Saturday, 6 August 2016

Simple Courgette Salad Ideas

I'm not a cook, I'll put that out there to begin with! I like baking (maybe twice a year, haha) and I am not a fan of courgettes BUT this way of eating up our glut of courgettes has changed everything :)

Now with my disclaimer out in the open you will have to just forgive me the lack of absolute measurements and merely use this recipe as a guide. I think with mixing a salad up together that it's up to your individual tastes anyway, this is not a science, it's an art.

Simple (tasty) Courgette Salad

You'll be in the glut season, and yes courgettes are coming out your ears, you can't even give them away and you really don't want them to turn in to marrows; that just means MORE courgette to deal with at a time. Fear not my friends - I am here to help...

1 - Take a courgette and give it a wash, then top and tail it.

www. growourown.blogspot.com - courgette

2 - Take out your potato peeler and peel that courgette to death = ribbons of courgette!

www. growourown.blogspot.com - making courgette salad

3 - Gather a really big bunch of coriander and one of fresh mint (hopefully your grow your own, basil would be great too)

www. growourown.blogspot.com - courgette salad (coriander and mint)

4 - Wash those herbs, remove any thick stems and chop up chunky

5 -  Add these three ingredients together in a bowl and grind some salt and black pepper in (to taste)

www. growourown.blogspot.com - lemon squeezed for courgette salad

6 - Cut a lemon in two and squeeze like your life depends on it; let that liquid summer cascade down through your fingers onto the mixture.

7 - Add the same quantity of olive oil as your lemon provided (roughly)

8 - Take a deep breath in of this magic and mix it up together with your hands

www. growourown.blogspot.com - making courgette salad
Crappy photo but this was the seasoning part and i was more smelling it all
8 - Add your favourite bashed up nuts, pine nuts (roasted for full flavour), goats cheese or wild rice and quinoa. You know what you like :)

www. growourown.blogspot.com - courgette salad
Here, a pack of wheat, quinoa, and rice was added.

Serve and share the joy or take it somewhere quiet and gobble it all up yourself.

Hugs
Carrie xx

I have a broad bean hummus recipe to share too, but need to take photos for it :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Hiking the Dungonnell Way

Cargan, a little village in the back of beyond. A school, a garage, a pizza/chippy takeout and a petrol station with a Mace food market attached. This, and some houses, old and new builds is what you'll find. Oh, and there is a much valued toilet in that Mace/petrol station - it's important to know these sort of things!

1.50 pm
We parked our car at the side of the road, half up on the footpath, by the new builds. Got our backpacks out and without any formalities, we started walking on the Dungonnell Way. Well, there was the obligatory selfie 💑.
www.growourown.blogspot.com

The first official sign we came to was broken, laying in the long grass, just a wooden post. We lifted it, saw the arrows pointing the way and propped it up for the next people who may pass this way. Then we walked, up out of the village, past the farmsteads and to the hills where the sheep are kings and the roads barely used, save for the water board checking the most lovely little dam and the few fishermen who while away the afternoon there.
www.growourown.blogspot.com

2.50 pm 
This countryside was beautiful with many birds singing, rabbits (one very dead), crickets (if you listened hard enough), butterflies and the hugest dragonflies I have ever seen. I guess I always thought dragonflies were the same as damselflies but no, these guys are on steroids and don't think twice about dive-bombing your head, haha. With such peace as this, walking through here it felt like each worry, each stress melted away with every footstep; my breathing became deeper (the air smelt so good) and my steady gravely sounding plod was music to my ears. All round was green, many shades and textures, this is where I was meant to be. I think it's where we all need to spend time.


www.growourown.blogspot.com


Before we saw the forest, we smelt it, delicious sweet pine in the air. It's a place I thought I knew but as usual, I was so wrong, we have only ever seen the smallest part and stuck to the little different coloured sign posts. This was the back entrance, the tradesman's entrance, slightly rougher and far more interesting.
www.growourown.blogspot.com

