The blogger who came in from the garden


Whilst we were in Venice, a neighbour looked after our chicken. The chicken feed is kept in a dustbin an old stable, which in truth has been slowly falling into disrepair over more years than we’ve lived here. Rather than leave the door swing and bang in the wind, as it is wont to do, he had propped a spade against the door to wedge it shut and, as I moved it to open the door on our first morning back, I thought we really should find a way of fastening it properly. I did not ponder for long. As I stepped in I found the entire place had been ransacked. Garden tools, dustbins, pots, tarpaulins, odd bits of furniture and all the general paraphernalia of the sort that gravitates to and seemingly multiplies in a large garden shed was thrown and spread all around. Much was half buried in the earth floor. A trench had been dug along one of the walls. And all was strewn with quantities of hay. Nothing seemed to be missing and we could only assume that a badger must have got trapped inside and dug itself out in a frenzy.

We resolved that we’d better bite the bullet, re-roof it and give it a good sorting out. You may remember that, with a couple of Siberian interludes of dry snow and a gale that broke the roof, it had rained solidly, here, since about the middle of last Summer but during April, on two dry weekends, son # 3 replaced the roof and I became a roofer’s apprentice. Between passing sheets of coroline, I tackled the inside and found a badger must, indeed, have spent the winter inside and that everything you ever heard about a badger’s den is true :(


Whilst I was remaking the floor, painting with preservative and sorting out junk, the weeds grew and grew and grew and started to seed themselves all over the garden but the garden was so waterlogged there nothing I could do.


Then, suddenly, the rain stopped. The temperature rocketed. And, without as much as a nod to Spring, the ground was as hard as concrete. And so began the weeding. Having unwillingly stopped being a crafter and a blogger and become a full time weeder (and knowing full well, alas, that the ground is full of weed seeds), I was determined to limit the ease with which weeds could grow again and, since we had now entered a heatwave I also wanted to maximise the benefit of watering so I tried some new-to-me strategies, which seem to have worked relatively well considering it has only rained twice since the beginning of May.

With the decking we removed a couple of years ago, I made paths so I can reach everywhere easily and I put some old tarpaulin (weighed down) between the rows and in the middle of pyramids of beans to stop weeds growing inaccessibly.


And I planted courgettes and squashes in grobags with the bottoms cut so it’s easy to see where the roots are (to water) and the plastic can help retain moisture.


And, in the flower garden, I divided the borders and put down weed fleece and bark around roses and perennials near the hedge. This certainly seems to have benefited the box hedge and if it keeps weed free over the year, I’m inclined to extend it…


The heat and scorching sun is taking it’s toll so, until we have rain, I’m just watering enough to keep alive what is grown already, harvesting and dead-heading. When the weather changes I will reassess…

Apart from that, I have been repainting the wood on the outside of our house. I was looking forward to coming in to sew after the garden marathon but once we get a dry spell we really have to make the most of it :(


Craftwise, I have managed to do a little knitting. This bag (intended to be folded up and used instead of a carrier bag) uses a new-to me knitted square technique. The pattern is by Laura Spradlin. It is called ‘Girlfriend Market Bag’ and you can find it on Ravelry.

And, drum roll! I have finished my Spiral Quilt for the Endeavourers challenge on August 1st. Unfortunately, I can’t show it before the group reveal but this is the first time I have ever completed a quilting challenge more than a week ahead of the deadline. I have also knitted something (small) to share in the next Wool on Sundays post so, despite being about three months behind on all things blogland, I’m suddenly feeling like I’m ahead!

I hope you are enjoying the Summer (or Winter if you are in Winter) :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

I am linking this post with Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches for New to Me and Soma at Whims and Fancies for Wandering Camera.

