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Warmest February, but also the driest?

Is anyone else panicking about the lack of water so far this year? As this is the warmest February in history could it also be the most arid? I don’t want to sound like the harbinger of doom but I am bricking it. A few years ago I was thinking about plants that love the gloom and wet. Looking for Hydrangeas, or Rhubarb. Now, however I’m looking at Mediterranean plants and those that can survive a drought!

This article contains affiliate links, which will not cost you anything but I may get a reward.

What can we do about the lack of water?

  1. We have cut down some massive yew trees and will be chipping it with a hired machine, this will hopefully keep the moisture in when the weather is at its warmest.
  2. interlink your water butts. Or there are some really cute ideas for planters which co-ordinate with your butts, making them less of an eye sore! Currently there is an offer on at waterbuttsdirect.com
    and I also have the code MUM10 to give you an exclusive 10% off any purchase at check out – prior to Mothering Sunday!
  3. change our planting options.

It may be the warmest February ever so far, but that doesn’t rule out the coldest March. So how are you planning on ensuring a hardy crop?

We have planted Sweetpeas, Marigolds and several other seeds that will need protecting if a frost comes. So do not be tempted to plant out before hardening off. That means we have started them out in nice warm and moist conditions on a windowsill. They are delicate little baby plants and will need to learn to cope with colder weather. We are still having frosts overnight and so I will transfer them to the potting shed for around 5 days until I feel they are ready for the ground! I am also warming the ground! I will show you how in the next article.

Proof I don’t trust the weather?

Well we have been busy here, not just in the garden but also creating a few new crafts including a Scarf – woven with a peg loom and I cannot emphasise enough how easy that one was! Also it was one skein of wool, so cheap enough!

peg loom weave sacrf

We have also been experimenting with lovely homemade mini greenhouses. I have an idea for a cute gift for Spring and you can watch the how to video on our YouTube channel

I will write the full article once we have some herbs ready to eat as well!

 

If you agree with me and don’t fully trust the weather but want to get gardening, I have written an article on
Micro-Greens Maximum Taste!

I don’t know how to convince you all but they are THE easiest thing you will ever grow. That and the fact you can store the seed for years makes this the perfect preppers food.

Let us know how you are getting on with your mini smallholdings too!
 

 

 

 

 

zero waste snacks include drinks!
Garden Progress

February is shaping up nicely

February has been a month of mixed weather. We are getting ready for the planting season. We have installed a new water butt, which I will include in a new page about saving water all year round. february jobs in the garden I have even been able to convince Paddy to let me record him doing it to show everyone how easily they can be installed. We have been looking at the frozen ground. Patiently waiting. Then pouncing the moment it got above zero, and planted some apple trees. They had arrived as bare root and I potted them up temporarily in loose soil. I have my fears that the roots may have dried too much whilst waiting for the weather. We have bought a

Braeburn bare root treeplanting in February as well as a Bramley Apple bare root tree. They are both from the same pollinator group. This should mean we are able to get maximum apple hoards!

I do have plans to put some climbers around them if they are a success am also keen on having some bulbs which can naturalise in the lawn. Ideal candidates in the UK are crocus, narcissus, or snowdrops. I wouldn’t say we are any further ahead with planning the garden’s layout. However I am getting into the swing of seed buying ready for a Wildflower garden.

February storms

We remember living in a rural area with some seasonal power cuts. So earlier this week I asked a group of preppers how they would feel about an article on a Black Box for a Power Outage and it has turned out to be very popular. Personally I have found it is the one subject that people can discuss without getting political. We may have more use for it during the Brexit negotiations. However this tends to get temperatures raised quite quickly.

February = Six Nations

Obviously Paddy is a keen rugby fan. SO I have also managed last weekend to make the never ending rolled paper photo frame

but this weekend I have finished a blanket. Febraury is the month to crochet So our house has the perfect balance.

I have also put a page together for a non-traditional valentines day. Perfect for any long-term couple, trust me when I say we are not the norm. But here is the secret, you don’t have ot be either. So have a look at alternative ways to show you care this year.

My seeds have been getting on very well and my lovely niece’s have been coming round to learn maths. But then have taught me a thing or two for my youtube channel including editing!

A big thank you to Olivia and Toni for your help! I think you will agree this has a bit more of a sense of drama than my normal craft videos! Let me know your thoughts!! This is what I have been up to this week. When you write it down it does go some way to explaining why I am always so tired.

Summing up

Please check out the Valentine’s Day article

If you want to start prepping have a look at the survivors guide to power outage.

And if you want a craft that never ends have a look at the effective but frustrating paper upcycling article.

 

Now the next steps for me are to work out what to do with all of these…

So be sure to subscribe to my site to keep up to date with what next….

 

 

 

 

hearts in a row
upcycling

Are we ready for the Month of Love?

Love really hasn’t been in the air lately. When we think of January we think of a never ending wait for Pay Day. Or at least I know I have been. After we Moved House before Christmas, we were left wanting to start all of the projects at once. Obviously money is the biggest constraint and so we have been as frugal as ever.

I am very proud of how well the Railway sleeper mantelpiece has come out and I would recommend trying it. Even if you are not too confident with power tools. I have been finding out that a lot of you aren’t too happy with power tools and how to use them safely. So let me know whether you think I should pop some ‘how to’ videos together.

Our YouTube Channel is getting more views than ever, so subscribe if you fancy keeping up to date there as well.

Now we are looking to February and the Month Of Love. However I am looking at it from a zero waste perspective and how to enjoy your time with those you love. I have been thinking about all kinds of love and not just the romantic sort. So I have put together a cute little child friendly craft project. 

plump heart for love

I am also working with a very lovely ethical site to add a few more ideas for how to buy loved ones gifts that really don’t cost the Earth. More on that later this week!

