Sunday, 24 June 2012

Rain = Slob

Dear units, I have become a slob. A slob in so many ways! I wholeheartedly blame the rain which has seemed endless, crushing the dreams of a superabundant garden under its sodden heel. The wind too. Ghastly gale force winds, having snapped off more than one of my sunflowers. Bastard! Mind you it could've been one of the many foxes that frequent the area, screaming their lungs off always as I'm just getting my head down for well deserved shut eye.

So yes, I'm sure everyone's been feeling the gloom in June. Yet there have been small pockets of activity and a lorra lorra laughs. A good instance was shifting a load of paving slabs in Parsley & Cakeatonne's driveway with a crowbar. My pythons have not a had a real chance to hiss in quite some time so this was WELCOME. The driveway's similar to my garden at rue Albert, nice and long with various flowers lining both sides.


The main job was to plant a tree which was being battered by the BULLY WIND. Conversation was great. I was telling Parsley about how I'd found an ants nest in the compost. I'd been reading troubleshooting articles on various blogs and online forums.

Oregano: 'Apparently if you lay down semolina, the ants will take it and feed it to the queen. When she eats in it expands inside her and she blows up. Then they all run off.'
Parsley: 'Haaaaaa! They run off? Is that the scientific term?'

Ridiculous as ever. You can keep your fancy bacterial solutions, stick to home made. Speaking of which, my stinking garlic juice has worked to some degree. A hosta I bought from the Kings Heath flower and veg show a few years back has grown phenomenally. Sure, there's been nibbles here and there but I think it's worked.   

 

An extra special mention has to go to my wicked t-shirt which Parsley and Cakeatonne picked up from Gardeners world at the NEC (when Cakeatonne wasn't yawning his jaw off whilst Carol Klein was doing her hard gardeners walk towards the camera). The slogan: WEED EM AND REAP is a masterstroke. You can expect to see me wearing this (replete with 100s of photos, naturally) a lot more from now on. A huge thank you to thelandtrust.org.uk  for this!

Oh look, the sun's come out! 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Gardening Makes You Mad

video

Gardening makes you mad.

I don't mean in the angry sense - unless you have a pond iris that refuses to remain upright, that is. Picture me at 5 o' clock this morning rolling into the garden after a night of debauchery, looking like a young Frankenstein era Gene Wilder. 'Wow,' I said to myself as I saw the sunflowers had grown 5 cm in a day. 'Wow again,' I mumbled this time as I saw the dragon flowers were shooting up with the penny blacks...Then I saw the offending iris for the third time in a week lying down on its side in the pond. 'You stupid bunch of bastards!' I legged it down and got my precarious footing, dipping my hands in the water to find the big stones I'd slapped on the basket to hold it in place. Then I spent twenty minutes tying a bit of string round the willow tree, looping it round the sturdiest part of the iris at the bottom, and getting my arms smothered in rank pond weed. Yeah, hilarious, yeah?

Gardening makes you mad.

Casting my mind back to late April, I went to a leaving party for the delectable Mim and her boy Luca. It was a great night, lots of good company, drinking and the laughs that come with good people. I'd popped to the toilet because my bladder was (is!) so weak it often feels like a full water balloon on the tip of a pool cue. Then I saw it it. An empty toilet roll. GOLD. My immediate thought was - 'That will make a perfect house for one of my sweet peas.' So I stuffed it in my back pocket. But then I thought, 'Someone's going to see I have a toilet roll in my back pocket and think I'm a fucking idiot.' And they'd have been right. So I tried to surreptitiously get it in my coat pocket. Trouble was the coat had been moved from the living room, where everyone was partying. I went in and asked where my coat was, whereupon the ever helpful Luca rolled up and took me to the bedroom. I had to come clean, as I sheepishly drew out the toilet roll and tried to explain its purpose. And it didn't end there. After getting a ride home from Euan, I stopped off at Sam and Robbie Analogue's to shed a tear for Nelson. Imagine my glee when I saw about eight empty toilet rolls just chilling on the windowsill. I was like a man possessed, as I got a five finger discount on those bad boys. I walked home in the rain with my pockets full of cardboard.

Gardening makes you mad.

One of the long term projects you will have noticed as you've read this blog is the solardome. The heat sink has now been installed and is running a big cakey dream. The paving slabs are all in, creating a wonderful geodesic palace that wouldn't look out of place in an episode of Star Trek. Gone are the days of dirty shoes and bad acoustics! There's even a small patio of slabs on the outside which house a pot or  five. It took a proverbial kick in the a$$hole from Parsley to get me to do it. 'Don't be so defeatist, Ed,' she said, probably thinking 'Don't be such a sweaty defeatist little pig, Ed.' I just don't get the whole accurate vibe. Is it laziness or fear of failure? Tell you what isn't a failure - Alice's new geodesic climbing frame. It's supposed to take five plus hours to build if you're on your solo, but Parsley and I got it done in five hours, HA. Joke. Just when I thought the bolts were tight enough she'd fly in and scrutinise them - 'I can still see the blue bit Ed,' she screamed, 'these are no way tight enough! Get screwing you pig!' I ended up with stigmata.