3.10 pm
Under the tree canopies here there is a whole world of moss, I love moss, I mean I LOVE MOSS. Don't question it, deal with it, I love moss, every kind, oh and mushrooms again every kind out in the wild. I couldn't eat one unless you paid me a ridiculous amount but I am compelled to study them and photograph them. Moss and fungi = happiness.  It was in here we saw peat dams and dragonflies, cleggs (one b*stard got me 3 times on the leg) and blue damson flies, being super loved up!


www.growourown.blogspot.com

3.52 pm
The time flew by and then it was lunch. We stopped at a gate into the back of this much loved forest and set up our Trangia, using the stile as a seat. Fruity porridge was the dish of the day and it was SO good. Here was a damn good seat, any seat is good when you've walking 5 miles with a backpack though :)  We met a friendly Mountain biker, had a chat and then he climbed over our stile bike on his shoulder and shot off, he was super impressed that we had come so far on foot and were only half way. As we were leaving runners swooshed by, arggh, they make me feel so unfit but then they have no backpack and we later saw where they had parked, half a mile away at the most.

We crossed the road and into a deforested area were we came across a urea storage unit; we aren't farmers but we know what urea is, and this, well this didn't make sense, why store it? Past that there was an incredible machine for cutting and limb stripping trees into logs - the accident book that the foreman must have would have some horrific injures I should imagine; I didn't really like being so close to it, even though it was off! Then around a corner and boom - a hill, a long one, but one step at a time and the view from the top was awesome (in the proper sense of the word). 
www.growourown.blogspot.com

 A wee dander on and we were at another road side and a huge (for hikers) intersect of the International Appalachian Trial, Dungonnell Way and Ulster way. Plus there was a Pony trail here too and dog walkers with the happiest dogs ever - which made me miss Maggie but there was truly no way she could have walked this far, never mind that which was to come.

I took the lead walking along a busy, very curvy road (scary times) to get to next part of our walk, there's a handle on the back on my rucksack so Andrew could have used it to save me but using my noggin' I was OK. This was one of the most beautiful parts of the walk, I can't even begin to explain the emotion that this pathway through more trees, covered in moss and dappled light brought up. It felt like home in a spiritual sense, it was ophric and I realised that we as a people are so removed from this real nature that we don't even have words to express it, to describe it; it's gone from our vocabulary.
www.growourown.blogspot.com

Suddenly there was an elderly man with his tiny but feisty little dogs, he did the country thing were you nod your head, lift a hand and mumble something like "great day isn't it". I love that, being out of society, sweaty, dirty and others like you don't care, they're just happy to see you, no matter your clothes, make-up, hair. You don't have to be anything but your authentic self.

The sunlight was falling down here in little beams where there gaps in the tree tops; how beautiful to see a fern or a new pine glow where that beam touched the ground. I could live in places like this revelling in the sense of wabi-sabi I spoke of before.


www.growourown.blogspot.com

Then we hit the most quiet road in Ulster, Skerry East. Well contradictorily it was busy today, with many very disgruntled teenagers seemingly doing the Duke of Edinburgh with 70 litre back packs on and compasses swinging from their hangdog little necks. They were in misery and there we were laughing and smiling, two 'old people', crazy for actually liking this hiking lark; it made me smile harder.


www.growourown.blogspot.com

Off to the left of this incredibly beautiful area we saw what we thought was a mine shaft wheel (the area was once mined for iron ore). So we took a detour and found this brought to us by those people at The Woodland Trust, a new little forest and this stunning sculpture.


www.growourown.blogspot.com

The rest of the way went by so quickly and before we knew it, there we where back in Cargan, our car still there (thank goodness) awaiting us. It was 6.45pm, time to get these backpacks off and go in search of dinner!

*Speaking of which, my backpack was on it first ever outing, it's a turquoise 'Montane Women's Habu 22' and it's incredible* (This is my personal opinion, I'm not affiliated with any hiking company)
www.growourown.blogspot.com - montane habu 22 backpack

Hugs and Love
Carrie

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Wabi-Sabi


growourown.blogspot.com

**********

Life, I just don't 'get' it, why is it so hard, so painful, so full of angst and disappointment? There's something in me that constantly wants it to change; the struggles are too great (and as my personal troubles are in my brain, no one can truly free me from that consistent fight), and the beauty, hard to find. I need a break, I think we all do.

