Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Belvoir steam fair

This should really have been posted over a week ago, but I have been having some issues with Blogger, so they took a while.

We took a trip to the Belvoir Castle Steam Fair, it was a super little show with all the elements of a big fair.

Steam engines:

A few fairground rides:

Some more steam engines:

Arena displays:

And some sheep:

There was lots of other stuff too, a craft tent, landrover display, large military exhibition and stalls selling all sorts of things. There was even a parrot rescue display with a very friendly parrot who thought we were there to be perched on.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Garden activities

The weekend was meant to be full of garden activities- planting, planting out and generally moving things around. Unfortunately the weather decided not to cooperate so I took refuge inside with some crafty activities instead.

A few activities from the week before:

The tomatoes went outside into a bed next to the path. A large sheet of plastic left over from a totally unrelated project is acting as a temporary greenhouse/cloche.

A blackberry bush has been added to the fruit area. I am hoping this will produce some tasty berries as I was in two minds about buying a cultivated blackberry plant, after all they are available for free but somehow I seem to miss the best ones. Plus I know these have not been peed on by passing dogs, and as an added bonus- thornless!

Finally the easiest sort of gardening, the bits that take care of themselves. Apart from a little bit of weaving through the trellis this rose bush has been largely ignored (possibly why the other bushes have died!?). Last week it burst into a very impressive display and it looks like there will be more to come in another week or so.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Go pony go!

Not that I think all the trainers and owners (I am reliably told the combined term is connections) would appreciate me calling their lovely horses ponies.

Yesterday we went to the point to point racing at Garthorpe, just East of Melton Mowbray. Having looked on a map this is really the only course particularly near us and it is a very nice one. The slope down from the weighing room and ring to the edge of the course and then back up again means you can see most of the way round the course from next to the parade ring.

There were in fact some ponies to cheer for, the day started with two pony races. Some incredibly brave kids (I would not be able to do it) zooming around the track.

The main races followed, beautiful horses of course.

We almost didn't go because of the looming black clouds in the morning, but the weather turned out fantastic, lovely sunshine with maybe a little too much wind. The going was judged as good due to the course having been watered and a few good rain showers in the days before.

The biggest weather related problem was that a lot of people had decided not to bring their horses thinking the ground would be too hard. Two of the races only had one entrant- even I could pick the winner there!

The other five races had enough to make a good race and I even picked a couple of winners, mostly by the age old method of chosing the name I liked best!

Here is Victor Grump coming in from the seventh race. He won the maiden race and netted me a whole £1.75- Good lad!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Grow sloe grow

A major car failure last week meant bank holiday activities had to be within walking distance.

A walk along the canal found these little guys out for a swim.

We also did some footpath exploring in the local area.

A good plan for the future is to actually take the map rather than looking at it then heading out. We took a different route to the one planned and ended up on the other side of town to where we expected.

On the upside the route came out near our favourite sloe tree. The location of this is a household secret as it is loaded with excellent sloes in the autumn. A little tricky to get to, but more than worth the effort.

A close inspection showed up some berries growing well (are they berries,? I think maybe not, seem to remember QI says berries have multiple seeds inside).

I gave the tree a few words of encouragement and we headed for home. Hopefully there will be a good crop at the end of the year.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Fleece lined hanging basket

The fleece discarded from my sorting as being too weak or dirty for spinning has been put to use in the garden. The first job was using it to make up a hanging basket.

In a bucket scoop out enough compost to fill the basket and mix in some water retaining granules and slow release plant food. Obviously this is optional, but it helps when you forget to water the basket for a day or so later in the year (which I will).

Use the fleece to make a fairly thick layer covering the bottom of the hanging basket to about half way up the sides.

Add compost on top and the first layer of plants- the ones that poke out the side of the basket. I used fuschias for this, bought as plug plants. I have not used plugs before so hopefully these will give a nice display.

Add more fleece around the edges so that it reaches the top of the basket. Fill with the rest of the compost and add the plants for the top. These are some dwarf sweet peas grown from seed.

Water the basket well and either hang or store in the greenhouse away from frosts until the weather is nice enough for it to go outside.

It was suggested that birds might make off with the fleece for nesting material. As long as it is quite thick this should not be a problem and there will be other bits around the garden they can take. We have a bit of a shortage of birds in our garden, good for the berries in summer but it would be nice to see more of them.