Once it had a few coats of white spray paint it fitted in beautifully with the rest of the garden. We moved it around a few times. I predict that in the future Parsley will want it levitating.

Gardening makes you mad.

A thank you meal of Spanish chicken was on the cards Friday night. We were under the gazebo on our champagne campaign, still chuckling about Cakeatonne's radio 4 interview on BREAD. 'Hippy dippy.' You can always rely on Cakeatonne to come out with a classy strap line. It was windy so we headed into the dome, mirror ball spinning slowly, sending out pebbles of light. The champers was making us all a bit jolly. 'PEANUT BUTTER BONGOS YOU BANCH OF FUCKIN' DRONGOS,' we kept saying in an Aussie accent. The meal couldn't come soon enough. Vodka for afters...and then when it went dark the dome really came alive. Solar lights around the base, the mirror ball turning and some garage, drum and bass, hell, even club classics on Heart fm! We were taking to the podium to MC. Parsley screamed at us: 'Oregano, you have to mc about SPACE.' 'Cakeatonne you have to mc about CHEESE.' 'What should I do?' she cried, 'EBAY SNIPER,' I bellowed. 'Yeargh!' Parsley was hilarious.

'FIRST CLASS, SECOND CLASS, THIRD CLASS....PARCEL POST...PARCEL FORCE PARCEL FOOOOORCE!'

She shot the words Parcel Force out with an American accent so hard I thought she'd blow a window out!

Cakeatonne was bashful until he started telling us a story about a maggot farmer. It was a gem. As was getting a picture of Winks perched atop a branch shooting laser beams from her eyes!

It's Summer people, and all is riotous in our gardening universe. Gardening makes you mad, makes you do mad things - wear mad things, I'm still rocking my Stan Smith Adidas which are over a decade old. Gardening makes you laugh madly. Take Goldie on the Chelsea flower show: 'Who'd have thought it eh, me yeah? Drum and bass 'ead well into his courgettes? It's like I never used to like olives, now I eat them all the time.' Your garden's rubs mate! We roared with laughter.

Gardening make you mad and AMEN me say.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

GARLIC JUICE

Oregano has been a busy bee these past few weeks, so apologies for a lack of earth shattering blogs to make you smile and reconsider the magnitude of just how wicked gardening is.

Hyperbole aside, today's blog is about GARLIC JUICE. A noxious concoction that is said to repel slugs and snails from your beloved plants. In the past I've tried many methods - copper tape, pellets, screaming etc. Do slugs have ears? That's one to ask Attenborough. This recipe was given to me by Parsley:

1 bulb of garlic
1 litre of water

Crush the garlic bulb, add the water and boil for 5 minutes. After cooking, strain the liquid and store in fridge. Dilute the solution 1 tablespoon per litre and spray plants and surrounding soil.





Wrote that in garlic green for emphasis.

One thing I can tell you....this fucking stinks. I boiled up the garlic and had to open the windows. I let the juice cool before pouring it into an empty ribena bottle and sticking a professional looking label on it, as you can see. Parsley had kindly bought me a two litre pump sprayer for my birthday, this was filled following the ratio above. I got to do a little cockney walk as I was there pumping away to build up the pressure in the bottle. I strolled down the garden looking like I was on a listing ship. 'I'm a cockney geezer, I'm a cockney geezer, HAVE A CAP A TEA HAVE A CAP A TEA.' Then I adjusted the nozzle to fine mist and let rip. Pisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss! I tell you that bottle gave out such a hiss my pythons were jealous. Everything got a good dousing - hollyhocks, emerging hostas, sunflowers, echinacea. The slugs in our garden eat everything. They'd have a go at me if I stayed still long enough. I shall keep ye updated on the juice's effectiveness. 



