Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Hi

Hi, hello, guess who just remembered the log in details for this blog, and unlocked it?! Meee!

A couple of years ago I just stopped blogging, cos I stopped wanting to. But maybe I'm back, a bit, or maybe I'm just popping in to say hi 😊

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020.

Lilac blossom time is my favourite time.  It smells so good.  My neighbour says she can smell it in her garden too, and she wants a cutting of it when the time's right.

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

In the back garden, my raised beds have been topped up with a mix of driveway soil (yep we're still going with that!), hotbin compost and some compost from a big deep planter I'm getting rid of.  I've planted potatoes, peas and broad beans in one, and interplanted with spinach and bok choi.  My other back garden raised bed is empty for now, but I have some minipops sweetcorn in the greenhouse ready to go in next week.  There's swiss chard in both raised beds that's just started to bolt.  And you can see in the front one that my walking onions have popped back up and have started to flower.

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

One of my projects has been rationalising the amount of pots I have round the garden.  I've been planting things into the ground and rearranging, I'm pleased with this little arrangement with the owl planter and the big terracotta bowl with ginger and spring onions in it. 

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

My front garden raised beds are doing so good.  A couple have been cleared out and are waiting for new plants, and a couple are full, of onions and garlic, and garlic and carrot seedlings and lettuce seedlings.  My onions are covered because we get onion moth (they lay their eggs in the leaves and the caterpillar buries itself in the onion and eats it from the inside out!), my cover is a mosquito net for a cot, held up with sticks, and so far it seems to be working ok. 

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

We had a really big job done on the back hedge.  It's needed trimming for ages and we finally bit the bullet and had a tree surgeon come and do it.  It cost £500!!!!!!!!!  And while I'm sad about the loss of birdy habitat and privacy from the houses behind, I am definitely glad of the extra light that it's letting into the garden, and to be rid of the creeping dread that 'something' would have to be done about the hedge - at least it's done now!  The winter-y photo below is the before, and the next the after.  Just so you know, the tree to the left was a sycamore and was taller than our house.  The huge tree on the right is also a sycamore and was what I was dreading our tree turning into.

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

The hedge looks a bit sparse at the moment, but I've been assured it will grow back pretty quickly in the next few months, and there is new growth on it.  I asked for the chipped wood from the hedge-cutting, and there was enough to cover our whole garden, 14 rubble sacks have gone to mums for her garden and we still have this much left, under the blue tarp, in an old tonne gravel bag! 

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

I'm dealing with this corner next.  I've already started clearing it out, I need to finish that, put gravel down and then move my shed and greenhouse so they're flat against the brick wall at the back. 

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

Speaking of greenhouses, I've painted mine, black and white because that's the only paint we have at the moment, and I think it looks ok.

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

I don't feed the birds.  We've had rats and mice in the garden and I don't want to encourage them.  But the garden is always full of birds, sparrows, robins, blue tits, coal tits, great tits, blackbirds, starlings, pigeons and these goldfinches, who visit to eat dandelion seeds for their lunch. 

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

Diary of a permaculture -ish garden, March and April 2020. From UK garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #ukpermaculture #suburbangardening #ukgardenblogger #sustainablegardening #growyourown

How's your garden doing? 






Monday, 4 May 2020

Lockdown diaries - week 6.

Hello!  I've been home for 6 weeks and 5 days!  Here's what I've been up to...


Watching
On Disney+ I watched a good film called 'You Again', Kirsten Bell returns home for her brother's wedding to discover he's marrying the girl who bullied her in high school.  I also watched the 2018 version of Freaky Friday, which surprised me by being a musical version!
We watched 'Blinded by the Light' (available on Amazon Prime), which is a wonderful film set in the 1980s, 6th form student Javed wants to be a poet and loves Bruce Springsteen, his father wants him to get a proper job.
I treated myself one evening and watched 'Pretty in Pink' and '13 Going on 30' too!

Sorting
I'm trying to sort out refunds or insurance for our cancelled holiday - there are a lot of long forms involved!

Carrying
My allotment is about 15 minutes walk away and each time I go I'm carrying a bucket of compost with me!  The soil there is so clay-y and I'm trying to make it better!


Eating
I made Yotam Ottolenghi's Mejadra recipe (lentils and rice with onions) and it's so yummy!
Our local chippy reopened!  OUR LOCAL CHIPPY REOPENED! You phone your order in, go and pick it up, one in one out, I sent Joe to do that bit of course, I was sooo happy to have chips! 
Joe's been making some excellent crispy roast potatoes. 

