Sunday, May 29, 2011

Polly put the.......


What a week that was! My Birthday was on Thursday last week, and I received some lovely things! A Fantastic Le Creuset kettle from Jase. Most would be quite horrified at getting a kettle for their birthday, especially as we have split up and are going our own way, but I was delighted! He knows me so well. It sits on the hob, takes about a month to boil, but whistles when ready! It looks great on the Rangemaster, but would look even better on a cream Rayburn.

The lovely Kate sent me a cushion! It matches the chimney breast wall perfectly!

My nextdoor neighbours bought me this handmade chicken pot and saucer! Have popped a voila in for now, but need to find a small house plant for it. It was made by Jane Hogben I love her stuff!

My family clubbed together and bought me a kindle! I did ask for vouchers towards it, but they bought it for me anyway! I decided to whip up a quick case to protect it for my 3 day trip. Didn't really want to spend £30 plus on a leather one. It is by no means perfect, but it does the job well. Next job is a case for my Macbook.
A close up...

Work was chaotic to say the least. Made it back from Milan and took off for Newcastle. Circled around the airport once and then headed back to Heathrow. Newcastle had been hit by an ash cloud from the Icelandic Grimsvotn volcano. The passengers were not best pleased.

The following day I ended up with stand by at the airport, Zurich and back which was ok, as it kept me on my next trip the following day. One flight out to Frankfurt. Then the storms hit Heathrow. The evening flight in was cancelled so I didn't have to get up at 4am to fly home. Instead we brought the later flight back. Finished off my week with a Milan and back which was fine. Finished by 1.30pm and off for 3 days now.

The garden has gone nuts this week. No only the plants, but also the weeds. Jase and I spent 30 minutes spreading bark chippings all over the beg garden, so that looks nice and tidy now. The back garden is another matter.

The pak choi plants in the greenhouse are ready to be planted out. Not quite sure where to put them yet. I am sure the pigeons will find them wherever they go.

The strawberries in the patio planters sent runners everywhere last year and as I result, I have them all over the veggie garden.

They are doing so well, I'll just leave them in situ.

Mum and Dad bought me some kohlrabi plants back from Germany, which I have now planted with defences. If it isn't the pigeons nicking the leaves, it will be the cabbage white butterflies, so hopefully the 'cage' will stop them. I tried hanging up old cd's but I think the birds like my choice of music, as it didn't deter them.

The Little Dorrit sunflowers are coming along nicely, I have about 12 plants doing well. Apart from the white/green fly! Of all the plants to go for in my garden, they attack my little seedlings. I have now put a French Marigold amongst the pots to try and put them off.

The little gem lettuce seedlings I bought in and now ready to be eaten. Glad I only bought 7 as they will soon become slug city if I'm not careful. Strange how some haven't been touched and others are a lattice work of holes. Stunning colour though!

And finally, the raspberry canes that have appeared everywhere. Even a couple of metres from the bed they are planted in. I have pulled up a few and repotted them.

There is a redcurrant and white currant bush in there somewhere too. A bit of thinning is needed I think.

All in all, feeling ok at the moment. Have looked at a few houses on, which I really must stop doing. Found one a couple of miles away in Weyhill, down an unadopted road. Very sweet little house, 2 bedrooms, open fire and a cream Rayburn, within budget, but tiny garden. I need a decent sized garden for the hens and veggies. Oh well, will keep looking. Our house has now been painted inside the odd room that needed it. We plan to hire a skip as we have so much rubbish to throw away. Once that is done, Farm Cottage goes on the market.

A sad time, but necessary. New doors opening, and a fresh start for both of us.

C x x

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Very Buzzy Boy...

I don't know what has gotten into me. 2 posts in a week. Unheard of! Am making the most of my time off, chilling, whilst also getting through a couple of lists. Mental lists. Nothing too exciting!

Had the estate agents in this week to value the house. One in particular didn't get a chance to finish her tea after the valuation. The cup was whisked away and put in the dishwasher. I thought it quite subtle. My face said everything when she told me the price. Won't be using them to sell our home. The other 2 were more realistic. A spot of decorating and decluttering to do and we will put it on the market.

I am tormenting myself with, it is getting out of hand. Houses aren't added every 20 minutes, so why am I checking? It is good to know what is out there, but what's the point until this house is sold? It looks like i will be heading into deepest darkness Wiltshire at this rate. As long as I am close to the A303, it'll be ok for work. If you know of a little cottage/terraced house with parking, open fire and a garden, please let me know!

Still busy pottering around the garden. I realised we haven't got any courgette plants, so picked up a couple in the garden centre today. It is so windy here at the mo, hopefully the cloches will give them some protection?

Also got two more Gardener's delight tomato plants to replace the couple I lost to frost. Couldn't resist getting 2 more Cosmos 'double click' for the cutting bed. It is filling out nicely now. Still have the zinnias to plant up and the multi stemmed sunflowers.

I have planted a few lettuces in with the flowers and a handful of beetroot seeds scattered around. Plus a wooden tray full of runner beans that I have no where for. I planted them up for the Appleshaw fair, but they hadn't germinated in time. If you need 50+ runner bean plants, let me know! I don't want to throw them away.

