- A retired Engineer, ex-Army and ICI, alone since my wife Joan died a year ago.My main likes are Local History, Gardening, Reading, and keeping my brain active with any kind of puzzle or Suduko.
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Yesterday at 13:21
Coming from a time Vermiculite had not been invented or even thought of as being necessary for raising plants vegetables or fruit in a garden that had fed the family for a hundred years before i was born. I often wonder what happened to that modicum of common sense we are all born with, or not as the case may be. Why use it? Drainage? we used grit washed sand shredded paper chopped straw it all worked in a garden that was essential for feedings us and the extended family. No, well why? to make pots lighter? as a ten year old I would slip a Sack barrow under a large pot and move it easily to where it needed to be, I just do not get it. As an Army Engineer and later a Chemical factory Engineer i could go into most houses in the country and make poisonous gas from what you use to clean the house with, make a bomb from ingredients you store in the pantry, all things you use daily and think nothing of yet very dangerous. The point being we live on chemicals of one sort or another from salt and sugar in foods to medication, our gardens are one large chemical plant changing the soils and feeding nutrients in chemical form to all life growing there. If you do not like the make up of something then do not use it. Vermiculite as with all the other chemical additives we eat or use daily will only kill you if you eat it twice a day with custard.
18 May 2017 09:24
Sunshine and blue sky from very early over Stockton on Tees, it is clear over the river valley to the Hills. Looking down to the woods there is a slight steamy mist rising over them, the Squirrels will be sunbathing and the beck side a cloud of yellow and white as the wild garlic pushes up and flowers. Memories of walking Benji.
17 May 2017 13:08
Stockton on Tees the weather is up and down like a yo-yo. Woke to sunshine, shower and breakfast not at the same time, ready to go for a hair cut and it clouded over. Now it is bright and warm though it may have been sunny and i could not see it through my fringe of long hair, well I can see it now. I asked the Barber if he did HP he said not now if Labour get in and Tax business he will sell up and leave, makes you think.
16 May 2017 09:35
Stockton, long sleeves back on as it is cooler, rain during the night. The Peony's have really shot up and are now in bud waiting to open just as the wind storms arrive, get the stakes in lad, stop idling about, as Dad would have said.
15 May 2017 11:54
Dove, Snap, same here in Stockton on Tees though still quite warm. "Oh" well stay inside and sort all the wedding photo's on the computer, busy enhancing cutting and sorting, wonderful tools these mac Books.
14 May 2017 11:59
Working at ICI opened your eye's to what went into all those wonder weed killers, almost all have Salt NaCI Sodium Chloride and Ascetic Acid CH3COOH, I remember as a lad being told to de-weed the paths in the garden, we had plenty of salt for curing bacon and I would make up a mix of salt vinegar and warm water to dissolve the salt then water the path with a spray nozzle, it worked yet I never saw it cause any loss of plants close to the path. When you consider the garden is one giant chemical plant in the reaction of the soil the growing of the plants and plants themselves I cannot see how you can be chemical free.
14 May 2017 11:44
Obelixx said it all. In my Fathers garden with very old walls the ants lived in all winter then emigrated to his plants he did not pull any punches. A drop of petrol on the nest and a match, any one for grilled ant?
13 May 2017 13:32
Stockton on Tees, you would have needed arc lamps to take photo's here. Dark early then sunshine and now almost dark again, we seem to have one errant cloud over us that refuses to move on. No water shortage here.
12 May 2017 11:17
Ladybird, I learned in my youthful shenanigans that boozing and courting were not compatible companions, I would know my own Daughters, "i think"?
"oh" and my English Teacher at High School taught me that there are many words beginning X-Y-Z so prepare to be amazed, "err" maybe !
12 May 2017 10:42
Ladybird, you sound just like my Daughters, DAD !!!!!!?
