30 November 2011

From one season to the next.

Hello everyone.

Yesterday I make what will most likely be the last cutting of the lawns for this year. This wasn't a job I did just for fun they did actually need cutting and I collected more grass off them yesterday than I did in any previous cut all year. Of course on this occasion it's been more than a week since they were last cut but nevertheless it will give you some idea how the grass is still growing.

It actually seems strange talking about grass cutting and then showing you the pictures below all in one post, I feel there should be a few weeks at least between the two. Anyway Vicki made a start on doing the Christmas decorations last night so I thought I would show you some of the progress so far. This is the mantle over the fire place, I think it looks really nice with all the little houses and bark ornaments.

I'm sorry that some of the pictures are a bit fuzzy - a bit like my head at the moment actually. I was trying to take them without using the flash on the camera which would have worked okay except I didn't put it on a tripod to support it. The pictures below show the advent buckets for the dogs, I think I showed you them last year but as some of you weren't reading this back then I thought I would show you again. In each of these buckets are three treats, one for each dog over the advent period. They get their advent treats before going up to bed and I bet you any money that many nights won't have passed before they are on the ball and requesting to go to bed before we've even had supper. In fact I won't be at all surprised if I come in from work one day to find the devil dog has picked the lock on the sitting room door and scoffed the lot well before Christmas.

Ellen said about having a rescue dog instead of a puppy and I must admit that after Tommy who is actually a stray rather than a rescue dog, although he was rescued but we cut out the middle man. Anyway apart from him being a super ace dog and the most faithful companion ever he came already house trained, he had got over the urge to eat everything, all basic training was included all that was really needed to make him what he is today was lots of love and understanding and some ironing out of a few temperamental issues brought about by his previous human. These were mostly overcome simply by getting to know each other. He's not perfect of course but who of us is? So having said all that and adding the feeling of doing something worthwhile I would definitely take a rescue dog provided it wasn't to old as I would want one that was still active and that I could enjoy a long life with. I guess when I get older that would be time to take an older rescue dog.

29 November 2011

How to correctly hold on...

I took a look at Arlene's blog last night and it reminded me of something my brother in law John sent me so tonight I am going to pass it on for you all enjoy.

How to correctly hold on, in a moving train....

No, no, the guy by the door!!!!

I worry about you all sometimes I really do.

28 November 2011

To Kill Jenny's slippers.

Hello everyone, I hope you had a good weekend. We had Vicki's mum Jenny come to stay for the weekend which was nice but unfortunately I've come down with a cold so not been able to enjoy things to the full. Nevertheless I went out for a meal with Vicki, Fallon, Jenny and several of Vicki's friends from church. I really don't agree with going out in to public places knowing that I'm ill as it doesn't seem fair to inflict my suffering on others by passing my germs on to them but I did go so sorry if I gave you a cold.

Whilst we were out the devil dog struck again, this time her dastardly deed was to kill Jenny's slippers. She had a passion for destroying footwear when she was a puppy but of late she has moved on to bigger prey and we were only saying as much to Jenny that morning, it seems she must have been listening in on the conversation and decided to teach us a lesson.

Today I have been mowing the front lawn which is quite amazing really considering the time of year but this is due to the continued mild weather. Believe it or not we are still awaiting our first frost of the Autumn. It was this time last year when temperatures were plummeting to record levels and we were just about to have the most snow in thirty years.

24 November 2011

Mysterious happenings.

I came home today to find the stuffing out of something lying on the floor just behind the door, I have no idea how it got there, where it's from or who is responsible! I could swear that this house is possessed by some kind of devil dog - I know, what a ridiculous thought.

A few weeks ago our good friend Kimmie  had a little play around with a picture of 'The Tree' with what I think are some interesting results which I said I would show you all on here sometime so here they are, the first one being an unplayed with example.

I hope you enjoyed looking at those. I've decided that as 'The Tree' has been such an enjoyable project I would carry the theme on in to next year but with a different view of course, I will be telling you my plans in full within the next few days so please stay tuned in if you want to know more. Also I was thinking that maybe it would be fun if some of you were to do something similar so we can see how things change with the seasons in your part of world. All you have to do is pick a subject and take a photo of it on the same date or as close to every month and preferable close to the same time of day and that's it. Anyway why not have a think about it.

23 November 2011

A estimated wild guess.

