Just a quick note

I’m not dead just haven’t had the time to blog! Shall hopefully update properly soon, with many new photos and things!
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First day of freedom!

I did my exams for uni yesterday which officially makes this the first day of the holidays! So, what am I going to do with my time between now and going back in September?
Gardening!

I have to say that while I have been at uni everything has had to take a backseat, it’s basically been uni or bed for many months. However, I can now work my way through that mental list I have. The garden needs a lot doing to it. The greenhouse has reached critical mass, with no help from the crappy weather that we have had recently. Things do however seem to be picking up now, so hopefully I can start planting things out soon.

In other news….I went to Wilkinson’s yesterday and got 3 plants for £2!!! I got a mini buxus for 50p an ivy for 50p and a large pot of strawberries for a £1! I had to cut some dead leaves and things off, but after that it’s looking great, and full of tiny green fruits. I have put it next to my other strawberry plant to aid pollination.

Keep your eye out for more blogs, they should come quite regularly now!

Recycling galore!

A few people have been amused and interested in my recycling antics, so I thought I would consolidate everything here.

Roll down some ‘bags for life’ and fill with compost. NB: plant up AFTER you have moved the bags to their final place.
carrierbag lettuces

Mini Pringles tubs! This also contains ‘recycled seeds’. They aren’t from a packet of seed, but from a bag of popping corn. At the side of it is a sprouted apple pip!
sprouting corn

Good ol’ marg tubs
seeds in marg tub

Fruit trays and packaging
seeds in recycled tubs

Here is also an example of a recycled baking tray, to catch drips and overflow.
baking tray drip catcher

You can also catch drips etc with….
Meat trays and plastic cups
cup and tray drip catchers
The lid from a vending machine hot drink
lid drip catcher

Lastly, the joys of 2l drinks bottles!
Tall planters for carrots (or similar)
Carrots in bottles

Small pots, which can be made from the left overs of…..
lettuce in bottles

….tall cloches
cloches

Other cloches, bottles are clochetastic!
lettuce cloche

…and of course, novelty Buddah hats
buddah statue

Should probably work through the ‘to do’ list

Things have been mounting up and so today I have decided to get on with it all and sort stuff out! I have left the netbook in the kitchen, so I can blog as I go! I forget what I have done otherwise. 😛

Firstly I am setting to work on the plant order that arrived on Thursday. I had open the box and stood the pots in water, but everything needed to be planted into new pots. Good job I went to poundland that day for new pots!
garden related shopping

The acer (Acer Palmatum Dissectum Seiryu) is now in a nice new pot in a shady corner of the yard that has been rather barren. It should do ok in this corner as they don’t need full sun, and it can grow to a fairly good size too as there isn’t much else there. I was a little disappointed with it though. A few of the stems had been broken in transit, only at the ends, but they were growing shoots so I may have to wait a little longer now for it to put on a growth spurt.
acer planted up

My magnolia (Magnolia Soulengena) was potted up next. It’s a bit of a twig with two leaves at the moment, but I’m sure it will put on some more shoots now it is planted up. There are buds on the main stem so it should all be fine.
magnolia planted up

The datura (Datura Metel, also known as Angel’s Trumpet) was well packaged and so looking quite a happy, sturdy little plant. I would love it to flower.
datura planted up

I also order a surprise pack of 6 mixed plug plants. I recieved Nepeta (catmint, oh the ‘babies’ will be happy), Aquilegia, Chrysanthemum (‘silver princess’), Jerusalem Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica), Russell Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) and a Verbena (Verbena bonariensis)
They are now all potted up in their own pots, except for the aquilegia, which I have popped in with the acer.

Now what to do…I have planted up a wall planter with some nasturtiums and dahlias. I’m hoping the nasturtiums will cascade in a wonderful waterfall of oranges, reds and yellows, but they are nasturtiums and they tend to do what the hell they like 😛
I’m looking forward to this planter being fully grown, as I have grown all the plants in it from seed. There’s a strange sort of parental pride in planting plants that you have nurtured from seeds on your window sills.
wall planter planted up

There is so much left that I want to do in the garden today, but I have to say that I am starting to get cold, and if I don’t come in and get warm soon, I fear I shall be ill for days. The cats have just come in too, maybe it’s an omen? 😛

Right, I have watered all the new things in, and given the rest of the garden a good drink, think it’s time for mine now! 😀

Eating weeds and some peas

I finally got round to collecting some dandelions today….and eating them!

The leaves were cooked, but were very bitter. The leaves are however best picked before the appearance of the flowers, in early spring, or after a frost. You can treat them as you do with spinach, or use them in salad. I would like to try them again, at the correct time though.

