Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ellie Smith writes....

my old greenhouse is frozen closed!


here we have a guest post from Ellie Smith.....

"Remember a greenhouse/ glasshouse is not just a storage place,
With a long stretch of a mighty cold winter this year, gardening has not been at the front of everyone’s mind. As winter begins to bite in December, the darkest month – plant growth slows accordingly and a little patience is called for until the days slowly begin to lengthen again. However this does not mean we cannot look forward to preparing for greenhouse growing in the spring. It may seem far too early but spring is only three months away and as we know, time sure does fly.
Most greenhouses will be neglected during the frosty- wintery months and can fall into a dangerous trap of being used as storage hubs. Excess clutter and garden furniture is usually thrown into the greenhouse to be kept out of view. The danger of doing so is not being troubled to clear it at a later date.
Try not to fall into this habit- remember it won’t be long until the greenhouse will act as a beautiful feature in the garden and the perfect home for blooming flowers and tasty vegetables. Setting the heaters to a temperature that keeps your greenhouse ticking over and running smoothly makes sure you are ready to go.
Spring arrives in the greenhouse long before it makes its presence felt in the rest of the garden. By March many plants will be busily putting on new growth but, at the same time, these increasing temperatures also bring the transformed threat of pests, as they too begin to warm up again. Warm days and cold nights are typical of spring, which makes keeping the temperature in the greenhouse a challenge. The spring greenhouse is a hive of commotion in more ways than one – and a few regular tasks now should set things up for the rest of the year.
Give your greenhouse a good clean but make sure you just use Soap and water as you do not want to remove the UV stabilising coating. Some cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can destroy the polycarbonate covering.
Staging should be disinfected along with the pots and seed trays ready for new growth. Once you have done so, you are ready for new growing stages. Automatic vent openers and automatic door openers come in handy.
Pouring freezing water over seedlings can shock them so remember to fill up a watering can and leave it in the greenhouse to warm up. "
Author: Ellie Smith, on behalf of Hartley Botanic.



thankyou for the lovely post Ellie!!


and you can click on the link to look at the fabulous greehouses from Hartley Botanic...put one on your Christmas Wish List!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

bleh

photo taken last Monday, Scotland ground to a halt and I had to walk five miles home. the weather report for today has not been good, cold and wet rain this morning and snow is meant to come in after it and then freeze......just for the moment the sun is out and its very pretty.
I am very fed up with it now, and continue to have no car as it now needs fixing as the power steering has failed.
many blessings to everybody who keep giving me lifts up to the stables and back.
the greenhouse was frozen shut for over a week, I opened it this morning and the minimum shows -12C and the maximum 11c. brrrrr fed up!!!!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Abbey in the snow

video

trying out the video upload...cool!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Abbey likes snow

Abbey likes the snow, she gets very excited and gallops off when put out in the field.
its much deeper than this now, but she is still careering round in it and has to be persuaded to come in at night time, as long as she is dry she is happy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

from wednesday to saturday

frosty on Wednesday

snowy on Saturday

Thursday, November 25, 2010

repeat...

I must remember this, and repeat it as necessary.....

"When we quit learning from each other, we lose the greatest opportunity to grow. Every person's example can teach you something. So make it a habit to see them as agents for acquiring wisdom. "

Friday, November 12, 2010

to go out riding

Abbey wears a treeless saddle by Barefoot and a Parelli Hackamore which is just made of rope. and she has no shoes on, I would consider boots if we did a lot of work but as its usually just round fields or in the soft schooling area then they are not needed.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

new things

new to me car, a nine year old Skoda, runs great! my poor old Fiesta rusted away around its never failing engine......what a shame! I picked the Skoda up yesterday after 2 1/2 weeks without a car and trying to get everywhere by bus. Two jobs and one wee pony and the bus adds hours onto the day. I'm very relieved to have a car and get some energy back.
and I thought if I could get myself a car then Abbey could have a nice new pink headcollar. She does have lots of 'stuff' but most of it has been bought second hand. Her old headcollar hanging on the wall there is second hand and too big for her...it'll go in the wash and be kept for spare. Now.... I think I need to get a nice pink lead-rope to match......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

days go by

my sycamore tree turns colour and decorates the garden with its leaves. some nice cold days however more often is wet and cold and windy. not so nice now that I have no car, it failed its MOT and was scrapped two days later after the 'man who welds things' said NO. its a shame, I liked the wee Fiesta as it always went, never broke down, it was cheap to insure and run too. and I have no money to buy another decent car. I have been traveling by bus, well, there's an experience and about another two hours added onto already long working days.
here's a fairy ring in the garden

