Thursday, 29 November 2007

More Brass Work.

Another view from Loch Tulla.
Low Temp: 4C
Shady High: 9C
Sunnyshine High: 14C

Weather: A bright and cheerful day.

Today I got finished cleaning all the door fittings that I'm going to do this week, I just have one more to do on the greenhouse. There are also a couple on the old part of the conservatory but I don't think I will bother with them. Below is the door catch I took off the greenhouse yesterday.
Before cleaning.
After Cleaning.
The various parts.
I love handling these fittings, its just total quality and a feel that once upon a time was common place but is now something not many people get to feel.
We have Vicki's sister coming to visit on Sunday so Vicki is busy making curtains at the moment. She is determind to put on a good show for the visit. I keep on telling her not to worry, that her sister is coming to see her and not the house or the garden but you know the way it is with these things. It seems I've been commisioned to errect curtain poles before Sunday - thanks Julie!
I had Tommy in the garden with me for an hour today, I haven't been taking him since I compromised security with my photo tours. Nobody said not to take him, in fact the old gentleman told me it was okay on one occasion. Tommy's a good lad and doesn't do any harm but you know what some people are like.
Y'all take care now,

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Brassed Off.

Low Temp: 3C
Shady High: 10C
Sunnyshine High: 10C
Weather: As you can see there was no difference between the shady high and sunny high today and thats because there has once again been no sun. There was however some rain, it started at 4pm and was still at it last time I stuck my nose outside.

Today I've been taking the tops off the Dahilia's as the frost at the weekend blackened them off. I also dug up the ones that I wanted to raise some cuttings from next year, they will also act as an insurance policy incase we have a bad winter and the ones left out in the ground don't make it. So I have at least one of each variety drying off at the moment, I will get something to store them in next time I go to the garden centre. Do any of you store your Dahlia's or leave them in the ground I wonder? If you do lift and store what do you use to store them in? I've always used the tradition medium of peat but as that's becoming less and less PC its probably time to think about using something different. There were years when I was at the farm when I lifted and boxed them and never put anything around the tubers and they still seemed to do okay the following year but I don't think this is a standard method.

Also today I've been cleaning up the door handles to the conservatory. I don't think they've been cleaned since Queen Victoria was on the throne to look at them. This information will be totally useless as far as most people will be concerned, with relation to greenhouses anyway as I don't think there will be many off you with door furniture like this on your greenhouse but who knows it might come in handy for something else and I find it interesting anyway just to see the difference one can make.

In this first picture is one of the door catches from the greenhouse before it's removal, as you can see its pretty dirty. I take it off the door completely which is a job in itself as the screws don't want to come undone.

Once this is done I scrape off all the old paint and then put all the pieces to soak in white vinegar. For this job I cut a plastic bottle right down the middle to make a bath. I leave then in a couple of hours or so and then take them out and give them a rub with some fine wire wool. I repeat this process again by which time its pretty much got rid of the tarnishing although one piece as gone back in again and I will leave it there all night as its really bad.

In the picture below I have dirty and cleaned items just to show you the difference. The vinegar softens the tarnish a treat, when that's all removed I shine it up with some ordinary metal polish.

The two pictures below are the first catch I did from the conservatory door, I have the another one off the conservatory ready to be polish and the one in the first picture in this post is from the greenhouse which should be read to be replaced by tomorrow.

The only trouble is they now show up the paintwork! Did you know that in times past polishing the door catches to the greenhouses was the daily job of the garden boy, THIS garden boy will do them once a week if they are lucky and maybe not even that often in summer.


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Mum's Picture.

Good evening all, I hope you're all okay and had a good weekend, sorry for not posting last night but Vicki and Jo went somewhere to give a flower demo so I have my mate David over for the night, we had a beer and watched TV, real tiring it was too! I can't give any temps tonight as the battery on my thermometer needs replacing. I can tell you that over the weekend it did get down to minus 3 at one point which is pretty cold for us here.

Tonights picture from Scotland is taken near to Loch Tulla, we went for a run over there on the Sunday.

A couple of months ago I was visiting Merle when noticed a couple of pics she had posted, if you want to take a look for yourself go visit her blog and then look up the Sunday, 9th September, 2007 and you should see the pics I'm referring too. The thing is when I saw them they reminded me of the picture below which my mum has on her bedroom wall. I don't know what you think.