I repotted the sunflowers yesterday as they were looking slightly overcrowded in their little pots. They still look really weak and spindly, but fingers crossed they will do ok. Next door would like a few pots too.

Tomorrow's job is to repot the zinnia seedlings. I have quite a few! Nearly all of them came up, but I can't be ruthless and only pick the strong ones!

I have never done this well with flowers. I always thought them tricky to grow from seed, but they aren't. The only trouble is keeping on top of the watering. I don't like asking Jase or next door, but struggle sometimes when at work on a 3 day trip. Now they are larger, I can risk leaving them outside when I go to work. The watering sprinkler system should make sure they are ok, without flooding them.

Was slightly worried by Pru this morning. She was sat on the nest for ages and still hasn't laid an egg. She seemed a bit withdrawn and her knicker feathers were filthy. Think that has something to do with the amount of savoy cabbage I fed them yesterday! Anyway, still no egg, but she is busying herself in the dustbath, so can't be that poorly!

I still have 7 days off, which will no doubt fly by! Need to make scones tomorrow as Mum & Dad are popping with with my Aunty and Uncle from Germany. But for now, I will put my feet up and finish off my book.

Will leave you with a picture of the latest garden visitor. Loving the pollen on my chive flowers!

C x x x

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flying snails

Well, I have finished work for a bit now. 12 days to be precise. I love it! After a very long day yesterday, they couldn't use me today, so I am off until the 23rd of May! For once, and you might not believe this, I have absolutely nothing planned! I am going to chill out, try and avoid making endless lists and enjoy the peace and quiet at home.
Jase is away visiting his Mum and Sister in Scotland, due back on Saturday.

Things are good between us. I don't really want to go into details here as that would not be fair, however, we are good friends, there is no one to blame and life will sort itself out.

I have found time for reading! Forgot how much I enjoyed curling up in the armchair and reading a good book. I am currently reading 'The Edible Garden' by Alys Fowler which was a Christmas present. I usually flick through books like this, but am loving her style of writing and enthusiasm for vegetable growing.

Managed to get a few rows of beetroot in the ground today, plus some weeding, hen house fettling, two loads of washing done and dried, the fire cleaned out and built and some biscuits baked. See, I told you I was taking it easy! *wink*

The peas I planted 6 days ago, in a pot on the kitchen window sill for 'pea shoots' are about an inch tall! Must plant some more tomorrow to get a continuous crop. They are so tasty when added to salad and give a lovely pea hit - funnily enough!

3 weeks ago I weighed 14stone 2 pounds (no, I am not 6' 6", so it isn't good). By no means a record high for me, but a high none the less. My weigh has been gradually creeping up over the past few years. A struggle that I will never win, but have resigned myself to the fact that 'six pack' and 'Christian' will never be used in the same sentence. Who wants a six pack anyway?? It is just skin stretched over muscle. I have that already, albeit with a nice insulating layer of fat in between. This morning I weighed 12stone 13 pounds. 17 pounds lost in just over 3 weeks. The easiest diet I have ever done!

Now, before you all start having a go (I have been invited to so many Barbeques at my Mum's, I think she is worried), I am eating. I just eat when I am hungry and when I feel like it. The portion size is dramatically reduced. I realised that I have been eating far too much for the past few years. HUGE portions, leaving me bloated and feeling icky. Not anymore. Little and often works well for me.

The broad beans I planted ages ago are now in flower!

It would appear that I wasn't very thorough digging up last years potatoes, as there are quite a few coming up.

I planted up 2 hanging baskets and popped a tumbler tomato in the middle of each. We'll see how they do this year!

The cutting bed is going well, with the cosmos plants producing a fair few flowers. They have only been in a couple of weeks, but have loads of buds. They are called 'double click'.

The greenhouse has been a haven for snails all week and I seem to spent all my time throwing them into the paddock. They have eaten half my pak choi plants, loads of sunflowers, a couple of dahlias and some kale. Sneaky little blighters. Will hunt in the garage for copper tape, as I know there is some amongst the piles of stuff!

Baby pak choi

Cannot for the life of me remember what this plant is called. I bought it a few years ago and love the thistle-like flowers.

The garden has been so dry for most of April, but we have had several torrential down pours this week. 2 of my 3 waterbutts are now full again! The back garden is starting to fill out nicely and the lupins I bought a few years ago, never fail to impress.

The little Concorde pear tree was in mega blossom mode this year and now look what we have!

There are hundreds of pears on the tree, but I have been thinning out the smaller ones to allow them space to grow. I know that in June they will lose a few, but am helping out early.

Cornelia seems to have snapped out of her broody phase and is bimbling around as normal now. No eggs from her, but she will lay again soon I hope. I like her huge, dark brown eggs. Agnes and Elsbeth are all laying well, although Pru has slowed down a bit. She still lays 3-4 eggs a week, but is getting on a bit at 4 1/2. Elsbeth is the same age, but her eggs have always been so small.

I have lit the fire, and am tempted to get into slobby mode. Will tuck the girls in and then lock up for the night. Have a small collection of dvds next to the tv and might veg out this evening. It is cold in the evenings, not that I need any excuse to light the fire!

C x x x