nearly the last of the lovely garden veg, this lot got turned into veggy chilli, very nice it was too.
there was one row of cabbages that 'did not do', and I kept looking at them and thinking I should just take them out....welll I am glad I didn't.....they were not cabbages, this is lovely calabrese! I froze them and gave the stalks and leaves to Abbey, she will get the stalks from the sprouts soon, and then the broccoli...it may go on for a while yet. there are still carrots to come out of the ground and apart from the leeks that is probably it for all my harvest this year. its been not bad even with all the neglect.....probably out playing with the pony instead....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

of edges

the vegetable beds have 'edges', wow! haven't seen them for a looooog time!! I gave in and asked a local grass cutter to do the grass and the strimming, over the last couple of weeks there has been so much rain that it has been left to get too long. I have managed to cut most of the hedge by starting a 'little bit at a time' when I had time and it was dry..to look at it in one go is too much, so I did 'up to the post' , then 'up to the tree' , and so on, there is still a couple of sections to do but I feel that they are achievable in the near future.
Tansy right at the edge of the first photo.

Abbey and I have been out riding round the fields, I love the peace and quiet. Not all is peaceful, I have purchased a small MP3 player with its own little speaker so that Abbey and I can have some music to listen to when practicing our flexion and cantering and 'stuff' when we are in the riding arena. I am a bit deaf so cannot stand putting headphones in or over my ears, also stereo becomes very strange when you cannot hear in one ear! As it is a yard where there is a house near, and other people about I think it would be impolite to have a full size stereo blaring while we rode. I always enjoyed the music playing at the two Quantum Savvy riding clinics I went to...one with Abbey and the first one with Katie. Who knows what the horses think? Abbey tried to eat the player when I showed it to her-I didn't want her to get a fright if I turned it on suddenly, ha, a whole new meaning to internal music......
I eventually got this bridle fitted correctly, its made from 'rawhide' and I believe a style in evidence in Argentina or Brazil, very pretty. I haven't ridden in it yet, we're still happy in a headcollar.
I have slight problem at the livery yard, Abbey has escaped through some partially broken fencing and was eating herself silly in the next field, luckily they own that field as I would not like to be getting into the farmers land, that would not be good at all. They have some electric fencing which I have put up and I have purchased some more electric fencing to use temporarily until it is fixed. If only they would maintain their edges!!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

show jumping?

there was a couple of wee jumps set up so I though Abbey and I could try them. this jump is only a foot high....Abbey is going over it like it was three feet! she was a bit taken aback by these white and blue poles, we might try some walking and trotting over them this week to see if she learns they will not bite her, funny how she was showjumper in her previous life but still takes fright at things she must have seen before.
these are the older dulled down poles which did not seem to bother her at all, its probably less than a foot high in the middle and still she makes sure she has plenty of height. she puts a lot of power into her jumps and if I feel like she is throwing me out of the saddle. its been a long time since I did any 'proper jumping'......and it may a long time, if ever, before I do any more!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

weeds the world over!

oregano that self seeds, its very pretty.....in the cold frames amongst other weeds(and I found a few plant pots in there when I had a look, I wondered where they had gone!)
loverly for attracting bees!
beautiful little creatures.

I'm not sure what this is, not a bee anyway.
and here is a lovely calabrese head, just ready for eating. there were four of them so eat two over a couple of days and chopped up the other two ready for use and have frozen them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

salad!

the last of the carrots from pots in the greehouse, some salad leaves and an 'Sacha's Altai' tomato, just ripe enough for salad. very nice. there was a bigger and redder tomato but it didn't survive long enough to have its picture taken.......


Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Guardian commercial - Points Of View

good point!! I'd like to say it too!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

frog update

over the last couple of weeks its just looked like it was disintegrating.... this is it tidied up by the hoof trimmer, he has removed some of the overhanging bits and pieces, it still gets cleaned daily. hopefully it will all grow out and look as nice as it did before.


