Saturday, 30 May 2015

A Sale Fell garden visit

A tiny hamlet, Routenbeck, sits on the north side of Sale Fell.  Precipitously steep in places and not receiving any sun between November and March it is a location I would hate.  That did not stop me having a damn good look round when the owner opened this summer to raise money for the local church.  Despite the challenge of the slope, torrential water run off from the fell and wind which comes barrelling along the valley like a freight train, Andrea has created a wonderful garden here.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A new tarn for Daisy

Anyone would think our Tarns Project had completely dried up given the scarcity of water-focussed walks of late.  However, with no vans or lorries on the drive and the chance of a few hours before the forecast rain arrived, Daisy and I headed south this morning for a local tarn.

Cogra Moss is only 10 miles from home but in the 2½ years Daisy has lived with us she's never been here.  It's a quiet place, generally avoided by tourists and frequented mostly by fishermen and locals.  It was a bit too cold and windy to follow David Hall's route which takes in a couple of summits, we'll do that another day.  Instead we had a lovely leisurely 4 mile bimble which did us both a great deal of good.

We didn't see the osprey, but did get a glimpse of a beautiful red squirrel and on two occasions a Jay flew past us.

It takes a couple of bribes biscuits to get her to pose:

In the shelter of the trees there was much to see, I wonder if I'll remember to come back in a few months time when the bleaberries are ripe?

Evidence of just how strong the wind can get

It really was a super little walk, not very long but quite enough given that neither of us has been out much recently and Daisy is a little "under the weather", we think with hayfever; and it's always good when the promised rain arrives just as I'm closing the car door to start our journey home :-)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Not exactly as planned

In typical Bag End fashion, the 'plan' did not go according to plan.  The stoneyard ran out of slate chippings and Walter could only bring 4 tons this morning.  That was quickly spread in the big fruit cage (we used much more than expected, but hey, it means the job will only need doing once), and just had enough to cover the little seating area by the Top Pond.  The chippings are currently covered in quarry dust and will be a completely different colour after some rain.

Walter drove away by 10.00, but LP on stayed for a couple of hours.  That gained us four huge paving slabs for a bench to rest on, and the removal of a self-sown yew in the veg patch (which Sue says is now grand enough to be called a Potager) and an adjacent huge stump which used to be cotoneaster.   I'm not happy at taking out the yew but it was the wrong plant in the wrong place adding nothing to the area and only going to get bigger and bigger;  it's removal gives me room to squeeze in a fourth apple tree.

By lunchtime LP was gone too, and no-one is returning until the chippings are back in stock.   A chance to breath out and relax . . . . only I'd been up since 05.30 (couldn't sleep for some reason) and was knackered, and the fact that once again a job didn't get finished when expected left me completely deflated.  I don't know whether the guys will be back this week, next week, or when.  It didn't help that a neighbour "just popped in" to see how the job had gone and timed his unexpected visit to the exact moment when I sat down in the sun with a mug of tea, lunch and my Kindle.  I may not have been a convivial host . . .

Grumble, grumble, whinge, bellyache and moan.

I'm not really as ungrateful and grumpy as that sounds.  We are so very lucky to be able to do all this and have created a wonderful outdoor space which is really beginning to enhance the house.  It's just I'm tired, and in best Bardot "I want to be left alone".

Monday, 25 May 2015

Not too shabby

A quiet and thoroughly enjoyable Bank Holiday.  Much pottering around in the garden and not a camera in sight.  Despite lack of pictorial evidence I accomplished (nearly) everything I set out to do.  All the grass has been cut, new membrane laid throughout the big fruit cage, and a couple of other areas tidied up ready for the slate chippings which are due first thing tomorrow.

Daisy hasn't been left out of all the activity; the usual local walks near the river, a trip to the beach at Allonby, and before supper this evening we had a lovely hour at Crummock Water.  Whilst it was probably very busy down by the lake during the day we enjoyed complete peace and quiet and didn't see anyone else.

For a local dog walk, it's not too shabby :-)


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Extreme path building

First the weather forecast gave us rain for the next ten days, and then it didn't, so unexpected progress was made.  Not quite how I had planned to spend the week having hoped to have the place to ourselves and room to breath (and sleep in in the mornings) but every bit of progress takes me closer to the day when we can close the gate on vans and trailers for the time being.

LP went into manic-soil-shifting mode and dug out the uneven ground around the shed and vegetable beds.  I might want his all too frequent presence in the garden to end but without his endless hard work and ability to move heavy loads hour after hour there is no way we'd have the garden we have now.

I helped out with edging and membrane laying.

Even the so-called 'working area' in front of the shed was cleared out.  Is there any Universe in which I might manage to keep this area tidy and not revert to using it as a general dumping ground?

It's all feeling a bit surreal, far too tidy and not like my garden at all.

And then Walter's lorry arrived, full of sub-base.  And it was emptied.  And sent off for another half-load.  And by the time everyone went home on Thursday afternoon we had 31 tons of water-permeable hard surface on all our paths.  Sheesh.  Thank Crunchy we should only have to do this job once.

The pretty stuff to go on top arrives Tuesday, weather permitting.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Bit of a transformation

So what can you say about 15 tons of sub-base?

It was staggering to see just how fast the guys moved this stuff, the first 10 tons was down in little over an hour.  Although the photos don't show everything (and now it's raining I am not going out to take more), they've done from the bottom gates to halfway along the back of the house.

We probably need the same amount next week, although the current weather forecast means that schedule might slip.  I am resigned to the fact that it doesn't look like I'm getting the garden to myself any time soon.  In the meantime, it all looks very strange and new but is surprisingly nice to walk on.  Amazing what a difference a smooth surface makes.

We were aided and abetted by Little Miss Perfect who did not think that multiple wheelbarrows and heavy equipment were any obstacle or hindrance when it came to her favourite game of having the ball thrown the length of the garden.