Saturday, 3 November 2012

This is what happens when kids watch to much TV.

Part of our woodpile...
It wasn't like I was plonked in front of the box at every available opportunity, but when I did watch TV it's clear I was very easily influenced.  Lucky for me the main TV influence on my life wasn't Blake's 7, it was The Good Life so instead of being overwhelmed with a desire to head off into space on a shaky spaceship made of old egg cartons I have, instead, spent my life dreaming of the life Barbara & Tom lived. (And for those of you too young to remember, shame on our education system, this should be part of every history class!)

I was never under any illusion that the "good life" portrayed in the TV series would be bloomin' hard work, but Barbara and Tom always seemed so happy; broke, but happy.  That's something that's always stayed with me and it came home to me today that I'm pretty darned close to living my dream (modest as it is).  Me & Steve were out in the garden up to our necks in wood and mud in the middle of a downpour but still giggling & mucking around; there's something quite special about hard manual labour, especially when you're both pulling towards the same goal.

More wood...
So what have we been doing that's so self sufficient then?  Well we had some massively overgrown trees in our garden which hadn't been touched for years and we finally had the money to get them sorted.  This has resulted in a LOT of wood which we now need to process and dry out as we'll be getting a wood burning stove installed during the next six months.  When we nipped into Homebase for a couple of implements yesterday we noticed bags of logs were selling for £8.99.  £8.99?  Check out our pictures, based on that RRP we're sitting on a small goldmine.  "Processing" the wood involves stacking it all somewhere dry and chopping it into usable chunks.  The chopping part won't start until the weaponry arrives next week, so we've spent a couple of afternoon/evenings dragging vast piles of huge logs into appropriate places in readyness.  But that's not all...

Log shifting.  That top won't stay white for long...
While we've been out in the garden lugging stuff around we've taken the opportunity to create a small vegetable plot.  The sides are made of a few of our logs and the soil is a mix of our compost bin and soil from the front garden which is being moved by Steve to create a better driveway for when we have visitors. Recycling all round.  We were lucky enough to inherit plenty of fruit trees and bushes when we moved here: apple, gooseberry, blackcurrant, quince, redcurrant and the occasional raspberry and ubiquitous blackberry in the lane outside.  We also inherited a fabulous rhubarb clump so we're all sorted as far as dessert goes; what we need are vegetables, hence the new plot.  I'll be honest, I've no idea about growing veg so if you've got any suggestions for easy things to start with then please let me know.  I'm thinking peas (and perhaps a little pea pod Burgundy?), carrots, parsnips and spuds for starters.  There's a possibility of a second plot if I'm feeling adventurous. (Previous attempts at taming our garden can be found here.  What we lack in skill we compensate for in persistence and enthusiasm...)

New floor mats - with duct tape!
But it's not just the garden that's benefiting from our DIY attentions, over the past few months Steve has, with the help of the internet, fitted new taps in the kitchen and is now about to embark on installing a new shower cubicle (seeing the state of me after a few hours in the garden this is clearly an essential item).  And before I launched into the garden this morning I made a full set of floor mats for our new vehicle using some old carpet and my newly discovered best friend: duct tape.  How I have survived without this amazing product until now is completely beyond me.  Is there anything it can't be used for?  Come to think of it, yes, it couldn't be used to fix our old car which sadly expired this week and thus had to be traded in for something a little more reliable and Cumbria proof.  We've gone for an old Landy; it's an embarrassing gold colour but that's probably why it was so cheap.  At least I hope that's why it was so cheap...

Having spent an entire day lugging logs and shifting soil I'm now planning to put my feet up with a cold beer and a good movie.  Although it's not all that long until Christmas, so maybe I should be spending my time making crackers that don't "crack" and writing jokes about "ooh aah" birds...

Embryonic veg plot.

Taking shape...

Done! Though very confused about the pattern
of the dirt on my top...