As some of you may recall we are having some work done on the house that we own back home in Derbyshire. The building work is dragging on something terrible and is costing more than estimated so we have had to increase the loan amount to pay for it. I say 'estimated' but I think there is little that is truly calculated about the original amount, I think I could have got closer to the mark with a wild guess following a couple of whiskey's to be honest. I appreciate you can get costs for things that you didn't foresee but I would have thought that someone who is dealing with this sort of thing day in and day out would have worked out some kind of formula by now which makes allowances for unforeseen problems. anyway hopefully we will have enough money - which is something else that leaves a lot to be desired. 

We went and signed for the loan last week and was told that the cheque would be with us in a couple of days but nothing arrived after several days so the the bank decided to transfer the money directly in to our bank account instead, which they have done today, the same day that the original cheque arrived! It turns out they went and put the wrong address on it!! It's half the address for this house and half the address for our house in Derbyshire so goodness knows where it went before it got here. Anyway we now have two amounts of money, one transferred directly to our bank account and the other in the form a cheque. We won't cash the cheque of course, but it sort of makes me want to though and hope they didn't realise they gave it us twice just to teach them a lesson on how to make a better job of things. It doesn't encourage you to have a lot of faith in these banking types if they are so slap dash with their own money goodness knows how careless they would be with other peoples.

22 November 2011

Bubble wrap tip.

I Took these pictures a couple of weeks ago but didn't get chance to post them at the time. During the summer months most of the indoor plants that we grow are kept in the conservatory but because of the lack of heating in there they have to be housed in one half of the greenhouse for the winter as this has heating. Before moving all the plants in to the greenhouse I clean it all out and wash down the glass and the walls before installing bubble wrap insulation. With the greenhouses being quite a size it means I have to join pieces together, three widths in fact, each width being 1.5 metres if I remember right. The common method of joining bubble wrap is by means of sticky tape which I have used in the past and it works okay but I discovered what I think to be a better method, or at least it works better for me anyway and that it to use staples.

In the picture below I have shown a close up example of a join. If you fold over the two pieces and then run the stapler along the join putting in a staple ever two or three inches you will find it does a good longer lasting and more secure job than tape and of course staples aren't affected by water and sun etc.
Having a wooden frame to the greenhouse also means I can use staples to fasten the lose ends to the woodwork so all in all I have ended up with a good fitting inner unit. There are wires running along the roof which are there for training plants up so in the winter I use these to support the bubble wrap so there is no sagging or danger of it dropping in.
Below it the stapler that I use, it's just an ordinary stapler that you would use to fasten papers together.
Thank you for your thoughts on the flyball. The thing is that when I applied to join the team I expected to go there and learn with Tess how to do flyball and then try to perfect it with her. In reality though all I do is go there, help put out the equipment, hand Tess over to someone else to run her and then hang around waiting to help put all the equipment back again before coming home again, so I guess that because it isn't like the idea I had in my head when I started I always come away feeling a bit let down. So I'm thinking that in the new year I will just take her walking instead, I think we will probably both get more out of that in the long run.

21 November 2011

Tied to the job.

Just recently when circumstances allow I have been taking the deputy head gardener in training with me to work for a couple of hours. During her time with me she has to be fastened to a swivel peg and a length of line otherwise it tends to be party time as far as she is concerned. Even on the end of a line it’s amazing what she can get up too. In the two pictures below you can see she has managed to find an apple from somewhere and is enjoying it, it kept her quiet for a while anyway.

On Saturday I took her to flyball training which was a bit of a mix up to be honest because the captain emailed us a list of events through winter to spring and according to the list they should have been at a competition last Saturday and so Fallon made plans to go and play hockey and I was destined to stay home and finish off getting stuff ready to send to the accountant. Just to show an interest more than anything I mailed the captain on Friday night to see if I had it right about the competition and on Saturday morning there was a reply from her saying they weren’t bothering with it so that meant there was flyball training after all. So even though it was short notice I decided to go because Tess hasn’t been for weeks what with holidays and her operation. It was all a bit of a rush because I have to take Tom for his walk before I go so it meant that I didn’t get breakfast or even a drink. I wouldn’t have minded this even if we had done something when we got there but all she had us do was jump one hurdle and get the ball off the chute, we did this four times and that was it, she called it a day using Tess’s operation a month previous as an excuse. This is fair enough except when she isn’t at flyball Tess spends all day bouncing from one piece of furniture to another and turning summersaults and doing handstands. I keep going and am enthusiastic beforehand but on return disappointed feeling like a spare part. I think they are happy to run Fallon and Tess but I reckon that’s about it.

