In order to do something different each week of the year, I have a list of challenges to undertake...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Week 4 - Participate in a Seed Swap

Although this challenge didn't have to take place this week (Foxton Seedy Sunday, for example, at the beginning of March would be relatively local and be a nice day out to boot), it does neatly coincide with the Potato Day at Ryton where I like to go an buy my spuds.

The best seeds to grow for swapping by a country mile are French beans - I'm growing them anyway both to eat the pods and to dry the beans; and they come true without any faffing about trying to keep them away from any other varieties just in case they cross pollinate.

Peas are also brilliant to save seeds from as they grow true too.

So to collect seeds for growing next year, or to swap, all I need to do in each case is leave a few pods (or beans) on the plants to mature fully, pick the pods in the Autumn. leave them spread out on newspaper somewhere cool and airy (the attic room is ideal), then when I get sick and tired of tripping over them, split the peas (beans) out of the pods & store.

Last year was the world's worst for seed saving - all I managed were some runner beans and some peas. The runners are no good for seed swapping as they easily cross-pollinate, and so won't be a named variety, but they are good for me to grow next time round. And I forgot to make a note of the variety of pea pods saved.

It's a good job that bean and peas are viable for a number of years, so I could use the 2011 seeds.

I spent a very happy evening last week making up envelopes with seeds and labeling and putting in a shoe box, and today took them to Ryton.

In return I have picked myself out a heritage variety of each of leeks, lettuce, pea and dwarf French bean, and a mystery tomato 'latah' that no one seemed to know much about.

So week 4 challenge: done.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Week 3 - Sort out the attic room

This is where I do my sewing, so my fabrics, wadding and half finished projects are there along with the ironing board and any ironing that needs doing. There is also a couple of bookcases and ye olde Sony midi system (circa 1985, with no CD player, a dicky 'on' switch on the turntable, and a flat internal battery so it looses all the radio memory settings as soon as you switch it off) and its big speakers.

Oh, there has also been a bath in there for the past year or so waiting for me to have the wherewithal to re-do the bathroom; and since just before Christmas that has been joined by a bidet, loo and basin, and tap fittings for all.

In the bath is a basket with my saved bean and pea seeds - this is also the room where I dry the seed pods after picking at the Hill for saving for next year.

I hoofed the whole lot out then cleaned all the paintwork - only giving myself the one dose of mild concussion after standing up too swiftly and bashing my nut on the slopey ceiling - and vacuumed up many layers of dust, thread offcuts, pins, stray beans, broken machine needles etc.

I went through the bookcase and now have a pile for the charity shop, then I replaced the duff halogen lightbulb in the standard lamp downlighter bit, cleaned all the furniture and put it all neatly back.

And finally, I have ordered an antique look record player with a cd, tape player and radio (for the grand sum of £89) which will be delivered this week.

Before and after pics:

So week 3 challenge: done.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Week 2 - Sort out the drawer of photographs

The earlier photos (from 1981 onwards when I first had a camera in my teens) were in six scrap books stuck in with those little sticky squares, which had all lost their stick over the years, and so every time you turn a page over, all the photos drop off. The later photos where just in their packets stuffed in the drawer.

I invested in some new self adhesive albums from Wilko, and have spent all week going through the photos, labeling, arranging, culling (do I really want to keep 24 photos of assorted views around Tenby taken when I went on holiday with my friend Jane in 1989? No, I don't think so).

It's been a week of nostalgia, poignancy (and laughter), and now I have three nice tidy albums with everything nicely organised.

Before and after pics:

So week 2 challenge: done.