Posts Tagged ‘garden’

TGIF

February 2, 2009

February, that is. I never could get the hang of January. I really should just schedule myself to be absent for that one month of the year.

So, Scotland being ever a contrary sort of place, has once again waited until well after the holidays to grace us with a considerable snowfall.

My family back home are surely saying, ‘Pfft. You can still see the ground in places.’ Fair enough, but this is serious for us. The South of England has ground to a halt, apparently.

Nyssa, our little polar bear, outside practicing tennis. By herself. It should be noted that she’s only wearing a coat because I insisted.

Two blue garden gnomes? Nay, after several weeks, the Dynorod people finally came back and gutted out the sewage pipes and filled in the hole. This would be why I’m slightly happier to have Nyssa running about in the garden–not so likely now that she’ll infect us all with cholera or something..:P

Robin saying ‘hello’ outside the living room window. Yes, actually I will use any excuse to post gratuitous robin pictures.

We have also had an unusual amount of winter sun, which means occasionally I can get the house to a happy temperature. Mittens enjoys basking weather a great deal.

Truth be told, so do I. There is a direct correlation between how warm I am and how likely I am to get properly dressed. I say properly..no doubt my fashion sense is somewhat lacking in that regard.

Thanks to Kosmic, we did make it out of the house last week. We had a sort of ‘swap shop’ with other homeschool kids. By which I mean kids (mums) packed up loads of stuff they wanted to be rid of and brought it along with no intention of taking more stuff back home with them. It worked out mostly well for us–here Joseph is dutifully trying to convince people of the brilliance of his Doctor Who collection. I admit I was a bit sad that he considers his Dr. Who phase to be utterly over. If only Lego snagged the franchise, it might have had a chance with Joseph.. I’m sorry, but there’s no way that Star Wars is *more* cool.

Nyssa being not so dutiful–can you believe she’s actually swapping?

This was me during the swap. The Scout Hall we were in did not have the heating turned on in that part of the building. It wasn’t just me being wimpy. Ask anyone.

What a fabulous lad, doing the sweeping up.

Nyssa was too busy getting to be with another girl. She’s had quite a social week actually–tonight she comes home after having been at another friend’s house for 3 nights! I would have thought (hoped?) that that would have been too long without me, or at least Joseph, but apparently not.. I guess that’s good. (*sob*)

Oh yes, I’ve started a new knitting blog here. I had another one, but got annoyed with it as it’s a different user and requires that I log out of this account to use it. Yes, I’m very lazy. I’ve also had cause to post to my garden blog, which is linked in the sidebar, if you’re interested.

So, things are looking up. Valentine’s Day is coming up, for which I continue to try and train James, and after that it’s but a short jump into spring!

Contrast: The House

November 30, 2008

November has shown a lot of variety out here.


A deluge of incredibly heavy wind and rain early in the month robs us of what would have been a spectacular display of autumn colour, but it was still quite pretty.


It properly snowed one night! It even lasted most of that day. Living farther inland we’re definitely going to see more winter weather, I think.


This is how things have been looking for the last week or so, quite misty and a thick frost on everything.

Where’s the Nikwax??

October 10, 2008

I don’t know if you’ve noticed in the sidebar, but there now a link to a little blog I keep for my garden. It’s where I indulge my need to post pictures of robins and roses and suchlike. I made a post detailing the things I ordered from a nursery a week or two ago. Anyway, point is, they all came today. The weather was not good. Very windy in the AM and very rainy in the PM. Before the weather switched over to the afternoon’s downpour I went outside to try to get some of them in the ground. I started with the items going along the perimeter of the house, which was probably a mistake. For some reason, someone thought it a brilliant plan to put 6 inches of pokey red rocks all around the house, even in areas obviously meant for plant bedding. Rocks are not good mulch, even crappier as soil! Also, as the garden hadn’t been tended for a while, there were many stubborn things to be uprooted. We now have several square feet of dirt where I pulled out things that had invaded the lawn. I like naturalized gardens, so long as everyone knows their place! I also found yet another random pipe coming out of the ground. Nobody knows anything about the workings and history of this house as it’s so old so there’s no chance of my knowing if it’s important or not. I managed to get in the salix (mini pussy willow!), the two jasmines, and the australian mint bush (smells gorgeous, truly). I was wet, but doing alright until the rain soaked through my army coat (stupid me, not having waterproofed it..) and water dripped down my soaked hair and into my eyes. I started to dig up more rocks but finally admitted to myself that I had probably best go inside. I tend to get a bit obsessively focused on things, sometimes ignoring good sense (people who know me are probably pointing and laughing :P). So I sheltered the remaining plants reasonably, and gave up for the day. I really hope the weather improves tomorrow. BBC weather is being a tease.

