Monday, August 26, 2013

Climbing, blue cardigan, decorating, gardening, blueberries

Franklin showed his grandpa just how good at rock climbing he is.
I think I never showed my blue alpaca cardigan?  It's my own design and fits me really well.  I love alpaca--it's so smooth.  I also knit a shawl with some of the leftover yarn, and now I love shawls.  It was so much quicker to knit that a cardigan (1 week versus 4 weeks) and it looks more complicated than it actually was.  No photo this time, though.

Decorating the house!  The kitchen is pretty much done, with a new paint job on the walls, cupboards, trim, and dining chairs, and a few new accessories (rug and seat cushions).  The hall and stairs are also nearly finished with new paint on the walls and trim, and soon a new curtain;  and the bathroom is also nearly finished.  The most neglected room in the house, it now has new trim, new splashback, a paint job, and a new built in sink cabinet;  while it still needs a bit more work, it looks ten times better.

We had another chicken casualty last week:  Blondie passed away after a brief illness.  We don't know what it was, but it happened quickly, unlike Shirley who was unwell for several months.  And on top of it, our dog has a bad case of the fleas and is going senile (she's 14 now).  Animal woes...

Finally we're getting some red tomatoes, but I doubt we'll get many from the outdoor plants;  though they have lots of fruit, the season is coming to a close and it's not likely they have time to ripen.  The greenhouse plants have fewer fruits, but I'm confident they'll ripen eventually as there's no real risk of frost.  We've also harvested several greenhouse cucumbers, with several more growing, and all the pepper plants have little fruits forming (also in the greenhouse).  While the zuccini plants are beautiful and big leaved, the fruits are either not being pollinated, or are being eaten by something (or both);  I'm so sad.

The kale, however, is performing spectacularly, and will probably continue well into winter.  It's a tasty plant, too.  I keep planting winter lettuce seeds, and they keep getting destroyed, by both slugs and chickens:  I can't win!  I fenced the bed off, but the chickens have broken into it at least three times, and what they haven't scratched up, the slugs have mown down.  I need to rethink my winter greens strategy.
We went hiking in the Peak District with grandparents, and discovered wild blueberries.  We turned blue! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Family photos

Our new family portrait, taken by a friend at the park.  We had a fun day, walking in a nearby village:  visiting the local play parks, meeting pigs and horses, picking cherries, and wearing hats. Both Partner and I have lost weight since last summer's portrait--he's still losing it, too. 

Franklin has grown a lot over the summer, and is so heavy now!  He's always been chunky, but his wide chest and shoulders are really obvious now--not like the skinny boys on my side of the family.  He'll be starting nursery school in September, five days a week, three hours a day--if I can let him go, that is!  He's three and a half now, and is very excited about going to school, and likes to play out front on the street with the neighborhood kids.  Three of them were out yesterday, and Franklin saw them, turned to me and said, "My friends!"

 My parents visited us this month for two weeks, and did some decorating and home repairs, as well as a small amount of sightseeing.  Franklin was very comfortable with them this time, and everyone was sad to see them go. 

I plan on redecorating the entire house by the end of September (mostly this involves painting and decluttering).  I hope I can do it--I'm also working five days a week at my job, instead of the usual two, and my first week into it has left me completely exhausted.  It's not even double the hours I normally work--but waking early, running around after a toddler and taking care of chores during the day and then working a busy five hour shift on my feet in the evening is tough.  I console myself with the reminder that it's only for six weeks.  And then it's back to university I go...