12 May 2017 10:18
Ladybird, Mess do's now there is a memory, that was the time we SNCO's lived in the mess and the drinking was one endless booze up. I slept under the piano a few times after falling off the piano stool. Those were the days the mess Steward brought a bucket of strong tea into the bar at 05:30 strong and re-energising we dashed off cleaned up and on Parade as straight and polished as button sticks, young daft and super fit, definitely not me now.
12 May 2017 09:48
Thank you Ladybird, Hero? that is winner, warrior, white hat, none of those believe me, I got my medals for staying alive, bottom up head down in the deepest hole i could find.
Muddle up the wedding was indeed wonderful, when they showed me the video after I wandered off to my well earned bed, singing the dirty version of Lily Marlene for the third time they thought it best to banish me, then the mad dancing really started with Bride and Groom leading, this after their first waltz which to me a Dancer was a shock, it was slow but perfect in execution they had been taking lessons on the quiet. 126 at the night do which went on well into the night so I am told, there were a few aching heads at breakfast. I always say enjoy the day to the full as one never knows does one.
11 May 2017 16:04
Splandy, you are trying too hard. feeling depressed does not lead to a solution. If you have loads to do in a new house and baby's to look after you need a rethink. Stand back look at the whole and think what you want, a place to play with the youngsters clean and dry, some eye catching focus points there are ways until you can really get down to it in a years or so when you have more time. When my children were young (a long time ago) I built a sand pit to play in with a cover to keep it clean and dry. We had some carpet cuttings I put down for them to picnic on, now you can get Astro Turf, I used troughs and pots with flowers in them so I could move them around as they came into bloom and then faded and I fenced off my vegetable section though that did not keep them out as they looked for carrots and strawberries. What you are asking is a Major operation to do it well and you need some muscle. There are no quick and easy ways to do it. Take a break rethink it and maybe change your requirements a little. The advice given by other posters is good, they have been there and know how it is done, that advice will take hard work and lots of mix to sit the Rolls of grass on, I would give it more thought that is up to you.
11 May 2017 13:22
Splandy, you have done some hard work getting rid of the rubbish so why waste the effort in putting down something you will not be able to alter later when a bit more work will make a better job. I would remove the stepping stones then cut the grass back to where they were, (Actually I would remove all that grass and start again) but time it seems is not something you have. Start to rake it to a reasonable level and level it best you can now as once down the grass will remain at the level you put it. Cover with as much compost, washed sand and fine grit mix as you can afford then again level it best you can. The usual would be six inches, once you have the best level you can get tread it down into a pan by shuffling up and down, the neighbours will think you have lost it but we have all had to do that, rake again very lightly removing any lumps or stones if there are any. Now lay you rolls, get a general purpose type and make sure the edges are hard up against each other, now WATER and that means soak it then do that every day for at least ten days but keep it damp until the roots have time to set. Do not cut for six weeks then with the blades up, (I used shears on my knees) that is up to you, you will see the new growth when it starts. It will never be a lawn though with children that would not happen anyway, you will have a playground but treat it with feed and weed in the Autumn then again in Spring you will have a reasonable area. I have relaid my lawns over time, as the children grew away then grandchildren come back, it is always better to take the time and effort at the very beginning. Hope you can get some use from this, nothing comes easy in gardening.
11 May 2017 10:12
You may well ask Ladybird. Having wended my wobbly way back from the wedding last week with my Daughter driving me along wandering lanes hedges beginning to whiten with May to home we became waylaid because of the lack of a key. The French connection had borrowed it. My Daughter warbling away on the web to locate keys whilst I sat feeling wan until it was located. having wreaked my wrath on the culprits and made them writhe, with much wringing of hands and a wry smile we managed entree and wow a cup of tea. By then my walking pace had become a waddle you could even say a wallow owing to Bacchus the god of wine, not to worry, the wounds quickly healed after the wonderful warm cuppa.
We were wrenched from what could have been a wreck because of the withholding of said key with a winsome wink and pleasant memories of Granddaughters wedding day.
