What are your plans this Autumn?

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What are your plans this Autumn?

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Review of "What are your plans this Autumn?"

published 05/10/2017 | 2mennycds
Member since : 28/08/2015
Reviews : 284
Members who trust : 72
About me :
Strange being "the new boy" in the workplace at the ripe age of 60, a lot of stuff to take on board, but should be fine. Haven't yet introduced my new colleagues to my jokes and dreadful puns. Nice to leave home at 9.30 a.m and land home at 3.30 p.m!
Super
Pro Lots to do
Cons Challenges, and sign of approaching winter
exceptional

"So much to do..."

Composting for next year...

Composting for next year...


The garden

My garden has been somewhat neglected over the past two summers. I will do a fair bit of tidying up and resolve to do better next year!

~ ~ ~ ~ Wildlife
I try to help wildlife as much as I can, despite the small size of my garden. I’ll cut some plants down for the sake of tidiness, but not to ground level, so there is still some cover for insects and the like over the winter. Some thick but hollow dead stems such as on my echinops (“globe thistle – I’ve reviewed it on Ciao) I’ve now cut down at an angle and about 12-18 inches from the ground for over-wintering insects like ladybirds.

I’m leaving my lavender and teasel seed heads as food for goldfinches. Some seed heads are attractive in winter, too, like my sedum. So, I’m leaving leave these alone until spring.

There’s a bit more work in the spring, then, but I prefer gardening on lengthening days to shortening ones. Autumn isn’t may favourite time – it’s a reminder that winter is approaching!


~ ~ ~ ~ Compost

There are two basic ways to help garden plants to grow. You can feed THE PLANTS with appropriate chemicals. Or you can feed THE SOIL – by which I mean the bacteria and tiny fungi that in turn feed micro invertebrates that form the next part of the food chain. I far prefer this method. It’s natural, it’s also less likely to be overdone and cause problems for plants (some artificial fertilisers can “scorch” plants if used to excess). It also causes no environmental damage – it doesn’t leach harmful chemicals into the water table.

This year saw my first “crop” of home-produced compost. My compost bin is full again, and still warm and “cooking”, thanks to some free, fresh horse manure. It’s where I put my torn-up personal documents and other non-glossy paper and card, plant prunings and vegetable peelings.

In readiness for any strong winds, I’ve cable-tied the lid of my compost bin and of the old dustbin I use to store compost that has fully broken down from last year. A few years ago a dustbin lid blew against my gas meter door and split it. It’s an old meter cupboard and a replacement door can’t be found. I’ve patched it with fibreglass bandage but would rather it doesn’t happen again.

My limited space has led me to adopt another cunning plan that has worked well in previous years.

Some bedding plants that are dying off I’ve chopped with my spade and dug into the soil. By next spring it will be at least half-rotted, and will help to “feed” my soil with nutrients and improve its drainage and moisture retention. In a similar way, I will scatter and, in autumn at least, dig into the ground any carrot and potato peelings onto the soil.

Once January comes I stop doing this, as by then it’s unlikely to rot down by spring, but it’s a useful way to recycle green waste and help the soil along, too.

Work!

I retired at the end of July. I need to find some part-time work, though, to help pay the bills. I’m spending a lot of time looking and need to broaden my scope a bit, even if I keep looking for something more suitable.

Gotta love the internet! A search “Jobs in schools” produced a result for a slaughter-person in an abattoir (presumably because it would suit a “school leaver”), and a vacancy for a pilot flying between the UK and Dubai (because such a person “must have a high school diploma”!) Similarly, searches for jobs within a 10-mile radius of Lancaster produce results for job vacancies within about a 60-mile radius… It’s a bit tedious…

House for sale!

Not mine, but my Mum’s. She’s 90 years old and has recently gone into residential care. Most of the time from the end of April to early August (in fact all that time apart from a period of one and a half weeks and another of about two and a half weeks) she spent in hospital or rehabilitation due to two falls and an incident where her back was so bad that she couldn’t get out of a chair unaided. No wonder my garden got neglected – not that I mind a bit.