The allotment called to me last Saturday and I answered; longing to find answers, peace, anywhere I may find it. Andrew and Maggie were happy to have me around and I took things slow, even stopping for tea and a snack along the way.

growourown.blogspot.com
24a - left side and right :)
growourown.blogspot.com
wild flowers from the hedgerow and time for a break
I couldn't help but tackle some of the worst areas. Yes, you know where....14b. I spent an hour clearing big weeds, some taller than me and many stronger too. It did feel good to make a difference and now the little squashes are going to get more light and room and nutrients. They best taste good!
growourown.blogspot.com
before and after - squash patch 14b
Sad thing is I know that the next time I go back there is much more of this battle with nature to come. It just keeps coming, I just keep ultimately losing. Oh and of course there's the anxiety and depression to continue fighting whilst I'm there. It feels like I live life as though I'm walking on paper thin tissue paper; always the fear of the fall through and the fall out.

Good things did happen. Andrew pruned the gooseberry patch and the Echlinville apples were finally tided up; the espaliered nature of them is so pleasing to the eye. I know for certain that I felt good being useful for a while. And there was no one else there, just lots of birds, some sweetly singing, many squawking.
growourown.blogspot.com
Consulting the Dr. and getting the espaliers done right!

I got to harvest the first of our blueberries, and red gooseberries, ha! - All for us and not one for those pesky pilfering, no good birds. Years, it's been years since we had any but the fruit cage has worked wonders and it's almost too much, haha.
Anxiety did take over, naturally. Strong feelings of paranoia and of just shear embarrassment at being me and outside of the house. That saw me going home but Andrew soldiered on :)

**************
I don't know where I am in this world, a seed poorly nurtured, grown up deficient in what it needed and now, an imperfect plant with so many problems that if you had me in your garden or plot, you'd have no hesitation in ripping me out.
Thank goodness Andrew sees through that, maybe he loves the challenge of growing and helping me, maybe he sees beauty in the ugly. I'm just so thankful for him (and the delicious harvests). xx

Yours
Carrie x

Friday, 22 July 2016

Playing Catch Up ~ 1

It's been a while dear friends, can you tell my heart just isn't in it these days?

The allotment is a foreign place to me now even though it is but a moments drive away. Andrew is soldiering on but even he is feeling downhearted about the place, for example last night he had things to do but instead spent an hour mowing paths that the council neglect to do; what a waste of his time.

We've had some serious talks about giving up; about only keeping 24a and stopping 14b; of whether we would care if it all burned down one day.... and the answers, well, we would care. We don't need to put so much mental and psychical effort in but we are keeping it and are going to start reigning back the time and efforts spent therein.
growourown.blogger.com - 24a overview
24a - looking good if you ask me ( I can't show you the disappointing bits, too upsetting)

So much time, energy (psychical and mental), money and love has been poured into those little slices of 'Eden' and so little has been received in turn. Plus now the plots are truly in their worst states in the A field at least, many friends have left, there is absolutely no community atmosphere and the barren ground, diseases and weeds are really taking their toll.
produce 24a - growourown.blogger.com
Recent produce (plus potatoes) and the garlic lifted

'Be the change you wish to see in the world', has long been a motto of mine, but let me tell you, there is only so much an already mentally ill girl can take and I am saturated.

*******************
So - this blog shall continue to log our allotment efforts and gains but now I shall be talking about Ecotherapy as a whole in my life and not limiting it to Allotmentherapy alone. I/We have 'refound' camping and hiking and life is looking like one of adventure and exploration as only last week showed in glorious (almost blinding) technicolor.

We camped out in a tent for the first time in years last week and I journalled, talked to strangers and took photographs (ones to prove I was camping, hahaa, AND fine art ones), a part of me coming back to life! It was scary, it was noisy but Andrew and Maggie were there and all was well.

Then we also hiked for 8 miles on Friday with amazing friends. Up in the Mourne Mountains, I still can't believe I did it but we have photos to prove it! With my double vision, it was more of challenge than one would imagine, plus I fainted about a quarter of the way in, but my stubbornness pushed me forward and, what?, I walked from the Trassey Trail to Bloody Bridge (Walk 16 in the book The Mournes Walks).

