hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Migraine season has arrived with a bang (the migraines) and some whimpering (me), so the garden's getting more time than usual since that's all I'm fit for.

It's also that time of year when I remember with a start that I should be doing more outside things because there's more daylight to do them in and have a bit of a swear about having been looking the other way for the last few weeks. More or less like every other year for the past several.

The passage of time is a right bastard. The front parlour isn't much better, since it contains a flammable sofa and curtains last seen in 'Oh no it's Selwyn Froggett', and the kitchen is where dreams of escape go to wither and die.

On the other hand, I accidentally a vague sort of 'plot' for a story, so that's good.

You can also see the back wall of the garage for the first time in about a decade.
hirez: (dissent)
God, but the garden's a dark spludge at the edge of my consciousness. Mostly because the extent of poor-quality concrete sections makes it look like a builder's yard.

On the other hand, I have herb seeds that I can stick in pots on the windowsill and wait for a day when the weather stops being quite so biblical.

You know, I think I've pretty much given up any pretence of being some 'leet haxx0r/post-punk urban cyberhero now.
hirez: (safety chicken)
As I may have opined before, not long after scarring myself for life with a medium-sized burn on my arm, the sort of garden equipment you can buy in shops is generally lacking in oomph.

This may be a good thing, since it would mean you'd have to deal with black-clad Germans lurking around the machinery department of B&Q, beating out industrial polyrhythms on whatever was to hand. "Oi! You! Yes, you with the haircut! Put them spanners down and back away from the dustbins. I've told you before about that!'

However, if you know people who keep supplies of spiral tube in their gardens, then you can make the kit run far better than expected. I believe the only way that would run better would be forced-air induction. Perhaps an old turbocharger and an electric drill? Certainly it shows that once the tinwork is up to operating temperature, piles of wet twigs and leaves will burn just fine.

Yesterday it was cobbles. The day before that, jolly nice Korean grub.

And a daft idea involving techno music that would seem to work without much in the way of hard sums or cutting up 80s consumer electronics. Crivvens!
hirez: (muddy)
[ Meta-gubbins about having fallen out of the habit of jabbering on LJ oh noes all the cool kids are doing it, etc ]

Thus far this year, there's been enough of the right sort of day and enough of the right sort of brain for me to have steamed into the concrete-thing-we-call-a-garden and attacked the pruning without it turning into a tiresome angst-fest. No, I don't know why, either. It's quite good though. I have also managed to hack back a space in the terrible rock garden and transplant the tub of blackcurrant cuttings that might fruit this year.

I also have a windowsill which is rapidly turning into a chil(l)i-plant forest, more or less by accident. One of the types at work pitched up with some chil(l)ies that he'd grown at the tail end of last year. I was slicing one up to give a pizza a bit of life, and idly wondered what would happen if I planted as many seeds as I could find. What happened was that they all sprouted like weeds only better and now I'll have to hope that the weather warms up before they take over the house.

Not right now, though. It's shite out.

Another thing that I would like to get around to doing is eviscerating the dead washing machine in the garage and using the drum for an outdoor fireplace. Apparently it's a thing. I dunno that it would make the place more inviting, but perhaps some embers will waft away and set fire to one or other of the ugly sheds on the other side of the lane behind the house.
hirez: (My name is legion)

A watering meter for things that will otherwise be ignored until dead.

hirez: (posing)
Today - migraine. There was a definite 'clank' from my neck last night - probably one of the thrust-washers in the auxiliary Hardy-Spicer linkage needs re-packing with lithium grease, but it's a bugger to get to bits and since this is a pre-'68 model with the non-metric bearings, that'll mean pattern parts from some dodgy mob up round Long Eaton and, oh, just arg.

Which means several hours of lying in bed, trying to find the least-horribly-painful position to whimper quietly in, and Absolutely No Screens At All.

By the time I'd got bored with the cracks in the ceiling, the day had become really jolly pleasant. So I spent the greater part of the afternoon pottering (and indeed potting on, weeding, planting things for a laugh to see what will happen and guzzling the second crop of rasperries) in a garden which, although still mostly concrete and horrible, is now a place I can go and get lost within plant-maintenance. (aka 'leaving them mostly alone to get on with it')

Although that could be the result of a brain filled with broken things.