Buying
I treated myself to some Snag tights, they put out an SOS as they don't qualify for any of the small business funding from the government, and I was happy to oblige as their tights fit my short, round self perfectly :) 

Listening
I found time this week to burn some music off my computer and onto CDs (I feel like a dinosaur writing that!).  I saw a Canadian folk band called The Small Glories live a few of years ago and downloaded a couple of their albums, it's nice to have them off the laptop and onto a CD where I'll listen to them more.


Sneezing
It's hayfever season! 

Growing
It's getting very full in my greenhouse! 

Feeling
I started this week feeling really anxious, waking up with a racing heart and having to force myself to face the day.  I don't know what's going on with work, and I think that's the root cause of it.  Or I suspect I'll be making lots of phone calls, which I just hate, so there's the worry of it being that. I did have some phone calls to make by the end of the week, and once I was doing them I felt a little better - is the saying 'fear of the unknown is greater than the fear of the thing itself' (or something like that!).

How are you feeling?  I hope you're doing ok? xxx




Sunday, 26 April 2020

Lockdown dairies - week 5.

Hello, how's your week in lockdown been?  Today I've been in for 5 weeks and 5 days, and it's wearing a little thin to be honest, but I'm trying to make the best of it. 


Watching
Zooey's extraordinary playlist on channel 4, is soo good.  It's got Lorelai from Gilmore Girls in it, and the boy from Pitch Perfect and the girl from Suburgatory.  Zooey starts to hear people singing their innermost thoughts and tries to help them with their problems, it's sweet, funny and has made me cry on more than one occasion.
We had a 'theatre date night' and watched National Theatre's Treasure Island on YouTube and had a curry. 'Twas marvellous, the curry and the play.  Jim is a girl and there are girl pirates too. Yargh!

Listening to
I'm the kind of person who finds an album I like then listen to it on repeat forever (I'm sure it's very annoying!), for the last year or so it's been Carrie Hope Fletcher's album.  I've also played the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack a couple of times this week after watching it on YouTube (It's too high really for me to sing along to, I can only screech, so Joe hates it!).  

Working
I think next week is when the real 'working from home' will start.  I'm waiting for further instructions.  In the meantime I've been making more phone calls, I'll be glad when I can go back to the library!

Missing
It was World Book Night on Thursday and a whole load of my colleagues made videos of themselves reading, or took photos, which were posted on my libraries Facebook page.  And somehow seeing all of those made me really miss work and my colleagues.  Sigh.
I'm missing all my niblings too, the littlest one rolled over the other day, he's getting so big! Facebook photos of them all making crafts, playing in the garden, and generally being cuties is getting me through.  We had a surprise  driveway visit from one side of the family this morning, complete with hand delivered rainbows and drawings and it was so lovely.
I would give my right arm to go charity shopping, oh my goodness I need to buy some second hand tat, stat.


Sewing
My new sewing machine arrived and she is lovely!  She's a reconditioned 1970s Frister and Rossmann Cub 7 and I've called her Frida-Rose and I'm resisting the urge to stick stickers all over her!  I've mended holes in the armpits of 2 dresses and one cardigan already!  She sews like a dream.

Online Shopping
So, everything in our house is breaking.  I replaced the heated clothes airer and sewing machine last week, and now the microwave's decided to die too.  It still works sporadically but a new shiny one is on it's way.

Gardening
Usually we're go on holiday in May and I'm rushing around trying to get all my seedlings planted before we go away.  But no holiday this year has given me the opportunity to sow all the seeds!!


Walking
I hadn't been taking my daily walk, but I've started to now and I feel sooo much better.

Craving
Our favourite local chippy has reopened and I think I'll send Joe for a walk that way next week to pick some up! 

Feeling
Trying to focus on how lucky I am (my friends and family are ok, Joe and mine jobs are ok, I've been able to stay home for nearly six weeks to protect my asthmatic lungs, we've been able to replace some broken household things fairly easily).  It's hard though.  I miss going further than round the block or to the allotment!

How are you doing? 





Sunday, 19 April 2020

Lockdown diaries - week 4

Hello!  What a time to be alive, hey?!  I really hope you're all keeping well and healthy?

