More 2020 Catching Up

As things are still pretty rubbish at the moment I thought I’d show you some more 2020 catching up here.

Outdoor Work

The Pond Area

The previous post about catching up during lockdown, I showed you the work that had been done around the pond. Since then the area in front of the hovels has been filled with hardcore. I also spread some grass seed where the clearance had been done. Another job was to extend the weed control matting and gravel to the end of the front garden.

Hardcore piles
Piles of hardcore waiting to be spread
Hardcore spread
Hardcore spread in front of the hovels
Bingo inspecting the work
Bingo inspecting the work

The House Area

My youngest son has been very helpful during this year. Whilst I’m happy to tackle most things around here there are some things that I can’t manage. It does help that he has a digger to help with some jobs!

With the digger he pulled an old cast iron sign post out of the front field. This was then lifted into place and concreted in. I then cleaned it with a wire brush and painted it with a few coats of black Hammerite. A smart new sign completed the transformation. I do love to reuse/upcycle things!

Post being dragged out of field
Old cast iron post being dragged out of the field
post being planted in hole
Post being lifted into place before being concreted in
wire brush cleaning
Cleaning the post with a wire brush
Painted with black hammerite
Several coats of black Hammerite paint later
Smart new sign
A smart new sign completes the transformation

As the planned self binding gravel was now off the cards (see previous post) the retaining wooden boards were kicking around. Some were repurposed as a raised flower bed to block off a huge tree stump. This couldn’t be removed as it’s kinda holding up part of the garden wall! The remainder were used to make a long, low barrier in front of the ugly concrete panelling by the barn.

Toby building a big raised flower bed
My son building a raised flower bed to hide the tree stump
low barrier
Low barrier in front of the concrete panels

Part of the problem with country living is the wildlife. Or more specifically, the diet of the wildlife. This seems to consist largely of whatever I choose to plant, which is partly why I really appreciate plant donations! The Algerian Ivy from my previous post has been eaten. As have a large proportion of the pond plants I bought earlier in the summer and ones I had been given. However, the rambling rose still survives. It’s still sulking from being moved from my friends garden, however, there are lots of leaves. Next year it will no doubt take off properly. The Virginia Creeper has started spreading and I have been given more by a friend. The Lavatera I grew from seed. Given that I am renowned for killing rather than growing plants this is a major achievement!

Bingo inspecting the planting
Bingo inspecting the planting behind the barrier
rabbits have been digging
Rabbits have eaten half the plants and dug holes in the new raised flower bed

I did splash out on a couple of beautiful twisted trunk ornamental olive trees. These came from Baker Botanicals  and they now flank the porch pillars by the front door. Greek olive tree symbolism is one of the oldest meanings in the world. They symbolise Peace, Wisdom, Fertility, Prosperity, Immortality and Success – pretty fitting for a wedding venue!

New olive trees
New olive trees standing sentinel by the porch

This year there were a plethora of self seeded poppies on the driveway. As there were no visitors and no weddings I allowed them all to flower and go to seed. As they dried in the baking sun I collected the seeds. These are now being stored in a cool place until the Spring when they will be scattered at the far end of the pond. This will add to other wild flower seeds that will also be scattered.

poppy seeds
Just some of the poppy seeds I collected this year

In The Fields

All but one of the Weeping Willow saplings have been planted out. Sadly only one or two of these have survived being on the wildlife taster menu. But I will persevere and plan on getting more saplings going soon. I will grow them on in pots until they’re big enough to survive rabbits as proper tree guards are too expensive.

Willow saplings
Willow saplings being planted

Another job that my son has been kind enough to do for me is to install gates and some fencing. These have been put up to stop people from going near the hovels. There’s also now a barrier on either side of the ‘bridge’ which crosses the overflow ditch from the pond. Don’t want Aunty Mary falling into the ditch in the dark after one too many sherries do we 😉

post and rail fencing
Post and Rail fencing across the ‘bridge’ and at the far end of the pond

Indoor Projects

The weather has been pretty spectacular this Spring and Summer. This means that indoor projects haven’t really featured here! I’ve been far too busy outside working and getting my first suntan ever in the UK! I have however managed to restore the two old oak whisky barrels I bought off ebay at the beginning of the year. Firstly they were cleaned using an outdoor furniture restorer. Then I sanded them down to get rid of as much loose rubbish as possible. After that masking tape was used to shield the wood and the metal bands were painted with black Hammerite. Copious amounts of Tung Oil were then used on the wood. I still have a long plank of oak to finish off, and then the portable bar is finished. I say portable. Each element weighs a ton!

Barrel cleaning
The barrels had to be cleaned up
hammerite paint
The wood was protected with masking tape before the metal bands were painted with black Hammerite paint
Tung Oil on wood
The cleaned oak was painted with copious amounts of tung oil

Photo Shoots

The pandemic has thrown a right royal spanner in the works for the wedding industry. With weddings being postponed or cancelled wedding creatives haven’t been able to work normally. However, to put a positive light on things, we have had the opportunity (once lockdown eased) to put on shoots. This really calls for a post all of it’s own – stay tuned!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.