That said, it all smelled of September and warm soil. Which in turn reminded me of pottering around Ingleside/Fox Lake to the sound of crickets and distant locomotives.
hirez: (Aspirational message)
There's been the remains of a greenhouse piled down one side of the garage at the bottom of the garden since we moved in. Last autumn some time, those remains were joined by bits of a concrete trough, some wall and an amount of broken soil-pipe.

That end of the garden has been looking somewhat scruffy therefore. As opposed to the rest of the place which is still only mildly scruffy.

Normal people would have taken their wallets in their hands and chartered a skip or something, rather than ignoring it until it was a vast mental edifice of terrible possibility and hateful failure.

Of course, now that it's all gone it's still a scruffy garden. I was expecting a larger sense of something-or-other, though. Bother.
hirez: (muddy)
Other people's gardens are always much more amenable than one's own. Presumably because you feel you can walk away when called inside for tea and crumpets, rather than staring at the pile of detritus and wonky fence and having a long, dark, gardener's question time of the soul.

(That should probably have been the title of this piece, but now it's bound into the words there's no moving it. Expect me to re-cycle the thing later in the year.)

Obviously that statement doesn't just apply to occasions where you might be called upon to plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land.

So there I was, in an ex-quarry right on top of the Cotswolds, helping to clear brush and twigs and pile them into a rusty and misshapen incinerator when the enthusiasm was replaced by cold and I finally started to wonder what sort of large handfuls of brush I was gleefully grabbing. Nettle stems.

This week's top tip is something along the lines of 'If you've spent several tens of minutes gathering up dead nettle stems and folding them up so they'll fit in the incinerator right, it'll take about half an hour for your hands to start feeling distinctly odd. Try not to do that, unless you like that sort of thing.'

Only mildly tangentially, this week's nailie is Avon 'Cosmic Blue' and there will be a photo along as soon as the phone is charged up.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
There's a Pyracantha at the end of the garden next to the low bit of wall where Scrotes, were they so inclined, could usefully hurdle into my patch and pilfer the shed at their leisure.

Pyracanthas are also known as 'burglar bush'. That and its position are not a coincidence.

Since I spent the time when I should have been hacking back last year's growth in a pit of depression, the thing's about twice the size it should be. It's also rammed with bright orange berries as a warning to energy suppliers everywhere that they should increase their prices without delay.

All of this means that after The Wind from Nowhere at the beginning of the week, the sodding thing was leaning at an angle usually reserved for blackthorn bushes in coastal areas, which was more of an embarrassment than usual.

Now it's just an embarrassing heap next to the other embarrassing heaps and I have hands that look like I've been feeding pills to a mob of angry cats.

Of course the next problem is disposal of the remains. The council are really quite useless when it comes to hazardous garden waste.

It's going to have to be FIRE, isn't it.
hirez: (Christmas cat)
As mentioned here and previous.

Read more... )
hirez: (Lomo)
Thumping great image )
hirez: (Object)
(NTNON joke, referencing the somewhat concerning That's Life)

(oh, do your own C20th popular-cultural research)

hirez: (dissent)
Ugh. Bloody weather. The slugs have eaten the pickling cucumbers and the coriander and spinach bolted due to the randomness of the conditions. The sodding ferns love it of course, but then anything that stopped evolving that long ago survives out of bloody-mindedness.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)

Nice out, isn't it? Could do with a drop of rain,mind; my courgettes are in a right old state.

On Saturday I was to be found in a field, casting my seed hither and yon. Fortunately for all concerned, it was from a plastic tub containing a variety of wild flowers supplied by the council.

(Which is all remarkably daft when you think about it, but that's what a well-meant but startlingly badly executed 'commitment to the environment' gets you. It all began with the Cheltenham Floods the other year. One of the alleged 'problem areas' was a corner of Prestbury where there is a brook that once in a while overflows its banks. This would be fine had the relevant bit of flood-plain not been covered in Executive Homes for Executives to park their Executive Cars outside. Since Executive Homes are far more important that some fields that had been fields for so long that the ridge-and-furrow was still obvious, it was decided to run a thumping great tunnel across several fields and a couple of roads at £ye-gods-how-much?

