Posts Tagged With: gardening

Scrum from Scrap – a quick update

How it started...

How it started…

Back in June 2020, I wrote about creating food from old credit card bills and cardboard, because that is the sort of nonsense I write about sometimes. By way of perpetuating such blatant misuse of the time given to me on this Earth, I thought you, my ever-faithful and amazingly tolerant reader, would like a picture of what that rubbish (the actual rubbish, not this blog) is up to.

Mmm... Green things

Mmm… Green things

Actual rubbish into actual soil in less than a year! The creation of compost is still something that fills my heart with joy and, eventually, my belly with food.


… how it’s going

Planted by the Snail herself, these plants would not dare do anything but grow. Yumminess awaits!


I remember when all this was credit card bills and cardboard


Categories: gardening, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

ScrapHappy June 2020: Scrum from Scrap

When cardboard and old credit card bills are on the menu:


Take some old cardboard and paper shreddings…



…add the shreddings to the bed…



…tuck the shreddings in with a blanket of cardboard to keep it warm (and in the bed!)…



..throw away the bits that won’t help…



…plant up and wait for things to grow. Then eat. Yum!


The lovely Kate Chiconi and Gun created this idea and the people listed below have embraced it, as well as turning a blind eye to my nonsense:

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon (me), HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

Categories: gardening, recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Obsolete Obelisk


When the Obelisk was new and shiny…

In March 2017, I made a Willow Obelisk at Denmark Farm, an obelisk that wouldn’t stop growing (read about it here). Nearly three years later and it had taken over all the resources of that patch of the garden, stopping anything else from growing there. So, the request came from the Snail – remove the pea obelisk please.

So I did (once Storm Ciara had done her worst, obviously). The roots were pretty tough to dig out, and needed cutting underground. The bits left in will rot*, adding to the general organic matter content of the bed.


When the Obelisk was old and lustreless…

The removed willow has been added to the brashings that we use to help slow the flow of rainwater off the field behind our garden and also help to create a wood pile for any wildlife that needs a shelter.

Hopefully now we can grow something else there, something less nutrient-demanding that will allow the soil to recover.


It’s like it was never there


* Or they’ll keep growing, because willow has no concept of outstaying its welcome.

Categories: gardening | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

ScrapHappy July 2019:High(er) and Dry(er)


Take one broken clothes dryer…

Some time ago, there was a crash and the shelves I had put up in the kitchen collapsed in a heap of plaster, wood and cookery books. In my defence, I had put them up a decade before, so I felt that I was not entirely to blame for their succumbing to gravity. However, as I had just kept putting cookery books on the top (book) shelf, I may have had a role in the whole noisy, dusty and dryer-mangling affair.

The clothes dryer, at that time folded up neatly as the manufacturer intended, took the full force of half a hundredweight of books and cooking utensils (only some of which were breakable) and, being designed to take the weight of a small quantity of wet clothes, promptly bent and broke.

It sat, as forlorn as any clothes dryer might look, for a while, swathed only in some wire, left from abandoned attempts at a fix. Then, one day, the Snail said “Take that old dryer apart and we will use some of the bits for the squashes to climb up!” and I did just that because a) it is a really good idea and b) who wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to make the Snail’s dream come true?


Careful with that axe, hacksaw, Eugene, er, Mr Snail



Sometimes, you need something a little more powerful that a hand tool, even if you have no idea how to use it safely*


All the bits that go into a clothes dryer

The rivets were easily cut through with a jigsaw – they were just too tough for a hacksaw.


A new lease of life as a squash climbing frame

There were some bits left over that made a ScrapHappy logo (and are now in the place where those useful bits go that haven’t let you know what they will be useful for yet).


* I learnt everything I know about DIY from Reg Prescott

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked a non-fabric-based ScrapHappy in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out: KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon (me), HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie and Bekki

Categories: gardening, recycling, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

The Actual Bum of the Flightle Bee

View of a Bee Hind

View of a Bee Hind

When technology works, it can be really fun (also when it breaks down, that can be really fun too because you can take it apart). Three or so years ago, I bought a tablet computer on which to “do my writing”. The idea was simple (like me) – a nice portable device on which I could write using a stylus-type pen, a device I could train to ‘read’ my handwriting so that I could then convert my scribbling into digital form, ready for the creation of the next novel.

It didn’t work that way. The device I purchased, whilst being OK and having a detachable keyboard, didn’t have reliable handwriting recognition software for it (it had some, but no-one who used it thought it worth the money). So I used it, primarily, for games. Quite crummy games.

Last year, when I went back to Reading for a contract, I bought myself a new camera, a Ricoh WG30, which has wi-fi on it. Great I thought, I can transfer pictures easily to my laptop PC. Only that didn’t really work because Ricoh neglected to design the thing to be sensible (I’d put some technobabble in here to explain, but you’re probably already wondering what the hell this has to do with bees, so I won’t).

The other thing that the camera could do (allegedly) was be remotely controlled from your internet browser. Obviously, this didn’t mean the one actually already loaded on your tablet, but hey, that’s technology for you. I found a browser that DID work and now – well, now you see the point of this mini-rant.

She's got legs... and she knows how to use them

She’s got legs… and she knows how to use them

I have been able to set up the camera a centimetre (‘really close’ in proper distance units) from the flowering leek plants in the garden and then sit in the Limery with a cup of tea watching patiently. These pictures are my very first attempt (there are about a hundred others, all out of focus, with no bees or discernible image).

It's soooo furry!

It’s soooo furry!

The detail produced from such a small camera is astonishing. I was really surprised when I enlarged these pictures and could see the pollen and the hairs on the bees’ legs, and their ‘fur’ in general.

I also set it up to monitor the back of the garden bench as the birds like sitting there as they wait their turn at the feeders. Clearly this sparrow thought it would be funny to moon the camera. It was right.

A Sparrow gets in on the act

A Sparrow gets in on the act


Categories: bees, birds, camera, gardening | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

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