Monday, 30 July 2007

Rainy days and Washdays

I hate drying wet washing in the house. We're short of space anyway and have a bit of a mould problem as it is, so the last thing we need is to add extra moisture. Using the tumble dryer is just too environmentally unfriendly. Enter the new wet weather solar laundry dehydrator.

AKA drying the washing in our better than averagely ventilated green house. It's been used a lot this summer but even in the depths of winter it does a fairly good job. There's ventilation down low at the front, and up high at the back so it has a bit a solar chimney effect. And there's still room to grow salad stuff underneath. This was just a temporary solution quickly thrown together last year. I plan to lift the lines a bit higher to claim back a bit more growing space, but I'll get round to that when it stops raining.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Christmas Deco's in July

I've been making a Christmas bauble over the weekend. Not that I'm starting to get ready for mid-winter this early (I'm still hoping summer will arrive) but I've been asked to teach a workshop on coiling with recycled materials in the late autumn so I'm checking out roughly how long it would take to make one of these. Finished to this stage (slightly more than half done) it represents about two hours of steady work. To finish it I'll need some more wrappers so more sweeties and toffees to eat. Still who doesn't have to make some sacrifices for their art?

Sunday, 22 July 2007

playing with psp

Take one not very good photo.

select an interesting corner (top left) and cut out the rest. Play with some effects and colour changes, add noise, blur a bit, deepen the colours and change to brush voila -

much better.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Hay Box Cooker

I promised Uncle James a Hay Box Cooker post.

My hay box cooker, also known as the slow cooker, is just an old Coolbox stuffed with shredded paper that lives under the stairs (loads of extra insulation from all the junk in there).

First get the food bubbling hot

Then load it into the hay box and completely surround with shreddings to continue cooking.

This arrangement will keep food hot over night. I use it for stews, curries and pasta sauces and anything else that benefits from long slow cooking. It also makes perfect rice using the absorption method, something I can't manage any other way.
I did take it camping once, where I found it didn't retain enough heat to cook anything, thus proving how much extra insulation a house and an under the stairs cupboard provide.

lazy blogger

It turns out that I'm a bit of a lazy blogger (which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well). There have been quite a few things I've meant to write about this week that haven't got beyond the thinking stage. Other things have been held up by lack of a good photo, or the need to look up a link to go a long with them.

Anyway, today I finished a brief introduction to permaculture post started over a month ago.
it was saved in drafts, so ended up published here in among last months stuff.

Friday, 13 July 2007

old boots and geraniums

Some creative reuse of old boots and trainers in Teignmouth, Devon.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


Saw and heard nightjars down at the Heath tonight. I really love the noise they make. I don't hold out much hope of photographing them but I'm going to give it a go tomorrow. I think it's also time for the annual glow worm hunt (hope we haven't left that one too late).

found art/ bird felt

Out walking in the park after a very windy night I found this little piece of what I presume is bird made felt. Made of seed heads, feathers, dear hair and unprocessed sheeps wool and about
6cm x 10cm. Same day I found a triploid sycamore seed helicopter. Unfortunately I broke one of the wings off before I could photograph it, so I guess it wasn't as lucky as a four leaf clover.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Some views of my garden

Here's one view of my garden. The deck cantilevers out over the pond a bit. The pond is roughly 1m x 1m and also 1m deep at its deepest point, and home to frogs and newts. The purple loosestrife in the foreground is one of my favourite plants and a bee magnet

This one gives an idea of the scale of the whole garden. It's not as tidy as it could be, but shows some of the practical bits like the water butt and compost heap. There's rhubarb, raspberries, gooseberries and thornless blackberries down in that far corner.

The bottle beds on the right hand side are my main veg growing area. The metal frames are for my beans, peas, sweet peas etc. Only one of my bean plants and the sweet peas have survived the slugs so far. Not my most successful year ever. the surviving bean plant is painted lady, which has done really well here in other years.

This shows my toolshed with its mini living roof. Even though there's only about 3 inches of soil up there the sedums, strawberries and pansies seem to be thriving.
I forgot to install a bit of soaker hose while I was planting it up. In dry spells I give it a can of water every day or so. I did include water retaining granules and quite a bit of perlite in the planting mix. The bottom one of the two "window boxes" did contain lettuce and spring onions before I went away.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

hope springs eternal

Came back from holiday to discover all my annual veg ( even the ones four feet off the ground in a window box) and one or two of the perennials mowed off completely at ground level. I've finally given in and bought some organic slug pellets since hand picking and beer traps just don't seem to be cutting it.

Anyway, today the sun is shining and the sky is blue so I'm out planting up again. I think its probably too late to try for sweet corn again, but everything else I'm going to give another go.
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