Thursday, 30 June 2011

Like watching paint drying....

I do hope you are not getting bored with watching this (slow) transformation of our shed. I sometimes watch the programme 60 minute makeover. Firstly I do not believe all those people crammed into one house could actually do anything without falling over each other, spilling paint, eyes elbowed etc. Secondly I cannot see how the things they do can be done properly. I imagine once the people who own the house move back in all the kitchen collapsing around them and the wallpaper slowly peeling off the walls.
So this is not a 60 minute makeover, though I think I should be finished in less than 60 days! Despite the weather person saying it would rain, it didnt. But having learnt the lesson yesterday I was outside first thing and up the ladder.

The front is now done. I am halfway down the right hand side. If it does rain tomorrow I now have the interior paint which is called Pale Jasmine, Cuprinol. I now have a growing concern as to how I am going to do the roof! Most sheds have roofing felt. This shed/summerhouse has a wooden roof. Somehow or another I am going to have to go up there......

The above are some of the wooden seed trays I obtained some years back from a fellow freecycler. In between going up and down the ladder I painted a side of one or two with some vague idea of making them a decorative feature. Since having them I have used them mainly for holding wee pots wherein I have planted seeds. Easy to move a few pots altogether. But as I keep seeing them in magazines (at fantastic prices I might add) I thought I would display them somehow, though so far the brain hasnt gone further than painting them a tasteful colour.

Here is Sith wondering where the hedge has gone. Being watched closely by Puzzle Cat and both probably asking the question is this a cat litter tray or not?

Removal of the hedge gives us this, vastly improved, view of our garden. And so much more light into the dining end of the kitchen.

Enough of domestic issues.

You may well have to click on this picture. A Willow Warbler with a gob full of insects.

Moorhen sorting out the feathers.

And then admiring the reflection of the wash and brush up results.

I was asked last night at Rotary how I was enjoying retirement. I had to think. And realised I am still charging in, hurtling around like a mad woman so as to get things done before guests arrive. That is still the mind set. But there are no guests, not paying ones, so it really does not matter how long I take.

And if I want to sit and watch paint dry - I can.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Rain stopped play.

Foolishly decided to go into town first. Such a beautiful day. I needed to buy a pair of jeans as every pair I had had some paint sample or another on them. Always forget to change and just dash out and get cracking. I do wear an old shirt of Mikes but still manage to splatter myself.
However I did get a fair bit done before the sky became greyer and greyer and then down came the rain.
What you cannot see from the picture is that I have also painted underneath the verandah roof, and the last panel on the left of the underside of the roof is still brown as thats where I packed in.

All three cats on my bed. Not often they share a sleeping platform. Do you think they measure the gap between them!

As they were all snoring their heads off the bird table and feeders were packed. These are Siskins of which we have quite a few visiting.

A Magpie. Mike has tried repeatedly to get a photograph but they are canny birds and are off before he can get focussed. This time he was successful.

Just long enough to take the picture - and then it was off.

We had a pheasant in the garden today. Sitting on top of the compost heap and then pootling about. Our cats did appear in the garden - it was their tea time - and being used to hens and ducks, and pheasants come to that, they took no notice. Of course I was up the ladder without a camera. Huh. Now that would have been a good picture.

Problems today with uploading pictures, but 'they' have obviously sorted it out.i will make sure I have the camera round my neck when I next go up the ladder, so no doubt that will end up the same colour as the shed. Must remember to put old jeans on.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Don't it make you feel good!

The Sun I mean. At last - after hearing about those poor people down South suffering in the heat wave, due to get flash flooded any minute, we finally have our turn, though they can keep the floods.
It was so, so pleasant to get up this morning, knowing exactly what I was going to do. Whilst the outside heated up a bit I did a second coat on the interior 4 panels I had begun in the shed.
Then came the next on the list of 'work in progress' as I began to transform the outside.

Not a good colour reproduction. Its a muted shade of green called Wild Thyme by Cuprinol.
After a while I began to think I had made a big mistake using emulsion on the interior as the paint enhanced the beauty of the wood. I decided not to do any more with the emulsion but buy a tin of the cream in the Cuprinol range and finish off the interior with it. Either way I hope you agree its a vast improvement on Red Cedar.
Inside there are window seats and I would like to make cushions for them. I shall be sourcing deckchair type striped fabric, so if anyone knows where I should be looking please tell me.

As it was sunny and very warm in between painting I pottered round the garden. Now I planted these bulbs but cannot for the life of me remember what they are. I have a habit of sending off for collections of plants, where the offer is you only pay the postage. In the collection there is usually one I do not recognise or the nursery are trying to get shut of more like. So, no idea, once it has finished flowering I shall find somewhere in the garden to plant it. I am not that keen on yellow flowers.
The next one is going berserk in a border and I know this is Yellow Loosestrife. Good for bees. But it can take over so some will be coming out.

This is more of the paper like flower growing in the front border. This one is more pink than that one. I did find out what it was called, but have promptly forgotten.