Last edited: 11 May 2017 10:16:56
09 May 2017 09:15
Barefoot gardener, be very careful what you wish for. My Son and DIL had this yearning to go live in France for many years and planned to retire there finally making it last October. What a shock, they had to live in a Gite until the found and bought a house, they were freezing for three months much colder than Appleton Wiske and the centrally heated farm. They now have their own house and lands though much work is needed. They were back for the wedding and told me they had not realised it got as hot as 40c in summer and not looking forward to that, I told them "now you know why the Siester was invented". I had nearly three years in the Middle East not seeing a single drop of rain during most of it. Back to Liverpool and the train to Aldershot I was glued to the window watching the beautiful green countryside flying by.
My urge to travel waned, my Wife had a ten day syndrome, ten days anywhere no matter how wonderful and she was ready for home. That is me now I have it all in this area why go elsewhere.
08 May 2017 22:39
First question why? You have grass which will need cutting once a fortnight will absorb the rain where as paves it has nowhere to go. Please can we have the reasoning for your plan. Laying paves is a hard job and they are usually laid on concrete a splurge on each corner and one in the middle will do, it would need a hard pan to start with, grass would not do, then be either grouted along the joins or sharp sand packed in.
OK I am a gardener who likes grass and hates paves but think it through and come back.
08 May 2017 16:36
Having travelled a lot obviously seeing many picturesque places it did make me realise the place I grew up in, a village at the time called Norton on Tees which to me was a normal place was actually an idyllic place with its village green for cricket and games and later some gentle courting. It had a pond to play in during summer and skate on in winter. Surrounded by farms and market gardens with fields and woods to roam in, it is now noted a s beauty spot. Dad was a keen gardener feeding the family from the walled garden and looking after the smallholding, he was also a Haulage Contractor with his own trucks plus a car, not many of those about at the time. In the rush to build Airfields and military camps in South Durham and North Yorkshire he delivered material so school holidays I got to see a lot of the area and we would go out in the car Sunday afternoons to the moors Goathland or Redcar and Saltburn the beach. My late wife in the wheelers club cycled those roads thinking nothing of cycling to Barnard Castle from Stockton, she had the bike for it a top of the line Dawes, we took our own family on those same runs. Coming home on leave when I reached Thirsk I settled, I was home, well thirty minutes from home but in familiar territory. As to culture you will get all the culture you can handle up the North east from York to Berwick it all happens.
08 May 2017 11:51
A three day knees up last week at Headlam hall between Barnard Castle, Ingleton, Gainford and Staindrop, Raby Castle. We had guests from America Canada France and of course most of the UK. The comments were how did you get so lucky to live in this idyllic area. Some of the guests had made it a week and visited our moors beaches and forests. It was my Granddaughters wedding with a birthday on the 4th 5th and 6th of May plus a wedding anniversary on the 5th. We booked in and had a large family only party for the birthdays and anniversaries, the wedding was next day on the Friday which went on well into next morning (not for me I retired to my Bungalow room at eleven which believe me is very late by my standards), Grandson called me a party animal, yes son once I was just that. The sun shone all day for three days was just becoming dull as we all left the venue.
Headlam Hall is a lovely old Manor house with lovely gardens, guess where the photo's were taken, the food was very good indeed and the service superb. A couple from Belfast were sitting at my table and the were overawed by the beauty of the area, it was their first time over in this part of the UK but said they would be back.We were sitting under a Linden Tree with glasses in our hands something I have not done since visiting Berlin. It made me take stock of the place I have lived most of my life, the things you take for granted. One foot in the sea half an hour from the Moors, a bit longer to the Dales and less than two hours from the Lakes. Would I move, once tried it and came back. Have you really looked at where you live, I mean really looked.
02 May 2017 13:04
Joyce, "Moi" misbehave??? I promise not to drink more than three bottles of best single malt, and cut back on the beer and wine as well. The forecast is for good weather the outside pictures of me with props holding me up should be bright and clear.