After a marathon decorating and garden re-vamping spree lasting somewhere close to ten weeks we’re finished until at least the autumn, when we can do some planting in the front garden.
We’ve broken the back of the front garden that was literally overrun with Ground Elder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegopodium_podagraria. A combination of spade work, hand fork, border fork and the use of fingers to break open individuals clumps finally saw the root mass reduced to a manageable area under a Cotoneaster hedge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotoneaster_horizontalis,). We reckon on we’ve pulled up and dug out 20kilos dry weight of roots and rhizomes from the ground elder. The remains under the Cotoneaster I hand treated with Roundup Gel, coating all the remaining growing Ground Elder shoots and leaves (tip, to take care of ground elder you need growing leaves not mature leaves, I ripped all the growth off the Elder a week or two prior to using the weed killer, so I was applying it to active fresh new growth).
We've also dug in a cubic yard of compost and covered the entire area with 800ltrs of bark to suppress the weeds, keep the soil moist and to allow the sparse population of worms to proliferate and do their work (it also puts cats of of using the area as a toilet). A little rain will help consolidate the broken soil and the worms will help with the structure now they have some food. As soils go it is pretty good, just compressed and lacking organic material, but that's the result of a polythene membrane covered in three or four tonnes of rough pebbles. If it were'nt for the Elder you would have said the garden had been in storage waiting for a new caretaker.
During my investigations into how to deal with this weed I discovered that you can eat it and so we have kept a piece in a pot raised well off the ground out back so we can have some for culinary purposes useful link to a blog below, but there are some useful videos on Youtube as well. The upshot is: use young leave s the same as you would spinach. http://scottishforestgarden.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/growing-and-eating-ground-elder/.
As things stand we now have, the lounge, kitchen, conservatory and front bedroom painted completely. The spare room we are leaving for now, as we are considering having a wood burning stove installed, and if we do then the flue will pass through one corner of this room and will have to be boxed in, necessitating additional skirting and what have you to blend it all in ... so we wait. The room is fine, just not in colours we would choose. The lounge ceiling would just require a lick of paint to match it in so we can be done in there and not worry so much about alterations when the flue goes up.
Out back we have cleared and re-ordered the shed, the fence has been painted a lime green, we’ve planted on one of the trees my mum fostered while we were away, and the others are acclimatising to their new environments and orientation, all are showing signs of stress, but with water and TLC they should be bounce back next spring.
We’re in an odd place right now. Amanda is at work all day, I’m home doing jobs, going shopping and doing the cooking and cleaning (I may have to take up doing the ironing ... this is a concern, I hate ironing). Generally speaking though; looking after home is not a big issue, I spent better than ten years living by myself after I finished things with she who cannot be named. The trick is not to get too caught up in faffing with the small, and to create a regular routine, like as if you are going to work. I have to sit down and work out my week and form some sort of rota and print it off. This sounds pretty anal but it’s easy to get lost in minutiae.
I want a part-time job, but they are not as easy to find as you’d imagine. We’ve actually come home to an area where employment is not increasing as fast as the rest of the country. And I seem to be being rejected because I’m over qualified for the lower skill jobs I’ve been looking at, and the jobs within my main skill-set are always full-time. This is frustrating because I have my own ambitions to deal with that don’t involve pursuing a career to someone else’s agenda. You just can’t say that on your CV or covering letter. Honesty is the last thing required when looking for a job regardless of what you’re told ... it’s all buzzword bingo and catch phrases, verbal smoke and mirrors. I think that’s one of the reasons I dislike Linkedin even though I’m a member, it’s your `Workface’ via Work Social media, and proves that work you and you are two entirely separate people ... unless you find a job you love, in which case (according to all sources) you’ll never work again.
However now the back breaking work is done and we can pick pets projects for ourselves around the home and garden I can sit down and work out my week and try very hard not to let it run into the weekends; which has been happening a lot of late to the point that unless we’ve gone away to friends or on a visit, we’ve been doing seven days a week non-stop graft and then being too shattered to have any fun.
That’s us for now. Until we do something exciting, blogs as per previous update will be sparse. I’ve read few blogs that have a life cycle tied to an activity. I may just leave this one floating and start another, we’ll see.