It might seem like I've been in hiding this week and in truth I have. In fact, I've been busy focusing on the garden, trying to make the most of our space to grow a plethora of vegetables this year.
I know it doesn't look much like a vegetable garden and indeed until now, our little piece of land has operated as a simple "snacking garden" with some rhubarb, blackberries, redcurrants, a pot of potatoes and a couple of pots of tomatoes as well as a few herb plants that have matured into shrubs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage.
But behind the scenes - or should I say behind the bushes - the Almost Average household has been busy greening up our green fingers.
Here's a brief tour revealing how we've managed to fit some growing space into our already-established and multi-functional back yard and to set the scene, here's another photo taken from the back of the garden towards the house.
Bet you can't see much action eh! But trust me, there's a lot happening compared to this time last year. So come and see.
Behind the children's play den, we've reinstated a small veg-patch.
As well as celery, spring cabbage and carrot seedlings taking root under the home-made polytunnel, we've also planted some runner beans and peas, plus a couple of potato and tomato plants growing in pots. It's also encouraging to see the raspberry canes starting to grow. Hopefully soon they will cover the side of the playden. They should have a great start as they've been planted in soil that includes home-made compost from all of our kitchen and bokashi'd waste that was created last year.
Against the wall of the house, we are gradually adding a range of wall hanging containers for cherry tomatoes plus a window box for herbs including marjoram, basil, coriander and oregano.
And on the other side of the kitchen door is our little growhouse, which is currently protecting more tomato seedlings and peppers. It's wonderful to see that the watering trays are now made from recycled plastic, as Mr A announced one day on his return from a visit to Wyevale.
If you look carefully in the border that runs alongside our pergola, you'll see three potato sacks, planted up with a few second-early spuds as well as some main-crop, using most of the smelly old compost handed out by the council last weekend.
As well as planting up the garden, we've also been putting some old things to good use. Here are some runner beans planted up in one of our old tub trugs, seen resting on an old tyre (formerly used as a sandpit when the boys were small). The tub is camouflaged by geraniums which have been planted in the tyre.
And here we have a tray of lettuce and rocket as well as some scattered "cut-and-come again" seeds, planted in an old nectarine box, which I picked up whilst shopping in the market last winter. There are also some annual flower seeds planted alongside the edge of the outer tray, which I can't wait to see blossom and surround the greens with pretty blooms.
All we have to ensure now is that we keep our plants safe from the likes of this little lady, one of our three chickens who are intent on scratching at surfaces, whether planted up or not.
We're so excited with our progress that we've decided to extend further and have also given up some of our front garden to even more fruit and vegetables.
Just behind our fence we've tucked in some more beans, peas, carrots, spring cabbage and broccoli. By now, we'd run out of our own compost so used a bag full of New Horizon, which is made from composted garden waste.
We've also got some blueberries hiding in pots behind the bushes...
....as well as some strawberries and swiss chard tucked into the border.
And there's some delicious Pak Choi and more rocket, growing under our front window.
And I mustn't forget that we've got even more potatoes - some Anyas - planted in an old spare recycling tub, which we brought with us from Hemel Hempstead when we moved about 6 years ago (shhh, don't tell 'em will you, but it's made a fantastic container for growing spuds these last few years).
It's amazing what you can grow in a small space but there's still lots more to do. I'd like some more hanging baskets on the pergola and make even better use of the border alongside it.
We did have an initial outlay, including the new greenhouse cover, but at least we reused the old one as a polytunnel. We'd also run out of old toilet rolls inners for seedlings (a top tip from Mrs G) so we needed to get some more seeding pots, all of which worked a treat to create most of what you've seen in the photos. And although we've spent a fair few pounds on the fruit-bearing plants, the broccoli, some herbs and beans and peas, most of the plants have been grown from seed or seedlings passed on from friends or through my LETS group, which is always a great source for such things. I'd especially like to thank blog reader Mel for kindly sending in some of her spare seeds, which we have already used and have more plans for them over the next couple of months.
Of course with such a lot of plants in containers, I must now ensure they are watered carefully and are nurtured into full production. And with that in mind, we've decided to buy a second water butt, which will be conveniently placed in the front garden.
It's just a shame it arrived with so much plastic wrap, which made me blush like a strawberry and which will probably undo all that plastic we will have saved by growing our own. Aaaarrrgh! But eh ho! I suppose we live and learn and at least we won't have to suffer the same next year. And of course I can take it along with the compost bags to the local recycling centre and then drop off the plastic pots at Wyevale when I'm next passing.
Right, so no rest for the wicked. I'm off to put the kettle on so I can enjoy a cup of tea while watering the plants and planting up more seeds.
And while I'm busy beavering in the garden, don't forget it's still Compost Awareness Week, so if you are inspired to join in the gardening fever and start making your own compost, there's lots of advice over at CompostWoman's Compost Bin blog as well as a whole range of tips and problem-solving ideas at Mrs Green's MyZeroWaste.