2019 Grow, Make, Mend

Hello, 2019.

Hello, 2019. Yes, we’re still here!

Blog entries on this site dried up by mid 2018. I’d forgive you if you thought we had gone away. Much like our garden in the summer heatwave! Those of you who were watching the Instagram feed page will have noticed that Instagram was really working for us, whereas this blog got a bit overwhelming.

So what’s going to happen in the year ahead? Key Instagram posts are going to appear here on the blog too. Thank you to If This Than That for some nifty automation. I’ll be popping back here every few weeks at the most to add some original content. Getting some priorities right for the year ahead!

In the meantime, keep reading to find out more about what happened in our garden throughout last year.

What happened in 2018?

We started by planting out the last Christmas tree we intend to ever buy.

The last Christmas Tree we intend to buy: planted out January 2018.

We grew our own potatoes, with mixed results given the heatwave and inexperience.

First early potato crop, 2018.

We still were eating our second earlies on Christmas Day!

Second early potato crop, 2018.

Chickens! Yay!

Izzy, our bantam, having just laid an egg.

The big thing of course was that our chickens moved in.

We spent a LOT of 2018 adjusting their housing. Having started with a very small fixed run we quickly realised that we wanted our hens to have more space during the day, particularly as we are often out at work during weekdays. During March 2018 we had unexpected snow and without adequate shelter we moved them into our back porch for a few days. Entertaining as this was, we didn’t want to go through that again in a hurry! So they now have a 6 metre x 3 metre enclosed run, in addition to 1 metre x 3 metre low run space that is almost fully enclosed against the weather. You can see lots of pictures of this process throughout the year over on our Instagram feed.

Rats! Boo!

With chickens, sadly, came our awareness of Rat. Our shed at the bottom of the garden had not been used since we moved in, and then only to store junk and unwanted items left behind by the previous owners. We made it a problem for another day, and that day came in 2018. Rat had been living under the shed and under the concrete pad the shed sat on for some time. With chicken food out all day, Rat grew fat and multiplied.

A lot of the summer of 2018 was emptying and breaking up the shed. Not only was it full of junk but it was half rotten to boot. Once assembled into piles of junk and wood we did not want to reuse, we got an 8 yard skip and filled it to the brim. One humane rat trap later, no less than five Rats met their end. We adjusted feeding times for the chickens as much as we could given the light going so early in the day and our working hours. We now don’t leave feed out overnight.

In the process of breaking up the shed, I wrecked my right wrist. Basically I exacerbated an old carpal tunnel injury from work, and then that was me in a wrist brace with minimal activity for six weeks.

In retrospect the whole Rat – Shed – Skip matter feels like time “lost” but really it was totally necessary groundwork. It allowed us to move the chicken coop down to the end of the garden: reusing the concrete pad and reclaiming space closer to the house.

Less plastic, less waste, more homecooking

There were too many adjustments to our lives in these regards than I think I can list here without boring you all to tears.

Best change in 2018: the water & vinegar spearmint cleaning spray. We are still using this to clean surfaces, glass, the hob and in fact anything that moves and can tolerate vinegar. I’m now also using it as an air freshener!

Worst attempted change in 2018: switching to solid shampoo bars. This was a total minefield especially as being free of SLS and parabens was more important than just going plastic free.  I went through maybe half a dozen different brands before finally quitting the search (Theo and Robin breathed a huge sigh of relief). My hair just looked awful with all of them, even though I tried them for extended periods of time.

And there we go. Summary done: stay Insta-tuned for frequent updates or check back here for more!

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