18 November 2011

Border Collie Tommy, playing with toys

I haven't done a Border Collie fun Friday post in ages so when I saw this the other day it inspired me to make the effort. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. I love the way Tommy listens to his master so intently, I think he understands every word he says to him which makes him smarter than me because I hardly understand any of it! Anyway here it is, and I hope it helps you all have a great weekend.

17 November 2011

The Final Cut.

Today at work I had some kind of danger nanny looking round the greenhouses and potting shed, he was looking for problems that might cause a fire to start or make it worse if one did start, he didn't give any indication as to whether he found anything wrong or not, the main thing was that he left me alone, I don't go much for those kind of people at the best of times. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against health and safety as long as it's a genuine problem and not just some someone keeping themselves in a job at my expense. I saw a story on the news last night where this woman fell down a hole and died whilst the rescue services argued over health and safety regulations. It seems to me that if they can't do the job for whatever reason it's a waste of time them being there are all.

Today I managed to get some mowing done. I've been waiting for a few weeks to do this job but it's been that grey and damp the grass has never dried out enough. Even today it was still quite damp so had to do it with the tractor which is able to cope better with damp conditions than the Allett mower. I would have thought that this would be the final cut of the year but if the weather continues to be mild it's hard to know for sure.

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago but didn't get chance to post it so here it is now. I think the tree is some kind of Hawthorn, it has a similar habit to the Hawthorn that grows in hedgerows but the berries are much bigger. It was the colour of the leaves and berries together that took my eye on this occasion.

-- Sent from my HP TouchPad

16 November 2011

It's my fault.

I’ve spent a lot of time today clearing up the apples that have not been used or stored. In all I collected up seven wheel barrows full and dumped them in the wood. The ones you see in the picture are about half the total amount.

It is right what someone said about this being a busy time in the garden. I find it quite annoying when people come to me and make comments about me being able to take it easier now. I often have people come to me in the winter and say there can’t be much I can be doing at this time of year – these are usually the same people who are complaining about the weeds getting out of hand the following spring. I know there are some parts of the world where you can’t do a lot of gardening in winter but here in the UK some of the most important work is done in the winter months, what you do in the winter can determine how well your garden looks the following summer.

I’m pleased you liked the pictures and video of Tess, she does have long legs as many of you commented on. The fun she was having in the video is reasonably calm compared to some of the stunts she pulls. At the moment she is very keen on gardening and spends lots of time digging planting holes for Vicki ready for when she buys some new plants. I have to confess that I think I may be the cause of this craze because I took her to work with me the other day when I was planting the roses and thinking back she did seem quite taken with what I was doing – especially the bit where I was digging the hole.

15 November 2011

Tess playing.

After posting pictures of Tess yesterday I thought today I would take a short video of her playing with a few of her toys. She is very funny sometimes when she throws them around the room and then runs round to retrieve them. Sometimes though she goes a bit mad with the throwing and they end up next to Tommy and then she will sit there looking at me to retrieve them for her, I don’t think she likes to risk getting grumbled at by her uncle Tommy!

Today I finished off tidying up the potting shed which had got in to a right mess over the summer. I usually do tidying the potting shed on a wet day but there wasn’t any such days all summer so things just piled up on benches and various other places where things could be piled up. Anyway everything is now shipshape for the time being. I also took out the rest of the summer bedding from the troughs and other containers in the courtyard before spending the rest of the day clearing leaves from the front lawn. I would like to lift and store the dahlia tubers but I’m still waiting for them to get frosted. It’s recommended that they are left in the ground until the frost blackens the tops but I think if that doesn’t happen soon I will lift them anyway because I keep thinking about the way the weather turned so quickly last year. If that was to happen again this time and they were still in the ground it could be a disaster, I only just got them out with a couple of days to spare last year. Maybe this week will be their last.

14 November 2011

Dog and roses.