The other picture is of the Christmas tree ornament that I told you about bought in Calendar when we were there on holiday. See Monday, 19 November 2007.

I will be getting off now as my dinner is nearly ready.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Another Rubbish Bin.

Hi everyone, I'm just going to do a quick post during my lunch break today as I have David and Jo coming over later and then I will be going home to visit my parents for the weekend so I won't get the chance again for a couple of days.

Todays picture is a view on the way to Bridge of Orchy, you may have seen another picture of this mountain in my 'Hiking Gardener' Blog.

There is a shoot on this weekend so all the family are up until Monday, I got another 3 loads of leaves from the garden this morning so thats looking pretty leaf free for them. There are still a few pockets of resistance left but they can wait until next week as I need to tidy up the conservatory a bit this afternoon as it looks like the plants had a party whilst I was away last week, there are leaves and bits all over the place.

We had some men round today with another lot of rubbish bin, well I say a bin, but in actual fact its more of a tub and apparently its for putting bottles and stuff in, there is also a bag for papers. The only information is whats written on the bag so I'm not really sure what we are supposed to do with it or anything. There are 11 families living here in the courtyard area and as far as I can see they left only 4 tubs - go figure that one out! They left a bin each at 3 of the houses and the 4th was in the middle of the lawn so I took that one.

Well thats it, my cheese sanwiches and tea have all gone and my time is up so I will say bye bye and wish you all a great weekend. OH YES! I just remembered Merle wants a picture of a picture that my mum has so I will do that for you this time as I went and forgot last time didn't I - bad Bob!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Positive Enforcement

Low Temp: 3C
Shady High: 9C
Sunnyshine High: 9C

Weather: As you will see from the difference between the shady high and the sunny high there has been no sun today. We started off with showers which gradually turned more persistent during the afternoon so much so that by the time I took Tom for his nightly walk it was well and truly persisting it down.

Tonight’s picture is of a couple of pleasure cruisers on Loch Lomond, they weren’t in operation when we were there due to it being out of season. (By the way just in case you don't know the pics should enlarge if you click them.)

I got to thinking today of a post I read by ‘Girl Gone Gardening’ I think most people accept that global warming exists and even those that can’t see it wouldn’t object to us reducing harmful emissions. It seems to me though that the biggest obstacle to achieving unity in this aim is the actual government and its negative enforcement policy, as far as the UK goes anyway. What with the speed taxes, congestion taxes, fuel taxes, pay as you dump taxes and of course the lies about Iraq a lot of people either resent being forced in to making changes by people they see as cheats or just don’t believe what they are being told anymore. You can only lie and trick people so many times before they catch on and once that happens what you say loses all credibility. They have the ability to read every car number plate as it passes so if a driver drives through an area under the speed limit why don’t they credit them in some way, as it stands all there is, is punishment. If you’re as old as me and grew up in the UK there was a time when you wouldn’t find an empty bottle in the rubbish bins let alone littering the streets and this came about by encouragement unlike today’s proposed pay as you dump tax which is one of discouragement, in other words, positive enforcement rather than negative enforcement. The reason you found no bottles is because you got something out of it if you returned them. I remember when I worked at Chatsworth House the gardeners would be always checking out the bins to see if the visitors had thrown away a bottle, it was quite a thing between some of them to see who could collect the most bottles. So you see there is nothing new about recycling, the difference is that these days it’s the government who is collecting the cash which as I say to a lot of people I talk to at any rate is a source of resentment and they see it as just another get rich quick scheme at our expense.


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Village News.

Low Temp: 6C
Shady High: 11C
Sunnyshine High: C
Weather: Today has been much brighter and a little warmer.

Hello, how are you all doing? Hope you had a good day so far.

Tonights holiday snap is from the west side of Loch Lomond taken at the visitor centre near Tarbet. We stopped here for a while, Vicki went in the visitor centre and I did some more relaxing. I can't be sure but I think the mountain you can see in the distance is Ben Lomond. Loch Lomond is around 24 miles long and 5 miles wide, just so that we are all clear about things, Loch Lomond is the one with a song written about it and not the one with the monster in it, that one is called Loch Ness and is further north near Inverness whereas Loch Lomond is closer to Glasgow.

