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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bank Holiday Weekend

Here in the UK we have had another Bank Holiday long weekend.  For small daughter, it's the start of a two week break and for big daughter it's the end of her time at sixth form college and she's only expected to attend for exams now.  For many people around the country, it's an opportunity to spend the weekend stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway as they attempt to have a day out in the sunshine.  We very rarely go anywhere over Bank Holidays for this reason!

Instead, I have spent this weekend catching up and finishing off - catching up in the garden and finishing off these beauties!  Oh, how I love love love these rainbow stripes!  The yarn is Rum Paradise by West Yorkshire Spinners and contains a proportion of Blue Faced Leicester wool which is a breed of sheep unique to Britain and a good soft alternative to merino as the UK is too damp for merino sheep to thrive so the wool has to be imported from elsewhere.  





It's been a joy to knit these; the yarn has slipped easily around the needles and the short colour changes have made it feel as if they have grown very quickly and yes, they are nice and soft.  Now that they're finished, I've cast on another very special pair of socks (four times, actually, despite my tension swatches!) which I'll tell you about very soon.

Catching up in the garden is always a bigger job than you think.  This jumble of seedlings needed dealing with, as did the raised bed that they were sitting in.  We have a proliferation of slugs and snails in our garden so quite a few of my beans had been munched even in the seed trays.  It was time for some action!


In fact, it's not just the beans.  Nothing is safe - this is a Rudbeckia standing in a tray of water and the snails have still managed to make lacework out of the leaves.


Soon, though, the beans and the peas were safely in their own raised bed.  I don't have so many problems once they're in there so the plants do get a chance to grow.  They've grown even since I took this picture!


Time for a brew.  I don't know about you but it's been very hot and sunny here this weekend which has been perfect for encouraging you out into the garden, but gets quite exhausting when you're digging away in the sunshine for any length of time.


Small daughter and my husband were in change of the kettle but seemed to have got distracted by football stickers.  I'm not sure who was more excited about peeling off the backing paper and sticking the footballers' faces onto their team pages, but it's lovely to watch them together doing something that my husband has enjoyed doing since he was a little boy.


Back in the garden, it was time for drastic action against the pests - not the snails this time but the cats!  I've had to put netting up as within five minutes of me turning my back, one of our cats had been digging in the peas, flinging the seedlings in all directions.  It's hard to tell which of the cats it was as they never crack under interrogation but instead give you that slow feline stare as if to say "wouldn't you like to know?", but I have my suspicions.  My money is on the one who likes to disguise himself as a carrot in the summer time, hiding amongst the feathery leaves and closing his eyes - after all, if he can't see you then you can't see him.  He's very lovely, our cat, but not terribly bright.


Here are all the raised beds with their various cat deterrent measures - fingers crossed they work! My Dad's garden fork is in this picture too, because I've been using it and it's felt good.  I've missed him this weekend; not because we used to do our gardening together because we didn't, but because I used to talk to him a lot about it.  We would usually compare our seed orders, he would grow the tomato seedlings and then bring them over for me to plant in the greenhouse, and we would discuss the merits of cut and come again lettuce over his firmer headed varieties.  He used to tell me not to keep every single seedling that came through (I can't bear to throw them away!) and he would grow the vegetables that would take up too much space in my raised beds, like sprouts and cabbages.

This year, I'm growing sprouts and cabbages for the first time.  It's difficult, that year of firsts after someone dies, isn't it?  Up until now I always thought that birthdays and Christmas would be the hardest part.  I never thought it would be sprouts.



My tomato plants are very small too, because I forgot that I needed to plant them (or maybe put it off?) and they look a bit lost in the greenhouse border at the moment.  


Not for long, though.  It's surprising how quickly they seem to grow once they're out of their small pots and in the ground.  I'm looking forward to sun-warmed tomatoes and have sown a new variety of plum tomato which I'm hoping will produce enough fruit to keep small daughter going for a few weeks - she's got a thing about plum tomatoes at the moment and I'm having trouble keeping up with the demand!  


It's felt like a very productive weekend and now all I need to do is keep an eye on the plants whilst they grow.  It'll give me the opportunity to get on with some other garden jobs - we've got some big hedges and they all need renovating this year which is never a five minute task - and I also want to get a bit better at sitting in the garden and feeling that I don't have to be jumping up to do something all the time.

I thought this weekend would be a good time to practice.


I hope you've had a great weekend too! 


20 comments:

  1. Good for you - I always find it difficult to be in the garden and not doing things. Having said that you have been very busy, and all your seedlings are looking good. Your stripey socks are great too!
    Cathy x

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    1. I'm glad all the seedlings are in now, they've really grown over the last couple of days and it's always a relief to know that they're not going to stay tiny forever! xx

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  2. Very cold in the South East yesterday (Monday) today, torrential rain until this evening so no sitting in the garden to knit my socks.

