Not being one to sit down, especially as the sun was shining this week I decided to crack on with the veg beds.
The first one was roughly put in late last year with scraps of wood so it was time to tidy it up, design the path and move on to veg bed two.
Today I had a little help with my bubble Bev. Quite a bit of turf removal was required here and this is something that’s a bit to much for me still. We set to work marking out where to place the wood and where to dig. It was quite chilly but nice and bright out.
It was my neighbours birthday the day before and she kindly gave us some cakes to have with our tea break which we throughly enjoyed whilst the robin came down to enjoy the worms.
Back to work and the grass was all dug out and we could place in the frame. We covered the patch over for now as I will soon get some manure and dig it through,then warm ready for planting. Now just to work out what and how to shape the new path.
We emptied the old grow bag compost from the greenhouse into the plot and found these interesting looking eggs in the soil. Any ideas what they may be?
All that remained to do was to take the bags of turf to the front for disposal. Ben came to the rescue as there is no way I can move those yet. He came up with the ingenious way of moving them through the house. He put each bag on his skate board and wheeled it through. Fabulous, well done Ben.
So tomorrow I shall enjoy a nice restful day catching up with my Suzy sewing. This I hope to finish soon as I stated it last February.
So I hope your all doing ok and trying to get out and enjoy the sunshine. It certainly makes you feel so much better x x
What a challenge. The whole cold frame project has been a massive learning curve. From learning new power tools, different techniques, drilling holes in Perspex and hinges!! The thing of nightmares lol. I couldn’t have completed this without the help of many friends and advice from Facebook.
When I decided I needed a cold frame which was summer 2020 it would have been very easy to go out and purchase one. However I had envisaged it as a project that dad would help me with. I hope that wherever he is now he is looking down and saying “she did good and it’s just like something I would make. Built to last!”
The start to finish has cost £60, and taken just over two weeks. (I can only do work involving a drill in small amounts as you’d be surprised how much of your back you use for this) It would have been more but I was gifted a sheet of Perspex for the roof, thank you Ian, and I already had a selection of screws and wood paint. To buy a basic cold frame they start at about £80 but I don’t think it would be as sturdy as I hope mine is. There would not be the huge sense of achievement that I feel now either.
So in the last blog the lid had been made along with the main frame. It was time to work out how to attach hinges. I’d purchased two different types and spent many an hour with some scrap pieces of wood putting the hinges on and off trying to work out how to do it, but no matter what I tried it wasn’t right.
Had I bought the wrong hinges? More time spent on YouTube and quite a few photos and questions asked on face book, video calls and a few days away from the cold frame was required.
Today I woke feeling extremely positive and clear about what was to do with thanks to some information one of my friends had found. The suggestion was to place hinge spacers between the lid frame and the hinge itself. (Well done Stephen) after a few attempts we had a huge eureka moment. It only works. Now just to pretty it up and paint the new bits of wood.
The last bits needed was a catch to hold the lid closed incase of high winds, a strut to hold the frame open a little for ventilation and some kind of strap to stop the lid opening all the way. I had contemplated purchasing some chain for this, but that’s no challenge. Whilst in the loft recently I’d spotted the slings Rich and I used to use to climbing and if they held our weight they would work here. So I started to attach the first one realising that I’d got the strap in place where you can see where we had marked the slings as ours. Thanks for being here to Rich. ❤️
So finally the cold frame is complete, just to move it into position later in the week
Let’s hope the weather brightens up soon and we can all spend some much needed time outside x x
The cold frame project has been continuing slowly. The last you saw of it was that I had cut all the wood in readiness to be assembled. This week I set to work making the frame. Most of this was straight forward.
Feeling pretty pleased with myself and how solid the frame was and how square it was I now had the challenging task of cutting the two angled sides. Many youtube videos have been watched in the making of this project as there as so many various skills required. The two sides were drawn out, double checked and then I cut each one separately with the jigsaw, but only after a practice cut on another piece of wood. The practice went so much better than the sides. One had a bit of a dip and once the balanced on top I discovered that they were not equal. Mmmm I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I wasn’t happy. Only one thing for it. Start on the side sections again but this time I would clamp the two pieces together and jigsaw them at the same time. It was hard going but a success. Screwed on it was looking great.
