Sunday, 27 December 2009

Someone Is Getting Excited - and its not the dog!

Hello everyone, I hope you all had as good a Christmas as me and Tommy. We both had lots of presents although as you will see from the short video one of us wasn't particular who they belonged too and wasn't backward at expressing which one he wanted to open next. By tapping a present with his nose means that is the one he wants to open next.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Snowman.

Fallon and her friend Ty made a snowman this afternoon so I decided to go and take a picture of it to show on here and while I was out with the camera I took a few other pics as well so I will put them on whilst I'm at it.

As you will see the these first two are of the snowman which I thought they did a really good job on.

This picture is just a snap of the tree we have in the garden. Its actually a Chrustmas tree with a twist as its a Eucalyptus tree rather than one of the standard varieties of Christmas tree.
This is an outside view of our cottage, the lights you see at the window is the curtain of light that I showed you the other week.
Next up we have Tommy faithfully guarding the Turkey - or something. By the way, there is a reason for the ball on a rope being fastened to the cupboard door, I will try and remember to show you what that reason is one day.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Paint Jobs

One of my duties besides gardening is to keep the furnishings and fittings of the garden looking good and this includes some painting, as with the greenhouse earlier this year. This winter I have to paint the garden benches that we had renovated this summer by someone from the next village. All the woodwork was renewed but not painted.

So this winter when we have days that aren’t so nice I will undertake that job. I have actually done one as a kind of trial as the boss wasn’t sure if he wanted them painting white or not.

So I did the one and it got his approval so now I have the two larger ones to paint. I do most of my painting work in the workshop I have in the basement of the summer house.

I think that in the days of large garden parties and such like it was used as the kitchen as there is a small cast iron range in there plus a water heater and there was also a boiler to heat the upper part of the summer house but that has been removed at sometime in the past. The one that is of interest to me in this present day is the range which is still serviceable and is a comfort on a cold wet day when heated by coals.

Its only a very small grate so doesn’t use a lot of fuel but its surprising how much heat it gives off when all the cast iron is warmed through and so after a couple of hours makes the place quite pleasant. Far warmer than the potting shed on the same day. The bit of heat also helps the paint to dry. So today I was in the summer house quite a bit removing some of the rails from a bench and preparing the wood for painting.
I just noticed I made a mistake with the date on the pictures. I put the date on manually when I down load the pics from the camera and I got the date wrong so sorry about that.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Work Book (Week 49).

Here are the pages from my work book for this week.
[Double Click each page to enlage for easier reading]

Friday, 11 December 2009

Christmas Things.

Hello everyone, tonigh we are going to take a little break from the garden and have a look what Vicki has been busy doing in the house in way of decorating for Christmas. Please don't all go picking on me because of the quality of the pictures as they are a bonus so for that we must be grateful for what we have. In actual fact I was playing around with the camera on my Sony Clie PDA so as its not really a dedicated camera as such the pics are not of the same quality as a camera would be but I think they're ok and I'm sure Vicki will be showing you proper ones in time when she gets through all the work at the flower shop. Its a busy time of year for them. Anyway I hope you enjoy.

This next one is of particular interest to the dogs. They are little metal buckets on a string each bucket having a number 1 to 25 - its a doggy advent calendar. It can be any sort of an advent calendar really but we have it for the dogs, all the buckets have a doggy treat in them for each of the dogs.
This is new for this year, its a curtain of light.
ChrisJ I think perhaps there is no place like home also I doubt if there is any place that has everything that we wish for. I would like to live somewhere warmer, mainly to make more use of my time but I know where ever I moved it wouldnt't be home.

The Weaver of Grass The pond is empty because of the children. The trouble is that when it was first drained, for some reason the dogs ripped holes in the liner so we had to take it up and now its not just a matetr of refilling it once the children are old enough, its going to cost a lot to get it back in order. It was very nice when it was filled with water and the little waterfall was working.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A Walk Around The Garden.

Today I had to take a walk around the garden with my boss which is always a bit of a worry but thankfully everything was okay for him and we mainly discussed plans for the furture.

The rest of the day has been spent tidying up in the Japanese garden. There were leaves in various places including the drained pond. I gave it a good sweep out so that should keep it going for the rest of the winter. It was interesting to see how much rubbish colleced in there which is something you didn't see when it had water in it as everything just sank to the bottom. Judging by what came out I think it would be worth netting it during the autumn if it ever get repaired and refilled with water again.

I realised todaqy that I only have another six days of work before Christmas, it's sure coming round fast. Before you know it spring will be here and we will all be huffing and puffin' about it being too hot!

You’re welcome for to the info Pam.

Thanks for sharing the hardiness zone with us Peter, I’m sure some people will find it useful.

The Weaver of Grass
That is exactly what I do with dahlias Bob - leave them in the ground to take their chance - it is the survival of the fittest I am afraid - and some of them come up year after year. I never lift lilies either - some I threw out years ago the farmer rescued and put in the veggi garden and each year they give a magnificent show.

