside a fence and under a tree.  Which was lucky!

Still here, just being lazy....

Oops.  Again a long gap between blog posts.  Sorry 'bout that.  I have a natural tendency to generally try and do as little as possible and while I have these great ideas about blog posts I want to write, something happens on the journey from my brain to my fingers that results in me going 'oh fuck it, I can't be arsed'.

Which is not really good enough, is it? *hangs head in shame*.

For example, I'm three posts behind on my art classes.  I promise I'll catch up because the teacher is showing us techniques for drawing stuff that, I believe, are pretty standard but which you won't know about if you don't take classes or read any sort of 'How to draw' books.  And what she's been showing us have been lightbulb moments for me, you know, 'Oooh, so that's how you do it?!  Easy when you know how!!'.  However, to show you these, I have to get up off my arse, bend down to the bag I carry my art supplies in, extract the drawing pad and pencils, clear a space off the dining table, redraw the templates I've already done once so you can see what to do, find my camera, make sure the battery is charged up and if it isn't, charge it (which will take a couple of hours), take the photos, remove the SD card from the camera, stick it in the laptop, alter and adjust the photos if necessary, save them to the laptop, remove SD card and put back in camera because if I don't then next time I come to use the camera I'll panic because I can't find the card, try and find the photos again on the laptop, write the damn post.

See - faff.

Yeah, I know, it's a rubbish excuse really.  I do really want to do the art class posts because they're interesting, although I'm not showing you at least two of the pictures I did because - honestly? - my 2 year old niece could probably have done better, but I am pleased with the profile picture I did.

And then there's an update about the veggies I have growing in my back garden.  One of my long-suffering readers, the splendid Sue, dropped me an email a couple of days ago asking if I was okay because I'd not updated my blog for a while (and, yes, this has prompted me to write this particular post) and I remembered that it was she who gave me the fab tip about turning growbags into two smaller round, but deeper, bags in which I could plant up my broad beans and I should take some pics to show how well they're doing.

And then there's the new car we got, which I may or may not write about.  It's a lovely thing but I can't help thinking it's going to sound like I'm boasting about it when the country is in such dire financial straits and people are finding it hard making ends meet, when really it's just a topic for a blog post.  I'll think about it.

And then there's the post I want to write about online friends -vs- real life friends but that will involve some 'proper' thinking about stuff rather than just flummery which is so much easier to write about.  God, I'm a lazy, lazy mare.

And then there's the hiatus in my running due to weird things going on with my feet.

And then there was the first of my outdoor stalls at Churt Village Fete last weekend and what a lovely day it was.

And then there's the Jubilee coming up and what it all means, and how, while disapproving immensely of the concept of the Royal Familly, I can't help enjoying the big national spectacles that revolve around them.  But there you go, see, I almost don't need to do the post now because I've given you my opinion in that last sentence.  Still, like most places in the UK this coming weekend, where I live is pulling out all the stops and I hope to go to see some of them - especially the torchlight parade and beacon-lighting on Monday, 'cos I love a good bonfire and fireworks, me.

Plus we've got the Olympic torch passing through my little town sometime in July so that ought to be a blog post with photos.

So there's plenty to talk about, it's just me having go to the effort of actually doing it.  But I promise I'll make a start....

Monday, 7 May 2012

Yarny love...

And a damp, dry, mild, cold, rainy, sunny May Day Bank Holiday to you all.  I've given up on us getting decent Spring weather this year - the last two days here it felt like March and therefore entirely appropriate that I finished my first big knitting project!

Back in March, I did a post about going to the Unravel show at Farnham Maltings, and I showed you the lovely yarny goodness that I bought, one lot of which was this gorgeous hand-dyed and -spun blue-green wool from a company called NiMu Yarns:

NiMu yarn, colourway 'Wicklow'

And I decided that I was going to make a very simple knitted wrap around vest/waistcoat.  I started it in the middle of March but something went wrong that I couldn't sort out so I decided to unravel it.  I'd only knitted about 30 rows which doesn't sound much, but each row was 104 stitches so they were quite long rows!  I put the whole lot away in disgust and didn't touch it again until the end of March, when I started again.  I went very carefully and fairly slowly so I was less likely to cock it up again and finally, a few days ago, I finished it! I'm really rather pleased with it, as it's actually wearable - you can leave it open, draping down the front or pin up one side at the shoulder (as I'm wearing it below).

And this is what it looks like - I apologise that the photos are not that great, but the waistcoat is hip length and drapes in the front to halfway down my thighs and my arms are just not quite long enough to get all of it in the photo!  I've asked TLH to take some photos for me but it's not stopped raining long enough yet to go outside where the light's better to take them!  So I'm afraid these will have to do for now:


Yeah, and they're mostly out of focus as well but they look more arty that way!

Talking of arty, there was no art class this last Thursday, it had to be cancelled due to the tutor having an exhibition to stage so you'll be pleased to know there's no crappy drawings for you to suffer!  Next week though....

Finally, I've gone back to hooking again!  I found a very nice and easy pattern for roses, so this week I spent a couple of days hooking these while catching up with the entire first series of 'Homeland' (did you watch it?  Bloody brilliant - the last episode was so damn tense I thought my blood pressure was going to do me in!!)  Anyway, these little flowers and leaves are unbelievably cute and my plan at the moment is to make these into brooches which I will put on my VenerableBead stall for the next few craft fairs I have and see if anyone's interested.  If you fancy one yourself, drop me an email (via my profile page) and you can have one for £4.50 plus postage!

This is a red rose one, about to have its brooch back attached:

Red May Rose

And this is the collection of hooked roses, waiting to be assembled - aren't they sweet?:

May Roses

Well, I think that's it from Jones Towers for this week - hope the weather hasn't dampened your spirits too much!