fEAsible ~ March intentions

(of what I need to or would like to do this month)

In the words of the great Tolstoy from Anna Karenina – “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
As the weather begins to lose that cold, nippy air and the mornings begin lighter and brighter, this month is often the time of year when everyone feels that great urge to have a good spring clean – shaking off the winter in more ways than one.  And although not technically Spring until 20th March this year I am going with the Meteorological Spring which began on the first. Most of my intentions for March are centred around a revival of one kind or another; myself, the garden and the house.

appEArance

As we are approaching a new season I feel I need to give myself a bit of  a makeover again appearance wise, especially to lose those few extra winter pounds that creep on from nowhere.   I have already had a haircut recently and gone just a teeny bit shorter but my skin needs a bit of attention now as those cold winter months and long days of the central heating blasting away drying the air do nothing much for it; a facial perhaps and maybe I will give those Yoga face exercises a go and try to contort my sagging jowls into something a little tighter and lifted. I have also signed up for a weekly yoga class starting sometime later this month in the village as part of my ‘transition’ into retirement living.  I will keep you posted on this one.

homestEAd

Like me the garden also needs a bit of attention in one or two areas.  There are plants to remove that are not doing too well – a Hydrangea on a windy corner that needs replacing with something a bit more robust and a straggly rose in a warm spot by the fence where I intend to grow my outdoor tomatoes this year.  We  also have unwanted twitch grass poking its way up through cracks in our path which definitely needs to go.

In the front garden we have an Amelanchier, which at one time was a beautiful tree but sadly succumbed to Honey fungus – we had to chop it down and treat the area of earth around where it grew with some concoction that you can buy specially, but so horrendous I thought it might render the whole garden barren.  Surprisingly from a piece of remaining root it has started to regrow without any signs of the fungus but as a multi-stem shrub rather than a tree.  It needs a bit of thinning out and the height reducing – but I will wait until the blossom falls first.

The Buddleia also need to be pruned harder to reduce the height – I never prune them too hard until winter has passed and Spring has a firm hold.

I always like to have a good Spring clean outdoors as winter passes so the paths will be pressure washed to remove all the grime and that green coating of algae that has accumulated then I will ask DH to get the big ladder out and wash down the plastic drainpipes and gutters and maybe persuade him to wash the windows too.

The front door is on the list too for a coat of paint  – this project was abandoned once the weather turned last November but as soon as it remains dry and warm again for a few days we might grab the chance to finish it.

We definitely need to move on the pantry  – we have advanced and chosen all the units and worktops – they are just to collect from IKEA.  Before that we shall get the little room stripped of the old tiles and wallpaper and ready to decorate. (Another little job for DH – but keep that one quiet!)

clEAn and lEAn

Whilst DH cleans the outside I will be giving the inside a good Spring clean from top to bottom – but I know I have limited time this month so I will be selective in the areas I choose to do.  As I have been working steadily on the office / craftroom recently, having a major decluttering session, making it much leaner I will continue focusing here.  I have already been clearing out old papers, craft stuff and books but there is still much to do.  I include my computer in this task (only because I mainly use it in this room) for a bit of a digital declutter too.  It is an easy job to sit in the evenings doing a few folders and clearing out a lot of old document files but there is more to do…much more.

crEAtive

As I have chosen the office/ craft room to declutter it makes sense to get some of those half started sewing projects finished.  I have tea cosies cut out to complete and one or two items of clothing to mend.

At last I have started knitting again after more than twenty years – all you bloggers out there have been my inspiration to have another go.  I chose an easy Sirdar pattern – a little jumper for Sweetie for the Autumn – and so far so good, I have remembered how to cast on, knit a rib and do a simple stocking stitch.  Things did get a bit tricky when it came to decreasing for the armholes and casting off but thanks to Google I managed to get the gist of what I needed to do and have only had one dropped stitch I had to rectify.  The front and back are complete and it actually looks like a jumper – my aim is to finish this project by the end of March.

trEAsury

I had a good month last month as far as our coffers are concerned.  I moved ISA’s around for better rates and closed old accounts down.  As is often the case we were broken off in mid flow because of our trip to Scotland and now mum’s visit.  I should really make more notes of where I get too as interruptions are a common occurrence for me now and my memory not so good.  I still have two mature ISA’s to find new homes for this month but as usual I have been dithering about how long to fix them for.  No interest rate is outstanding not even for a five-year fix.