Joseph, my dear child, has developed some interesting Britain-specific quirks. I found him a couple hours ago sitting on the couch with a dozen or so stuffed animals watching Mock the Week, one of the UK’s more cynical current events quizcoms.

So, I have some photos. I may as well post Nyssa’s birthday pictures separately, as there are quite a lot.


In a bid to save money and make Jamie proud I redid an old purse that was missing its handle. I love the tacky owls ever so much. The handle is also in that fabric.


The new stripes in my hair. The lady didn’t want to lighten my hair all at once, so she’s going to do a few sessions of highlighting. That would be the reason for the evil blonde. I dunno, now that it’s got a weird red in it, I don’t hate it nearly so much. My hair is finally growing out as well. The ladies said my hair was a such good shape. I had to laugh. It’s because I never style it and don’t wash it any more than I absolutely have to. It’s nice that there are *some* areas of life where the path to health is laziness.


This just makes me happy. Organized gift wrapping stuff.


Last week we went to the zoo! Joseph took our pictures. Not bad! This is the first time I hauled out the winter coat this season.


What’s this? What poor little thing is the losingest animal today?


Aww..


In the education building. Hmm..


A homeschool mum was nice enough to organize a talk for us on the Budongo chimpanzees and the local villagers.


Carrying things on your head is harder than it looks.


Aw…a stuffed penguin is extra pathetic.


Maybe he misses his friend.


I wonder what he’s thinking about. I find it interesting that he puts his hands between his knees when he lays on his side as I do.


This is a nifty sculpture.


They have just one polar bear.


I heard an enormous amount of screeching and thought the chimpanzees were running riot. Turns out a bunch of kids from a primary school had turned up at the playground. At one point a chimp, who was in the cage adjacent, did come up and yell at them in a ‘hey you kids, get off the lawn!’ sort of way. The photo above is telling. If *Nyssa* thinks people are being too loud…hehe.


Gorgeous male leopard. His spots are visible in the sunlight.


I just don’t know what to make of this. The poor cat was obviously stressed, as he was pacing back and forth endlessly.


That said, they are in a desperate situation. There have got to be some in captivity with those numbers to ensure that they aren’t lost forever.


Another beautiful cat.


Badgerbadgerbadgerbadger…this little guy was so hard to photograph! He just trots and trots all about.


I had never seen a Pallas Cat before. He is just completely charming!


He was even obliging enough to wash his little face while I was watching. He is terribly covetable, I must admit.


A fairly excellent facial expression.


Jamie loves lemurs. We found him a wee one in the gift shop on the way out.


He has such a fascinating face. OK OK, I realize my commentary is lame. I’m no Attenborough. Moving right along..


On the train home, we had to stop for a while on the bridge. That’s always fun. At least I had the leisure to get some pictures of the road bridge.


On Tuesday we went to help at Pillars. Our chore this week was a most excellent one-we got to harvest the rest of the cucumbers and tear down the plants. The kids were very pleased to get to take a few home.


I do so love polytunnels.


I also like an excuse to pass an afternoon in an army jacket, garden gloves, and a weird hat.


I covet this house and its climbing maple-looking plant.


Joseph designed, built, and painted a really fantastic lightsaber. Does this mean I don’t have to buy him one for his birthday? 😉


My hopelessly spoilt cats–I’ve made them beds next to me at the computer. Well, it makes them so happy! And I have no shame when it comes to my kitties.

What?!?

September 4, 2008

I have a very hedonistic love for raspberries and variants thereof. When we moved in I did a sweep of the garden to see if I was lucky enough to have some already growing, but was disappointed. Yesterday I was wandering along the hedge inspecting some rather odd things growing out of it. There are some very exotic flowers that have managed to grow up through the hedge and poke their heads out about 8 feet off the ground. I followed ’round to the street side and was astounded to see this:


There are blackberries growing out of the top of a 10 foot hedge, the fruit dangling tauntingly just out of reach! I fully intend to squirm my way into the hedge to extract them intact. What a world..

Some other things from the last couple days of no kids around..


