Monday, March 26, 2012

The unveiling of the henhouse

After a few weeks of digging, raking, and re-laying paths, most of my vegetable beds are either planted or ready for planting. I still have a small bed with my purple sprouting broccoli (now sprouting) and a large bed with last year's cabbages going to seed. I need to pull up all but one or two cabbages for seeds and dig over the bed to plant.

Today Franklin and I took a trip to the garden center to pick up some new seeds: peas, radishes, lettuce, swede (also called rutabaga). I hope I have room for everything! I was really tempted by some hazelnut trees; I almost bought one. Then I read the tag that said it wasn't self-fertile, i.e. you have to plant at least two in order to get nuts. Sigh. I couldn't justify spending £40 on trees today. Though I know exactly where I'd plant them...

The henhouse is ready for some chickens: tada! When I spoke to the hen charity, they told me I'd just missed the last collection and the next one isn't till the end of April. I guess we're not in a rush. Franklin really enjoyed helping his dad build the henhouse. In this picture, he's got one screw in his mouth and a box of them at his feet. He loved putting them into pre-drilled holes in the frame; it took a lot of concentration. Partner had a truly inspired idea of using an old drop-leaf table top for the roof; we can lift it up in case we need to get inside. We also bought some moveable fence so we can let the hens range but keep them out of sensitive areas like my seed beds.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hoping for hens, less debt

I seem to have lost nearly all my crocus this year. I don't know what happened; I hope they come back next year.

We celebrated Franklin's 2nd birthday very quietly at home with his paternal grandparents. I made cupcakes and the only gifts we bought him were some clothing and a bicycle bell for his push cart. Incidently, he loves all of them. His other grandparents sent him a talking Cookie Monster which he's been carrying around the house all day and even took to bed.

I drew up a design and Partner tweaked it a little, and using mostly reclaimed wood (some bed slats, an old CD rack, a table), we are well on the way to a new hen house. It's about six square feet, is mobile, and I put down my details for an order of four hens today. Hopefully we'll be getting some ex-factory farm chickens; there's a charity which buys hens destined for the slaughterhouse and rehomes them.

I'm so excited that Partner and I got approved for a bank loan to pay off his credit cards. We've had a tough time financially for a few years with me having a few medical issues, plus other difficulties, but have managed a lot better in the past twelve months. We got to the point where we could make a pretty substantial overpayment on the credit card, but the interest was still absurd. Luckily with this loan we have a 2 year payment plan and the interest has gone from 27.7% to 6.7%. It means we'll be saving almost a quarter of the original balance in interest by the time it's paid off. And the payments are lower! Happy! I still intend on paying it off early. I'm confident we can.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Quilt, gardening, birthday and plans

The quilt! The blocks don't really line up and the quilting is kind of wonky; I call it "rustic." I wish it were mine.

Tons of work in the garden this past week and a half: I've dug over most of the vegetable beds, done so much pruning of shrubs, and have planted lots more seeds--some indoors, some outdoors. I've also relaid the old path through the vegetable patch and put down some more, thus defining the individual beds a bit better. And I've pulled up so many dandelions in the process; most of them had roots about as tall as the shovel blade: twelve inches long. Apparently people make a coffee substitute out of dried dandelion root. Maybe I should start saving them; I've got plenty!

Partner has next week off work as do I, and it is Franklin's birthday at the end of it. I'm so not throwing a party this year. I'm mulling over whether to make cupcakes for our Monday playgroup, but might not. There are usually lots of kids there, definitely upward of twenty-five. I might just make them for us, using my favorite recipe.

I want to do some more projects around the house and garden while Partner's home. Top of the list: repairing the hole in the dining room ceiling. The hole that's been there longer than we've had Franklin. The hole which is big enough for the bathtub to fit through, were it not already firmly affixed to the floor above. We bought a piece of plasterboard last weekend and Partner cut it to size. It just needs to be nailed up. I don't care how it looks; it can't get uglier than it already is.