    I am using Opal yarn, thought I had divided the 100 gram ball into two halves by winding the first 50 grams, but of course the beginning of the yarn is in the middle of the rewound ball. Too late yesterday I spotted your instructions on page 23 of your book.

    DH for whom I knit socks isn't at all bothered that the pattern is reversed, mostly the socks don't show, having handmade woollen socks is more important to him, at present am working on the heel flaps.

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    1. It sounds like you're doing very well with your socks, and there's always another pair to practice matching the yarn. We enjoyed the sunshine on your behalf this weekend ;-) xx

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  3. Audrey McDevitt31 May 2016 at 23:03

    Hi well done on all your hard work, you garden looks great. I just wanted to let you know that I have just finished my Couthie Shawl on Saturday. Thank you for a fab pattern I was wondering how I could get a picture of my version for you to see?

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    1. I would love to see your Couthie, Audrey, and I'm glad you enjoyed the pattern! If you're on Ravelry you could add it to your projects (go to My Notebook, Projects, click on Add Project and then you can put Couthie in the pattern box and it will offer you the pattern to link to) - that way everyone can admire your Couthie! - or alternatively you're very welcome to email the picture to me at winwickmum@gmail.com xx

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  4. Great socks! Your garden beds look wonderful and I like your anti cat barricades. Here, it's the bush turkeys and the possums who 'seek and destroy' gardens...but the cats do get to dig up a few things too. 😒

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    1. Luckily we don't have problems with possums or bush turkeys - and I know what happens to the possums that are pests as I've got some yarn to knit with! xx

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  5. I am glad you are practising enjoying the garden on the hammock, it is so important to stop and breathe. Richard also gardens with his dad's fork and spade and still after 16 years, he is thinks of him as he does so. It is a far less painful memory now, faded around the edges and bearable. It is lovely that you are growing cabbages and sprouts in your father's memory and I hope the pain becomes softer for you, too. The socks btw are splendid, as all your socks are. xx

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    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Christina. I think that thinking of my Dad will generally become comfortable memories rather than what I think I'm missing, but there's no rushing the process, is there? xx

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  6. Hi there Christine, hope the weather is better where you are today. It is almost winter-like here in Norfolk and I definitely have sock envy ;-) Can I please ask what size needle you used for these? I am about to take the plunge and order some yarn like this as I am hoping that matching these socks might be manageable for a first attempt! X

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    1. Hi! I knitted these socks on 2.5mm needles which is generally what I use for 4ply yarn. Have you seen the Sockalong tutorials on yarn and needles? It might be worth taking a quick look before you order so that you have a good idea of what you're looking for if you've not read them already - you can find them if you click on the "Join the Sockalong" picture at the top right of the page or the tab at the top. I'd definitely recommend this yarn for a first pair, it's lovely! xx

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    2. Thank you for such a speedy reply Christine! I have read, read and then re-read all your tutorials! I am teaching myself so need all the help I can possibly get! I aim to be wearing a pair of hand knitted socks before the end of this year... X

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    3. The best thing to do is just launch in - what's the worst that can happen? :-) Ask away if you've got questions, and if you're on Facebook then do join the Sockalong groups as well because then there's always help whatever time of day or night you're knitting! xx

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  7. I am so sorry that the veg growing has been so emotional for you. It is so very hard to lose any loved one, but especially someone with whom you shared a great interest and passion. I often think of how people go on with us and I am sure that your Dad would love to know that he is going on with you growing veg and with you using his tools. That way he will always be with you. xx

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  8. sounds like a perfect week end to me Christine. I know what you mean about thinking it would be the special occasions that you would miss someone and it is, but for me the most pain is I the every day ordinary things. Glad you are growing the cabbages though... sending lots of love x

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  9. It's the silly little things. Sprouts, eh? Grow them with love and pride for a great man.

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    1. Oh, now YOU'VE got me in tears! xx

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  10. What a fab weekend! I can't understand people that try and go away for those Bank Holidays ... makes no sense to me at all! Love your veg plot. Have you tried beer traps for slugs and snails? I know to some it would be a waste of good beer but they really work. I know too that the snails and slugs die by drowning in the beer but like my DH said, "What a way to go!".... I know what you mean about missing someone with the 'little things' as my Dad passed away 5 years ago now and I've adjusted to him not being here except when I hear two particular songs. Then I fall apart. Anyway, keep smiling and know that he's looking down on you and will be watching those sprouts to see how you do!! Much love. x

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    1. I have tried beer traps in the past, I probably need to give them another go - it's the borders where I have most problems and it's quite hard to set enough traps to deal with the little blighters. I'll be in trouble if we don't have sprouts on the table on Christmas Day ;-) xx

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