Hoisting the Mainsail

The weather has been a bit of a mixed bag over the last few days and so, as the ground has been too wet, there has been little progress on the veg patch.  However this doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting around, enjoying the chance to be lazy.

We’ve taken the opportunity, when the sun has shone between the rain showers, to take the rake to the patch of ground around the bird feeders and compost bin, and clear away the old nettles and thistles.  We’ve not actually dug any out, but just raked off the old dead grass.  The plan is to throw some wild flower seeds around this area, and hope that some will actually take (before the birds get to them) and we’ll have a bit of a wild area there.  It’s in this area we’re also planning to add a washing up bowl nature pond.  The downside of clearing the long grass, is the that the sparrows and other little birds can no longer hide in them – thankfully it doesn’t seem to have slowed down the traffic on the bird feeders, but also it’s now more attractive to the sheep in the next field, and one bold adventurer has already popped in.  He popped back out quick enough though, when I went out into the garden and asked what exactly he thought he was doing.

We’ve also got rid of our pile of stones, which we’ve donated to the farm for filling in a huge pothole in the farmyard, and received a huge sheet of black plastic in return, which we’ve started to cover the dug bit of the patch to start warming up the soil ready for planting in the next month (or two).


The seedlings are all coming on well, the sweet peas and cherry tomatoes are finally starting to poke their heads out of the soil, but there is still no sign of the other tomatoes.  The garlic and spinach, which are planted outside in tubs, are also doing well and, even if the weather isn’t reflecting it, the plants are definitely making me feel like spring isn’t too far away.

The rain hasn’t put a dampener on activity either, I’ve been promising the kids that I would make them some new sails for their pirate ship (the sails the ship came with were quite flimsy, and high winds have ripped them to shreds) and so have taken advantage of the downpours to get the sewing machine out.  I’d decided to try and make some sails which could be furled and unfurled, to both protect from wind and try and entertain the children, and so came up with a design using tab tops for across the fixed mast at the top, and a bamboo cane across the bottom which can be pulled up and lowered for sailing.

I thought it would be a fairly simple task, and to be fair, it hasn’t been too difficult, but it has been time consuming.  There were a ridiculous amount of hems to do, and the tab tops were quite fiddly, as I made them separate to the main sails and then attached them at equal(ish) intervals.  After all the hard work I had, stupidly, thought the kids would be all excited, and grateful for my thoughtfulness.  Instead I have been whinged and whined at, about the amount of noise the sewing machine makes, doors have been slammed because they couldn’t hear whatever Cbeebies programmes they were addling their brains with, and the sewing box has been rifled through and emptied over the floor more times than I care to remember.  I have been tempted to build myself a bigger and better pirate ship to attach my sails to and not allow the kids to touch them, but that would be churlish (and, more importantly, a lot of hard work).  When the sails were finally unfurled this, rather gusty, afternoon, after much build up and telling the boy excitedly we had a surprise for him (his sister threw a strop earlier in the day, and so she saw them before their official unveiling), he looked on enthusiastically, yelled out “Land Ahoy!!” and then asked what his surprise was.  After mere moments of silence on my part we told him the sails were in fact what he was looking for, he looked them up and down, “Well, that’s not much of a surprise”.




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