Today has been another leaf clearing day has have been the last two, and still there are more leaves to be collected. We aren't talking about a quick 10 minute scratch around with a rake either, this is serious non stop stuff, well except for lunch and tea breaks. They're piled so high in places that I don't even bother with the rake or leaf blower I just fork them straight on to the trailer. I'm taking them in to the wood where I have a leaf pile. I empty out the leaves, level them off and then compact them by running up and down the heap with the tractor, the pile now resembles a big leaf wedge, anyone who's seen a silage clamp being made on the farm will have an idea what I mean, anyone else will have to guess as I don't want to compromise security by posting a picture of it on here - I'd hate to go in the morning and find one of you had been and taken them all!!

Last night we got the parish magazine which is one of the highlights of village life. It starts off with the parish council looking in to dog poo in the village. Im thinking they probably read Red Queens post and having sorted out their women folk are now checking for similar problems in the local dog population. It then finishes off with a warning by the Royal Mail of a postal scam. In between these articles you have someone saying how the parish council have done nothing to resurrect the bus service into town but that's the same old story. Once upon a time there was a shop, post office, butchers, club and bus service but they all closed (and from what the vicar has to say the church is about to follow). One has to ask why did they close, I wasn't here so I don't know but I assume it wasn't from over use. Its no use bitching about this, that and the other not being available to the community anymore, if you'd used it when it was there I'm sure it would still be here today. The truth of the matter is the village is dead and what we have is a group of people pretending. The annoying part is that its the very same sort of people who killed it off in the first place.

Lets see, what else does it have to say? Oh yes here is a funny bit for you.
Two men waiting at the gates of heaven strike up a conversation.
"How did you die?" the first man asks the second.
"I froze to death" says the second.
"That's awful," says the first, "how does it feel to freeze to death?"
"It's very uncomfortable at first," says the second, "but in the end its not too bad. How did you die?"
"I had a heart attack," says the first. "I knew my wife was cheating on me, so I went home unexpectedly. I found her alone in the bedroom doing some knitting. Then I ran all over the house looking for the man, starting in the basement, but just as I got to the attic I had a massive heart attack and died."
The second man shook his head. "That is so ironic," he says, "if you had only stopped to look in the freezer, we'd both still be alive."

I'll just mention one more thing from the magazine. If you remember I told you how the village club has closed, well apparently its due to be opened again shortly. There is to be a pre-launch Christmas Dinner on the 14th, numbers are limited and seats are £15 per head, it finishes off by listing the committee members of which there are 7 with a further 2 waiting to be appointed.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Callander Main Street.

Low Temp: 4C
Shady High: 8C
Sunnyshine High: 8C

Weather: Another cold damp day, it came on to rain around 4pm.

Good evening everyone, how are you all today? Kimmie tells me that they have snow falling in CT so what the heck am I complaining about, it makes us look like we are having a heat wave LOL! Kimmie also made a good point about the rat poison, its obviously something you have to be very careful with whether you have pets or not because there is a chance that other animals might get to it. Its not something I like to use and wouldn’t do if they stayed away from the potting shed and greenhouses but you don’t really want them around where you have to work, especially as I take the veg in to the potting shed and also make myself a cuppa. Anyway to set your mind at rest I only put the poison out at night when the potting shed is locked up, during the day I lift it and lock it away in the chemical cupboard.

Tonight’s picture is of Callander high street, I know its not very inspiring and I promise there is much better to come but I’m showing them in order so as not to make things too confusing – when you get old you don’t want anything that resembles confusing. Anyway I wasn’t going to show this pic but I though you never know maybe the likes of lets say
Merle or Jim might like to see what Callander high street looks like on a Saturday morning so here it is, this is the last picture from Callander because from here we drove round to Loch Lomond which is near to where our cottage was situated. Before leaving we both decided we needed to go to the toilets. I know, its not something you generally want to hear about but the funny thing was that when we got there you needed to put a 20 pence coin in the machine to get in to the toilets and guess what? Neither of us had a 20 pence coin! Luckily there was an attendant there so were able to get some change from him. Life is just one big adventure isn’t it.

Frankie @ Veg Plot has made a couple of comments one being that I shouldn’t have told you all I was going away or you might have come and burgled me – please, don’t waste your time as I took everything worth having with me on holiday. Besides you’d be lucky to get past lord Dastardley and his merry men. As for the comment about missing the snow we did actually see some on the mountains and it was snowing one night when returning to the cottage.

Thanks for all your comments and best wishes while we were away, it was very kind of you all.

Monday, 19 November 2007

I'm Back.