This the unusual peony.

This the 'Mock Orange' Philadelphus (?) which is still being strangled by the holly hedge.

It is smothered in buds just beginning to open and giving off the most heavenly scent.

Mike has spent most of the day chopping up the holly he has removed. Before continuing the slaughter.

The front garden now has the perennial plants, I bought yesterday, planted.

They should spread and fill the garden in the Summer. Prior to their arrival there were Spring bulbs, which will also be added to.


My wool arrived. Very impressed with the service. Tina did warn me the colours were much brighter in real life and indeed they are.

These two look fine together, but I should have a third for the pattern.

So which do I choose?

As I still have a baby cardigan and hat to finish I have plenty time to decide. Or even send off for some more wool. Hmmm. Decisions.

Better not start any more work in progress thats for sure.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Monsoon season?

Sunday morning and yet more rain. Fairly warm, and a tinge of humidity.
Too wet to garden. I decided to make a start on the transformation of the Summer House, or as we have now come to call it, The Shed. Partly as we feel it a bit pretentious having a Summer House!
What a difference, just having done a few panels, with one coat. So much brighter.

In the afternoon we drove off to Strichen and my Rotary's Duck Race. Still pouring with rain, but our chef put on a brave face cooking kippers and burgers.

The two legged kids made friends with the four legged kids.

Ducks were launched from the bridge.

Other friendships were made.

And they're off!!

The River Ugie which eventually comes out at Peterhead.

We all had a lovely afternoon. Even though we were all pretty soggy by the end. Some of us extremely soggy on the inside. It is an essential of our Duck Race Afternoons to glug quite a lot of wine.

Today the weather remained as soggy. After some internal debate as to what I should be doing and deciding I dont really like the word 'should', I decided to return to the site of the duck race and buy some perennials to go in the front garden, its got to stop raining someday. As I was walking towards the poly tunnels I could see what I thought were masses of yellow flowers. Inside, there were all the ducks having been blasted with the hose sitting in trays and drying! Then being packed up in their sacks, into number order. I did offer to help but there was a merry band of men singing loudly having great fun, so I left them to it.

I cam home to find Mike had managed to do some work on the hedge in between down pours. Another transformation.



Defeated by another downpour. So yet another 'work in progress.' I shall have to work out the Latin for this and put it on our Family Crest.

Yes, I know, I know - another 'work in progress'.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Red Sky at Night..

Well, all I can say is there is one very upset Shepherd round here.

Yesterday I was boiling hot whilst outside weeding and planting the Solomon's Seal. The weather pundits promising a three day heat wave - so what happened then. Cold, windy and wet is what we have had for most of today, not impressed.

Mike still managed his morning walk. This is a Sedge Warbler.

Jackdaws mobbing a crow.

A friendly cow.

This morning the great garden designer of the house went through his plans for our wee plot. Lets just hope we win the lottery. At one point I asked if this was a ten year plan to which he replied, "No, all done next week." Ha ha.... Paths, steps, decking, at least two ponds, one wildlife and one ornamental, bridge over one of them.

Its taken him the rest of the day, between showers, to weed a clump of buttercups out of the front garden.

When I mentioned chopping a bit of the ilex hedge down, "Give us a chance."

So I am not too worried about the bank balance being decimated just yet.

Meanwhile I have been concentrating on the indoor stuff. I rescued some knitting, having learnt the lesson the hard way, of not following a pattern becoming tricky after a couple of glasses of wine. I ordered, on line, some lovely wool to make baby cocoons for the incubating grandchildren. (Many thanks Tina for the web site.)( (The pattern was free via

I was outdoors first thing in the wind and drizzle to collect my car - and its MOT certificate. Crimond Motors are first class. Our previous garage we wouldnt see the car for three weeks whatever it went in for.

Back on the computer to get the tax disc.

Out again to collect a bra purchased and ordered so long ago I had forgotten what it was like. Life in the slow lane in North East Scotland.

Back home and friends here having coffee.

And now the sun is shining.

Mike is back out digging out the buttercup.

Tomorrow is our Rotary Club's Duck Race.

So lets hope the sunset tonight is awesome and Mother Nature heeds the message, Red Sky at Night is the Shepherd's Delight - and mine.

Friday, 24 June 2011

More Garden Wanderings...

The evening sun spotlighting some areas across the road. Can you see the height of those Leylandii? At the other side of that are some beautiful trees which we can only see the very tops of. Leylandii should be eradicated. Thats my belief for what its worth.

Our two new posh pots at the front door. Containing Canna Lilies and gold coloured creeping Jenny. These are the two pots Mike bought with our vouchers from lovely friends. They are actually made of plastic, so, as it says 'on the tin', they won't split in the frosts of winter. A good third of their contents is parts of the demolished coal bunker to keep them where they are in the strong winds we have. But still light enough to be brought into shelter, as the main plants are Canna Lilies, which I know to my cost do not survive the North East Winter.

Remember this Berberis in amongst the Ilex hedge?

