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July 2017

Me & Mine -July

by Clare Mansell

This month’s Me & Mine comes from the Charente region of France where we are spending a couple of weeks, having left our home and dogs in the capable hands of professional housesitters.

The weather has been a bit mixed, but we’ve really enjoyed having some relaxed time as a family and the children have loved the company of other kids their age at the child friendly gites where we are staying. Weirdly we also found ourselves staying next door but one to another blogger who I follow on Twitter… But that’s a whole other story!

So this is what we’ve all been enjoying this month.

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A quick July garden update

A quick July garden update

by Clare Mansell

July though the best of month’s for gardens is also often one of the busiest of months for bloggers. As the school holidays start and a round of summer activities begins it’s easy to let the momentum slip. So today’s update is a brief one, more than anything to serve as a record of our progress for me next year.

This summer we’ve had the biggest success yet with growing veges in our garden. Our first attempt (3 years ago) met with disaster when all my seedlings were eaten in one night by the local rabbits. We sat one summer out completely, then last year we tried planting stuff higher up and successfully grew lettuces in window boxes.

A few months ago we took elevated growing to a whole other level with the purchase of our first vegtrug. Theses raised planters come in several sizes and I have a feeling we’ll be adding a second next year.

The plants in this have been very much Theo’s domain. Earlier in the summer we grew salad leaves, but as they bolted and our pumpkin plant grew we did a little stock rotation. The pumpkin and the courgette behind it now take up about half the space, but we have managed to plant some patty pan and Swizz chard seeds at the other end (where the lettuce is in this photo)

Theo has nurtured the plants in this vegtrug obsessively. Several times a week the cry of “Theo leave your vegetables alone” has rung out across our garden and if he had his way he’d water it about half a dozen times a day. He also has runner beans, blueberries and strawberries all in pots and he couldn’t have been prouder than when he was able to gift some of his produce to his class teacher.

This month we also planted another tree in our garden. A very significant and well researched tree. It’s a red maple, a tenth wedding anniversary gift from Jim and also planted to mark the 150th birthday of Canada. We of course spent the first two years of our married life living there.

mapletree

It should turn an amazing shade of red in the autumn, which I can’t wait to see.

If you liked this, you might also like…

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Why my kids and lavender don’t mix

Four years ago we went along to what was then a bit of a local novelty, a lavender field open day. Back then it was quite a low key affair, you parked in the farmer’s yard and wandered down to the field at your leisure. Theo was nearly two at the time and famously did not think much of being lead into a field of flowers for a photo opportunity. One of the photos I took of him went on to appear in a Pinterest “taming tantrums” advert and has caused quite a bit of amusement in the years since.

Theo in the lavender fields

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Siblings Project – July

Siblings Project – July

by Clare Mansell

It’s probably not all that surprising that I feel a renewed energy for photographic projects during the summer months. All the natural light, longer days and sunshine really do make for better pictures and by the end of winter I’m usually slightly bored of photographing the kids in the same old coats they’ve been wearing solidly for the last six months.

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Celebrating Canada 150, in England, when you aren’t even Canadian…

Those who have followed this blog for a while, will know that after two years living near Calgary in Alberta we adopted Canada Day as our annual celebration and (almost) every year since, have marked July 1st with some misplaced patriotism, flag-flying and barbecuing. Whilst some old friends have now helped us celebrate in three countries an are old hands at it, others who are new friends, are often understandably a little confused when we explain our only real connection to Canada is our dog, who was born there. But we don’t let our tenuous connections get in the way of a good party…

 

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