Tag Archives: Gardening

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

At last April is here. Spring! Except here, spring is rather slow to get going, thanks to all the rain and wind and snow. Even this past weekend, Easter (I hope you all had an enjoyable one), parts of the UK experienced a white Easter, though not for the first time. Here where I am in the West Country, we didn’t have snow but it rained like it was never going to stop. Which means… what I had hoped to enthral you all with on this post hasn’t happened.

Yes, I’m talking about the garden revamp. It has been such a horrible winter, far too cold and wet for either of us to do anything out there apart from pruning my buddleia and a fuchsia and pottering in the new greenhouse bringing on new seedlings and plug plants. The ground is so sodden and heavy it’s going to take a lot of drying out before we can even contemplate putting a fork or spade in. So far this spring we only been able to enjoy a morning cup of coffee out there once. Usually by now I’m out there every morning having my early morning cuppa. Thus, apart from cursing the weather, it’s been a month of more planning and ideas and thoughts as to what we intend to do both outside and indoors. We keep putting off the dreaded downstairs makeover, at least until such time as the garden is good and the central heating can be switched off.

Last week saw my mother’s 92nd birthday, so a jolly family get together to celebrate ensued, with my brother coming over from Spain for a few days’. It was a small gathering this year, just Mum, us for children and husbands. It’s so good for us all to be together sharing a lot of laughs and memories along with the chocolate birthday cake. I do wish we could get together more often.

I do want to share with you is the latest update on my great nephew, little George, only he’s not so little any more. Following major hip surgery two years ago, you may recall he needed further intervention late last year as bone on one side of his hip/leg hadn’t fused properly, causing him pain and a reluctance to walk or do his exercises. I’m pleased to report the second surgery went far better than expected. All the metal inserted on the right-hand side has been removed and a small plate inserted on the left side to encourage the last bit to mend. Now there’s no stopping him. He asks to walk himself most of the time, using his walker instead of the wheelchair, becoming more and more independent, although he’ll never be totally and will always need the walker. And he’s just as mischievous and cheeky as ever!

Later this month he’s off to Florida, one of eight lucky children, for a 2-week vacation to Disney World thanks to a local charity that has been doing this sort of thing for disabled youngsters for 25 years. He is going to have one amazing trip.

Kit’s Website and Blog , Kit’s Kitchen  Kit’s Art  Site

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Held In Suspension

March has slipped into April already (how did that happen so quickly?) and spring has well and truly arrived. A few April showers and a lovely weekend gladdens the heart, raising the spirit. It’s been a glorious time for spring bulbs and flowers, the forsythia hedge at its best. I love this hedge at this time of year but during winter it’s bare, boring once leaves have been shed in autumn. At least for the rest of summer it’s a bright green. It’s been a fabulous season too for hyacinths and daffodils and primulas and now the tulips are out along with the sweet-scented wallflowers.

Now all this profusion of colour should be making the Domino household happy but since the new year, we’re living as if in suspended animation, with our breaths held, waiting … waiting. You see, last summer my husband was diagnosed with circulatory problems in his leg and the suggestion made he needed a stent fitted: a simple op under local anaesthetic as a day patient. He had an MRI scan in July, and there the story came to an abrupt halt. We assumed he was on the waiting list and, not being urgent, his time would come around in due course. So we waited… and waited…

Just after Christmas, our GP rang to ask what was happening – Had Dave been for his scan? What was the outcome? – because our GP hadn’t been informed by the hospital. I told him we’d heard nothing, not even if he was on the waiting list. Our GP said he would chase the consultant and find out the situation. More waiting… At the end of February, we were advised the op was scheduled for 17th March. Two days before this, a phone call revealed it had been put back to 28th and he would be under a different consultant surgeon. And so more waiting…

Meanwhile, we tried to carry on as normal, although Dave found it hard, he now has difficulty walking and his job involves a lot of it. On 26th March, a further call advised the op was put back yet again to 4th April. Oh boy! This was not good. Neither of us could focus on anything much. Always waiting for the postman. Hoping the telephone wouldn’t ring with a further delay. Waiting… dreading… waiting…

Last week, we had a long meeting with the surgeon, who explained for the first time what the op entailed, why the delay and why he had taken over Dave’s case. This was a good meeting because up until that point we had no real idea of what was involved: a long 4-hour two-part major surgical procedure under general anaesthetic, far more complicated than just a stent fitted. At least we knew the good outcomes now and what could go wrong. Worrying.

And yes, more waiting… but this time it was good waiting time. It enabled Dave to get a lot of planting done, potatoes, broad beans, onions in along with some summer bulbs. It also meant he could join the family in celebrating my mother’s 91st birthday last Sunday, especially too as my brother was over from Spain as a surprise for her again. It was. And a lovely day had by all, sadly no photos this time.

The 4th is tomorrow. I have to take Dave to hospital at 7 am. He will be in for several days followed by at least 6 weeks at home recuperating. So you can understand why we feel life has been on hold these past few months. At least we’re there now, we hope. Our only fear is that even though  he’s first on the list for the day, should a bigger emergency take precedence, he may be put back yet again.

The waiting’s almost over, but not quite. But then afterwards, at least we will slowly be able to get our lives back to normal, breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the summer.

 

 

Better late than never…

During our married life, AJ and I have moved ten times within six different counties here in the UK. We’ve loved our travels, especially living in new places and meeting new people, but when we moved into our current house almost twenty years ago now, we both sensed it was home.

I’d always been pretty happy to live a kind of nomadic existence, not really putting down roots anywhere because I knew AJ would likely come home and tell me he’d been promoted in his career and we were off to pastures new. They were exciting and adventurous times, but I’m happy to have those roots down now.