I always enjoy seeing this sort of thing out my front window. This is our first ever lawnmower, btw. Awwww. It’s a Bosch, but it was 60 quid, but it’s Bosch, but it was freaking 60 quid…this goes through my brain when trying to reason how long this thing is meant to last. Our lawn was totally overgrown, and when I told James to go get the huge Tub Trug to help him gather the grass, he was confident that it wouldn’t be needed. Ha, fool. Or, ha, grownup boy who never had to rake a lawn. Hehe. About three passes across the lawn and the thing needed emptied. And also dug out with a stick. 60 quid mower doesn’t like 10″ high grass.


One side is a perfectly respectable but BORING tomato and olive. The other is my newest sensation: beans on toast pizza. And don’t you dump shredded cheddar on your beans and toast? Yeshhh. James mocked me. And then wanted my pizza. Ha.


I cleaned out my candy box and consolidated it into a box about 12″X18″. Don’t be fooled by scale–those red hots, twizzlers, sour patch kids, etc. are the mammoth sizes. I am a spoilt ex-pat.


I have fantastically nice American in-laws. One night soon I’ll make fries with ranch sauce and root beer floats and watch major league baseball. Woo!

This and that around the house

August 14, 2008


James was gone, and I had found some organic bacon and Pilsbury crescent roll dough at Tesco (I know, wtf?). Couldn’t resist making pigs in a blanket. This is a notable meal in that I haven’t actually cooked raw meat in more than 5 years. I suppose bacon is hard to mess up–put in pan, fry until nearly rock-hard (I love it that way). So these items, along with Minute Maid orange juice, was very reminiscent of things I ate as a kid. So nice, in an artery-hardening sort of way.


This is what I like to see, a man at some sort of labor necessitating a ladder.


Not so much what I like to see–a man coming at me at breakneck speed on a child-sized scooter.


Definitely what I like to see, a shaved husband. Not so sure about the kid-tormenting though..


Hehe, super Ikea dinner–quorn swedish meatballs, boiled buttered potatoes, gravy, and even loganberry jam.


Poor Joseph, doomed to be forever upstaged.


There’s always stuff in the news insinuating that homeschoolers do what they do in order to abuse their kids and escape notice. I point out here that 1. this has been caught on film and 2. not all of the kids packing the baby into the recycling bin are homeschoolers.


The field behind our new doctor’s office. Could almost be Idaho if you squint right..


Aw, the scruffy village charity shop cat. The tag reads, “Tiger’s: do not sell!”


I submit proof that Joseph does know how to swing *and* that he indeed likes it.


Since Mitu has been given the chance to go outside on a lead, he really really really loves going out. Sometimes just to hop up on the windowsill and watch us pull weeds.


Random bit of our garden: it wouldn’t be a Scottish garden without ‘decorative’ thistles.


This is growing near the front door. I don’t know what it is, but it’s beautiful.


Nyssa has to be hosed off before coming inside from gardening. Only we don’t have a hose or indeed a tap (spigot) outside, so this has to do.


Nyssa putting on a puppet show with Einstein and ‘Homorabi’ the cat. She means to say Hammurabi, lol.


Cookie, Einstein, and Hammurabi, the cast of our puppetry. We are freaks.


No joke: 35% rise in gas prices. That’s fine, we just won’t cook or heat the house this winter. Been meaning to give the kids an object lesson in austerity anyway. 😛


A rainbow out the front door, and me having been quick enough to catch it.


James encouraging kitty bad manners. *sigh*


I may have said before that pipe cleaners are the best craft innovation ever. Here we have pipe cleaner Death Star and pipe cleaner Fighter whatsit (Joseph will strangle me for not remembering which). Nyssa in her usual posture of late–engrossed in a book. She was so sweet the other day, she comes to me and starts gushing breathlessly, as though she were speaking of a crush, about how many different sorts of books there are to read and how she loves that there’s always something new and wonderful to learn about, etc. etc. Aw.


Aw, cute, how sweet, etc. He’s also fluffing up my fabric.


This one just makes me giggle. I have this demanding little guy in my face all the time.


Nom nom nom. But FFS, I thought it was expensive enough at 50% off. Can you believe someone is meant to pay the equivalent of $10 for a wee bag of animal crackers??


We met this little kitty named Puisicain at Dobbies Garden Centre. They’re trying to raise money for Glendrick Roost, a sanctuary for rescued, abused and/or unwanted animals. They’re having a hard time at the moment because their leased land has been pulled out from under them to make way for some other more profitable venture. If you know of a location, please contact them. Also, please go and give them a donation. They’re just a wee charity, but they care so much for their animals and do such good.