Mournes lunch - growourown.blogspot.com
Lunch time :)
I've been asleep ever since and only today am I starting to feel human again but I think I may have caught the bug. This ecotherapy is passive and yes you give A LOT but boy do you receive A LOT in return.

Anyway, my love to you all as always,
We shall still 'Grow Our Own' but now we shall also be just generally 'Growing'
Your
Carrie

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The allotment without me

This is a super huge catch up post and boy does it make me feel all the feels. I'm embarrassed and ashamed as Andrew has done everything himself, I'm proud of him, I'm sad that it doesn't interest me and actually being there causes panic, and I'm amazed that the plots around us are in such a wild state that it feels so pointless to even try - is this all a waste of time?!

growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
plot just before ours - ggrrrr
So Andrew and I were coming home from a trip to Belfast on Sunday and he needed to go in to the plots to get some food for us. Ahh, sneaky - that got me there off guard for the first time in months. I could have stayed in the car but I walked down, just with my phone and had a wee look. Here, this is proof that I was in fact, literally there -
growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog

24a
OK so this is the first born plot, the original and the best. The one that once won 'Best Allotment Garden' and which this blog was all about for a long time. It still feels like the important one; there sits the shed, the benches, the compost bins, the soil there has my blood, sweat, tears and adrenaline in it from those first exciting months of allotmenteering.

what you can see here: (with thanks to Andrew typing these lists!)
* left side - courgettes, sweetcorn, broad beans, french beans, mangetout
* right side - kale, kohlrabi, purple sprouting broccoli, garlic, beetroot, parsnips, carrots, spring onions, turnips.

growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
standing at the entrance to 24a

14b
Okay, so it's ours too; in fact is was gotten under my name. However, the blackberry, rhubarb, poppies and roses are the only things I ever feel a connection with. Andrew has worked so damn hard over there but the asparagus has failed (I saw one frond) and I have been too ill to use the rhubarb this year or look after any flowers.

Good new is the woodland area trees are looking good and there is a nice wee under planting of herbs. I forgot to take a photo but hey, these are all terrible phone photos anyway :)

growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
back half of 14b

growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
a tidy up and this would show some nice flowers and many to come
We have thought often about giving this half plot up but when you think of the money pit it has been and the hours of work to get it to this stage were food is growing it breaks your heart. Plus 3 sides of it are coming down with weeds up to my thigh height with mostly grasses, nettles, dandelions and other unwanted seeds constantly floating over - arrghhhh.


growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog


I only managed about 5 mins there this first time and then I had a panic attack and had to run to the safety of the car. Thank goodness I have been taking my hayfever medication though, it could have been deadly!

So far this year we have been eating *

rhubarb
mangetout
broad beans
spring onions
lettuce
potatoes (grown in big pots)
courgettes
mini carrots
gooseberries

With much love and hopes for more blog posts (and much better photography) to come,
Your Carrie xx

Friday, 1 July 2016

A thank you

 'The world will give you that once in a while, a brief term out; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where someone dabs mercy on your beat-up life' 
From the book 'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd

Those dabs have come from a few lovely people who have taken the time to not only think of me but let me know they are. There is more magic elixir in that kind act than I could hope for.

The fight is still ongoing and the mental illnesses are still certainly winning more times than not, however seeing little notes of love today gave me strength. Strength to rest all day even though I hate being unproductive and 'lazy', but then, strength to do 2 hours of healing yoga.

I truly thank you.
Carrie xx

By the way, Andrew and Maggie remain awesome and keep me alive everyday - I LOVE YOU so much, my wee family x


Thursday, 12 May 2016

When you're going through hell

...keep going!

April the 4th was the last time I had anything to do with the allotment. I haven't even been in the vicinity of the place and I didn't plant one single seed this year, not one. I barely even think about the plots and don't feel guilty about it either.

I was given a new extra medication to try in March of this year and by the middle of April I was ready for the hills; it simply didn't agree with me and conversely, all that it was meant to help with, it made a lot worse.
Self harm has become a 'normal' everyday desire and suicide often seems the logical solution to my pain. In short, times have been epically bad, we're talking on a biblical scale and Andrew and I have just barely pulled through.