Monday, July 12, 2010

still raining

its been good this week to eat potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions from the garden. I wish I was more organised and had some fruit..the gooseberrys have suffered with the cold, I thought one had died off but its coming up from the roots now, maybe some fruit next year.
its been raincoats on and raincoats off for the showers, change about every five minutes.....I had the strange experience of driving home in the bright sunshine with my windscreen wipers on full for the very heavy rain.....somwhat strange....a bit like riding with your eyes closed just to see what its like......
here's Abbey wearing her new wooly girth cover, nice and white before it gets dirty. it does come in brown which I would have prefered, but it is a luxury item so had to go with the cheapest version...so this is how I ride out, rope headcollar on.
Parelli antagonists need not comment thankyou, your comments will be deleted.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

new to me lap top

all things on hold while I figure it out and transfer stuff. if I forget to visit anybody's blog its because I have lost you in transition....please leave a message in comments and I'll add you to my list of places to visit.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

it rains it pours

and the rain is a good thing! my garden is really dry and the vegetables have been getting watered with the hose a lot. I have not watered the flowering plants or hedge as they have looked okay. Its lovely to have such a long spell of dry summer weather...very unusual for here.
The horses water has been very low in their streams too.
Here's Abbey looking lovely, her bottom lip hangs out when she is relaxed. I have just woken her up here so her lip is reasonably relaxed but not totally. her lip is a good indicator of her mood, I have photographs where its tight closed.....and she is anxious/scared and there are photographs when her bottom lip is way hanging down which means she is totally chilled out and relaxed.

This is the long grass from where the daffodils were growing in the lawn, these patches are left uncut to allow the daffodil leaves to gather energy for the bulbs to flower next year. The other patches have been cut down now but Smokey has been enjoying jumping in and out of the long grass here.....so this bit might just have to be an official wild patch.......
This tree growing package arrived this morning from Ecover, along with some products to sample for review and a reusable shopping bag. The seed information says to soak the seeds and then to put them in the fridge for a month....that must be to immitate a winter coming into spring to get the seeds to grow, what a lovely idea.
These are the products I am going to try. Multisurface Cleaner for house or garden....I have heard its really good for plastic garden furniture...unfortunately I don't have any so it will be put to good use cleaning my front door(pvc-its meant to be white!) and all my pots and trays for the greenhouse. The Power Cleaner sugests its good for bar-b-q's...again I don't have one but it will get good use on my cooker hob and grill.
Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner....well that will obviously come in very useful, as I work as a receptionist and often go to work after seeing Abbey and my hands and nails have that 'ground in dirt' look!!
and Biodegradable Compostable Bin Bags, they are made from potato starch and biopolymers, and say they will start to bio-degrade in a week...interesting.
Updates on these as and when used.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

update on moan

Saturday morning after a good nights sleep, I am going out to be positive. planning a good play with Abbey(horses have the an ability to cheer you up under any circumstances), some gardening and some sitting with cats.
'sitting with cats' is a lovely pastime, I often try to combine it with reading but the cats have developed 'story sitting', which means of course they sit on top of the book so they can have all your attention......

Thursday, June 24, 2010

moan

Another day goes by I still haven't won the lottery.
I sometimes wish I could take myself, my cats, my pony and my garden away from the small minded opinionated crap that keeps walking over the top of me.
Sometimes I really should know better and not even start off with a hello....its usually bound to degenerate into what happened today. It'll happen again too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

food!!


picture hasn't come out in the centre...wonder why? it'll be one of those 'did what you told it to do not what you want it to do' computer things.......that's also a horsey thing....leads to much confusion....
photograph of my first bucket of potatoes last week, I have scoffed them all and am now onto my second bucket. the second bucket has a few bigger ones in it which shows what an extra week of growing can do. They were planted in buckets in the greenhouse in February - four buckets in all, two left in the greenhouse, two put outside after most of the frosts(they take up a lot of 'air space' with their massive amount of leaves) next to be eaten will be the two put outside. The rest of the potatoes were put into buckets as those two were put outside, so they will be ready to eat later on. I still have a few very, very wrinkley seed potatoes that would probably still grow some crop if I put them in now. Growing potatoes in buckets does not give the biggest crop but it is good for where there is not space enough for a big patch and it makes them very easy to harvest, just tip out another bucket and your done!
I have made the decision to leave Quantum Savvy .....to progress means following the 'programme' to the letter involving riding bareback at the canter.....not brave enough.....putting a bridle and bit on Abbey..... don't want to..... and riding at the gallop......really don't want to!! I will be joining the worldwide Parelli programme, it gives more scope for progressing in the areas you are capable of/comfortable with. For instance I could get up to level three in ground-work while staying at level two for riding. It also makes great ....how to describe it?....."forgivness" of your horses character, Abbey gets very scared sometimes, Parelli encourages relationship with your horse before anything. I hope we can afford it thought as its really a pricey thing to join. My buddy Annie has already defected over and has kindly bought and said she will share with me all the DVD educational stuff. We will have to buy new t-shirts to go with it as well.......

