Having produced a post and photo for everyday of last year, having a few days off from producing a blog has been a nice break, but I did want to post about the project and my thoughts about it having done it.
I have found it an interesting project. Finding something to represent the each day was a challenge. Some of the photos and topics covered probably highlighted that. None of it was planned in advance and while I didn’t necessarily post each day, each photo represented a day.
As well as interesting as a challenge, it has also been interesting as a reflection. None of it was planned and it was a full record of the year, both the good and the bad, sometimes the very bad. Looking back it shows where I tend to spend my time and what was important during the year. My faith, I hope, came through as important and while not posted about as often as some other themes, wasn’t something I wanted to shy away from. The garden featured a lot in one way or another and it was pleasing to see that I was able to complete a number of projects through the year. Pleasing not only because I got the projects completed (and the blog possibly helped with that), but also because it has highlighted to me that I don’t, as I sometimes think, spend too much time in a sedentary position in front of the television.
A further reflection from it that I gained is that, despite a number of more interesting interludes during the year, often there were times of day to day posts involving lunchtime walks, general gardening and even more humdrum items. It’s reminded me that life isn’t something that will be filled with one exciting day after another for the majority of it. Many of my friends say that I lead an exciting life, and I guess with the ranch holidays, some of the project undertaken and other things I have done, those do have an appeal. However there is also a lot of my life that is as boring as others. That I don’t think is a bad thing as I hope it has shown there is still plenty that we can have in our own lives, even with traditional jobs.
Finally, I would say to anyone else who is thinking about a similar challenge, (after all mine came from seeing others do it), I would encourage them to do so.
I’m a big fan of Christmas cards for a number of reasons. Firstly its nice to have something arrive in the traditional post that isn’t a bill or junk mail. The second is that, especially if you are like me, it’s a chance to send a card that helps remind us all of the reason that Christmas is being celebrated, something that is all too easily forgotten, purposely ignored, or even not known about now-a-days. However I’m going to risk being accused of being a scrooge here by suggesting that having cards “sent” from one’s pets is a step too far. The other way around, especially for loved family pets, especially from younger owners, I can understand. We even bought presents for our dog when I was young. But for me, cards from pets misses the whole point of Christmas and is just a sign of the commercialisation and materialism that dogs (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) Christmas.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been harvesting the potato raised beds the last few days and have finally finished the final raised bed. I had wondered how this year would do given the scarcity of rain over the summer and the limited watering that I did give the vegetable plot. Although it doesn’t look like much, there’s quite a few potatoes here and while it’s not a bumper crop, once blanched and frozen it will provide for a good number of meals through the year.
I was looking up suggestions about how to freeze the chillis that I’ve harvested recently as there have been too many to eat without destroying my taste buds even more. Surprisingly one of the solutions offered was one that I had used before with a different harvest, and that was the notion of chilli ice cubes. Slightly different process as these needed to be frozen in water rather, but I now have ready made portions of chilli that I can add to future meals without much fuss.
I’ve never been very successful with Sunflowers. They are wonderful plants, look stunning and have multiple uses when they reach their end. So I am therefore pleased with this one that has grown really well, despite garden critters tried their best to thwart it. Everything is not quite as it seems though as this is not the type of sunflower that most people think of. Instead it is a dwarf variety so only a couple of feet tall. It is though still wonderful. My mum grows them every year to as a tribute to my Godparent’s son who passed away at an young age from Leukemia and has been far more successful than me, so I can’t really claim credit for it, but am still enjoying sunflowers in the garden.
With all the good weather that we’ve had it’s been easy to forget that there are inside jobs that need to be done. Now I’m still going to enjoy being outside as lets be honest, in the UK we don’t get long hot summers very often. However I want to gradually get things ready for when the weather truly does turn and I’m stuck inside. Part of that will be redecorating and giving the house a lick of paint. This has been ongoing over the last few years and next on my list is the kitchen (sage), the hall (ivory cream) and the main bedroom (barley haze). I have an issue with paint though in that I’m colourblind. If I’m buying then I’m normally with a friend or I’m replacing like with like. I’ve done that with the above in part. The hall is already ivory cream so that’s going to be like for like. The main bedroom is going to be an experiment with the barley haze. It’s probably a little lighter than the current colour scheme, but it should make the room seem a bit lighter. There will be lots of preparation needed for this and I suspect I’ll only get the kitchen and hall done this year, but that’s two more rooms done and only two left for next year.
Today I planted out the multitude of Hollyhocks that had grown from seed earlier in the year. And this is all I will get from them this year. They will establish themselves and hopefully it won’t be a winter that will kill them off. Then, next year I should hopefully get loads of them growing and flowering. They’ve been planted in groups of 4 or 5 so that they can be easily supported as if they grow to the size of the original plant, they will be over 6 foot. Interestingly one that I had more or less given up on planted a few years back has suddenly come to life, so I’ll look forward to getting some seeds from that this year and hopefully I’ll end up with a nice mix of the two in a few years time.
I have a problem. It’s a minor one to be fair but I have a good selection of soft fruit bushes. Blueberry, White Currant, Red Currant, Black Currant and Goji Berry. Currently they sit in pots on the patio, but I’m not convinced this is the best place for them. I’d like to move them into the actual garden and create a feature of them there. I suspect I’d get better growth and results, but I’m struggling to work out where they should go. I could get move them into the ‘wild bed’ and abandon it as a totally self seeding natural bed. Alternatively I could create a raised bed for them which would then at least enable me to net them. I could put them right at the bottom of the garden but then I suspect they won’t get the sun they need. I’ll have to have a ponder but I’m suspecting it it will be a raised bed that is the winning option.
It’s Fathers Day today in the UK. Now I’m not a father, and not close to being so, however the church I go to doesn’t like to distinguish. They work on the basis that man in the church should be seen as being values on the day (as they do on Mothering Sunday), noting that limiting the day to just those who are fathers can also have a negative affect on those who either aren’t, or can’t be. So every male in the congregation today got a card and a present, and everyone was told personally how much they were loved and appreciated by the church family.
When you leave the ranch the exit side of the entrance is different and expresses the message above ‘Vaya con Dios’. It translates as “Go With God” or “May God Go With You”. It’s a nice expression and as a Christian is something that is always a good reminder. Leaving the ranch can be a little sad. True most people come back, but even still, because it’s such a great place to spend time it’s easy to focus on how different the life you’re returning to is likely to be and that it might not be as enjoyable. This helps me to remember that God is there through the fun times and the less entertaining ones.