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Planting trees and shrubs – 24 of them!

This year some might say I’ve got a little bit over board, as I’ve planted 24 trees and shrubs in my back garden. It really isn’t as silly as it sounds as we have a rather large garden and I have about half an acre that I’m trying to turn into a lovely natural garden. I’ve been planting trees and shrubs over the past 3 weeks and have plenty of photos to share on this page.

I’m finding it fun to gradually work on this natural garden and to try and imagine how it will look in the future. It’s a bit like a really long term art project that will take many years and has the added complication of needing to work with Nature to achieve the final, living result.

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Somerset and Dorset Railway – Company Rule

I saw this sign in a pub in North Wales and it cracked me up. It says it’s from the Somerset and Dorset Railway in 1864 and it looks quite old but, who knows, maybe I’ve been played. I did a bit of research on the web and it looks like you can buy original, antique, cast-iron versions of this Somerset and Dorset Railway sign, and a lot of recent reproductions are available as well.somerset and dorset railway - company rule

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Pooltester kit – avoiding Bromine Hot Tub nightmares

When I bought a hot tub back in 2017, I decided to go with bromine instead of chlorine because I read that it was softer/milder and worked better in warm water. Well, it all started off as a bit of a nightmare. For a couple of months, I couldn’t get the water looking good and it kept going opaque and green. I was following the instructions given by the manufacturers (Hydropool) but these were inadequate and, in many cases, not good advice. After lots of frustration, I asked a friend who had a hot tub and he said he started off with bromine but switched to chlorine because of similar problems. This didn’t sound good, but I didn’t want to give up and wanted to get my bromine hot tub working properly. I did a lot of research and have sorted out all the problems now and have a crystal clear bromine hot tub. And it’s true that bromine feels less harsh than chlorine. One of the keys to sorting this out was getting a serious pooltester kit.

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Scything with frost

Back at the end of October we got our first frost of the year and I had no idea what it would be like scything with frost.

scything with frostI know, you’re probably thinking “scything!” Cutting grass with a scythe? Yes, it’s all true and it’s not as crazy as you think. Back in 2015, our back garden had hip-high grass and I was wondering how to get it under control. I went on a scything course and learnt how to go about it. It’s not as hard as you might think and it’s a nice activity. And it’s not expensive. I costs only £118 for a beginners kit that includes everything you need and only about £150 for an advanced kit. That’s cheap compared to buying a lawnmower and a strimmer plus the fuel, etc. And a single scything blade can last 10-20 years if looked after properly.

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Distilled Water – making it at home

Distilled water is pretty cheap to buy, but it comes in plastic bottles. I’m trying to avoid plastic as much as possible (see use10percentless.com) so I scoured around for simple ways to make distilled water at home, using just things already available at home. In this case, I’m using the distilled water as a base for car windscreen washer fluid which also usually comes in plastic bottles (and with a bunch of chemicals). So I’m avoiding two sets of plastic bottles.

Here’s how I make distilled water at home.

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