Thursday, June 03, 2010

is summer here to stay?

its so nice to suddenly have everything erupt in the garden, weeds included. its good and warm, a couple of days of rain here and there. hope the warm summer weather is here to stay.
my gardening friend May gave me a bit of root for these orange poppys, she said every garden should have them.
and my blue poppy keeps flowering, I was worried it might not make it through the severe frosts, being one of the few plants I have actually paid money for!
and onions, out in the ground, I have planted out brassicas, and these onions. I have been out sowing carrrots, parsnips, beetroot, beans and peas. the greenhouse has tomato plants growing, still sheltereing some potatoes which I hope to eat soon, still some seedlings to be planted out...courgettes and a pumpkin, and some tall things, the name escapes me....they are very nice steamed and dipped in butter...if they survive they are a biennial so no fruits till next year.
I also forget what its called when you forget certain words for things.....some form of dementia....



Saturday, May 29, 2010

a brief anantomy

The lovely Abbey, she has a four reasonable feet, now barefoot and recovering after many years of shoeing and showjumping, her feet are improving all the time but she is not 100% sound.
this is her front right hoof, called the off fore, after being trimmed just over a month ago, I have been taking occasional photographs to show the improvements.
this is the bottom of the same hoof at the time of trim, this is the hoof that now has the deep cut in it.
photograph of internal hoof borrowed from Natural Horse Trim
you can see in this detailed(and very real!!) anatomy that the frog covers and protects the digital cushion which protects the insides of a very complicated process. its designed by nature to be perfect just as it is. no shoes thankyou. Abbey has a very deep cut, if it gets infection in the frog that is not good. if it is deep enough to get infection in the digital cusion that is even worse. if it had been deep enough to get as far as the bones she would be in pony pastures over the rainbow by now. the broken bottle neck has caused a cut which is at the deepest part of the frog which is why she is still with us. although Abbey is not lamed by this I am on high alert to prevent infection and will be for some time.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Sow Your Own

Cafe Direct are running a campaign to encourage everyody to grow their own vegetables, no matter where, no matter how much or how little space there is. They are encouraging use of any type of container and are running a competition for the most imaginative entry.
celebrities have donated items to be used as mini-gardens, this a Stella McCartney handbag
this Pearl Lowe donated tea set is getting an airing as a salad garden, how many of us have tea sets that we never use?
more information and ideas on their site at Sow Your Own.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

glass bottle neck

right into Abbey's frog, and unable to tell really how deep it went. I have been cleaning daily with a bleach solution, covering it with a babys nappy and duck-tape. she has been turned out and always comes in with the dressing off but I still think its better to be out and moving.
she did this a week ago and I have been holding my breath waiting to see how lame she comes up because deep infection would mean an operation.
she's not lame.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

still weeding

I managed to get my grass cut and my ten minutes of weeding done just before it rained. the blue poppy is out and there are more buds so hopefully lots more to come. I have planted out cabbages, broccoli and sprouts from the greenhouse, I wanted to do it last weekend but the weather forecast said too cold...its meant to be a bit warmer this week.....well not freezing anyway! they are under a layer of fleece till they are a bit bigger and more aclimatized.

I am still continuing my Quantum Savvy horsemanship with Abbey but seem to be stuck on the begining of Level 2, since last September acutally....she is too spooky and although it all seems good in practice whevever I tape an assignment to email to them she is 'not doing it'. or is that me not able to manage her correctly...I have an instructor coming this weekend so hopefully will get some strategy tips for the moments that are causing the lack of progression.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

of Clydesdales

West Glen Clydesdales from Kilmacolm, its not often you get to see such stunning horses out and about, here they are at the Kilmacolm showground.
and this pair from Shewalton Clydesdales, the chap on the right is only three, what a well behaved youngster!!!
and this wee poppet is only three weeks old and a champion first prize lady already!! she is not bothered by it.....
a wee bitty bigger than my wee Abbey for sure!! so gentle and well behaved. it was lovely to see them pulling their rigs and to be alowed to get close to them, and their owners having the patience too to stand and talk to everybody.