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