Saturday, 25 April 2009

Grass fun!!

Well, I'm sure not everyone can say that they have had fun with their lawns...

...but I certainly can!!

I have been REALLY busy recently, doing all sorts of jobs and things that have, in all honesty, totally knackered me out!

A few days ago, the weather started to be nice, dry and sunny, so I took the opportunity to get my little tractor out of the shed and cut the back lawn.

In previous attempts, it has only been towards the end of the job that the lines have been reasonably straight and uniform, but today was my lucky day, and almost straight away they were looking good!

As well as cutting the grass, there are some patches of bare earth, which needed to be sown with grass seed. The largest of all these patches was left when a soakaway (basically a big hole in the ground filled with rubble and stones, to let the rainwater drain away properly) was never sorted out.

Jo took some photos of me in the process of sowing the seed rather well I think - you can see how much effort I put in, and how exciting the job was! You've heard of 'extreme sports' well this was 'extreme seeding'!

Once the seed was sown, the ground was in need of a good watering, which again Jo managed to capture rather well!

(Please note the hose on the extreme right of the picture before you think bad of me!)

I then covered the area with bird netting to prevent the little blighters eating all my lovely new grass seed!

This was the start of my outdoor action hero stuff, more to come very soon!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Not so little Ninja!

Kane has been going to little ninjas for just over a month, and last session he picked up his brand new uniform for it!

Little Ninjas is actually a Korean martial art called Soo Bahk Do, and is taught in our local area by the Scriven family. You can find more information by following their link.

Soo Bahk Do was originally called 'Tang Soo Do', but reverted to it's original native name back in the 80's.

When the children go to Little Ninjas, they do a lot of exercise and practice games with their basic moves, which is a really good way of getting them to perfect each move. So for example, they run around the hall around 4 instructors who are all holding pads to hit, and the kids have to hit the pads with either a palm strike, a punch, a chop or a jump.

Kane loves doing these and you really can see the concentration on his face - it's a joy to behold, especially as some of the kids there are probably made to go by their parents - in fact one parent asked if I was taking Kane to Little Ninjas for the discipline aspect of martial arts, I just laughed because we have no problems at ALL with Kane in that respect, and asked Kane why he wanted to go to L.N, to which he replied;

"I want to learn how to kick butt!"

I think that was all that needed to be said really!

There is a little history in Martial arts in our family - I used to practice 'Wing Chun' before I met Jo and got married.

Wing Chun is the Martial art that Bruce Lee first started when he was around 13, although he took several Martial art styles and blended them into his own made system called Jeet Kune Do - 'Way of the Intercepting Fist'.

Kane and I really enjoy performing the 'Forms', which are a series of moves linked together to create a display of moves that the student has learnt.

For Kane's first belt he will have to perform 2 moves of the first form, something he should easily be able to do as together we have learnt the first 10-12 moves!

He looks forward to every lesson, and receives a tag each lesson. After he has collected 8 tags, he then goes to the grading for the next belt - this system is a wonderful way of keeping the kids interested and focuses on their goal.

Would you mess with this kid!?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Dad's Taxi duties gone mad!

Most parents realise that at some point, their driving skills will be asked for by their children.

Most parents expect the odd lift into town, or to drive their little precious ones to one of their friends houses...

Most parents probably don't get asked to drive them around their garden though!

I had to go to the garden centre and get some compost and top soil, and rather than carry the whole lot round to the back of the house, I decided to use the trailer I'd bought for my little tractor.

Kane saw me hitching the trailer up, and asked if he could go for a ride, so, being me, I found some old carpet and put it in the back of the trailer for him to sit on.

Although I didn't go as fast as he would have liked, Kane definitely loved the experience.

The whole thing reminded me of when I was younger. My parents used to take us on a lot of holidays in the UK when we were kids, and every day was packed with activities or visits to various places, depending on where we were of course.

One of these visits was to a Shire Horse farm type place, where we were pulled around the farm in a big trailer with benches either side.

So back to Kane - I thought he'd be sitting up straight in the trailer like I told him to, and when I turned round to see if he was ok and not being bumped around too much...

...I saw that he was lounging with his arms behind his head!

It just made me laugh, as that's typical of him to relax like that.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Trimming time again!

It's one of those things I've been putting off, and with the bad weather it's not been difficult to wait for better weather...

...but today it's absolutely beautiful here. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the hedge was screaming for a trim!

One of the reasons I've been putting it off is because I didn't have the equipment to do the job, I mean, I have the hedge trimmer, I have the harness and the head/ear protection and now I have the bollards to put in the road to make people aware that something is going on by the side of the road.

I put the bollards outside the double yellow lines, giving me an extra 2' working space on top of the 2' or 3' that I have on the walkway.

Putting on my safety vest, and hoping I wouldn't blind the oncoming traffic too much, I set about trimming.

Last year I trimmed the inside of the hedge, in our paddock, but I couldn't reach the very top of the hedge - at least the outside of it - so this was, if you like, the completion of a job started last year!

Half way along I realised I was very hot - being a very sunny day and all, and I took off my harness, my safety vest and my padded thermal builders shirt...

...soon as I had done so, I suddenly realised that my T shirt was soaked in sweat and with the breeze it made me totally frozen, so, I waited for all the traffic to go by that had seen me take all my gear off, then hurriedly put it all back on again!
The main problem with this was that my T shirt and my shirt had cooled down in the breeze, making all my stuff wet AND cold...


I moved the traffic cones up for my next section and carried on with my work, fussing slightly over the odd twig sticking out of the hedge - can't have wispy bits on OUR hedge you know!

Just as I got to the end of the hedge the engine started to run out of petrol, and luckily I just managed to finish the top before the engine cut out completely.

Today we're having a gardening day. Potatoes need to be planted (a little late) and we have several small shrubs to be planted on.

Maybe the rotorvator will come out today - who knows!


I know one thing - we're going to spend as much time outside today as we can, as it really is such a wonderful day!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

At the farm

Jo and I took a short drive up the road to the local farm the other day, this farm has a 'Maize Maze' and lots of animals to look at and learn about, and a lot of local schools go there for a visit so the children can see animals they might not ordinarily see every day.

Just as you drive in there are a few bits of land that hold sheep, pigs and goats. The goats were soaking up the rays on a lovely and warm sunny day!

This one was fast asleep in the sun.

I tried to get some good shots of the sheep that were there but they kept running away or doing rude things!

This photo of one of the pigs doesn't do it justice as far as scale goes - it was MASSIVE!

** EDIT **

Just put the pig photo in it's rightful place - thanks Jo and Ads!