Earlier in the year we received the wonderful news of a friends wedding. Then the daunting news that she would like me to help her with some rustic wedding favours. I immediately accepted and then went into panic mode. Which is pretty standard! The problem is she is like one of my all time craft hero’s! Totally fantastic at anything she picks up. So big gulp and I gave it a go, for the results have a look here.

So now I am making little round Brussel Sprout favours as well as many, many, many, more wildflower seed mixes. I would love to hear what people think of these as I think they are the cutest way to encourage non-green fingered friends to give it a go. Also practically zero waste, which cannot be a bad thing! All you need is waste paper and seeds you collect from the dead heads from the previous year.

For more links to our projects have a look here;

 

So action points for me are to now finish off my ‘Alternative Valentine’s Day’ article. Then to finish off soaking my shredded paper ready for cooling and adding the seeds. I also have a longer list for a few other things starting this week, so here is a sneak preview of how my friends have been helping me out….

This is an entire car boot full, but still not enough!!

Thanks and I hope to hear your thoughts on Seed Paper in the near future

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Priorities for our forever home

priorities for Paddy!We have started the settling in process and a large part of that has been to make the garden ready for spring, more of that to follow. However Paddy has been insisting that we ensure our home is lovely and cosy too, and we have made a lovely new/old mantelpiece from reclaimed Railway sleepers. Some of you may know that we both work in that industry so it is a little incongruous to get it into our home! However it is on Paddy’s list of priorities and I don’t think he is wrong. I am focusing on collecting plastic bottles form friends at work, as well as toilet rolls for seedlings, but I shouldn’t lose focus on the priorities.

Good Food

Good Food. Great Friends. Wonderful company have all been a theme of the festive period. Now, however the hard work starts. I have ordered all of my seeds for the new year from Suttons seeds .  So now all I have to do is stare dwn at the frozen garden, willing it to become raised beds overnight!

There has also been a lot of fun working with a fab dietician on an article around Sprouting Seeds and who can grow them, and how! So please do have a read if you would like some inspiration in that area.

What are your Priorities?

Mainly though we have been setting priorities for our next 12 months in our ‘forever home’. One of us wants to get the garden producing as much as possible. The other wants to work out as many new recipes for his slow cooker as he can. So between us, I think we can keep you all interested for at least a year! I am going to keep the crafting up as well as starting to grow flowers for our cousins wedding bouquet – so much pressure!!

Managing realistic goals

Be honest with yourself, how many hours of physical activity can you handle per day? I love to use winter daylight hours in the garden, but will manage it better if I have tea and biscuit breaks. So I am going to start making healthier snacks ready for the heavy work! Also I then like to keep productive but mix it up with some crafts in the evening that don’t require sweat!

Long term plans Vs short terms steps

I know I need to have steps to achieve my priorities. One way is to start planning the garden. I hope to achieve ultimate successional planning and will share this as we go! Knowing that some goals will be for the following year, is stress-free! Organic is a priority, but we know the soil is poor quality right now. Investing in it’s future has been at the top of our minds and the compost bin is in, more to follow on that one too!

Be more like Santa – make a list and check it twice

None of us like to admit when we are wrong, but sometimes our priorities change. That is ok. Let’s create a safe space where we can make a list, but keep it realistic. Hopefully you will all enjoy reading about my SMART targets for the smallholding and follow us as we make this a reality.

Talk about your goals and priorities

So many people at work have pulled it out of the bag to help me. Be it gathering old loo rolls. Or bringing their single use plastic to me. It has all helped. Not to mention their words of encouragement. So join a facebook group. Speak to different people on twitter. Pin those ideas on Pinterest and talk to each other! Get the ball rolling today and plan for tomorrow!

Vibrant hydrangeas for all of winter
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Winter is Coming – look out

Winter has been really slow to appear this year. But wow is it here now, with an oomph! I have been wandering around the City from one appointment to another and have been like a bundle of wool. So it has really focused my mind on the wildlife in our gardens and how this sudden drop has affected them. I have put together a few bird feeder ideas and hope that this will inspire those of us who are creative and caring. I have also popped one together for our younger audience as I know getting mucky with a pine cone and seeds will really appeal to a lot of kids!

With the coming of winter also comes the dread of Christmas presents. Both the giving and receiving. It is so hard to be green at Christmas! So my decorations are developing and I am putting together more for you all to try in the next few weeks. I am also looking at eco-friendly wrapping options as this will really have a long term impact.

I am more focused on my works secret Santa gift than I should be, but it is hard to spend five whole pounds when I have so many free or upcycled gift ideas. I have to admit that I did swap my name with a friend as he didn’t know his! All in all I think we are ready for winter and the oncoming challenges of shorter days and a lack of sunlight. It can get very gloomy and I am trying to combat it. I know I am not the only one who finds achieving things in the winter much harder than in the summer. So I have started to make a wreath out of the very easy dried hydrangeas which I have some very vibrant ones. I am combining it with all of that Hessian I was given. So I hope this works out ok for Christmas presents.

The house move is coming on a pace and this is in no way scaring me! We have given our fridge freezer away as well as our washing machine and we will be moving in two weeks. So this means leaving milk hanging form the window, just like when we were students. This is so strange but we are downsizing to get a bigger garden. A more sustainable home will mean less stress. It will also mean less impact on the environment. Something we are both very pleased about.

So we plan on leaving all of the bird feeders here as well as a few birdhouses. This way we will know that our wildlife here is still being looked after. I hope to get another post out to you all before we move as we are trying to be as eco-friendly as possible in our move and I have written an article on it here. I hope you all fidnthis useful.
As ever thank you all for your support and I hope that you can feel inspired and start to share your photos of your successes!