Another ‘transition’ for us is living on a pension.  For the last two months after careful management of our meagre income we have had money leftover at the end of each pension payment but my aim now is to put away 10% or more when we receive it – a standing order will be hopeless for this as you know the pension dates are 4 weekly, not calendar monthly, so I may have to do the putting away bit manually each month unless anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to manage this otherwise.

fEAsting

I noticed from my calendar this month is packed with those little celebratory moments – Shrove Tuesday, Mothering Sunday, the first day of Spring and St Patrick’s Day.  I will be making pancakes of course and adjusting our menus as we move forward into Spring –  I am not ready to give up our warming lunchtime soup just yet but I feel the need to make  our meals generally a little lighter – so I am on the hunt for new recipes that fit the bill for this months menu plans.  I must also look at making my own biscuits or buns to freeze – although we don’t eat many sweet things they do go well with a flask of hot chocolate when we are out and about and it will save us a few pounds on the grocery bill in bought biscuits.

mEAndering

This will most likely be another trip to Scotland fairly soon – we have a huge amount to do up there.  I will be posting an update soon but this last visit was rather rushed so the pictures of the cottage I meant to take for the update never happened.

Whilst mum is here we will be having a nice day out in Derbyshire – probably Buxton or Tissington or maybe both as it is a while since we  have been there.

So there you have my best of intentions for the month – I am always hopeful of what I might achieve by the end and by making plans at the beginning  it keeps me much more focused.

 

 

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sEAsons ~ the delights of Spring

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

Crocus Iris Snowdrop

The weather was so lovely at the weekend you could sense the fresh clean smell of Spring in the air – I just had to down tools inside and go outside for a while.  In the space of a couple of hours I had tidied up a few of the borders, gathered the last of the leaves and replaced some of the earth scratched up by the local cats.   The cats can be quite a problem so to protect the emerging plants and prevent them from being uprooted I pushed a few more twiggy sticks around the shoots – at least the crocus in the lawn are safe.

It is very encouraging at this time of year to see little buds appearing on most of the plants and signs of life poking through the ground here and there – I just hope any future frosts or snow does not damage them.

I also had a visit to our local independent garden centre because I still had £60 left on my voucher (the one the partners gave me when I left work).  The expiry date was 2nd February  this year but I managed to persuade them to extend it for another month as they have very little stock of anything at the moment – the season for them has not yet started and they do not sell many garden tools or gardening products like the large national garden centres.

In the end we decided on a Braeburn apple tree on M27 rootstock for our Scottish garden as it is a good time for planting and we will be visiting our cottage (caravan) in a few days time and can take it with us in the car.

We have a bit of a mystery in that in Scotland we have a Bramley apple tree and it has always fruited well – abundantly well last Autumn – but they are not self-fertile and are actually classed as triploid (requiring two other apple trees)  but there are no other apple trees or crab apples in our garden or the neighbourhood yet it keeps on producing fruit.  The Braeburn is self fertile but might be a reluctant fruiter so far North – we are banking on the mild Gulf stream climate that we have at the cottage to help it along but it may not like the winds.  We will give it a go.

With the remaining money I chose another of the glazed Heritage pots to match the one below that I bought last Autumn only a smaller sized one this time.I have always thought the one I got to put beside our front door looks a bit lonely so now it will have some company.  With the last £6 on the voucher I bought three pots of lovely pink tulips to go in it.

Today the weather is much cooler again and quite windy – good for the washing though – I have been working my way down all the dust sheets from the decorating at my daughter’s house.  I think we have more than we need now between us so the worst of them will be going out, they are not even fit for the rag bin.

I always like this time of year  – I feel energised to start cleaning and clearing, blowing away the cobwebs that have gathered in the corners over the winter and at the moment I am a little more motivated after feeling rather lethargic and probably a little lazy since Christmas.