I thought that as I haven’t posted any pictures of Tess recently I’d better put that right so I took these two the other night during our evening walk. I call it a walk but it’s turned in to a half mile leash walk followed by a one mile game of ball which isn’t easy on a narrow track when the light is fading fast although I think we have done quite well because so far we’ve only completely lost one ball in the past week although we have spent quite a while looking for them on occasion. It’s amazing how easy it is to lose a tennis ball in undergrowth. There have been a couple of times now when I’ve just about been ready to give up when Tess has sniffed it out right from under my nose. Anyway that’s all good fun and not only gives Tess a bit of extra running but also takes her mind off chasing rabbits and other things. The ball game is then followed by another half mile walking to heel or at least in the region of my heel, there are times when she get led astray by something rustling in the undergrowth.

Tess guarding the ball from some idiot who keeps 
throwing it onto the long grass!
Stop messing around with that camera and throw the ball please.

I also realise I haven’t had much to say about the gardening of late, the main reason for this being the lack of anything to talk about. Since returning from our holiday I’ve been spending a lot of time renewing a big rose border on the north front. When planting new roses where old have been growing you really need to renew the soil before the new roses go in so I spend over a week doing that moving 90 loads all by hand, that’s 45 out and 45 back in again, it was a back breaking job that is for sure. One hundred roses arrived last week which I have just got finished planting. There are fifty each of ‘William and Catherine’ and ‘Queen Anne’, I just have to go over the border and fork out the foot prints now and the job will be finished and I can then hopefully get on with some normal Autumn work which I have fallen behind with.

The new rose border.
Queen Anne Rose
 William & Catherine Rose

5 November 2011

Gap Farm Flyball.

Today Fallon and I went to meet up with our Flyball team mates at a competition at Gap Farm which is just down the road from us. What with being on holiday for a couple of weeks and then Tess having her operation it's been a while since we saw everyone so if nothing else it was good to meet up with them all again. Of course that isn't the only reason for going as it's great to just go and see the dogs which come in all shapes and sizes. Some are continuously loud and then there are others that don't make a sound. Some take the run in their stride fast and sleek and never making a mistake and then there are some that are steady and true and then there are those that just don't seem to be able to concentrate on the task in hand, these are the ones that cause the most entertainment, they aren't interested in winning, they're just there for the party.

I took this video just to give you a flavour of the event, make sure you turn up the volume to get the full effect - if it doesn't give you a headache you don't have the volume up enough!!

The ones in blue are the Furry Tales flyball team that we belong too.

3 November 2011

Making Plans.

After some heavy rain last night and more this afternoon today has been a pretty miserable affair or at least it's been hard to get motivated in to doing anything very constructive in the garden so I decided to put together a couple of the wire rings ready for storing leaves when I make a start on picking them up. What with putting the clocks back last weekend and the overcast skies it was almost dark by 4:30 this afternoon so I was in the dark by the time I got finished walking Tommy and Tess. Thankfully tomorrow is my last day working Autumn time, from next week I work an hour less for the next four months so I will be home just after four and so will get to walk the dogs in the daylight.

Me and Vicki have been looking through a holiday brochure that came the other day with a view to take a coach trip around either Spain or Italy sometime next year. We were pretty much decided on Italy until we saw the one for Spain which is in an area of the country what we would like to visit. Anyway we can't do much about it just at present as we don't have enough money to book it. I think it would be good to get it booked early because then there would be no backing out of the idea, it's always easy to find other things to do with both the time and the money. I'm not good at committing but once I am committed I am very good at staying on the rails. It's actually quite a surprise to me that Vicki is considering another coach trip as she didn't really like the last one we went on. She doesn't like the long drive to the destination and back but there is no worry about that on the two trips we are considering because we would fly there and back so any coach travel will be limited to the actual country. Anyway I will tell you more about that as and when it happens.

2 November 2011

Tommy seems to be better.

Today at work I was able to get some of the lawns cut, this will no doubt be the last time for this particular lawn. I actually got more grass of this cut than I have from any previous cut this summer although having said that it has been a few weeks since the last cut.

I would like to thank everyone for sending Tommy best wishes. I can report that there has been no more sickness since the other night. I have reduced the amount of medicine that he has just in case what is left in the bottom of the bottle is a bit strong and so causing him to be sick.

1 November 2011

The Tree (November).

Below is the picture of 'The Tree' for November, it seems hard to imagine that there is only one more to go before the set is complete.




 -- Sent from my Windows 7 PC