Another day saw another part of the project. This time to make the frame for the roof. Again I was amazed at myself how sturdy and square it turned out.
The cold frame needed painting as I wanted to protect the wood. I learnt from dad, build to last lol. The shed has quite a few tins of part used fence paint so the green was picked. Due to the cold weather it took two days though for the paint to dry.
Next was to attached the Perspex to the roof. Lots of friends have been advising me on certain aspects of the project and this was one of them. Not wanting to get this part wrong I practiced on a small square of Perspex first. This went well so I added masking tape and marking where I wanted the holes then drilled starting with a small drill bit working up to the size I needed. Phew. No disasters. The Perspex was then glued and screwed to the frame.
Today I hoped to complete the cold frame, however I’m not quite there yet. I did add some little feet to the bottom posts to just raise the wood from the floor. But then it was on to the hinges. I’d purchased two different types and decided to use two other pieces of wood to work out which way round they would need to be and to ensure the lid opened how I need it to. Quite some time was spent attaching, trying and changing the position. I’ve even taught myself how to chisel out and counter sink the hinges. Something still isn’t quite right so the best thing to do was put it all down and leave it for another day.
Next week I hope to show you the finished cold frame and the start of the new veg beds. That and they may be a little painting involved indoors just to keep me busy x x
So, lockdown part two, three, four??? I’m lost with where we are. I think we can all agree we have had enough and things can be quite a challenge at the moment. I know I certainly had a moment this week when thinking about how many people this pandemic is effecting I became quite overwhelmed. So with my Mrs Hurcombe hat on, I pulled my socks up so to speak. I turned off the news and had a light bulb moment.
As some of you know I like to keep busy and on Monday I was hit with the thought that my list of things to do at home was coming to an end. What on earth would I do with myself? I can’t sit still! I got so short of things to do I resulted to steam cleaning the kitchen!! (although I have to say it looks so much brighter lol)
This sparked a new idea, whilst looking out onto the garden through the newly cleaned window I wanted to be outside. Gardening is so good for the mind and body but it’s way to cold and the ground is frozen solid. However earlier on the year I had wanted to build a cold frame to harden the new plants off from the greenhouse. Bingo, the new project was to begin.
My dad was always the carpenter, well in fact builder, electrician, decorator, mathematician and anything else he turned his hand to, with the exception of grouting, he hated that and couldn’t understand why I didn’t mind it. I knew that cake decorating course would come in handy, it’s the same right?
I started to look online at what wood I would need to order. Dad always did this bit so I wasn’t entirely sure of what the names or sizes of materials were that I would need. A phone call to the timber yard later and I submitted my order. Fingers crossed. Whilst ordering the wood for the cold frame I made the most of the delivery by ordering the wood for the new veg patches to.
I’d spent quite a bit of time drawing my plan and working out measurements. I would always get quite confused at this stage as maths is not my strong point, but dad could just see it all in his mind, write it down and voilà. Perseverance and some scratching my head later I knew what size each side was to be and how many lengths I could fit from each piece of wood.
Next was to work out how to use Rich’s table top saw. It probably has a technical name but that is what I’ve named it. It looks quite a manly piece of equipment and could cause serious injury’s if I got anything wrong so I phoned a friend and got a socially distanced lesson in safety and how to use it.
A few mornings later the timber was delivered. Oh my goodness! What have I done? Why didn’t I just purchase a cold frame on line? Well that’s just no fun. Also what else have we got to do at the moment when we can’t go out? Also what better way to remember the two top men in my life then using their tools and hearing their voices in my head. “No you don’t do it like that, what on Earth are you building now, measure twice cut once!” All good advice and I’m listening chaps x x ❤️
Let’s get to work or we won’t get in the food cupboard later today. Some of the wood was so long it ran the entire length of my utility room. I had all my measurements so armed with pencil, tape measure and square I began.
The first cut was a little scary but then quite exciting. I could do this. Ben helped me manoeuvre the wood and we were doing so well, until…..
The saw stopped. Had it overheated? Nope after phoning a friend again we discovered the saw had had enough and basically broken! Love a challenge.
However I am so fortunate to have good neighbours and within half an hour I had been loaned another saw. This one had even more functions and made cutting even easier. I am quite enjoying this diy lark. Way better than ordering within minutes on the internet.