20160523_075020When we moved in here, one of the first things I wanted to do was redesign the garden. It was a good sized space, but the patio and paths were beginning to crumble and looking worse for wear. But there always seemed to be something else in the house that needed attention first, so the garden was put on the back burner. We travelled a lot too, so that took up a lot of available funds 🙂 🙂

20160527_111232Anyway, after we adopted Vivvy last year and following a winter of waterlogged lawns, almost non-existent pathways, and the resultant muddy paws, we decided to take the plunge and hire a landscaper to get to grips with the garden. Poor Vivvy wondered what on earth was happening as over ten ton of concrete was broken up and disposed of in what she thinks of as her domain. When the way was prepared for the new landscaping, she decided to put her mark on proceedings and promptly stepped in the newly-laid concrete bed, much to the chagrin (and consequent laughter) of the landscapers.

20160604_185656Soon the garden of my twenty-year dreams began to take shape and I have to admit to being absolutely thrilled with the result. I’ve gained a gorgeous new patio, another area for planting, and a path that I can actually walk on rather than simply negotiate pot holes.20160615_154819

Okay, so it took almost two decades but then everything worth having is worth waiting for. Now I’m enjoying researching plants to go along the wall edge of the patio, for which I’ll be needing help. So, does anyone have any ideas for plants that will provide year-round foliage, while growing tallish, but not too wide, and offering some colour in the spring/summer months? Any suggestions gratefully received.

 

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar … With Power Tools! By Valerie J. Patterson

I believe I completely know how Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor must have felt each time he held a power tool in his hand.  Sunday evening the bubbly hubby and I decided to finally open our screened-in outdoor living area so that we could take advantage of some of the cool evenings that have followed tremendous heat and high humidity days.  Ordinarily, Steve has this done in early May, and usually has dinner made and the outdoor table set for a nice little evening free of bugs and whatnot.

I love our outdoor living space because I can sit on our very generous swing and place a table in front of it, my laptop on top of the table, beverage of choice beside it, and allow the creativity to move my nimble fingers across the keys, their steady tap-tap-tap beating out the rhythm of a great mystery to be solved by my favorite heroine.

But I digress.

My swing turned 13 years old in May, and so did the cushion, which accidentally got left out in the elements instead of being securely tucked away for the winter.  Sadly, it needed replaced.  Not an easy task, I assure you since I wanted something very comparable to the original cushion.  So, Steve and I went shopping for what seemed like the eighth or tenth time, having taken back the cushion we bought in May because–while it looked nice in the store–it did not quite suit the character of the swing.

While we were out Steve said he wanted to buy a power/pressure washer so the cleaning of the outdoor living space would move faster and more thoroughly.  We finally settled on a washer about the same time we settled on the new swing cushion, which not only suits the character of the swing, but also passes the “Can I nap on it comfortably?” test.  We’re driving home and I asked, “Will you be power washing tonight?” Even though it’s 90+ degrees and humid as can be.  I’m anxious to use the swing and new cushion.

He shakes his head affirmatively, “I have a new toy, er, new tool to test, so I very well may power wash tonight.”

As we empty the trunk of our purchases, I caution that perhaps it’s not the best time to power wash given the fact that within seconds of being out of the air conditioning everything sticks to skin, and it’s as hot as a pizza oven outside.

He nods, considering my comments, but I can tell by the glint in his eye that he’s going to get that power washer out of the box and be outside before I can make the same cautionary comment.  And I’m right.

Sitting on the sofa in the house–where it’s not only cool and comfortable, but also humidity-free–I listen to the whir of the power washer and wonder what all the excitement is about power tools.  Changing into a pair of old capris and a tee, bare foot, and ready to get soaked, I open the side door and stick my head out.

“How’s it going?” I ask as I look around and notice everything is white again and spotless.

“This thing works like a dream,” he responds.  “I don’t think I need to repaint the banisters after all.”

I notice that he’s cleaned the screened walls, the banisters, and the flooring, but all the furniture is outside on the lawn.  “Can I power wash?” I ask.

“Sure, just put something on your feet.”

I grab his sandals from inside the door, slip my feet into them, and follow him out to the lawn.  He hands me the power gun, which isn’t as heavy as I imagined, and instructs me on how to use it.  I aim it at the first patio chair and squeeze the trigger.  A 46-degree jet of water shoots out and obliterates the winter grime covering the patio chair.  Instantly, I hear the tool man’s guttural, “ooh-ooh-ohho-oh” in my mind and nearly belt it out myself.

Steve turns the chair over and I do the underside before he flips it back over for me to do the topside again.  Instantly–and I do mean instantly–the patio chair looks brand new … like I just brought it home from the store.

I grin.  I can understand why Steve jokingly–or was it–said he had a new toy to try out.  I move onto the next patio chair, then the table, then my ornamental flag my friend, Sharon gave me eons ago.  Hah!  What do you know?  The flag looks as good as the day I first set it out!  Now, I’m ready to power wash everything in sight!  Let me at it!

I go back into the screened enclosure and look at my old friend the swing.  “You haven’t done this yet?” I inquire?

Steve shakes his head.  “Not yet.”

“Good.”  And I unleash my jet stream of water and soap onto the swing.  Last winter’s grime is no match for my, er, Steve’s new power washer!

I release the trigger, lower the gun, and stare at the now clean swing glistening with droplets of water.  I look toward the sky and unleash my own version of the tool grunt.

Yes, indeed, I am woman.  I use power tools.  Hear me roar!