They made an epic bugger of the job, all the while sending Men to bang on about 'mitigating environmental impact'. Then the next week sending different men to cut down the wrong trees. The final emanation of 'we know better' has been to send a bag of wild flower seeds for people to scatter on the ground that they turned upside-down (so there is a bloody great streak of compacted clay across the fields which is going to look a bit bald for the next couple of seasons and no amount of seed-scattering is going to fix that. You useless tossers.) because of course letting the local flora get on with the job isn't properly 'environmentally aware')

I may have written rude words with my tub of wildflower seeds. We shall find out next summer.
hirez: (muddy)
I dunno about elsewhere, but in the the Bristol aerial it has been blue of sky and jolly warm once the day got going.

For a set of entirely non-rational reasons, I have been putting off cleaning out the shed for a number of years. Today I, er, stopped doing that and we piled several dead monitors, flayed PC cases and expired printers into the car and thence into the receptacles provided by the pleasant sorts at Bristol council. That just leaves about the same amount again of computer kit for the next trip. Although the remaining monitors are all > 20" devices and my back was several years younger when I hoofed them in there the first time.

One of the (many) things In The Way in the shed is one of these things, which is yet another item in the list of lovely but impractical presents from the parent(s). Since it remained bright and warm out, I had no useful excuse[1] not to charge up the cordless drill and set to building it. And, once it was built, it seemed a bit rubbish not to dig several buckets of well-rotted from the composter, and then finish off the job by transferring the contents of a couple of the recycling bags that I've been using for planting things.

The coriander, which I had previously failed to grow and which is alleged to be severely frost-averse, seems to continue to grow for spite. It obviously likes deep soil and being pointedly ignored. I grubbed out half of it and still have more than enough to run a busy curry-house for the thick end of a Bradford bank holiday.

My hands still pong of it, too. Mmmm. Coriander. I am also a bit worn out. Funny how the big manual gardening jobs happen at the start of the season when you're flabby and out of practice.

[1] The potentially useful excuse is being on call. Not a peep out of the phone. It was probably knackered after a prolonged peeping session last evening.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
You know the strawberry plants that I have mentioned every few months or so?

Still emitting tiny yet staggeringly flavoured fruit.

In November.

I am becoming mildly disturbed by this.

If I wake up on Christmas morning to find a growbag of strawberry plants squatting at the end of the bed and brandishing fruit at me, I'll only be slightly surprised. (In a 'I'm sure I locked the back door last night' manner. I won't even start to think about how a mob of plants managed to beetle up the stairs.)


Sep. 25th, 2010 04:31 pm
hirez: (muddy)
Things found while having a small tidy-up in the garden:


(Yes, the obdurate strawberry patch is still emitting tiny fruit. I shall surprise it while it hibernates and transplant it somewhere less nasty. Not sure where, mind. Perhaps I shall grub up one of the big bastard ferns.)
hirez: (Pie!)
You know the unexpected strawberry patch that I mentioned was fruiting like a bastard a month ago? The one emitting tiny strawberries of remarkable flavour.

It's still at it, only more so. They remain tiny, but now they come in 'extra sweet' and 'unexpected clover harmonics' flavours as well.

Those of you threatening to come round and thieve handfuls have missed a right trick, I can tell you.
hirez: (24)
Drink a few tinnies of Double Diamond (or Brew XI, Whitbread Trophy, or indeed something from the Davenports delivery[1]), and bung this on full-screen.

(I have to admit that discovering Davenports still exist has made my week. I'm not the sort to go 'squee!', but if I was, I would be.)

[1] Stuff that was delivered, a handy chart:

1960s: Milk.
1970s: Beer.
1980s: Dole.
1990s: Drugs.
2000s: Organic veg.
hirez: (Pie!)
The accidental strawberry plants have been fruiting like bastards lo this past couple of weeks. The downside is that since I planted them in a growbag and left them to it, they've had no nutrients from the soil to speak of, so the strawberries themselves are by and large the size of peanuts.


Imagine, if you will, the Platonic ideal[2] of strawberry flavour. Something that has a next-to-impossible taste because it was carefully put together in a lab and then distilled by Belgian brewing robots[1] from the next universe over.

Each one is like that. As if someone has set off a small but powerful strawberry-flavoured hand grenade in your mouth.

I'm going to have to dig up some flowerbed so as to give them something to get their roots into as a reward. No doubt they'll never produce anything quite as striking again, but it would be bad form to do anything else.

[1] Like electric monks, but actually useful.
[2] Although, I probably don't mean that. Hm. An object which is the totality of strawberryness?


hirez: (Default)

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