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Latest posts by SMOKIN DONKEY


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 13:59


Like a lot of gardeners will agree one of the best value for money pkt's of seed has to be lettuce,

You really do get a good amount in each pkt and hence you do tend to sow to many and they all come up pretty quick if the weather is right,

A good way to slow the growing down by a week or so is to lift the complete lettuce plant and root ball and just leave it on the side of its planted hole for a few hours,

you'll find the lettuce will look limp,

After a few hours re-turn the lettuce to its hole, water well and this will slow the lettuce growing down by  a week or so.

But the other thing to do is to pick the lettuce when they are very small to get a full flavoured taste.


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 06:18


The modern way of life takes ages to get going here in the countryside, ie phone the super market and your food will be delivered,

But we do and have been getting fresh delivery for ages of a sorts, "Cow dung"

As i was re-turning from the "Walkies" with the dogs the cows we're all walking down the track,

I could see their behinds as they ambled on to the next fresh field, "No hurry & in order "Yes they do have a marching order the same one in front everytime and waiting  "still steaming" was my delivery of three or four shovel full's of dung

Now you dont get fresher than that.

I really do admire the farm workers way of life, and ive offten been caught listening to the "Archers" on the radio"

Now thats a job and a half making those animal sounds as they record the program, Can you imagen being paid for pretending tobe a hen or a cow ?

It go's a bit like this

(Morning Tom, "now the person pretending to be the cow  Moo's" Morning audrie, hows the pasture doing Tom " another Moo comes in and a chicken sound,

Yes thats what i call money for old rope, fancy getting paid for pretending to be a hen or a cow .

Well ive a pile of dung to lift so i'll just say Moooooooooooo until next time.


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 06:00

Hi audrie,

You've for gotten one important thing !!

The sign "No Cats allowed",

Keep going Audrie, particulary in the freezing cold winter mornings 'it's then they'll risk it, i make sure that its as safe as i can make it by having plenty of space around the feeders so the birds can see and have a good chance to escape should the farm cats decide to pay us a visit.

The one small problem i have

('well if you call a big soft lump of a dog small ?) is one of my rescue dogs cant get it into his head he's saved now and two meals a day will always be here, And so if i dont watch him "Henry 's his name" then he sneakes up & stands on his back legs and enjoys the sun flowers seeds etc But the birds scream like mad when he's pretending to be one of them.

But once the birds know they'll get fed on a daily "every day" basis and its important it is every day as they get to expect to find the food in the same place then you'll have mum / dad and the next generations coming.

When we left our last house in the uk to come to live here in france I was talking to the post office in the uk ref my mail be re-directed and the very postman who delivered our mail came on the line to say hi,

He told me that he saw the birds all sitting on the hedge after we'd gone waiting to be fed but as the house was empty for months nobody fed them and the new people didnt bother.

It was a shame really that the new people didnt feed the birds as they really did a show for free every day.


Posted: 15/08/2013 at 23:05

Ive fed the birds in all the gardens we've ever had and this home is just the same,

All through the winter i make sure every day the bird table is full first thing and again just after 12 noon, food & water,

Its this time of the year i feel the reward for such action, in the spring the young end up on the table and mum feeds them the offerings i leave out,

Now today on the table the clay 1inch dish was filled with water and instead of these little blue tit's drinking they decided to have a bath,

What a commotion, they didnt give a dam i was inches away from the table as they splashed about and enjoyed a nice bath.

This sort of bird antic makes me feel good about buying pkt after pkt of bird seeds each week throughout the summer to help the purse strings through the winter when they need the food daily,

The old milk churn is the storage area for this seed and im pleased to say its nearly full,

One thing about having animals is that we dont have any waste it all gets used up one way or an other.


Posted: 15/08/2013 at 22:51

I understand 100% what your saying,

Ive just been watching paul O'grady on the tv talking about working class uk and how life was back in the 1960's when i left school,

My wife said after the program, I wonder why it is we are so happy with the simple life

"you and your garden , the dogs and just pottering in your workshop when a lot of people we know are always moaning about life and its problems.