ChrisJ, I think when your grandfather was at the big house before world war one was a good time to be at a big house, except I don’t suppose the working conditions were as good as now but I think the big house would be running as it was intended and not as now in terminal decline. I do know of Thornbridge Hall and my home is/was just three mails south of Bakewell. I should imagine that California is a big improvement on Bakewell at this time of year. The picture on my banner is of Lanhydrock Hall in Cornwall, I took the picture during a visit three years ago. It had the best kept garden I ever saw and is a real inspiration.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Hardiness Zone 8b

Today has been a tidying up day after I got all my chores done, on this day the chores were seeing to the sheep and the greenhouses as is usual and then as there was a shooting party at the weekend I had to go and fill up the log box and bucket in the hall.

After tea break I cleared some stray leaves that were hanging around the potting shed area and also cut back some branches on a Fig tree. After lunch me and Tom made a start on tidying the old conservatory which as you will see from the pictures was in need of a tidy. It sits right under a very big Beech tree so it is always filling with rubbish of some kind. Anyway we still have some work left to do in there some time.

Hi Pam, Thank you for the comment on my blog concerning lifting the Dahlia's. You are of course right to question me about leaving them in the ground over winter and I must stress that the ones I left in are there to take their chance so to speak are just ones that I'm not really bothered about. I did make a point of lifting and storing safely two of each variety. Any that are left are ones that I have an abundance of. However having said that there is a good chance that most of them will survive as they're in a pretty sheltered position. Some have already survived two winters without being lifted. I recorded a temperature of minus five last winter and I only lost half a dozen or so. So really the thing is that if you have Dahlia's that you value in the slightest don't take the chance but if you have some that you are prepared to lose then take a chance with them. If you want to give them a bit of an extra chance pile some compost or soil over them and then in spring level it off over the border. I hope this is of some help to you. I think we are in Hardiness Zone 8b

Hi Sara, I actually preferred the breakfast party as it was more relaxed and also it didn’t mean turning out on a cold winters night – I didn’t even have to get dressed up either LOL!

Hi Weaver , Yes I’ve always lived in Yorkshire while I’ve been doing this job, in fact all the time I’ve been blogging. The farm I managed was in Derbyshire and when I left that job I came here, that was four years ago now. Yes it is South Yorkshire where I live now. I much prefer North Yorkshire which is where my family are from on my mum’s side but South York’s is where the work is so that’s where I am. Actually when the rain came that you mentioned I was back home in Rowsley and although it did rain it wasn’t so bad as in other places further north.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Work Book (Week 48).

Here are the pages from my work book for this week.

4th December 2009

So that I can post the readings on the same day as the blog post they are of the previous 24 hours up to 6 pm today.
Temp Low: 3C
Temp High: 11C
Rainfall: 0mm
Cont. Days Without Rain: 0
Dry Days This Month: 2
Wind Level For The Day 9
Pressure: 987.7
Weather: Bright and mild, very little wind.

2009 Highs & Lows
Min for the year: -5 C (4th February)
Max for the year: 35 C (1st July)
Most rain in 24 hours: 39mm (5th June)
Longest dry period: 41 days (13th Sept – 24th Oct)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Ordering The Veg.

So that I can post the readings on the same day as the blog post they are of the previous 24 hours up to 6 pm today.
Temp Low: 6C
Temp High: 7C
Rainfall: 3mm
Cont. Days Without Rain: 0
Dry Days This Month: 1
Wind Level For The Day 10
Pressure: 978.1
Weather: Turned brighter after a wet morning.

2009 Highs & Lows
Min for the year: -5 C (4th February)
Max for the year: 35 C (1st July)
Most rain in 24 hours: 39mm (5th June)
Longest dry period: 41 days (13th Sept – 24th Oct)

As the day got off to a wet start I got stuck in to another of the many jobs that will hopefully set the garden up for the coming year, I made out the seed order for vegetables. I just need to take it across to the office for them to put in a cheque and send it off for me and that’s another job well done. The next wet day will probably be spent making out the flower seed order. For the vegetables I use Marshalls Seeds.

This afternoon the weather had brightened up so I finished of tidying up the Dahlia’s borders. Yesterday I dug up and put to store all the tubers I’d marked for lifting and so this afternoon all that was left to do was clear off the tops which I put on the compost heap. When this was done I marked any tubers left in the ground with a short piece of stick as you really need to know where they are when it comes to forking over the border and also in the spring when it’s time to replant because more than likely the tubers left in the ground won’t be showing and the last thing you want is to end up cutting off the young shoots while planting or weeding so for this reason I cut a short piece of stick to mark where they are. You may be able to spot some of the tubers by the old stalks but they tend to disappear over the winter so aren’t a reliable marker.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Weather Readings

So that I can post the readings on the same day as the blog post they are of the previous 24 hours up to 6 pm today.
Temp Low: 4C
Temp High: 8C
Rainfall: 2mm
Cont. Days Without Rain: 0
Dry Days This Month: 1
Wind Level For The Day 18
Pressure: 977.3
Weather: Damp and grey.

2009 Highs & Lows
Min for the year: -5 C (4th February)
Max for the year: 35 C (1st July)
Most rain in 24 hours: 39mm (5th June)
Longest dry period: 41 days (13th Sept – 24th Oct)

Kimmie asked how I would increase the Dahlia's next spring. You are right Kimmie, I will do so by taking a few cuttings, hopefully around March time if they have put up shoots by then.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

First Frost.