I've been home for 4 weeks and 5 days today.  I locked myself down a little earlier than Boris suggested, I'd started my holiday in London, came home after one day because it was eerily quiet in London and as soon as we got there they announced the theatres etc were to close, and I haven't been out since.  If I'd picked up some germs in London I didn't want to spread them around Shropshire. We've managed to get some refunds from our London trip and I have a really long travel insurance form to fill in, we were supposed to see The Lion King musical, Wicked, the Tutankhamun exhibition, go to all the museums and to Kew Gardens.  We did have a lovely afternoon in the sunshine, wandering aroud the Barbican and visting the Sky Garden, before we got back to the hotel and saw the news and decided to come home. 



I thought I'd do one of these old school reading/watching/making/...ing…blog posts, I might even get round to doing one a week while we're in lockdown, I've definitely got enough time at the moment! 

Reading
I've been listening to some audiobooks using  my library's eBook app, I've got Harry Potter and I Capture the Castle on the go at the moment.
I also signed up for a free month's subscription to Scribd, and read a lot of graphic novels but then it started restricting my access to them, so I probably won't carry on and pay for it when the trial finishes.  I've read a lot of copies of Giant Days though!
I'm currently reading something called 'The Little Unicorn Gift Shop' - I need easy, fluffy, distraction reads at the moment!

Watching 
I've been enjoying watching musicals and plays on YouTube (National Theatre Live and The Shows Must Go On), so far I've seen Jayne Eyre, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Phantom of the Opera from the comfort of my sofa. Sarah Millican is reading out part of her book 'How to be Champion' everyday too and I've been enjoying that.  Me and Joe have been watching Taskmaster's 'Hometasking' on YouTube too. 
CBBC's adaptation of Malory Towers is nice, although the girls weren't as naughty and vicious as in the books, you should watch it for the blankets in the dorm room alone.  I like the CBBC adaptation of the Worst Witch as well, and there's 3 series of that to watch. 
I watched 'I am not OK with this' on Netflix which was really good. 
We've got Disney+ and we're watching the Mandalorian but I'm only in it for Baby Yoda. 

Making
I've had the sewing machine out and made a kickass curtain for my front door, and I tried to make a monkey for work (as a prop for when we sing '5 little monkeys jumping on the bed') but it didn't turn out right and Joe says it's a cursed object.
I'm finishing off lots of crochet projects. 
I had a Tatty Devine necklace kit hanging about and I made it and it's really lovely.


Growing
I'm missing buying plants, but I've tried to scratch that itch by dividing some of my own plants and spreading them about.  I've also been planting everything that's in a pot into the garden, to cut down on watering and to make me feel like theres 'new' things in the beds. 
My greenhouse has been repainted and is full of lovely seedlings.
I've been growing some extras and I hope to pass them on to neighbours.
We're still allowed on the allotment, thank goodness, and I've got lots of potatoes in.


Cleaning
My house has never been cleaner.  I'm doing my doorknobs and light switches twice a day! 

Working
My library is closed!  I don't have a work laptop or phone so that kind of limits how much work I can do at home, I've mostly been making craft videos for our Facebook page, trying to make props for our children's singing sessions, doing online learning and trying to plan for some children's crafts in the winter (when hopefully we'll be open!).  For 3 days this week I was part of a project to call lots of council residents, and while it was nice to do something useful, I absolutely hate phoning people so it was quite stressful!

Scheduling
After 3 weeks of drifting about I decided I needed a schedule, so I do something work-ish on normal work days, write to my niblings on an 'auntying' day, do an extra big workout when I would have been swimming.  For Rainbow guides day I've bought myself some challenge badges to do by myself at home (I've already awarded myself the Easter badge and Star Baker badge!), I know it's a bit silly but I love doing badges with the girls and it's a bit of fun in the week for me!

Waiting
For the postman!  I've got a new (old, reconditioned) sewing machine on the way, as well as some new needles and thread, some books and a heated clothes dryer (ours has broke!) and I'm very impatient for them to arrive! 

Missing
Chips! My nieces and nephews and family and friends. Charity shopping.  Library books.  Swimming. Rainbow guides. I really want to buy some new sewing thread from the haberdashery (or actually the 'daberhashery' as my local one is called!).  I miss the fruit and veg stall, the plant shop, Aldi, and just choosing my own food.  I haven't been in a shop for over 4 weeks, and I'm lucky Joe is doing the shopping and my mum's dropped a few bits off but I want to go myself! 
I'm really going to miss our holiday to Wales this year, it's already cancelled and rescheduled for next year, so at least I have something to look forward to.  Might have to have a seaside-y day trip when it's safe to because I need to sniff some sea air and paddle my toes in the sea!


