Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gloves, fingerless, or mittens??

I have done it! I have finally finished another whole knitting project a mere 3 or 4 years after I completed my first ever projects (a knitted flower that I can’t find the post for) I have made a pair of what I am calling gloves, but they might be mittens I can’t remember what the pattern I first started to follow called them;

FInished gloves - January 2013

Finished gloves – January 2013

They were based on a free pattern from Ravelry that I changed as I went along as they were much longer than I wanted.

  1. Cast on 30st and join
  2. Ribbing for 15 rows (k1, p1, k1)
  3. Knit stockinette for 10 rows
  4. 13 rows stockinette not in the round (knit one row, pearl one row)
  5. Join then continue in the round for 13 rows
  6. ribbing for 3 rows
  7. Bind off and weave in end

It is super easy when you get going, even though it has taken me the best part of 6 months to complete. After finishing my first second glove I weaved the end in much too tightly and so the whole glove was useless, I did try to unpick it but just made a bigger mess than I started with.

They are being worn with great pride.

Snow days

Snow covered Oak at the edge of the woods - 18th January 2013

Snow covered Oak at the edge of the woods – 18th January 2013

We have had snow for the last three days here; along with most of the rest of the South West and Wales I think. There was snow forecast for last weekend which never came to anything, thankfully as that would have left everything to mother and MYS with me away working until Wednesday this week.

Thursday was spent preparing, and saying goodbye to Dougle (Bella’s goat kid from last year) who went to his new home just before the heavy snow set in. We ordered some extra round bales of hay so as they could be left with the sheep and not wheelborrow small bales to and from and there was extra for the goats at home. The extra hay and a 4×4 has made this spell of deep snow not easy as such but much less stressful than it has been in other years and even left room for some playing.

Back garden snow - 18th January 2013

Back garden snow – 18th January 2013

Friday morning we woke to about 2 foot of snow, I managed to get from mine back to mothers using a mixture of my van and mothers 4×4. Everyone had hot drinks, the large bales of hay were opened for everyone to help themselves to and me and my brother gritted the main road through the village so I was able to get all the way back the next day. Then I went home and met with some friends and their children in the park to play sledges and unsuccessfully build snowman, the snow was far to fluffy to stick together very well.

The march up to their big round bale of hay - 18th January 2013

The march up to their big round bale of hay – 18th January 2013

Since then it has been days of filling containers with hot drinks for everyone (goats, ponies and checking on everything. The sheep are not convinced that we don’t have something better to offer them as hay and stock cubes are not what they like to eat, they like sugar beat and lots of it too but it would seem we are going into a shortage as it was a bad year last year and they haven’t been able to get much out the ground this winter.

Snow days - 18th January 2013

Snow days – 18th January 2013

There is more snow forecast for next week but so far that is being moved back each day so we shall see and I shall be keeping my fingers crossed for a thaw as I am back at work tomorrow

Garden up-date ~ January

It’s been a fair few months now since I gave up my allotments and that time has been working well for putting in the ground work and planning my garden at home; now I don’t feel guilty for making time to spend at the allotments there are so many “half hours”, “spare ten minutes” or even “an hour before I go out” that I have spent out through my back door being followed around by the cats who thought that the jungle was theirs.

The plan for the whole garden has been developing for a while but I already knew where I wanted my main vegetable beds to be. So that’s where I started;

The start of my vegetable garden ~ 22nd August 2012

The start of my vegetable garden ~ 22nd August 2012

This is the very top of my garden and it is a nice 14′ 2″ by 15’4″ sized space. When I started work on this area the weeds where higher than me! The part of me that hates anything to go to waste even weeds started the work and so I was careful cutting everything, sorting it and putting into sacks and taking what could be home for the goats and setting aside the rest for compost or burning – this was taking an age and so in the end I just went in with a pair of hand shears and a hedge trimmer.

The back garden is on a steep-ish slope, it’s by no means the most sloped garden I have seen but still has a good incline especially when carrying sacks of manure up or anything more than hand tools really and the access to it is up through the front garden, through an alleyway around the house and up a set of 11 steps to where the back garden is at almost the same height as the first floor of the house. The soil in the garden seems lovely; dark and rich and crumblerly but is full of old bonfire patches with the rusty nails and springs that go along with them and many pieces of black plastic where it has been covered over for so long the plastic has split and broken up. It has also been left to it’s own devices for many year I would guess.

The top part is now mostly cleared now with just a heap of weeds and hedge trimmings I thought it would be quicker to burn than gather up, carry down through the garden, down through the front garden and to the car to take to the recycling center. I can see why I thought that was the quickest way but I forgot fire and water aren’t the best of friends and it just hasn’t ever dried out long enough for this to work. Time to put Plan B into action I thinks…

Vegetable garden some months on - Decmber 2012

Vegetable garden some months on – December 2012

Above is what it looks like at the end of last month; the first bed is in, filled with manure and covered and has been for the last couple of months now and work is well underway with the second. There is still the bonfire heap in the way of most of it but it is taking shape. I am leaving a path all the way around all the beds apart from the top one and below the second bed there is room for one more and then it is down into the main garden.

When I was first planning this bit of the garden I pictured the beds running down the slope towards the house, I don’t know why but it took a good few weeks of pondering how to make them before I realised it would be much simpler to make them running across the garden instead of down.

The lower part you can see in the photo has also been cleared and cardboard laid in readiness for a row of raspberries.

Raised beds - January 2013

Raised beds – January 2013

Carrying on down the garden a lot of it is under weed suppressant and thick black plastic sheets but there are three raised beds in and filled. These I put in and filled whilst carrying on the clearing work at the top; I have a late sowing of beetroot in one (middle bed) that was just a little too late to come to anything, one (top bed) I have tried growing cabbage and over wintering onions in but the slugs ate the cabbage as fast as they came up and the birds have had the onions sets out that many times I have put them in pots to get going and plant out later and the third (bottom bed) has just been filled ready for spring and is being used by blackbirds as a worm feeding station. I think there will be room for one more raised bed below the last one but need to have a proper look.

The area that is currently covered over I think I am going to turn into a main crop bed that can have rows of things put in that can be more or less left to it between planting and harvesting; squashes, kale, etc.

The other place I have worked on is the bank outside the kitchen window;

Kitchen Bank: before (left) and after (right) being cleared - October 2012

Kitchen Bank: before (left) and after (right) being cleared – October 2012

It took almost a whole day to clear it of the ivy, brambles and other things that were completely covering it. The bank runs along side the steps up the garden, doesn’t get much light at all and is even steeper than the rest of the garden. It’s now been planted with wallflowers, which seem to have had it in the first frost, and crocuses. I’m not really sure what to try in this bit as it is so hard to work with and so shady for most of the year. I might try some salad low enough down it to be reached from the path but it would be nice for something further up that would look nice/be useful/keep the weeds down. Mints maybe?

I’ve got lots of ideas and gardening projects planned for this year. I think it is one of the more important things I should be concentrating on, the more I read the more I mistrust mass produced food and I know I probably will never be able to cut it completely out but growing more of my own is step in the right direction and I enjoy it.