Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn garden, new chooks, sewing, planning

I took my exam and feel like I passed.  I actually feel like I did really well, but I guess I'll have to wait and see.  Results in December. 
 I grew this turnip!  Um...except all the other turnips are still marbles, or smaller.  I don't know why. 

I've been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, chopping things down and tidying.  Today I got the handsaw out and trimmed my overwhelming laurel hedge at the back.  I also had a good go at the underperforming fuschia, and a few other shrubs.  While I normally enjoy fuschias, this one is all leaf and no flower.  I'll be actively attempting to kill it in the future;  it's too big to dig up, but I'll continue chopping it down if it grows. 

We added another three chickens to our flock, bringing the total to seven.  Everyone seems to have settled in, though there's been quite a lot of pecking;  all the new ones have little scars on their combs.  It's been about three weeks now and they've fattened up a bit already, though they still look bedraggled with bald patches.  We got them from the same charity as before, so they too are ex-factory hens. 
 Still have some things flowering, such as this snapdragon, and the nasturtiums and dahlias behind it.  But autumn's really coming on here;  leaves are falling and days are so short.  I feel the urge to stay inside and make stuff.
 I sewed this pair of jammies for Franklin from a men's wool/cotton blend pullover. 
 And this pair from a felted cashmere one.  So warm and soft!  As on the stripey pair, I used the sleeves for legs and the neckband for the waist;  I love how this one had a zip-up neckband--it makes a perfect fly.  I had just enough of the blue pullover to make short sleeves, but I wanted a long sleeved one, so used remnants from a gray cashmere pullover to make the sleeves and collar. I made him a gray cashmere undervest, too.  I source my cashmere from charity shops and usually pay around £3.50-£4.50 apiece.  Though most of them I usually wear myself, rather than cut up!

I also sewed myself two pairs of pajama bottoms from two XL men's wool pullovers, same as Franklin's:  sleeves for legs.  So nice to wear in bed.  I used to have some polyester bottoms which were warm but could get sweaty.  I haven't had that problem with the wool. 

Making many plans for next year's garden.  I'll be moving many things around;  my dedicated herb bed will be dissolved and the contents placed in the flowerbeds.  It's just too hard to reach all the herbs from the bed.  I might like to plant some berry bushes there instead.  I'll also be planting vegetables and fruits in amongst the flowers, in an effort to be more self sufficient. 
 I haven't been able to fulfill that self sufficiency goal this year;  we changed our eating habits this summer and have subsequently eaten many more vegetables than last year.  My garden supply is just not enough.  But I'm optimistic for next year!   I've collected some apple and wild rose seeds to attempt growing.  The rose seeds come from a wild bush in the park (not pictured;  that's one of mine above) that has the most amazing smell, and juicy, sweet rosehips.

Also seriously considering raising meat birds out back too.  I've been watching youtube videos on how to humanely kill both chickens and ducks, as well as pluck and dress.  I think I could do it.  Maybe.  Partner says he could do a chicken but isn't sure about a duck.  I have suggested ducks as we can get a breeding pair--we can't have a rooster for breeding chickens--too noisy for our neighbors.