WEATHER – A very dull, damp and cold day. Occassional rain.

Hello everyone, I can’t say that I’m glad to be back but I can say with all honesty that its good to be able to have a chat with you all again. We had a great time on holiday and I thought about you all lots so took plenty of pics for you to look at. I thought rather than bore you all with a load of pics all at once I would show you one or two each day at the start of the page, I hope that’s okay.

One of the first things we noticed when we got to Callander was how friendly the Scots are, we did already know this from when we lived there and is one reason why we keep on returning but after living here for two years and only having people speak when they want something it was a real pleasure to have people come up to you in the street or shop and just start talking like you were their neighbour or something.

Tonight’s picture is of the river and parking area in the small town of Callander. We arrived there at 9:00 am after a 4 hour drive, I parked up facing the river and took a little nap while Vicki took the dogs a walk. I don’t do much driving at home so I did it all on holiday to give Vicki a bit of a break from it. After a rest and a bite to eat we went a walk around town, Vicki was delighted to see that a Christmas shop has opened up, it was just jam packed with all manner of Christmas decorations, we wanted buy one for our tree but it was a devil of a job trying to decide which to buy. Whilst in there a lady came up to us and started telling us how there is this one department store is looking to hire a Santa for over the Christmas period but they won’t set anyone on that is over weight! I know, it beggars belief doesn’t it but that’s what she said – who ever saw a slim Santa – I think if people keep on getting dafter the way they are dogs will end up being smarter than people.

This afternoon I turned a couple of the compost heaps and then raked up some leaves that had gathered by the conservatory. There are lots of leave to collect up now after being away for a week. I think someone has been tipping them in the garden while I was away!

Well I’m going to go and get my dinner now, its always a good sign when I can hear Vicki bangin’ around in the kitchen.

Friday, 9 November 2007

On Vacation - YIPPEE!!!!!

See y'all in a week or so.

Winter Planter.

Good evening. How are you all doing today? I can’t stay long as I have to get some stuff packed ready for our journey tomorrow but I just wanted to show you this colourful winter pot I made up. If any of you want to do something like it then I will tell you the plants I used then you can have a go yourselves, even if you aren’t a gardener you can still do it cos its really easy. You need a pot of course and fill it with multi purpose compost. The plants you need are Simmia Japonica, Choisya ternata Sundance, Heuchera marcrantha palace purple, Cyclamen and variegated ivy. Don’t worry if you can’t get exactly the same Heuchera etc. My pot is made to stand by a wall so if yours is to be likewise then just take a look at the plants you have and then arrange them in order of height the tallest being at the back with the Ivy at the front trailing over the side of the pot.

I'm going to be getting off now, I hope you all have a great week.


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Christmas Cactus Cuttings.

Hello, how is everyone today, its been fair windy here today, not many cobwebs left on anyone who's been working outside thats for sure.
I was reading a post by snappy last night, he was talking about Christmas cactus and saying how he would like to take a cutting from one he has So its prompted me to do a little post tonight about the ones I have and also show how to make a plant like I have. Its not really the time to be taking cuttings of Christmas Cactus unless you live the other side of the world but as I say snappy was talking about it, I will perhaps post it again later at the more appropriate time if I can remember.
Its easy enough to do, as you can see from this first picture just pull one of the segments from the mother plant and stick in down the side of the pot. I just use ordinary multi purpose compost. I use a pot that’s 10cms (4”) across and stick five cuttings in and I then grow them on as one plant that way you will end up with a bigger plant faster than if you grow each cutting on it’s own.
Once this is done all that remains is to water them, don’t over do it with the water, you just need to settle the compost around the cuttings and then make sure they don’t dry out. As you can see from this picture you can break off a bigger segment that has two pieces coming from it like a letter ‘Y’. They usually root okay and then you will be getting a head start. It might not really be the right time of year but I will leave these cuttings in the pot even though I only did it as a demonstration to illustrate what I was saying, it will be interesting to see how they go on won’t it, I will try and give you regular updates.
This picture is of a plant that I started off last Spring and as I say there are actually five cuttings growing as one plant. It's now growing in its second pot.
This next picture is of a plant that’s about two and a half years old, I made a bit of a mistake with this plant as I went and mixed up the cuttings so ended up with a plant that is of two colours. The cuttings in the last picture came from this plant, hopefully all one colour this time.
Well I'll be getting off now, y'all take care now.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Protection Plan.