I’m so thankful that she is settling well; I could say a lot about the wonderful way that although only one place was available, it’s proved to be just right for her. She isn’t on her own all day most days, like she was at home, and I’ve seen her smile and laugh more in the past month than I saw in the previous year. I’m also thankful that she has enough savings (good old Dad!) to pay for her care for a while without the immediate need to sell her house.

Having said that, I don’t want the responsibility of an empty house a few miles away over the winter months, so I’, in the process of putting it on the market, and of clearing it of furniture and lots else! Hopefully it will sell before winter sets in…

?? Days till… yes, you guessed!

Martin Lewis, the TV financial guru, says he’s baffled when people tell him they’re hard up because it’s Christmas. After all, he insists, it comes as regular as clockwork at the same time every year. As well as budgeting, spending just needs to be planned, he says…

I tend to agree (though Christmas is hard when you have young children!). If I’m worrying about how much it will cost, I reckon I’m spending too much. Some family members just have to make do with cards (and the good wishes that go inside them, of course!) if money is limited, which it is now that I’m not working!

So, I’ve just started to casually be on the look-out for presents, and if I come across something that seems suitable, I’ll buy it. It spreads the cost and the frustration, too. It’s one time of year when I’m glad of the novelty and gift catalogues that drop through our letterbox!

I won’t compile a wish list of my own. I don’t expect or want much for Christmas myself. My son got married in June and my daughter is due to wed next February – they have more important demands on their funds, and a low-value gift will be more than enough. I’ve spotted a couple of things that Mrs M could get for me, though, and alerted her to the possibility!

”Please, cat – DON’T get me a present…”

I REALLY hope the cat doesn’t get me a Christmas present. A former cat, Tessa, had caught a mouse one Christmas morning. Seriously. I came downstairs to find Mrs M crouched by the fire surround with a mouse wedged between it and a Tupperware box in her hand. I’ve been in similar situations a dozen times or more. Mouse runs under chair. 2menny or Mrs M tries in vain to capture or even kill it (my love of wildlife ceases when it’s scurrying in my lounge). Mouse runs under book case… repeat ad infinitum…

Only one thing for it! On the count of three, Mrs M removed the box that was wedging the rodent against the fire surround. With the speed and accuracy of a chameleon’s tongue, I grabbed the mouse in my bare, cupped hands. Mrs M opened the door and I ran, regaled in my fleece dressing gown, sufficient distance down the road to release it with minimal likelihood of it returning.

A similar scenario occurred a few years later. On Boxing Day evening, we returned to find a very-alive magpie on the kitchen windowsill. Sam, (successor of Tessa) had brought it through the cat flap. He must have received a beating when he let it go, as despite a liberal sprinkling of black and white, er… FLECKS on the floor, there was scarcely a stray feather to be seen. I was nominated to catch it in a blanket and ran down the street (again), with the bird still snugly-wrapped, to release it in a hedge (it was dark, and I don’t know how good a magpie’s night vision is). At least no officer of the law was around to ask “Now what have you here, then?” – I’d have been arrested for insolence.

So, although it’s only early autumn I have started to instruct our rescue cat as firmly and regularly as I can that I do NOT want a Christmas present from her…


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Comments on this review

  • RICHADA published 03/11/2017
    LOL I am sure that the cat will do its very best to make your Christmas day just the best ever. More seriously though fantastic news that your mother has so well adjusted to residential care and that you "hit lucky" with a "Hobsons choice" placement too - some of those places from my own experience are truly awful. My own garden has been appallingly neglected this autumn thanks to my incapacity pretty much throughout September, I'm hoping for a long dry autumn during which to play cath up - are there any rules about not mowing the lawn in December - or re-roofing the shed come to that? R.
  • euphie published 09/10/2017
    vh :o)
  • 1st2thebar published 08/10/2017
    My first articulate read on compost - deserves an encore.
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Product Information : What are your plans this Autumn?

Manufacturer's product description

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 26/09/2017