Six on Saturday: 22.2.20-A week of practical jobs

I’ve had a super week with Amy and Alice off for half term. We had a great time at Burton Agnes seeing the snowdrop walk. I’ve been busy trying to get jobs completed around the house and in the garden while I’m off work. More news on my work situation later though. I’ve been endeavouring to become more practical and develop more skills. So this week’s six features a mixture of practical and craft activities I’ve done over the last few weeks.

1. New lights

Alice wanted to buy these lights for Amy earlier in the week as mummy likes twinkles. I got some hanging basket hooks and attached them to the log store. I’m not sure the lights are the best quality solar powered ones but they look nice enough during the day as well with the cracked glass look.

2. Lick of paint

I’ve given a few bits of the garden furniture a new lick of paint. The plant stand hadn’t been painted before but looks much smarter for it. The table and chair set up aren’t massively comfortable so I’m going to use this on the patio for a display stand for some of the seasonal flowers. I’ll shift pots onto show as they come into season.

On the plant stand, there are some tins of sempervivums. One of my pots broke so I have employed tins for now to house them. I employed a nail and hammer to hammer some holes for drainage in the bottom. They need top dressing with some gravel. But as I fill up the plant stand it’ll make a smart enough display. Tins heat up in the sun so lose water quickly but as this like to be fairly dry they should be alright.

3. Back gate

The back gate was one of the few casualties in the storms of the last few weeks. It came off its hinges. I don’t think the hinges were really strong enough in the first place. I have gone with some heavier duty hinges and swapped them to the other side of the gate. It’s a job I’ve wanted to do for ages as the gate opened on the wrong side meaning I came out the gate and then had to close it to get down the path. Now I can go straight out with the wheelbarrow. So the storm has spurred me on to complete a job I wanted to do anyway.

4. Front garden

The front garden has spent periods of winter waterlogged. The soil is thick compressed clay. As you can see from the photos it is thick enough to mould with. Digging in it I can see why clay bricks used to be a local industry. I’ve used the auger drill to drill down holes where several of the stepping stones are and then filled with rubble and sand to give several spots the water can drain through a bit better. While I planted many options that like moisture I don’t think many will like to sit permanently in water.

I also got hold of some SupaGrow soil improver to mulch the front garden. This is 4 for £10. Not a bad price for a peat-free option. It took about 5 and a half 50-litre bags to cover the area but it makes the whole area look better each time I do it. The soil improver looks like it may have been green waste. There were a few random bits of plastic in the mix but for the price can’t complain. I wouldn’t be surprised to find weeds coming out of it but fingers crossed it won’t contain anything nasty. The mulch will gradually get taken into the soil by the worms and other life in the soil. This will add nutrients to the plants and help improve the soil structure which will aid the drainage.

I also got around to finishing the last of the stepping stones. When I originally did them I just planned a path to the water butt. Then I decided it would be nice to have a path that went all the way around so I put some temporary log cuts down. These were a bit slippy so I bought the last few stone steps that I needed. Alice likes working her way around it on the way in and out of the house so it keeps her busy while we’re locking and unlocking the door.

5. Scottie doggy

This little dog ornament had been left at my last garden by its previous owner. It came along to my current house hidden in a pot. It’s a bit naff but it had lost almost all its paint. I decided I’d give it a fresh lick of paint while Alice has been crafting. All those years painting Games Workshop figures has to be some use.

6. Punning

I made a new garden sign to give me a bit of motivation as I try to get started in horticulture. This bad pun came to me a while ago and I thought it’d go nicely on a sign. The slate was a cheese board that had been reduced. So I painted on the design and I’ve given it a varnish. It also came with two cheese knives for good measure. I had mentioned that I was looking to change careers and last week I had an interview for a garden centre. I’m pleased to say I was successful. It’s a temporary job but on the growing side which will be an excellent start. Lots to learn.

So, all in all, a good week. I’ve got a week off until I start my new job. I want to try and complete a number of jobs in the house and garden before I start. Then I’ll probably find I’m tired initially while settling into the new job. I’ve already been given strict instructions that I’m not allowed to bring home new plants every day. I’ll have to see whether I get a staff discount.

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33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 22.2.20-A week of practical jobs”

  1. First of all congratulations on your new job! I hope it leads to a permanent position, but even if it doesn’t you will be gaining experience. Blimey your soil is clayey. A challenge. Well done with all your projects, wish my OH was as keen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’d done well. Path looked good and love the colour of your new patio furniture. I love tin planters, you could paint them too, striking in different colours, holds the rust 😊 Goodluck with your new job.

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  3. The patio furniture does look good – what colour? You have been very busy. My son was here for a few days and I got him to fix our gate that had broken in the gales. He also turned it around, so now I need to do some repainting. Good luck with the new job!

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      1. I thought you were in teaching. It’s a tough job, I taught secondary for 5 years and it almost killed me, so many reports to write, so many hours and very stressful. A bad career move on my part, wish I’d ventured into horticulture.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on the new job. Stand firm in the face of temptation! Fantastic painting and hinge replacements. I have dreaded looking too closely at my soil. It now has the benefit of three years of mulching but its still very heavy clay in some parts. I admire your busy-ness in the face of this awful weather.

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  5. When I saw the first picture of your stepping stones, I thought that Alice will love those. What a busy week you have had and a lot to show for it. I may have mentioned – at least a dozen times – that my soil is that awful clay. I am due to redistribute the contents of the compost barrel around the garden soon but that soil improver looks useful too.

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  6. Congratulations on your new position, I think you have a future and could run workshops on upgrading cheese boards there. You have a fab creative streak, and are definitely on trend with the tin cans. Shallow tuna tins are just the ticket for sempervivums and they do not really need any depth of soil….I think you ought to sell that sign to the garden centre. The cheese knives if surplus would have great tool for pots!

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  7. You’ve been very busy! I wish I’d achieved half as much this week! I like the way you’ve hung the lights on brackets – they look pretty good!

    The freshly painted garden furniture is looking good too – what about adding some cushions in a contrasting colour, then you can still make use of the chairs? I’ve done that with our very cheap Ikea fold-up chairs and they look great out on the patio.

    Love the stepping stones. I have little area beneath trees that I’m trying to persuade husband to build a little den for our grandchildren. If that ever happens, then stepping stones would be good for access, and no doubt they’ll enjoy hopping from one to the other.

    Good luck with the new job!

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  8. You’ve certainly had a productive and satisfying week. I love the table and chairs…. gorgeous colour. Congratulations on the new job. I hope it’s thoroughly enjoyable and leads to full time. I bet you don’t come home empty handed though. Working in a nursery would be very dangerous for me!

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  9. I’m so glad you found a new job that you sound like you’re looking forward to & that’ll help you reach your goals. Great stuff. Also loved all your projects & got some fab ideas from them – my landlord left that same uncomfortable table & chair set here for us to use & now I know how we can. Love the tin-as-planter idea until you said it would dry out the soil. Alice has the best idea about her stepping stone route home.


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