Hello everyone, how are you today? Today I finished painting the sides of the conservatory and as I had a bit of time to spare before lunch I painted one of the two earns that her ladyship wants painting white, they are black at the moment. I’m just doing one for the time being though until I see if she likes it white. This afternoon I planted the Tulip bulbs so that’s all the bulb planting done with.
Last night I told you to protect your brassicas if you had any, well I will add to that by saying that if you plan on sowing Sweet Peas or any seeds for that matter it would be a good idea to protect them from mice, especially if grown in the greenhouse. One of these fine days I will listen to my own advice. I went in this morning and found half the Sweet Peas eaten off and the pot of Stock seedlings just about all destroyed. They were just for growing on as pot plants for a bit of spring colour in the greenhouse so I didn’t need many, thankfully the mouse left me enough for that job.
MATRON Did a post about sugar beet last Saturday so this morning when out with the dogs I thought I would take a picture of the sugar beet heap at the farm we pass, its quite amazing that the enormous mountain appeared in just two days last week. Anyway go and have a look what MATRON has to say about it.
Well I have to go now as Vicki is shouting me for my dinner.
Best wishes,


Monday, 5 November 2007

Unfair Cop.

Hello everyone, how are you doing today? As always I’m real pleased you could find time to pop on over and have a chat with me. Only four more days now before we leave for our holiday in Scotland, I think that will be very good as I am feeling emotionally drained at the moment.

Vicki was telling me tonight about this woman who comes in to the shop. She likes to do a good job on her garden but because of the situation with rubbish collection these days people are dumping their rubbish on her garden, not sure why they are picking on her unless it’s the same old story where some people don’t like to see someone doing a good job but anyway she keeps on phoning for the council to come and fetch the rubbish. Anyway this weekend there was a load more rubbish dumped on her garden and she was so fed up with it that she collected it up and went and put it on the edge of some waste ground across the road ready for the council to pick up and just as she was doing it this of duty policeman came by and saw her and came over and started on her as though she was the one dumping it. He went and read her, her rights and all that stuff and they were sending someone round to see her today! She was really upset about it all. Isn’t it just typical that the police are never around when the real culprits are doing the dumping.

Today I’ve been doing some more painting on the conservatory. I just have a couple more hours work on it then that’s all done that I’m going to be doing for now. I’ve done all the sides so there is the roof to do and also the bit inside the derelict part but there isn’t too much point in doing that until they decide what they are going to do with it, it either wants doing up or pulling down because as it is its neither use nor ornament.

I don’t know if any of you grow brassicas but if you do and you also have pigeons around it might be worth your while protecting them with some netting because as there becomes less food around your Brassicas will start to look like a very tasty meal to those critters.

Well I’m going to finish now as I want to download some music tracks from my computer to my phone, I had to have another cell phone the other week as I went and got water in my other one, it was only a few rain drops but it seems to have been enough to ruin it unless it’s just a coincidence and it just broke. Anyway I’m just going to put some music on to the new one as I sometimes like something to listen too when I’m doing something like painting or pricking out.

Y’all take care then.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

The Lost & Found.

Hello everyone, I'm a bit late tonight so I won't keep you long. I cleaned, polished and checked the car over in rediness for our holidays which start next weekend. It might seem like like I'm getting in front of myself but with it being virtually dark by the time I finish work I won't have time again before we go. Vicki has to work Saturdays in the shop and Fallon was away playing hockey, she plays in goal and is very good at it apparently, Her team won 3-1 today so anyway there was just me and the dogs home all day so I thought it a good time to get a few jobs done.

When I moved my desk around the other week I didn't bother to plug my memory card reader in as I have a new little gadget for reading my cards so I put the old one away but then today I wanted to put some music on to the memory card in my little hand held computer and I then remembered that I needed the old card reader for that card as its a different sort of card. Well could I find the darn card reader, could I heck as like. I tore the store room apart, I tore my computer room apart, then I went back and tore the store room apart some more but the darn thing was playing hide and seek right and proper. I mean, I wasn't that desperate to do the music today but the more I couldn't find the card reader the more determined I was to find it. Eventually I remembered that I put some of the computer stuff I didn't use in a seperate container so I went and took a look and there it was. Of cousre by then Vicki was home so I still never got the music downloaded yet so I think thats a job for tomorrow.