Humane, but smelly, why not try Garlic Juice today? UNIT!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Frog Central

A few weeks back Parsley and I were admiring Sam's (my neighbour) pond. It was teeming with frogs. Must have been upward of 20 +. Our pond had a measly three in there, looking the dudes and dudettes who didn't get invited to the party, or some unsavoury section of society mulling over saucy things to do. The sun was beaming down on their little amphibian faces, forty gleaming orb eyes looking at us. I was jealous as hell. So imagine my unfettered amazement and joy when I went down the garden last Sunday and saw a slew of frogs bouncing about in our pond - hard as a cholo mobile. I actually started laughing. With a bit more inspection I saw mad clusters of frogspawn. Out of every 2000 eggs laid, only six frogs will reach maturity. That's a pretty brutal stat right there. Nonetheless I was over the moon as was the family Wakefield who paid me a visit in the morning. It was a pleasure to see my Dad and the Boneman staring into the pond as I have been wont to do many a time. My little, beloved nephew Joseph did a very good impersonation of their croaks and ribbits.

I just can't wait for the tadpoles. I have ludicrous primary school memories of tadders swarming about like furious apostrophes or commas in a communal tub. And just now I've read, 'Tadpoles can regenerate lost limbs though grown frogs cannot!' Does anyone have any thiouracil going spare? We could make some very old tadpoles by blocking the action of their thyroid hormones! But that would be just plain cruel n'est pas?

Watch this space for more reports from Frog Central.

Got any Welsh rarebit?

#Flop

 Flop. Wow. A fairly innocuous sounding word, unless you consider it in the context of something being a failure, or the state men might find their nether regions in at a crucial moment. EITHER WAY flop in G Unit parlance is used to describe the putrid and sloppy combo of water, sand and clay that has no practical use in the garden whatsoever. Moreover this crap - brown ooze is actually bad for stuff! It looks like diarrhea! It's useless! Flop!

We had a royal chuckle recalling an excellent documentary that was on last year. In it we saw a dead elephant decaying and being eaten by various creatures. The first dude on the scene was a hyena and for want of better words he went right for the bumole. Snuffling his snout in there he wasted no time in chewing on a particularly volatile length of back passage. Within seconds a hot, turbid jet of fart juice that had been building up in the savanna heat, shot out and the hyena legged it. It had an uncanny likeness to flop. Just check out this stuff below. Rank.    



Heat Sink

Over the course of the last few weeks most of our efforts have been directed at the construction of the HEAT SINK. This bad boy has gone through many stages, the most recent of which was widespread pebble and stone washing, which is about as much fun as it sounds. But as it was Parsley and I doing it there was roars of laughter, clay catapulting and one liners that would've made Bob Monkhouse jealous. My favourite lines were 'If you know what a noise sounds like you can hear it.' (Parsley), 'Ew, you're kicking shit in my face,' (Parsley) and 'Get in your pit you pig!' (Parsley). I took to screaming COTTON TRADERS alternating between a Texan twang and a silver spoon upper class lilt. This will take too long to explain and is as insular a joke as you could expect to find. Just know we found it hilarious. Cakeatonne didn't!

Just why were we cleaning millions of pebbles? Well in Parsley's infinite wisdom we were removing layers of crud (mostly orange clay) as this would impede the flow of air round the pebbles and stones once they were in the sink. At first I sneered and jeered at the idea but the amount of slop we sloshed off in the course of a few days was pretty substantial. We were all over the place - at the back of the garden in the yard area; over by the apple trees; in the centre of the garden where there's always a lovely wildflower collection in Summer - always spraying with the hose and shaking the crap off in a riddle (a true garden implement not a brain teaser). I was carrying trugs of sludge water around like an ape and pouring it off onto hedges, anywhere that wasn't already SOAKED. The mess that was left behind we called FLOP. I will discuss this horrid substance in a separate blog because it's worth it.

Last Friday we put the heat sink together and lowered it into the hole in the solardome. Various experiments were made to see whether the air was flowing through the pipes properly. In the final instance we took a hair dryer and blasted it down the pipes and that worked a big cakey dream! We then started to lob in all the clean(ish) stones and pebbles we had accrued over the last few weeks. Eventually Parsley will fill the rest of the hole with water filled coke bottles. As it stands at the moment we are approx 1/4 of the way to filling the cage. See below for the sequence of crazy events that doth a heat sink make.








Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spring hath Sprung

I dedicate this entry to the start of a very beautiful and promising Spring. The following is lifted, almost verbatim from my diary of 2011, March 24:

Hot green tea from a metal mug, plucking the odd leaf from my lips as Alice stuffs a soggy receipt in her mouth. A trip to the tip or the dump with a seasoned, evasive man in hi-vis jacket asking questions about post code and rubbish type. Com Truise, mesmeric, setting sci fi themes to odd buildings. Jacob and I - quips pertaining to strength et al. Gloves half useless. The smash of porcelain, mirrors, gnomes and a silver terminator toy with gun upraised. Today, I noticed all these things...Earth boy. My fingers smell of woodsmoke. A visit from Gigasmethwick - a bead of saliva as he rolled his large skull against the stone, utterly content. Yes. Yes.