Monday, 14 June 2010

A bee log on my b-log

I met up with my old school friend Michelle on Thursday night.  She's just kicked her husband out after finding out he'd been cheating on her, so I went round for a chat and to see how she was doing.  We ordered a Chinese take away and I opted for a veggie kung po, noodles and banana fritters.  Mmmm.

On Friday lunchtime, I went to visit another old friend, Lisa, with my Mum.  Lisa's mum Kath was there too.  Lisa was one of the first people I made friends with, and we've lots of happy memories of playing out together as youngsters, and getting up to no end of mischief. We went to Lisa's house for coffee and sat outside in the sun, and I got to meet her two children.

On Friday night we went to a housewarming party at our friend Dunc's new house.  His house is cool, and there's an amazing panoramic view from his back garden, you can see Longridge and Pendle Hill.  We even saw a kestrel hovering over the fields.

On Saturday, another long overdue task got crossed off my list.  I planted out the bedding plants in the front and back gardens.  Most of the borders have a row of nicotiana (marshmallow, sylvestris and lime) along the back so I hope this pans out alright.  Nicotiana are scented flowers that open at night, and I've planted loads of them.  They're meant to grow between 60cm - 120cm tall.  So our garden might end up smelling very floral in the evenings, so I hope the neighbours won't mind. The scent will probably attract lots of moths and nocturnal insects.  At the front of the borders I've got small bedding plants e.g. livingstone daisies, pansies, brachycome, nemophila and lobelia.  And mixed in between verbena bonariensis, larkspur, cosmos, and then the sweet peas climbing up the fence behind.

Chris went to our friend Emma's in Manchester to price up a job and on the way home he nipped in Paperchase and got me the Food Friends recipe book, which I really wanted, as well as some storage tubs and stickers from the new Travel Buddies range (which is like Food Friends but travel themed).  He also got me 2 Kid Robot Yummy Breakfast keychains - cinnamon swirl bun and pizza slice.

On Sunday morning we went to the flea market and I picked up 3 craft books for 50p each.

I was down at the allotment on Sunday afternoon and everything's growing well.  The peaches are swelling and some of the sweetcorn is over a foot high.  The weather has been very warm and unusually dry, and there's already talk of a hose pipe ban, which could make watering tricky down at the allotment.

After 3 years of anticipation, the passion flower has finally flowered.  The blooms are amazingly intricate.  Well worth the wait in my opinion, and there are still lots more buds waiting to open.

I finally got round to weeding the brassica patch, which desperately needed some attention.  It looks great now, and the plants are coming along nicely.  They're a lovely green colour and full of life.  Some of the plants were touching the netting so I've hitched it up a little higher to give them room to grow.  I'm not sure if the top row are cauliflowers or cabbages, as I got the plug plants free off Lynne, but no doubt all will be revealed in due course.

The path into the allotment is currently edged with swathes of gorgeous blue cornflowers.

Our friends Stef and Jo visited the allotment last week.  Jo's 8 months pregnant, and Chris showed them around the plot.  They picked some lettuce, gooseberries and rhubarb to take home.  I think they liked the allotment, but they're a couple of hippies, so I guessed they might be in to it.  They gave us a lovely gift for our allotment - a pollinating bee log, for solitary bees to live in over winter.  I'm looking forward to putting it up and seeing if anyone makes a home in there.

I'm knitting a hat for Stef and Jo's baby.

I think some wasps may have moved into the birdhouse, as I keep seeing them popping in and out.

At long last, some birds have been brave enough to use Chris's bird table in our back garden.  We spotted some pigeons on there the other day, stuffing their faces with the food we'd left for them.  Since then I've seen four pigeons on the table (it's not that big, so it was a bit of a squeeze for them) and a starling was sat on the fence watching them.

Chris has built a large paved patio area outside of the shed.  I ordered 24 paving slabs, which got delivered to the end of the allotment path and we had to carry them up to our allotment (Chris did most of the carrying because they weigh an absolute tonne).  He then levelled off the ground before laying the flags, which was quite a big job.  But it looks really professional and tidy, and now we have a patio area to chill out, have barbecues and general sit back and admire our hard work.

As for me, well I've been thinking about career options, and maybe doing a degree course.  I need a change, and I need it now, but I can't decide which course to do.  This has been a problem for many years - not knowing what I want to do with my life.  The great unanswered question! Gardening would be an obvious choice, but there isn't a part time degree in gardening available locally.  I've been considering a degree in Ecology and Conservation Management, or a non-degree course in horticulture.  I'm still making my mind up.  But something needs to change, I can't carry on in the same boring job I'm doing at the moment.  I want to help people or the environment through my job, and my current role is just fluffing up words, to make people think things are better than they are.  I have a lot of energy to give to a good cause, but at the moment I am gagging for a new challenge, and something to feel passionate about.

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