The flowers however were very nice! You dip them in a pancake batter and fry them in butter as fritters. I will certainly be having these again!

    Dandelion Fritters

2oz flour (gluten free can be made from a mix of cornflour, gram flour and rice flour)
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
water
butter/marg, for frying
dandelions

  • Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the beaten egg to form a stiff thick dough like batter.
  • Slowly add the water a little at a time, stirring well each time.
  • The batter is ready when thin.
  • Cut the heads off the dandelions.
  • Heat butter/marg in frying pan.
  • Dip the flowers into the batter, and fry in pan until golden brown.
  • Serve.
  • Image of dandelion

    I have also got round to making the trellis and sorting out the peas! Hopefully we will get more than 22 peas, I’m ready for the war with the caterpillars and slugs this year.
    trellis with peas

    Bored and broke!

    Hoping to get some more muck tomorrow!

    I haven’t been able to do much in the garden recently, due to being both ill and super broke, thanks to Mr Edward. I am however pleased to say that Eddie is doing much better now, he is home and moaning away like never before. I have just wrestled his tablets down him, so he will go and sulk upstairs now for awhile.

    Due to this break in being able to do anything, I now have a very long list of things that need thinning, pricking out and repotting. I need to get some sort of twig like trellis something or another too, my peas are in need of taming! I’m hoping to get some work done on the website too, it will build on this blog and include hints and tips, more photos, notes I’ve taken from programmes and magazines etc etc. It is coming along very slowly, it’s just so tiring sitting and staring at pages of coding, soil is much better!

    Poorly Eddiecat

    Not garden related but…..
    My little Eddiecat had to be taken to the vets this morning! He was all weak and forlorn, had been sick and it looked like his constipation was back. After the palaver of getting him into the cat carrier, I finally got him there thanks to Jen and her car. We took him in and got told it’s not constipation, but his bladder and it could be his kidneys, which in cats is almost always a death sentence. On top of this news I got told that the cat insurance that I have (because I’m a good mummy) is with one of the worst companies to be with! Apparently they are a huge pain in the ass for not paying out in full, so you have to pay everything up front (when you collect the cat) and claim it back off them. This was not good news, we have very little money! We should be ok though, family are going to help us out.

    So I leave him there to get tests done asap as kidney problems can kill cats within hours. I get home, to a very confused Lucycat and had been in the house about ten minutes when the vet called with the blood test results. The kidneys are fine! Yey! The problem is a blockage in his penis (poor Ed!) so they need to sort that out, it’s why he isn’t passing water at all.

    A couple of hours later the vet rang back. Eddie was just coming round from the anesthetic (queue images of Eddie in a hospital gown) and everything had gone fine. He has a catheter and a bag on for 24hrs, just to rest his bladder, but everything had been cleaned through and was ok.

    A few more hours later, the vet rang back again. Eddie was comfy and doing fine. He is passing water through the catheter, but we won’t know 100% that everything is ok until he is reconnected back up tomorrow. If he is ok we can bring him home, if not he will be there until Monday, as it’s cheaper and easier than letting him come home and then having to call the (very expensive) out-of-hours service. He will call again tomorrow.

    Eddie will have to go on a special prescription diet for a few weeks to break down the stones and crystals that have caused the blockage. He has struvite crystals which are very common in cats, and are caused by diet. As are his teeth problems I found out about today too, even though I check his teeth, I missed the rot, looks like he may loose one or two, now

    So what was so wrong with his diet? The common cheaper cat foods (felix, supermarkets own, go-cat etc etc) are all full of sugars and salts, and this is what can lead to the stones and dental problems, amoungst other things. If we hadn’t been such observant cat parents this could possibly have led to kidney failure and death, all because we were feeding our cats what we thought was good food! This has made me so angry! The companies make it look like it’s good for the cats, but it turns out that it could have killed them! I strongly recommend that if you feed your cats these things that you swap, asap! Good brands to swap to are Royal Canin or Hill’s there are others about too. These brands at first can seem more expensive, but you only give your cats this, no wet, although it can be given as a treat, maybe once a week. They don’t have to have that much either, so a big bag lasts a long time! They have formulas for different conditions, and all of them contain a formula that helps to break down the struvite crystals, before they can cause problems. I recommend everyone at least looks into this, give your vet a ring, they may even have free samples, ours did! 😀

    Will update again tomorrow, when we know more. Poor Eddie, we are all missing him. Lucy keeps sitting on the window sil thinking he is outside. Hope we get him back tomorrow!
    I thank all the people at Vets4Pets Preston, they have been amazing and I recommend them to everyone!
    Eddiecat