Happy Birthday D!

Head and shoulders shot of man with glasses and a black hat and t-shirt

It is fair to say that D and I make a good team and it seems fitting in this his birthday week to acknowledge the contribution he makes to our life, our home and this blog. In supporting what I do, he is increasingly contributing to the photos taken for the blog and we wouldn’t have a fraction of the fruit and veg growing that we do without him. He is also the master of practically creative solutions to solve problems and enhance our lives.

As regular readers know, his practicality is a good foil for my ideas and dreams, some more realistic than others.  I have finally come to terms with the fact that a beehive probably isn’t practical (although has anyone tried one of those Gardeners’ Beehive ones where you set it up and the bees just move in?) and the cats really wouldn’t like sharing their garden with chickens or an alpaca. I keep up with social media, which is an absolute feast of ideas, while he can usually translate what I find into something real. Throw a few pallets into the mix (we have manure and compost delivered on them annually and hoard them jealously until we can use them) and we have endless opportunities for creativity.

You may remember our first foray into pallets. I had seen some planters online and hey presto – one pallet sawn in half, sanded and painted and we had a wall planter. Then I saw someone build a cold frame on Gardeners’ World and by the following week, we had one too. Other sections have been used for frames to net fruit or create raised flower and vegetable beds.

 Finally recently, we thought we had to admit defeat. The wood which remained looked only good for firewood. And then I saw a post on Instagram (and I apologise for not being able to give a proper acknowledgement here as I can’t remember which clever person it was) where someone had screwed a pallet to a fence to create storage for canes. We find storing our canes a nightmare – at one point I couldn’t get into the summer house for them lying across the door. That was before Hector struck though – we have used most of them since! However, we decided to go ahead anyway. As the pallet doesn’t need to be structurally perfect, I managed to rescue the last section of one which D had taken part of for the cold frame. I gave it a quick sand and coat of paint myself and then D attached it to the side of the summer house. Sorted!

White painted pallet screwed vertically to wooden wall of summer house
So simple yet so clever!

Apart from the absolute dregs, which D will chop up for the fire in the autumn, we are now down to one good solid pallet. I quite fancy using it as a top for a new patio table, a bit like the tables we saw in a pizzeria on holiday last year, but it will need a very substantial base and I’m not too sure about a glass surface either for outside, so we will see. I am in no rush – eventually I will either see something online or a new idea will strike and then I have every confidence that D will translate it into a workable design.

It’s not just pallets where D shows his practical skills. Who can forget the water butts, interlinked so that we capture as much water as possible, while looking like we are brewing moonshine? Not to mention adding guttering to the summer house so that we could put butts behind that as well, after I lost patience trekking backwards and forwards from the flower garden to the kitchen garden every time I needed to fill the watering can. Recently, I was finding the same problem at the front of the house. The result is a new butt nestled up close to Boris the Boiler at the side of the house. Of course, we have had a heatwave ever since, so there is no water in it, but we’re prepared for when the rain finally comes. And, if you look closely, you might just spot another pallet in the second picture, as the ground level is so uneven just there.

My latest online find is a little more ambitious – have a look at this post from Moregious and marvel at the ingenuity of the bin store. D has already drawn up plans and measurements – watch this space to see how it turns out!

Happy birthday, D, and thank you for all that you do for us. The cats and I love you very much and we look forward to many more years of your creative makes!





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