Archive for July, 2011

Staking trees


Having walked round B&Q looking for something to stake and tie my trees I was disheartened to see that nice rounded pointed posts were £7.99 and rubber ties were £1.50ea.

Silly money really, my trees were only a little more than that!

So I hit upon an idea, some pressure treated timber £5 cut in half (£2.50) and sharpened with my trusty gransfor brux axe and a trip to the bicycle repair shop heralded some busted inner tubes.

Couple of nails, vola! Staked and tied trees!

As you can see below, our rescue cats couldn’t be more pleased!


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Privet moth on ash

I was privileged for my cat to find a privet moth caterpillar. This is the biggest domestic moth in the southern part of the country…


So large I compared it against a pint glass


And 2p


And finally a profile shot


It was found on an ash tree I’m looking to get rid of, so I don’t mind this one having a snack!

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IBCs pt 3!


This weekend we’ve moved the last of the rubble from the Man Cave. Having removed the various vegetation we piled in the rubble and sited an IBC. We still need more rubble, which we’ll hopefully procure on freecycle. Otherwise I’ll have to start procuring it from other places!

I’m also going to raise the IBCs up on plinths so I can get more water pressure, but also so I can fill a watering can under them!

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Rescue Cats

In march, we decided to adopt two pussy cats from the Southend cats protection league. We were offered plenty of kittens, but we wanted cats with character. These two definitely have already developed character.



Candy has a love of small furry mammals. Mice of all sorts have been brought in as presents. All have been alive. Similarly the wood pigeons have been alive-ish. This will be good when we have an allotment however at present it’s a pain disposing of injured animals and catching/releasing “well” animals



Floss is an expert mice torturer. She also eats most house spiders which is fabulous (I hate spiders)

Floss does not like much affection. Not much in warning signals. You know when she’s annoyed as you get bitten.

As rescue cats go they’re very much part of the family, however they do pay Helen far too much attention and me too little. Unless you count biting in which case I’m over endowed with attention.

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Toxic Horse Manure – it’s back!

Just when you thought it was safe to shovel the sh*t again, it turns out that the pesticide aminopyralid first seen destroying backyard gardeners produce in 2008 is back.

The guardian want to know if you’re affected, so if you’ve got the dreaded leaf curl and unlike me have been watering your veg in the hot weather, you might want to pop by and leave a comment on their page so they can assess how bad the situation is.

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Moving the IBCs


Today we really needed to move the IBCs to somewhere behind the house so the many scrap dealers in the area didn’t appropriate them.

Unfortunately the only way to move them was to take them down the side of the house. This is the impassable side of the house, so first we had to empty it. I got one of my scouts to give us a hand and to move the IBCs as well.

Now they’re in the garden, all I need to do is level the ground, raise them up and reroute the guttering.

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Digging holes


This evening, instead of wasting away behind the TV, I’m digging holes. Holes for trees.

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Family Fruit Trees

No I’m not talking about Aunt Maud – these are family trees that bear actual fruit 🙂

For those of us who can’t fit in orchards, or like me who want to experiment, you can through the magic of grafting have a family or “fruit salad tree”. 

Family trees contain not just one type of apple, pear or plum, but several.  I quite fancy a bramley apple tree – I used to have one when I was renting in a student house in Norfolk.  The apples were great, but unfortunately since we had two trees and they both fruited at the same time, I was overwhelmed with fruit – most of it rotted on the ground.

What I could really do with is a variety which only produces a branch or two of each fruit.  It also means I can have several different types.  Some trees actually can accomodate 5-6 varieties, technically there is no limit and I’ve heard of more, but commercially at least I’d stick to a triple or quad tree.

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Well enough time has passed for me to try most of the sampler pack and I can say it’s pretty good – the cola is in no way as cheap tasting as I expected, though I’m not sure whether I’d want to sacrifice a shot of JD in it, but passable in an emergency.

Now I’ve had an experiment with flavours, I’m going to have a go at weekend making my own starting with cream soda!

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IBC arrive…


Early on a Saturday morning I got the call ‘your IBC will be with you in thirty minutes’. I wake the wife and as I do so, a van pulls up and two guys start unloading the IBCs!

They’ve all had an orange/pineapple squash mix in them, so they should be fine. Only one was on a plastic pallet – the other two were steel! Bizarrely the steel ones are lighter than the solid plastic pallets. They always look bigger in person than in pics!

Now we’ve (and I mean we, they’re pretty heavy!) got to get them down the side of the house or over the garage!

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