Like you "wallflower" i get a lot out of the animals "trying to understand their little ways and still after so many years i get a nice feel when im doing the garden.

All i can add is that i thank my lucky stars i was born in the west.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.


Posted: 14/08/2013 at 18:37

A few year ago on the way to the supermarket near our very small village i first saw this old lady holding her little yorki dog,

It was about 9am and a freezing morning, her house was on the main road throught the village "if you can call a road that see's a few tractors and a few cars all day long

a main road" I remeber thinking to myself should i stop and ask if she needed any help "but life being the way it is these day's you tend to keep yourself to yourself and she didnt seem in any stress and the post lady was walking towards her with a letter in hand so all seemed well.

The spring time arrived and this little house had its window bow out with the geraniums in as do all the french houses around here.

As the summer arrived i noticed i'd not seen the old lady or her little dog for ages and what was always atidy garden started to look just the opposit, untidy,

grass getting longer the window box dry and the geranuims dead,

I asked in the local spar shop if anyone had any idea if she was ok?

She"d died a few month ago I was told, Well today again i passed her little house and natrue in such a short time has taken back the garden "you cant even see we're the little front gate is.

It makes you understand "we're only landlords really we own nothing it all belongs to nature in the end.



Posted: 13/08/2013 at 19:39

Im not sure if it's a getting older thing or just plain being knackard but if i was to be asked whats the most used garden furniture you use? Or to put it another way if you we're all alone on a desert island besides the bible, a loo roll and a copy of shakespear what other item would you want to have with you????

Well having given it very little thought (ie a blow up doll "like del-boy had !!!!)  or how about  A big win lottery ticket for the sat i was ship wrecked !!!

No No,

Got it,

my reply would be this old garden bench i love to sit on at the end of the day and take in all ive done today and still wonder why i never complete the daily task.

My old bench is under the old apple tree and just infront of the pets resting place,

It's a nice part of the garden as you can see most of the garden from this location,

On nights like tonight when the air is still warm and the bee's are in the Lavender bed its nice to just sit and think,

I think every gardener should keep a few minutes at the end of the day to have a relax "And if your as daft as i am and have pets!!!  to stroke them and talk away to them about anything , they'll love you even more for it "they wont understand a word your saying but that wont matter anyway.

Well ive put the tools away and now its time to shower and think about tomorrows jobs and what needs doing.

Gardening really is a smashing hobby "dont you think?


Posted: 13/08/2013 at 19:05

Hi Verdun, Yes i know what you mean,

The visitor i had has been telling me for years that he cant see the reason why i grow my own,

Ive tried talking about eating good food / Fresh food / No chemicle in it food and yet all i get is the big boys who run the super markets wouldnt sell anything thats not safe to eat etc,

Now the same person (because his wife wants veg etc like i grow and give her)

He's started small but will not listern when it comes to thining out etc

So like you i just think "ok so be it".


Posted: 13/08/2013 at 14:36

Ive met many people over the years, some would give you their last penny and think nothing of it,

Other's are so tight fisted Im sure you hear them as the walk past "squeak squeak"

But if your going to make any sense out of gardening its no good not being willing to thin out sowings or start thinking its a crime to pull out the odd lettuce plant to make way for the rest,

Same thing ref fruit on the trees, Yes you can have to much growing and all that happens is if its the likes of apples they grow to a size & weight that damage can be done to the branch and then its broken and all the fruit on it wont mature to anything "so you've lost the lot or again to much fruit and non of it a good size.

Ive  seen so many people coming into gardening that are scared to thin out or thin the apple crop etc.

We're coming up to that time of the year when apple/pear etc will be ready for the chutney pot, but if you've not given thought to what ive said then you may fall fowl to the small fruit being your crop.


Posted: 13/08/2013 at 14:17

Hi Lizzie,

Im sure you & your husband did the right thing by retiring when you did,

We men are very good at thinking we lead the way & being in charge of cooking when we have BBQ's

But when it comes to having any common and going to the doctors of our own free will !!!!!! Well lets just say we need the push that can only be given & excepted bu someone who really loves you.

You did a great job Lizzie in getting him to enjoy his time in france.

Well done.

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