Thursday, 9 November 2017

A brand new bed

...of the garden variety, that is!

BEFORE...

...and AFTER!

The posts surrounding the raised bed at the back of our garden were decidedly past their best.  Some had toppled of their own accord, and some more only needed a sharp tug to come out, like a loose tooth.  I decided to flatten the whole thing, do away with metres of weedy gravel, and create a big vegetable bed where beans, carrots and cabbages could roam free.

Graham accordingly ordered a ton of topsoil from the horticultural company he works at, borrowed a rotavator and a wheelbarrow, and we set to work.  The boys enjoyed helping to tip the topsoil off the truck.

operating the tipper


Like all these jobs, there's always more to it than you first think.  The posts which weren't rotted at the base turned out to be embedded a foot deep, requiring a good deal of hammering and levering with a garden fork.  Then the hundreds of bulbs in the old raised bed had to be fished out and stored somewhere, and the two large sedums moved to a new home.


Once we'd cleared the area, Graham wrestled the rotavator across the compacted soil.  It skidded and complained and gradually dug in and carved out lumps of clayey dirt.  I helped with a fork until the whole bed was dug over.

Surveying the mangled mess that used to be a neat flowerbed, we weren't at all sure we had done the right thing.  However, a bit of edging and a few barrows of topsoil improved the look no end.  Finally it started to look like a proper vegetable patch, and I was ready to plant.


So far strawberry plants and purple sprouting broccoli have gone in.  I might add some kale for the winter, and then... wait for the spring...!


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Transforming into a 7-year-old

Well, our big boy is now seven!  Like the Transformers toy he was begging for, Toby is changing rapidly from one thing to another.  He's gone from just starting school to the top year of the Infants, from hanging onto my hand to going round the block by himself, from sounding out letters to devouring Roald Dahl books.  He can beat any of us at Mariokart racing on the Wii (due, no doubt, to far too many hours of practice), wants to be in the Guinness Book of Records (for the fastest spinning hands) and likes maths the best at school. 



You won't convince Toby to try it your way unless he's tried it his way first.  But he'll always be trying something, that's for sure: making, writing, building, experimenting.  Sometimes he'll dash through it.  Sometimes he'll storm off in frustration.  Then other times he'll persevere, and produce something amazingly intricate.
 


Toby celebrated this year by having a few friends over for a birthday tea.  Seven-year-olds, we discovered, are a lot easier to entertain than five-year-olds!  Within minutes of arriving they had all vanished upstairs, with only a few muffled giggles and thumps to give them away.  They then spent most of the rest of the time on the trampoline, with a brief break for pass-the-parcel and pizza.


The cake this year was Transformer-themed.  That's Bumblebee's vehicle mode, if you didn't recognise it, with Bumblebee in robot mode perched on top. 


He got his coveted Transformer, by the way - Optimus Prime, who turns into a truck.  But, being Toby, he just had to take a moment to read a few facts from a book before opening the big present.


Happy birthday, Toby.  We're glad we get to watch you transform.