Where growing, making & good living come together

The end of May already? Gosh!

Posted by on Tuesday 29 May 2012 in chickens, growing, house, meta | 6 comments

I disappeared again, didn’t I? Thanks so much to the people taking the time to check on me in comments/via Twitter/in real life etc – I am fine, just been busy and then being lazy ;) I have been keeping up with other people’s blogs (reading if not always commenting), just not getting around to writing anything myself :)

What have I been up to since I was last writing regularly in February? (Cor, that was ages ago!) Here’s a quick recap for FutureMe and anyone else who might be interested (hi Mum!) ;)


Due to the aforementioned busy-ness and laziness, I decided to go for a less-is-more approach with my growing this year. Then about half my seeds rotted in the soil (thanks for the sudden winter-temperatures in April, Weather, really thaaaaaaaanks) so it turns out I’m doing a very-much-less-is-more thing this year ;)

I’ve got a handful of courgette plants (three varieties) and a few pattypan squash/pumpkin plants too — not a huge amount but I think I’d struggle to find room for many more in our garden (silver linings and all that!). I thought all my tomato seeds were going to rot in the soil so asked for half a dozen plants from my dad (who always grows too many tomato plants) — but at the last count, about a dozen of my seeds made it too so again, I’ve got enough plants for my small growing area. I’ve also got broad beans & runner beans in decent quantities, and a few other things such as a few cucumbers, some chilli plants, some new-this-year herbs and misc salad. It’s not going to feed us throughout the summer but it’s better than nothing — and I’ve very much enjoyed not being overwhelmed by having to pot on stupid amounts of seedlings etc. Everything seems a lot healthier too since I can lavish attention (and other resources) on the few, rather than spreading it around the many.

The thing that led my initial less-is-more idea was a decision I made a couple of months ago to switch all but two of the garden beds to being perennial fruit or herb beds: I’ll grow veg in the remaining two beds and in all the containers I have around the place (and continue to make), but if I don’t get around to planting a lot of veg one year then we’ll still have a garden that is relatively productive and looks quite nice too (compared to bare soil anyway). With the exception of a couple of strawberry plants that got attacked by chickens (thanks chickens, thaaaaaaaaanks), all the fruit planting I’ve done this year seems to have gone well – I bought more cheapy fruit bushes from Aldi in the winter (2 more blackcurrants, 2 more redcurrants, 3 more raspberries), which have all taken, and various strawberries to fill out the soft fruit harvest throughout the summer. None of those will really produce much this year but last year’s cheapy bushes, not so cheap bushes & trees and strawberries are all producing some fruit, and we’re hoping that John’s apple trees will also start producing in earnest too.


The fluffy cluckers are doing fine – producing eggs like billy-o at the moment, nearly a 100% lay rate over the past few weeks which isn’t bad considering they’re all over 2 years old now. No sign of any broodiness yet this year, even in the hot spells, which has so far put any hatching plans I might have on hold. Maybe next year.

They seem to have liked all the dry weather of late – their run was a bit muddy in April but now the dry earth is perfect for scratching and dust-bathing in. They like the rest of the garden for the same reason – hence me losing some strawberry plants.

Goals for 2012

At the (fake) start of the year, I set myself a whole list of goals for 2012 — which I have, by and large, ignored since then. No side money has happened (and in fact, my regular income has dropped again, but that’s another story) and there was a great dearth of creative projects in the first few months of the year. I’ve recently got a bit better: I’ve developed a bit of a (small scale) tapestry obsession, I’ve also been trying my hand at a few design projects too (which have been fun) and I’ve also been “Three Beautiful Thing“ing again. I’ve been tinkering with my NaNoWriMo story recently and I’ve written another couple of short things (one of which will be staged in July).

DIY & Making

We’ve been doing lots of stuff around the house and as ever around our house basic things always cost twice as much as we are originally quoted before we started on fun stuff like decorating – but at dark & dated living room is now fresh and larger without the huge pointless fireplace, and the hallway/stairs to the office look like an actual part of the house rather than just dank steps to a cellar now. The kitchen (which we’re just decorating/tiling splashbacks rather than replacing cabinets etc) is still in progress but we have everything we need to finish it off – just need the time/inclination to do it. The tiling isn’t perfect but it’s fine as well as being a lot more practical than the previous painted wallpaper walls and reasonably fun to do too.

Spending, Clothes and what not

I’ve not been keeping a track of my spending this year but thankfully the habits developed from keeping a spending diary last year have lived on. House and recent tapestry obsession stuff aside, I’ve been doing alright spending-wise — not frittering away money like I once did. The “no more than 12 items in 2011” goal definitely killed my clothes buying habit too: I did restock my wardrobe in a one-off shopping session earlier in the year but the habit, the regular desire to buy even charity shop clothes, has gone away. I’m not going to set myself a maximum quota for the rest of the year as I thought I might but I have and will continue to stick to the one in, one out rule.

In boring/bigger picture money stuff, we got a new mortgage deal – we swapped our all-we-could-get-in-the-credit-crunch mortgage for a MUCH better deal. We’re going to keep our monthly payments the same and overpay the difference, and that’s going to save us thousands upon thousands of pounds in the long run — very glad we pursued that!

Anyway, the long and short of it is that things are quietly good: we — me, John, the cats, the dog and the chickens — are just pottering along and trying to bloom where we’re planted. I do hope you are all good too!

What’s been happening with you guys? What are you growing this year – lots of things or taking it easy like me? How are your 2012 goals going?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Maria

    Oh, you’re back! so glad to see you posting again :) (I’m staying away from Twitter because I’m sure it would gobble all my time, so have not been following you on there).

    I like your Three Beautiful Thing thing – and you’ve just caused me to discover Beth Jeans Houghton.

    so that’s 3 good things for me :)

  2. sara

    Hellooo..glad your back..busy busy busy here…

  3. Mo

    Good to hear from you again :)
    I like the 3BT idea but I’m not sure I could keep up.
    We’re pottering along this year too :)

  4. Clare Law

    Glad you’re back, and that you’re 3BTing — I feel very honoured to think of you finding the time among all the other things you do.

    I’ve scaled back in the garden a bit, mainly because I wasn’t very successful at watering last year. Things are easier this year, though, and I’ve managed to build it into our morning routine.

  5. 5olly

    hello again. It’s so easy to let a blog slip, but I think most people now follow stuff by RSS and other means so we generally find you when you’re back again!

  6. bookstorebabe

    Good to see you again! No 2012 goals-I should have set some, I’ve been slacking. Gardening this year consists of getting the overgrown-ness under control, repairs, ect., although I did go as far as planting marigolds in the front box. (thanks to daughter buying them for mother’s day). Before I start adding things, I want to have made space.

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