My cutting complete and tidying done, I felt very pleased with myself. The majority of the cold frame has been cut along with the veg patch wood. But it would all have to wait another few days as I don’t allow myself yet to do to much physical work all on one go. Also it gives you something to look forward to.
Sunday we woke to a very white frosty start to the day. As I’d promised myself an easier day I decided some baking was in order as I’m missing my monthly cook off days with friends. Also baking is very good for your mind, maybe not so good for your hips. But hey, I’ve been very good this week.
The fridge had many lemons and as last weekend we had made a lemon drizzle (healthy option) I decided to attempt a lemon meringue pie with pastry made by yours truly. I don’t think I have made pastry from scratch since home economics at school. Everything went to plan and there was enough pastry left over to make a few mince pies and jam tarts. Ben said the kitchen smelt delicious and we couldn’t wait for dinner tonight. Which was also a homemade Shepard’s pie.
So, if your feeling down, fed up and overwhelmed. Turn the news off. Make a plan, a project. It doesn’t have to be anything as technical as a cold frame. Bake some fairy cakes, take some time out with a good book, chair by the window, cup of tea and one of those bakes. You will feel so much stronger and relaxed for doing so x x
Well that’s Christmas and New year passed. Ben and I managed to get a few things done and I even managed to get him out before midday one day for a winter Suzy walk. Let’s start there….
First a little history:
The Thames and Medway canal is a disused canal in Kent, also known as the Gravesend and Rochester canal. It was originally 11km long and cut along the Hoo Peninsula, linking the river Thames at Gravesend with the river Medway at Strood. The canal was first mooted in 1778 as a short cut for military craft from Deptford and Woolwich dockyard on the Thames to Chatham dockyard on the Medway avoiding the 74km journey around the peninsula and through the Thames estuary. The canal was also intended to take commercial traffic between the two rivers.
We both have fond memories here as dad would tell us stories of how he used to play around here and the nearby fort when he was young and he introduced us to the area as somewhere to ride our bikes. Dad would drop us off at the Gravesend basin and then meet us in Higham. When Ben and I reached him we would often find him sitting in the camper, windows down with either the newspaper or on one of his phones for work.
The day we chose for our walk was bright and sunny with a bit of a nip in the air but after a while the sun warmed us up and we could take of our hat and gloves. Suzy was sporting her hoody for today’s adventure.
Back home to continue with my latest project. Rich and I had planned to put together a photo wall last winter but it was something we didn’t get around to. I was determined to get this done. So after purchasing lots of new matching frames and ordering some more photos I began the next project.
The wall in the living room looked good but I wanted to change it to really show of the pictures. It’s quite a dark room but I knew if this wall was painted a dark colour the contrast with the new frames would still be bright. I managed to remove the wallpaper and prepare the wall.
Although the wall was in fairly good condition as it was newer than the original part of the house, it still wasn’t good enough to just paint. Fortunately I had some lining paper in the loft so Bev came over to help me wallpaper it before painting.
After a day or so I began to paint. I had intended to use a roller but with such a bold colour I stuck with the brush. The end result was a lovely smooth matt finish.
Now for the fun part. I marked out the space of the wall in masking tape on the floor and placed the pictures hoping to find a good layout. It took quite a bit of moving around before I was happy.
Now to get them on the wall. This was to be more of a challenge. Getting the hooks in the wall was easy. Getting the pictures on the hooks however was not. The frames are deep and even with a loop of wire it took 20 minutes to hang the first picture. This wouldn’t do. I rang my friends Dean and Yvonne and they suggested putting a wire across the back of each frame with small eyelets.
I set out finding all the eyelets I could muster and began. A few hours and lots of banging later the frames were up. All I need now is a few more of the photos I’ve ordered to arrive.
I forgot to mention this was New Year’s Eve. Quite fitting as I’d promised myself I would get the wall done in 2020. Completed with 3 hours to spare!
Today was a sort of relaxing day. I took down and packed away the Christmas tree, cleaned through the new look lounge and did some baking.
The first bake of the day was Rosemary and walnut soda bread which was enjoyed with a baked Camembert at lunch. Then tonight we had a beef and ale slow cooked stew with the soda bread. When I’ve finished this blog we will enjoy a home made lemon drizzle with custard. All made with healthy low fat recipes.