The sweetpeas are taking over

Jun. 25th, 2017 05:42 pm
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Last year, I planted a couple of perennial sweetpea plants in one of the flower beds. They did ok, but weren't really anything special.

Either they needed a little while to get themselves established or they much prefer the weather this year:



I had a go at putting normal sweetpeas along the drive this year, as I had spares and thought they'd look nice if they grew up the fence. They've rather been out-competed by the stuff on the other side of the fence (in the stableyard), though. I think I might get myself another pack of perennial seeds and see how they do there!

We went to see a horse on Sunday: he seemed to have a lovely personality, and looked nicely put together, but he'd never been ridden properly and didn't have a clue what he was doing in the school. Hopefully she'll find him a nice home where he can do nothing but go for long hacks....

I went to London last week, to see the dentist. Some sort of viral thing seems to have come back with me, which explains why I was so knackered all weekend, and probably also the upset stomach. I'm not exactly *ill*, but I'm also not entirely well. Possibly, in the light of this, I should have spent less time weeding today. It did need doing, though: it's been too hot recently to contemplate working in the garden.

We seem to have a lot of what look almost like yellow thistles appearing in the garden this year. Not sure what they are or where they've suddenly appeared from!

Too hot....

Jun. 18th, 2017 08:15 pm
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I spent much of the day in the hammock. Jo is also too hot, poor thing.

The last couple of years, we've had a paddling pool on the patio for Jo to go in after her walks. It's not entirely satisfactory, as it's bigger and shallower than she'd like it to be, and takes so much water that I don't like to change it often, so it gets very icky. I did some noodling around online last week, and discovered the existence of something called a plasterer[']s['] bath, which is used to mix stuff up in and sounded like a very good size: 4'x2'x1' deep.

Jo does seem to like it, but it doesn't like being left full of water....



(It looks even worse now, the other side's also bowed out. I suspect it's going to die a death next time she climbs in!)

Bizarrely, GB seems to have bonded with one of the mares: when we brought them down the hill, he stood in the corner of the stableyard watching them, and when we put the boys to bed he was calling to her. Most unlike him, he's much too old to suddenly develop a taste for the ladies!

Bitey

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:02 am
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I am completely unsurprised to have woken up this morning with the evidence of yesterday's work in the field on my legs: four horsefly bites, the first of the season.

(And I've realised belatedly that my sister's wedding is in the middle of horse fly season, which may well scupper the plan to make my mother happy by wearing a dress!)

Agnes is, if not actually fine, back to her normal level of limpiness today, so I guess that the pick-her-up cure did the trick again.

Hot hot hot...

Jun. 17th, 2017 08:17 pm
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This morning, we went up to the summer pasture and set up the electric fence (to keep the boys away from the (rickety and barbed-wire-topped) real fence), and then took them up there. It was quite warm. As ever, they spurned the water trough up there and so drank all the water in the stableyard when they came back down. Sigh. (It always takes them a few weeks to deign to drink from the trough up there, presumably because it tastes different: it's a stone trough when they're used to plastic, and/or the water doesn't go through the softener that treats our water.)

I'm a little concerned by Agnes, aka Limpy McDinosaur Duck. She's being even limpier than usual, and holding her wings very strangely as she hobbles around the place, and when she's lying down she's been wibbling her beak and twitching her wings. I was half thinking I'd pick her up for a quick check when we put them to bed, even though she hates being handled, but she made it easy by getting most of the way to their house and then just collapsing with a splat on the ground. Couldn't find anything obviously wrong, and I'm not going to be calling a weekend evening vet for her, but I am quite worried that she's suddenly got much worse. Fingers crossed that the magic 'pick her up to see what's wrong' cure will work and she'll be better tomorrow.

The garden, on the other hand, is going along well. The polytunnel's looking very green, and there's at least one actual tomato set on the early russian variety:



(10th May, to compare: they have grown!)

We've also got actual you-could-eat-those baby courgettes, very teeny squash, lots of tomatillo cases with baby fruit inside, and runner bean flowers. This afternoon, we shared the first mange tout of the season. The wild strawberries by the riding school are also doing well, and the jar of strawberries in vodka is filling up nicely.

I have been appreciating my hammock, which is on the grass in the shade, and so lovely and cool. I *almost* came inside to get a light blanket when I was in it a couple of days ago!

Huh

Jun. 16th, 2017 10:08 am
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While I was mucking out this morning, I saw the wren, mouth stuffed with insects, hop through the drain and into the empty stable. I was only a step or two away, so I poked my head around the door to see where he went next.

After perching on a stack of pallets for long enough to give me a suspicious look, he flew up and delivered his insects to the row of open mouths waiting in the swallows' nest.

I guess that the wrens decided that a disused swallow nest was a nice place to raise their brood, but now I'm wondering where the swallows are living this year!

Oh, hello....

Jun. 14th, 2017 09:52 pm
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Today, we found some horse flies in the polytunnel. Bets now being taken on time until my first bite of the season....

I wanted a Thing that was an Amazon add-on item, and Mike could only think of another add-on item that he wanted, so I had a look at my Wish List and bought the annotated Pioneer Girl (Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography). Naturally, the book arrived yesterday, Mike's Thing came today, and the Thing that I was actually after still isn't here.

I'd been putting off buying the book (and, indeed, putting off people from buying it for me) because I was hoping for an ebook. Now that it's arrived, I've realised why there isn't one: it's very annotated, and the footnotes are at least twice the length of the text, so it's very much easier to read on paper. I've been reading a section of the bio and then skipping back to read the notes. It's very interesting, although I'm somewhat disappointed to have found an error already (the fictional Wilder family didn't name their cow 'Wreath of Roses'. That was the name she came with and Ma sniffed and said something like "Bah, foreigners, we'll call her 'Spot'"). Still, very interesting and likely to be available to borrow in the not-too-distant future if anyone else was feeling the same way I was about buying it.

Also, *still* nothing about how Pa makes the loo seat nice and smooth. V disappointing.

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