Mend-it May

I’m not sure how Jen Gale came up with the idea of “Mend-It May”, but during the past month, she has been encouraging folks to indulge in some repairs and share them via various forms of social media. I have, in recent years, been trying to get into the habit of mending more, and so this month was not particularly special for me. However, I like documenting my mends if, for no other reason, than to provide a record I can look back on and feel smug about.

One task that I did set myself this month was to look through all our hand-knitted socks and make any necessary repairs or reinforcements. It turns out that Mr Snail is much harder on his socks than I am on mine, and that there were quite a number of holes to deal with… some of which were quite extensive. In future I am hoping that we will notice damage when it is small and therefore much easier to mend. Anyway, here is a little gallery of some of this month’s work:

Some of the mends were made with sock wool and some with darning wool – it will be interesting to see which yarn holds up best. The pink/purple stripy socks were one of the first pairs that I knitted; they were originally intended to be for me, but I made them too big so Mr Snail got them. This is their third mend – they had their toes replaced once and they have been darned once before this time… eventually they may comprise more repair than original.

Because I have been trying to keep on top of repairs I only have a few more to mention. The first was more of a resurrection than a repair and involved some home-made mayonnaise. When we got the chickens, I stopped buying mayonnaise and started making my own. If you look at the ingredients in commercial mayo and compare them with home-made (egg yolk, oil, seasonings, a little vinegar) you will understand why. It’s relatively easy to make, but you have to be patient and it can be temperamental… as was my last batch. As I gradually added the oil to the egg yolk, it started to thicken up nicely. Addition of a little cider vinegar, however, destroyed the consistency and I ended up with what looked like scrambled egg in oil – yuk!

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Possibly the world’s most unappetising mayonnaise ever

Fortunately, as well as being temperamental, mayonnaise is also accommodating and can be encouraged to re-form. So, with a clean bowl and a clean whisk on my mixer, I started again beating a fresh egg yolk. If you then very gradually (and I mean very gradually – a few drops at a time) beat in the yukky separated original mixture, it will all come together and form beautiful new mayonnaise. It requires lots of patience, but it works and it means that none of your precious ingredients go to waste:

An odd, but very satisfying ‘mend’ that one. The other two mends I want to share are not mine, but both involve items that belong to me.

A few months ago, I discovered that the pouring handle on my jam pan had come adrift on one side. I contacted the manufacturer via Twitter and they told me to email their customer services. I did this and simply received no response. I was busy and didn’t pursue it, but I did ask my friend. Alfred “Maker of Things”, whether he thought it was possible to fix it. He said things about ‘brazing’ which were clearly beyond me. However, Alfred came over to west Wales on holiday last week… and brought the equipment necessary to mend my pan. In fact, he effected the mend during the course of a tea party that we were both at. I still need to give it a good polish with wire wool, but otherwise it’s mended. Thank you Alfred.

And the final mend is a major reconstruction and adaptation of our old wooden chicken house. We had dismantled this ages ago and the bits were sitting in the garden unused. After careful thought, I decided that it would be great to have a spare house – it’s really useful for introducing new hens or using as a “hospital wing” but it needed to have the unwieldy run removed and a new roof on both the house and the nest boxes. I explained what I wanted to Mr Snail and over a couple of days he effected the transformation using only waste wood that we already had, a piece of plastic from the old greenhouse and some bits from an old compost bin. I won’t steal his thunder too much because he’s blogging about it himself, but I can tell you that I am delighted with the result. Anyway, here it is in pieces awaiting the mend:

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a very big mend

Not a bad set of things that we’ve extended the lives of… and I’m even coming to terms with darning!

Weekend 2 – Palletgate 4

Mr Snail has been writing about the garden again, so once more I can just reblog his post for your entertainment (he was really chuffed with all your visits the other day and even more chuffed that some of you decided to follow his blog too). Enjoy…

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Drilling Holes in Palletgate - that'll teach it!Drilling Holes in Palletgate – that’ll teach it!

With still-aching limbs, and an extra hour in bed as we moved to GMT (proper time), I trepidly approached my other task of the weekend – the repair of (cue halloweeny-type scary music) PALLETGATE.

Ex-hurricane Gorblimey didn’t only vent its anger on the willow hedge. It also encouraged certain nails in Palletgate’s construction to make various bids for freedom, leaving the gate looking decidedly weak.

Fortunately, I had already assessed the situation and, realising that I couldn’t simply ignore it and hope it would fix itself*, I had been and purchased roofing bolts and plates (the flat metal kind rather than the good ones you eat yummy stuff off). Although the bolts and plates had come from our nearest town (Lampeter, the first town in the UK with a loyalty card scheme) I actually had to buy more bolts from my local big…

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The Bolshy Pallet or how a neighbour’s rasp saved the day

The latest in Mr Snail’s adventures with a pallet

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Everybody, meet…

Our old, slightly dangerous Garden BenchOur old, slightly dangerous Garden Bench

Our old, slightly dangerous Garden Bench…everybody. Good, now we all know one another, we can start.

This bench was given to thesnailofhappiness by her parents, probably about 20 years ago. Since then, it has done sterling service in the Welsh weather and, save one treatment with Ballistol pine oil, has had little TLC (Timber Looking-after Care).

It, like me, started to sag in the middle a few years back and I fashioned it an extra leg (there are a whole host of reasons why we won’t dwell on that particular terminology) and, you know what? It was almost completely useless…

The third man, er, leg, er stop sniggering at the backThe third man, er, leg, er, stop sniggering at the back

What was needed, said the SOH one day last week, was a support that could be obtained from a piece of pallet, suitably placed under the bench to shore it up…

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Palletgate 2: The Next Day

Mr Snail-of-Happiness has been at it again.

I daren’t venture into the garden when he’s doing DIY-type things – read this and you will understand why.

Palletgate 2: The Next Day

 

He does so love repairs

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