20 thoughts on “The blogger who came in from the garden

  1. Louise Hornor

    Goodness, your garden has been a lot of work this year! I can’t imagine the mess the badger made. I hope you can get back to more fun activities soon. That blue knit bag is really quite neat :)


  2. Flashinscissors

    Your garden is looking amazing! You’ve certainly been busy. Well done you!
    We have often been visited by badgers in past years, you’ve made me wonder how they are coping in this weather. There aren’t any rivers or streams around here so I guess they must drink from ponds or water bowls that are out for the birds. We will be lucky if they survive.
    Your knitting is very pretty. Well done having your quilt finished too.
    Barbara xx


  3. Kim Sharman

    Oh my goodness, those badgers seem to be pesky little critters. On the plus side I guess you now have a very tidy old stable. Love your garden, Janine. I love all that green as far as the eye can see. Cute little shopping bag; the pattern is an interesting one. I can’t wait to see your spiral quilt. I imagine it to be fabulous!! =)


  4. Carol DeLater

    Lets back up here. You went to VENICE??? How cool was that! And nary a picture of the excitement!! Bad Blogger.(wagging my finger at you). The Universe has a way of forcing us to do tasks we really DON’T want to do. But your shed looks great and you can check off your virtual list. When Bosco was a pup, we used to say he looked like a badger. I’m so glad he didn’t ACT like one! After so much rain, weeding can feel overwhelming. That is how I have been feeling. But even one day can make a huge difference. You seem to have it all under control. All that garden stuff and you still got so much needle work done. All in all, July seems to have been a good month for you.
    XX, Carol


  5. Jules

    Oh I am so in envy and awe of your garden, it seems a little slice of heaven to me.
    How lovely to have had Mr Badger living at yours – shame he didn’t tidy up after himself though, perhaps next year he will ;)

    Love the knitted bag, I’ve made a few crochet ones for myself and I love them.


  6. Angie

    Thanks for your recent visit to my blog. And I thought I had a busy month – you’ve had lots of true ‘work’ to do, from the shed to the garden and more. Wow! And it has been hot, so that takes a toll as well. I like many of your gardening tips … good to remember for future dry summers/weedy times. Enjoy your weekend!


  7. Dixie

    Your garden looks lovely! And I love your knitted blue market bag.
    The square technique adds a little fun. I’ve only tried it once, but it’s so enjoyable.


  8. Celtic Thistle Stitches

    It has definitely been feast or famine on the weather front this year Janine, hasn’t it? I love your knitted market bag, it looks like it could hold an impressive amount of shopping.
    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too.


  9. soma @

    Wow! What a lot of work after coming back from a vacation in Venice! Hopefully you won’t have to bother with these again for a long time now. The shed and the garden are looking lovely. The garden is so green! You have made yourself a very sweet market bag, love the shade of blue you used for it.

    Thanks so much for linking up this lovely post on Wandering Camera.



  10. Sigrid Swinnen

    Good tip about the growing bag with the bottom cut, thank’s! Your garden looks wonderful!
    One thing great about the heat: the weed is growing more slowly :-)
    This year I decided not to grow any vegetables, but my fruit trees are suffering by the lack of rain! Our area is not used to these temperatures, so farmers are afraid harvest will be a disaster…
    Oh, almost forgot to say that I love your blue bag!!! I’m crocheting a bag at the moment! :-)
    Take care,


  11. Pam @Threading My Way

    Well, I’m glad we don’t have badgers in Australia. Your shed looks super organised, and your garden is a delight to look at, especially given the heat you are experiencing. I thought your lovely market bag was crocheted, till I read you had knitted it.


  12. SheZ

    Hi i am new to your blog ,what a beautiful garden you have. Oh dear what a pesky badger we dont have them in our country.What a beautiful bag you knitted ,love the colour,well done xx


  13. RaisieBay

    Gardens can be such hard work, well done for doing such a great job and sorting out your shed as well. The bag is lovely too, you have been working hard.


  14. Su-sieee! Mac

    Hi, this is my first visit. I enjoyed reading about your garden adventures. We decided not to try a vegetable garden this year because of the lack of rain. Our area is not considered to be in drought so no water rationing, but we’re choosing to act like it is. We are happy though to water the four volunteer cherry tomato plants that has been giving us yummy tomatoes. Cheers.


  15. catherine

    Your garden is really beautiful and shows the amount of effort you’ve put in – how lovely to have created such a glorious patch! To have a badger in it too seems magical, even if s/he is a pest :-)


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