So that I can post the readings on the same day as the blog post they are of the previous 24 hours up to 6 pm today.
Temp Low: -1C
Temp High: 6C
Rainfall: 0mm
Cont. Days Without Rain: 2
Dry Days This Month: 1
Wind Level For The Day 6
Pressure: 989.3
Weather: Bright and cold after a frosty start.

2009 Highs & Lows
Min for the year: -5 C (4th February)
Max for the year: 35 C (1st July)
Most rain in 24 hours: 39mm (5th June)
Longest dry period: 41 days (13th Sept – 24th Oct)

This morning we woke to the first frost of this autumn/winter.

I’m thankful for it in a way because now I can dig up any Dahlia’s that I want to put in to store. It probably wouldn’t have mattered had I dug them up with the tops still green but the traditional way is to let them get blackened by the frost first. I probably won’t be digging up all the tubers as most of them seem to survive when left in the ground but I will definitely be digging up and storing at least one tuber of each variety and any that I want to increase by cuttings next spring.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Tonight I am going to show you some more pictures from our visit to Spain, this time we will take a look at Girona. Unfortunately we only got to see a bit of the place but here are some pictures from the bits we did see.

The bridge over the river to the old part of town. We headed straight for the cathedral.

We did go inside and found it fasinating but as with most of these sort of places you aren't allowed to take photo's inside so sorry about that.
Next we took a walk along the Roman Wall in the beautiful warm sunshine. In the picture below you can see part of the wall that we walked along in the bottom right corner. The picture was taken from one of the many towers in the wall.
Also amongst the Roman remains were buildings and courtyards one of which you can see in the picture below.
The short time we were allowed to spend in Girona passed very quickly and it wasn't long before we had to make our way back through the narrow streets to the coach park.
As before I will include this link [Click Here] for those who want to read more and see a few more pictures.

I happened to see the item below earlier today and found it both interesting and staggering.


The Taxpayers' Alliance has reported that local councils in the UK collected a total of £328m in parking fines for the financial year 2008-2009. The good news for drivers is that the amount is actually a 16 percent reduction compared to the £379m collected the previous year. Of all the UK local councils, 99 percent responded to requests for information.
Shockingly though, of the ten councils who collected the most fines per head of its daytime population, six are permitted to use parking fines in whatever way they wish - bolstering the theory that fines are just another revenue raiser. The worst offender is Kensington and Chelsea council in London, which collected a staggering £85 per person. The average per person across the UK is £6.14, which is bad enough, but that puts Chelsea's figure in sharp perspective.
In Scotland, Edinburgh council is the worst offender, charging £12 per person on average, in Wales it's Denbighshire with £5.62, and Northern Ireland's average is £3.50 - its fines are dished out by a single body.
Chief Executive of the Drivers' Alliance, Peter Roberts, said: "Parking enforcement has become a massive money making industry and we are seeing unscrupulous and target driven enforcement of parking laws where the penalties far outweigh the offence. This report shows that some local authorities are treating drivers unfairly and cashing in on parking fines."

Monday, 23 November 2009

Setting Up The Heater.

Hello everyone. At the moment leaf raking continues to be the main job in the 'Big House' garden although I’m getting them cornered now.

Another worthwhile job I did today was to make an Autumn sowing of Sweet Peas. It’s getting towards the end for Autumn sowing but I didn’t want to sow them before I went on holiday as they have to be kept a close eye on, especially if there are mice around because it seems their second favourite thing to eat after chocolate are peas. I have mine covered in a propagator at the moment so they are quite safe but once they germinate they will have to be moved to a cool place to spend the Winter and so will need protection from mice somehow. I usually have a mouse trap close by. If you aren’t able to sow your Sweet Peas yet for whatever reason don’t worry as you can sow them in the Spring. I will make another sowing then as well.
Also today I set up the Propane heater in the end greenhouse. This will stay on all the time now as it’s on a thermostat. It’s a free standing heater so I set it up under the grating in the greenhouse floor. Originally this is where the heating pipes would have run when the heating was provided by a boiler.

Propane heater.

Fits snugly under the floor grating out of the way.

Guess where is my favourite place to stand on cold days?!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Tonight I am going to show you the pictures I took while we were visiting Barcelona last week. Just for this one day we had a proper guide who took us all over the city and a very informative man, he told us far more than I could take in during one sitting. As in the last post please use this link [Click Here] if you want to know more.

Here are the entrances to La Sagrada Família church.

I forget when work on this was started but its still in progress, they build as money allows which all comes from donations so I reckon it might never be finished.

One of many weird and wonderful structures that made up the Barcelona skyline.

One of the back streets of Le Ramblas


The rest of the pictures are what I took while visiting the cathedral.

Sara That is so true what you say about the bridges looking different when you're actually on them. I remember also that it was quite a surprise on seeing it for the first time, it would have no more of a surprise had it been a flying saucer sitting by the roadside as it seems so out of place in its surroundings.