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Gardening…

Ok so this blog is supposed about things that make me feel good or allow me to spend time with my family. Well gardening doesn’t make me feel good, I’m bad at it and I seem to kill more plants than I grow. That said, if I keep the garden reasonably pruned it let’s me spend more time outside playing with my kids, or even better lets me send them outside to play while I get on with other jobs. I think the best that can be said about gardening from my point of view is that doing it lets me do other rewarding things later on.

Last week I gave the garden it’s first “haircut” of the year. I started by cutting back the hedge on the road side – this makes no difference to family life but I’m really hoping it will stop the people touting for business door to door from continually knocking to ask if I want them to cut the hedge for me. True to form it didn’t go too well, the cordless hedge trimmer died after 15 minutes and I had to do the rest by hand. Now you’re probably sat there thinking just get a plug in one, here’s the problem. We live on a corner plot, the front garden is probably twice the size of the back and is a triangle with the longest side running along the roadside. The previous owners were devoted gardeners and left us with a beautiful hedge and many many shrubs and bushes. While I would love to have a plug in hedge trimmer, the cable would need to be about 60 meters long to reach to the end of the hedge.

After the hedge was done (and the sweeping up which I REALLY REALLY hate) I had a go at the lawns. We have 2 at the front and neither had been touched since last year. I dug up the huge nettle that appeared last year and the little ones that were spreading from it and generally tried to make the garden look less abandoned.

I’m quite pleased with the results. I still need to cut back the hedge on the garden side and trim all the bushes but I can let the kids go out now without feeling too guilty. As always, when I attack the garden it attacks right back. My nails are shredded and my arms are covered in scratches in spite of the gloves. I think this is one of my main dislikes of gardening; the destroying of my hands.

Anyhow that’s my moan about the garden done. Thankfully the back garden is paved and easier to manage. The back corner is the only planted bit that gives me problems. There’s an ornamental grass that grows huge every year, and a Wisteria that looks beautiful when it’s in flower but drops masses of petals, seed pods and leaves every single year. The only other problem I have with the back garden has nothing to do with gardening. It has to do with small people. 3 days ago I came out of the house after doing some jobs to find my son happily throwing sand from the sandpit over the entire garden. When I told him to stop he turned to his sister (who wasn’t anywhere near he sand) and told her very firmly “No more throwing!” We spent the next hour sweeping up 😀

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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in garden, Parenting

 

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Bread, bread and more bread!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve become a little bit obsessed with baking my own bread. I think this is partly due to re-runs of the Great British Bake Off and partly because I’m trying to start making things that are better for me – baking cakes is brilliant but doesn’t help with my diet and I seem to have stalled at a size 12 😦

plaited bread

It started badly due to a typo in Nigella Lawson’s How to be a domestic goddess. The recipe stated a tablespoon of salt. A TABLESPOON! Now I haven’t made bread for a while but even so if I’d been using even a 5th of my brain that should have rung alarm bells. Apparently though this is what happens when you have kids, you stop paying attention and accept what’s written at face value. In fact the other day I got in the car to drive to the corner shop (it was raining) and automatically drove halfway to the supermarket before I even realised what I was doing. The bread did actually rise though by rights that much salt should have killed the yeast but was definitely inedible. The next couple of loaves were better – I slightly overcompensated and put almost no salt in before getting it right but ended up with yummy bread in a pretty plaited shape (above). Not perfect but very tasty. Tonight I was in a hurry so didn’t plait the loaf – instead it’s round(ish).

P1020153

The kids have loved baking bread and the ex-science teacher in me has loved talking about the yeast making bubbles in the bread so it gets bigger. My husband is getting homemade bread for his sandwiches everyday and keeps winding me up that we’ll be living the Good life pretty soon.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Baking, Parenting, Uncategorized

 

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