So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog

Leave a comment


Before the joy of the EU, Dave and I would both have retired in 2020. But Dave had to wait till last year and I’ve another four to go, UNFAIR! Our move to Wales has changed things. Dave now gets his UK pension, and we both get small ones from Austria, plus my income from the books. Providing we are prudent, we can live on this and I can effectively retire- although I still have to pay my National Insurance stamp.

This has brought many changes, firstly, we don’t have to get up early and so, stay up later. No worrying about being up for work, or being flaked out by 9.30. All the things I want to do, such as the books, there’s not such a rush to do them around work; I have three planned for this year. This isn’t so good, I need some sort of timing to make me get on with things, if no deadline, won’t bother. I want to begin painting with water colours and that is on the list. I just need to find Dave a hobby so I can disappear into my writing cave and not be expected to do house things. But I’m so looking forward to container gardening this summer. We do now have a car, but this time, we’re finding it far harder to adapt, despite having bough another Fiat Panda! When we get confident this summer, we’re talking about taking off in it with dog and tent to explore Wales.

Hang the housework, we can do it another day. Walk the dog, well if we take off for another of Dave’s mammoth hikes, it doesn’t matter if we get late. We do have a new church, so that is the highlight of the week. But we still press on with the jobs for the house, there are still things we want to adjust and decorate.

We’re on a long holiday, and I love it!


Next Year’s garden


Having lost my large flowerbed to Swingle’s feet, I had to make a plan about the future. Am I losing interest in gardening, getting stale, time to move on? The I was inspired by the bees and butterflies this autumn. I’m going to fill the garden with bee and butterfly bulbs, bushes and flowers! We’ll try buddlea from seed as its so expensive, and have already bought some bulb packs with earlier flowers. I have loads of Michelmass daisies, something to plan more in the winter!


Do you have nay varieties of plants you know the Bees and butterflies love?????




I’ve no idea what this bush is called, and every spring I’ve pruned it back. Never again! This year having been busy with dog, I forgot and the result are these tiny flowers but the most amazing lemony scent that’s all over the garden. Anyone know its name?


Leave a comment

So how has your garden grown?


Following a warm and damp winter, we’ve now had a warmish and damp summer. The neighbours are blaming us, saying it came from England – and some of it did!!!!  There was one time in late spring when temperatures got to the low 30s,and today, August 30th, we have all the signs of an early autumn. We’ve harvested the carrots, as the tops were turning, but what a crop!  The parsnips are looking good, but they need to wait for the frost to sweeten them up. We also had loads of peas and broad beans. The courgettes and Okaido pumpkins haven’t liked the colder nights, and have slowed right down in growth, and the strawberries were lousy. The sweetcorn may not ripen with the continuing rain, we’ll see.  BUT loads of redcurrants for a first attempt at wine, and blackcurrants for jam and liquor. Such a difference form this time last year when the whole valley was drying up.

The geraniums haven’t liked the damp and cold, and have reacted by going nuts in their flowers, here another example of a white plant bearing a red flower.


Next year we’re planting less sorts of veggies but more of them, carrots, peas, broad beans, Okaidos, strawberries.

The summer has still gone too quickly. Some of the sycamores are starting to change. I don’t mind a early autumn, if we get snow in November and the crisp dry cold, rather than the soggy dampness of the past few years that went straight to Dave’s chest.

But it’s been an unusual summer. The hay crop has been rained off several times. Cold nights in August.  Sooo much rain. So how has your summer/winter (for those in other climes) been?



Who’s eating me Geraniums?


I noticed this white stuff on one of my pots, so being at our leisure decided to have a look.


We cut the stem off, chopped and chopped through the hollowed out stem until we saw a stripey end peeking out.


Another snip and this little wasp fell out. Never seen this before. Know there are wasps that do this. Wonder if its due to this warm damp summer and the bugs are breeding? Anyone else seen one of these little guys? He was about 1cm long



Garden time – pea harvest!


I think this year must be our all time best for peas – we only sowed one packet of sugar snap, but in three rows.


They were beginning to fall over- obviously not having read the packet on how high they should grow!


Nice warm damp summer and result – and we beat the caterpillars again. First we had to strip them from the vines.


Result, one third of the freezer filled with both podded peas and chopped entire peas. Note the laptop for musical accompaniment.


Now just need to not eat them all by the autumn!