Feeling
Generally ok, with a few wobbles.  Joe works nights in a supermarket, so he comes into contact with lots of staff and people on the train or taxi, which is a worry.  I have the kind of asthma where if I get a cold I immediately get a chest infection and need antibiotics and steroids, so I'm not sure how well my lungs would hold up against this virus, which is also a worry.  We know people who are in the high risk category, and that's also a worry.  If I feel meh or argh I let myself feel it, but I'm trying to keep busy and find enjoyable things to do.  If you ignore the sense of existential dread, I'm actually quite enjoying this staying at home thing, turns out keeping the house clean, cooking meals and growing food is a full time job in itself!  Shame the only way I could stay home and be a domestic goddess would be if we won the lottery...

How are you doing?  And what have you been up to? 




Tuesday, 24 March 2020

How to make vegan potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes.

What kind of person has left over mashed potatoes I hear you ask!  Not me usually, but if I know I want to make potato cakes I deliberately make double the amount of mash then try not to eat it all so there are actually leftovers. 

Potato cakes are my favourite thing to make and eat at the moment, and they're really easy and cheap to do!

How to make vegan potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes.  Vegan recipe from UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #potatocakes #vegan #veganrecipe

You'll need, 

leftover mashed potatoes 
flour (any kind will do!)
oil
seasoning
anything else you want to add in - I like chives or spring onions in mine.

1.  Add a spoonful or two of flour at a time to your mash, and mix until it forms a stiff dough.

2. Add any seasoning (how much depends on if your mash was seasoned already) or herbs if you want to use them.

How to make vegan potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes.  Vegan recipe from UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #potatocakes #vegan #veganrecipe

3. With floured hands take a golf-ball-ish sized amount of mixture, roll it then flatten it between your hands, then put into a medium hot pan with a little oil in in.   TOP TIP - cold mash, that's been in the fridge before you use it, is a lot easier to handle!

4. I carry on making potato cakes and putting them in the pan as I go.

How to make vegan potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes.  Vegan recipe from UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #potatocakes #vegan #veganrecipe

5. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes per side, until they're golden brown, then serve hot, or keep in the fridge or freezer.

See, easy peasy!  I like them for breakfast or lunch with lots of vegan margarine spread on and sprinkling of sea salt.  If you make a big batch they store well in the fridge or freezer too.

How to make vegan potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes.  Vegan recipe from UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #potatocakes #vegan #veganrecipe




Sunday, 23 February 2020

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.

Look at this little blossom! 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

It's a cherryplum and I hope the weather doesn't go too crazy and blow the blossom away before it gets pollinated!  And look at these crab apples, still holding on, I love the colour of them.

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

It's been so long since I wrote about my garden.  And that's because my camera's memory card corrupted so I've lost like a years worth of photos.  But I have a new camera and a new memory card and I'm backing everything up like crazy!

I got some pennies for Christmas and I used them to buy this b-e-a-oootiful new trug.  I have lots of bulbs to plant and I still haven't planted them all - woopsy!   I also bought some mini fruit trees from Thompson and Morgan, the kind that stay really small for pots on the patio, the trees are nice but there were grubs in the pots (maybe vine weevils!) so I wouldn't buy these ones.  But I'm looking forward to having 2 new apples, a pear, a plum and a cherry!

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

I made this cute little project one winters day.  I hope to collect lots more cute little tins to make a little display somewhere. 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

My back garden raised beds still have some chard going in them, but not much else.  There's messy bits everywhere that need dealing with, and theres Still that big pile o' dirt at the back of the garden that I'm running out of inspiration for!  My potting table broke too, I need to find a new one. 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permacultre #ukgardenblogger

My little garden robin is still keeping me company. 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

In the front garden raised beds I've been picking kale and chard all winter.  The overwintered onions and garlic are going strong too. 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Can you tell I haven't done any proper gardening since last year??! 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Luckily the flowers don't mind a neglectful gardener and carry on blooming anyway! 

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

Diary of a suburban permaculture -ish garden, February 2020.  From UK suburban garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #suburbanpermaculture #permaculture #ukgardenblogger

How are your gardens?  Have they survived the winter?  And the storms?  I hope so!