I have had a hectic few days. Son 1 came yesterday and stayed the night, so I have made use of the extra manpower to get some outside jobs done. It took us nearly two hours to weed the patio and tidy the garden. You may be wondering why I have weeds on my patio, and to be honest, I am a little baffled myself. I think I will have to resort to weedkiller to stay ahead of the game. The wheelbarrow was full by the time we finished.
I didn't tell you, did I, that the chickens and I aren't currently on speakers? This is because they came in to my garden a couple of weeks ago (we hadn't had George very long by then) and trashed my containers. I came in one afternoon, looked down, and realised to my horror that my busy lizzies were missing. There were lots of little green stems scattered about on the ground. One of my containers was bare - no busy lizzies, no loebelias. I was devastated. All that hard work for nothing. So now the gate is kept closed and the chickens can't get in. I know they stand in my containers, otherwise they wouldn't be able to do this, would they?
Our fruit trees have finally arrived. They are a month late, but never mind. On Monday night we drove to B&Q to buy some huge containers to plant them in. We have 2 eating apples and 1 cooking apple, 2 plum, 1 pear tree, 2 cherry trees and 1 apricot. The irony is that the farm used to be a fruit farm years ago, so it's come full circle really. They will stay in the tubs until the garden is finished. While we were there I decided to buy a couple of geraniums, as that's all they had left, so I've planted them this morning in order to replace the (years) plants the locusts have eaten.
Apart from that, between us we have blitzed the stables today. I have mucked out Zak's stable, put all the spare straw from Max's stable into Zak's, totally swept Max's stable and put our big boxes in there. This leaves the space clear outside, so I can sweep up properly. I still haven't finished really.
I rode Barnaby yesterday and today. We went for a fabulous hack yesterday, around a local place called The Manor where there is a decent bridleway. This is very close to where Max bolted with me and I haven't had the nerve to ride there on my own since. I was a bit nervous, but Barnaby was fine. I had to get off at one gate, with a little Jack Russell who appeared from nowhere (JR's can do that) and barked her head off. Barnaby didn't seem too bothered, thank goodness. He seemed to have so much energy I felt he could have done 10 miles and not been bothered.
Today I've schooled him and it was quite hard work. He isn't as supple as Max was (for all his faults) and struggles to bend on a circle any less than twenty metres. If I ask him to bend to the left he immediately sticks his neck out to the right, as if he's staring out to sea. In the end I got off him, got a mint out of my pocket and offered it to him right next to his shoulder and he immediately turned his head right round and ate it! Hmmm. We have some work to do there I think.
I've also taught Seven on Monday night and Ten tonight. They have both improved dramatically. Ten keeps on deliberately asking Fudge to canter, so I've told him off a bit this evening and said he must not canter unless I've asked him to. Why is it when boys learn to ride they all turn into speed demons by the fifth lesson? Son 2 was just the same.
And I have made some cards, too. I am very pleased with these.
It was making these that made me realise it was time to buy a craft knife. There is no way I could have cut them out properly without one.
Some of the card ideas in Papercraft Inspirations magazine suggest you use quite an unusual sized card, but they don't tell you what you're supposed to do about an envelope, so I adapt where I can to standard card stock that I've already got. These were a lot of fun to make, though. I still prefer to use foam pads for decoupage, but have learned the value of silicone glue, especially on some of these as the little dog's nose is decoupaged, so you can imagine how tiny the nose is once you've cut it out. You'd never find a foam pad small enough.
I have realised the difference between home-made cards and shop bought ones is that home-made cards make you want to touch them. When I gave Ten his birthday card, he touched and pressed every single bit of it. With shop bought cards you read them and put them up and that's it. There is something very tactile about a home-made card.
And finally, I've bought all the ingredients for the lemon curd, so hopefully I'll be able to make it tomorrow. I've been reading up about sterilizing jars, so I'm all ready to go. You know what they say, if life gives you lemons...
Post script: Immediately after writing this I googled 'making your own envelopes' and found a brilliant 'how-to' video, so that solves that problem.
Just one photo
6 hours ago