At the other side of this hedge you can see how imposing the hedge is.

Giving us this 'view' from our kitchen.

Not good. We cannot see the garden, and apart from early morning when the sun streams in, yet again we have a darkened room. It has to go. As I write this it is 5.45p.m. and the large lawn we have is flooded with sunlight, now coming in from the West, but we cannot see this, because of the hedge. I hate cutting down healthy plants. But I do like open spaces and to view same.

As we walked up and down, on both sides of the hedge we noticed other beautiful plants struggling to survive. A Mock Orange, which has buds and will have a heavenly scent once opened, the Azalea I mentioned yesterday, other pretty little shrubs, all swamped by this dark evergreen jungle that has been allowed to take over and swamp everything and darken our view. So, weather permitting, tomorrow it has to go.

My troughful of Solomons Seal has finally made it into the garden here. Its a tough old bird so should survive being planted near to the lilac tree which has roots spreading in all directions to ensure its offspring keep on coming....I love lilacs, but all things beautiful can soon become overbearing and then become a pain....

I did a bit of pruning of one of the ornamental holly trees that is at the side of the summerhouse, and yes I did read the book first. Apparently evergreens can be attacked at any time of the year to improve their shape. So thats what I was doing when.....

I love Lucy and her partner descended this afternoon. Sandy fixed the fence he had damaged when he moved out our old oil tank, and pruned one of our ornamental cherry trees. I was most impressed by this. It was like watching Edward Scissorhands. Snip, snip, snip with the shears and we had this perfectly shaped tree before I had breath enough to ask "Do you know what you are doing?" Well, he did.

I have a sneaking love of chopping stuff to be honest. At least you can see what you have done! And, of course, give other plants the chance to thrive.

I can't tell you much I am beginning to enjoy gardening again.

Years ago, when our kids were small, Mike and I used to have our evenings, when they were all in bed, walking round the 'estate', where we would inspect the garden, what was growing, what wasnt, and now we are enjoying doing the same, wandering round the garden.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A walk around the garden.

Outside the kitchen door and patio door a hebe, which a few weeks ago looked as if it had lost the will to live, suddenly burst forth in blue blossom.

The dark red shrub is Berberis Thunbergii, and has very sharp thorns. I remember planting a hedge of these when we lived on a cul de sac where the local kids loved to kick their ball into the front garden, until the hedge grew - ha!

This is a part of the garden which is to the left of the house looking at it front on. Some large conifers and other evergreens. Blue tits hatched in the nest boxes there so the area has been left to its own devices and Mike hasnt cut the grass there either. Bit of a jungle but if you look at it from the outward direction it is still quite attractive.

In the front garden are three large clumps of lavender, different colours which is nice. Hope to 'catch' them at the right time for drying, which I need to check on, but probably right now!

There are quite a few rose bushes around, all badly pruned, if at all, and most with shoots growing up from the base which should have been taken out, and one even has a bramble taking the life from the rose. Some have struggled to bloom and deserve a fighting chance. Which they will get.

I am quite an ignoramus on roses, but recognised they have been badly treated. I shall be poring over my pruning books I borrowed from the library. I certainly do not want to seal their fate.

The picture below is of London Pride. I love this plant as it brings back memories of my birth place, Yorkshire. I was so pleased to find this flourishing here and hope to be able to split it and put it in other places.
If you look closely there is a darker pink flower, tucked under the ivy hedge, which I think is an Azalea.

Oh dear, the Hostas are full of holes. Certainly have lots of snails around but from looking at these there are also plenty slugs. Almost tempted to get some ducks again.

Another beautiful rose that has managed to bloom. I cant wait to see how much more beautiful they will be next year after some tlc.

Another of my favourite plants, Cranesbill. Again a real pleasure to find this growing here.

And finally, a, to me, unusual peony.

By the time I realised it was there and was different to all the others most of its blooms were going over. But is a lovely paler pink and has this yellow centre.

The garden is blooming.

The reason for this meander around the garden was that I had set off outside to pot on basil and parsley both of which are going berserk, both supermarket pots. Our kitchen window is obviously a good place for orchids and herbs. When I got outside I remembered I had used all the potting compost in the herb bath. I also needed compost for two outdoor pots as Mike had bought some Canna Lilies to go either side of the front door. So he was off to buy the compost. I then suggested he buy two new pots with some vouchers we had been amassing from various friends and called in to Moiras for some plants to go with the Cannas. So that was him gone for the afternoon and me back to loading up the washing machine. Still trying to catch up with all the bedding used over the weekend. And a meander round the garden in between loading the machine and pegging out what had been washed.

I often have days like these where I set off to do things and am then thwarted.

Another for instance was my first task of the day to tax my car online. Only to be refused as there was not a current MOT certificate. Panic, it ran out in May........ The lovely, lovely, garage man at Crimond said to bring it in after lunch, which I did, few bits and pieces it will be ready tomorrow. Phew.

Am off out in the garden, just to look, darent start anything else in case I find theres something else I have forgotten.