This week has gone SO quickly! Being half term, Finley has been home all day and I haven't had to do things to schedule, which has been lovely. The first couple of days were such nice weather, we cleared away some of the hedge cuttings and spent time outside.
We have been potting seeds in our new mini greenhouse, we've already sown Asparagus, Rhubarb and the 3 varieties of Tomatoes we did last weekend. This week I only managed lettuce and garlic. I planted the garlic bulbs near the lettuce as apparently it deters pests. I had my lettuce raised up on bricks last year and were left alone.
I have been building a website for Tiny Land, and am really enjoying it since I managed to spend time sitting down and doing it properly yesterday during the day rather than a few stolen minutes in the evening. The Facebook site just isn't enough, it's not clear enough for people what I sell. I'm genuinely really excited about the products too, because it's an amazing process making watercolours, then using them, it's double creativity!! 💖
Went on a metal detecting trip around our neighbourhood the other day too and found an old spanner, which I think is from the 60's. They don't make them anymore and the only others I can find are quite old. Our estate was built in 1969 and people moved into our house for the first time in 1970.
Our garden is quite difficult to manage with the boys as it is on 5 levels. That's a small patio which I love, then an old wall keeps that back and it drops to a green area which I had a small white picket fence made around for safety from the drop to the dropping steps. It makes you feel a bit enclosed when you sit in it (considering our views are so open to the countryside).
An old wall keeps that back and there is another small area of dirt which I had made into a little zen area with a pergola and stones on the ground. It just needs a water feature really. It's difficult to access for children as there are steps all down one side of the garden and you have to step onto a short wall to get onto that level.
BEFORE and AFTER
The next level is a garden shed sitting on hard standing of the same size. It must have been made for that purpose. The step or wall onto that area is even harder as it's a bit higher..the steps are still going down to the bottom..there is no wall to keep you from falling..as the next level is ground level on below...about 6 foot. The shed is rotting, despite me trying to prevent it by paying for a new roof to be fitted - I also had it painted duck egg in protective paint. The walls are being damaged by vines that I can't keep on top of and it's now damp inside.
The bottom level is a double driveway. I've been wondering what to do with the garden. Level it off and fill in the driveway? Or even better build a garage which we can utilise the top of as a garden. A driveway would be the height of the shed's ground, so that whole area of driveway and shed would be another useable garden area, bigger than the garden area we already have. And the current grass area could be for veggies!
Our neighbours have a single garage, so building a double wouldn't be an issue planning wise. It's using the top as a garden which might be a problem. The land is unusually hilly all around so privacy shouldn't be an issue.
This is the area I'm working on at the moment. Clearing the fallen hedge. Do I build raised beds for the drive area as it is and replace the shed? I don't need one that big I can get a small one..all would need to be incredibly cheap or free. I'd much rather have 1 large utilisable space. This is what I'm imagining:
I have a concrete area at the front which I
filled in a bit and made into a successful herb garden. It provides us with almost year round herbs - I picked sage on Christmas day. It also has Fennel, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint and Chamomile.
If anyone has any ideas on how to use my space for veggie growing, playing and parking please say!
I've also been pinning some fabric for a dress I'm making. I'm off to Cyprus with the boys for a week soon and always wanted to make a dress out of this gorgeous fabric I had. The weather will allow me to wear it.
I also wanted to share with you a recipe for the laundry detergent I use. It's 'natural' which is a loose term! It hasn't any surfactants anyway, and works really well.
Home Made Detergent (always wear gloves when mixing this)
1kg Borax Substitute - I get mine from Amazon (£3.50 ish)
5 bars of soap (grated) - I use Shield Fresh Aqua Deodorising Soap £1 or less for 4 bars
2kg Soda Crystals - £1 for 1kg in tesco
500g Bicarbonate of Soda £1.11 I buy it in bulk here
So that's £7.86 for a month's worth..it might last you more or less. **Update it's now 23rd March and I haven't even finished 1 of the bags yet and I use 2 scoops when I could probably use 1. So this batch will last at least 4 months and it's £7.86 - that's not even £2 a month!**
I use for softener distilled white vinegar and lavender essential oil.
Regarding the term natural, people use it when referencing Bicarbonate of Soda but its man made. The term chemical has also been used as a derogatory term and is used interchangeably with man-made..however chemicals are much more. Oxygen is a chemical...they are everywhere. Many man made products are safe and some originally found in nature but now mass produced. Bicarb is also named E500.
Natural soaps - most soaps - are made using a man made chemical called Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) which undergoes a chemical change (saponification) with an oil to make soap. Even Dr Bronner's Castile soap has used liquid lye (Potassium Hydroxide) with natural (e.g Olive) oil. Black soap IS natural it uses cocoa ashes as the base to react with oils to make soap. My brother in law buys it in Africa made by hand.
The only true way to be truly natural is to think like a Paleo and if you can't grow it - or buy it as organic - then it's been man made. But man made isn't always bad. And nature can be powerful and cruel. Some natural products are really strong and need careful use (Asbestos is a natural fibrous rock). We all need to decide for ourselves what we want into our homes. The important thing is, that it's biodegradable and or harmless to the environment. I'll be adding a definition to Tiny Land website too!
That's a big post but hopefully you enjoyed it - there's so much to enjoy in this world of