Now there's a little green light at the end of that monstrously long tunnel of despair. I'm starting to catch glimpses of it, at long last, though they are few and far between.

The last couple of days here in glorious Carrickfergus have been sunshine-y and though it doesn't fill me with glee I am pleased to see the healthy plants in the garden (bar the absolutely dead Acer) and interested in the first wisteria buds on the vine.
wisteria buds - growourown.blogspot.com

I know Andrew will get my bum to that allotment soon and with hope I will be able to return to blogging and connecting with you, my gardening friends.

Wishing you all the very best
Carrie

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Seedlings ahoy plus rhubarb and ginger compote

'Oh the weather outside is frightful...' with a chill in the air and regular rain/hail downpours; it's just plain miserable. But luckily the seedlings in the greenhouse are doing grand and all those little green dreams are coping well. The cold nights have necessitated a little bit of literal thinking and Andrew has deployed extra large tea lights (from Tesco) which burn for 8 hours; it's saved the babies on a few occasions by upping the temperature by a couple of degrees, compared to the shed.
leeks, broccoli, mangetout, purple sprouting broccoli, chard and cosmos
What a delightful sight it is out there with trays upon trays of tasty crops-to-be (more than pictured here). Plus I just adore how leeks germinate bent in half firstly and then growing tall :)

*********************

Due to such terrible weather I have been cleaning the kitchen and cooking! 

We are really trying hard not to waste any food this year and gluts will be tended to more creatively this year. Today I made a rhubarb and ginger compote. It follows the same recipe as my plain rhubarb compote but with a little twist. Making it tangy with a touch of heat :)

* instead of the half cup of orange juice - I added 2 teaspoons of diced ginger (in it's own syrup) and
* instead of the half cup of brown sugar - I reduced it to a quarter.

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote
rhubarb and ginger compote - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
making delicious rhubarb and ginger compote
Later I shall also be tackling the leek glut by simply cleaning, chopping and bagging them up individually to be frozen. I just learnt today that they do not need to be blanched first :)

Love and hugs
Carrie

Monday, 4 April 2016

April, tea breaks and garlic planting

April was crept up on me from no where! I'm in shock. It's probably not helpful that I forgot to get us a nice new house calendar at the start of the year - I'm constantly lost. Okay, I do know April comes after March but woah, hold on a minute, I was only getting used to it being March; it just doesn't feel April-y to me, not so much the 'drip, drip, drop, little April showers' and more buckets of rain and hail!

Except for these utterly glorious moments of blue sky, chill air and uplifting sights of yellow daffodils :)

daffs at the lottie - 'growourown,blogspot.com' ~an allotment blog

As a born overachiever I worked my self into the ground on Tuesday and Wednesday at the allotment. I only stop when I get really dizzy or simply can't breathe any more. It's not right and its not clever and so Andrew bought a new stove and kettle and we now can have tea/coffee breaks. I love my hubby *blush*

Also, I am trying a new additional medication and it seems to be slowly killing me, so I do have very legitimate reasons for truly not knowing my limits at the moment. Funny, I despise being ill, I am so very frustrated by the illness itself and the bloody medications and their side effects. For all my bluster and positive messages about Ecotherapy and such, I just want to sleep, I'm tired fighting.

tea and coffee at the lottie - 'growourown,blogspot.com' ~an allotment blog
so shiny :)
Tuesday saw the planting of our garlic! What joy is beheld in such, the beginning of a new season, hands in the soil with a nurturing intent rather than a ripping out. Andrew had to plant out the garlic into modules this year as the ground was so terribly wet, but that was back in January and now it is a good bit better. So it was wonderful to see these healthy babies being placed in their new places of growth.

Here they are approx 6 inches apart in rows a foot apart - good luck little guys!
garlic on the plots! - 'growourown,blogspot.com' ~an allotment blog
Planting out the garlic seedlings
Over on 14b I am still, yes still, trying to tidy up; my goodness every weed on earth seems to be deeply embedded in the ground over there! Plus I finally got rid of the torn and tattered tarpaulins and lots of empty gravel bags - goodbye blue blight! But I tell you the forest area is killing me! Though I am happy to say that I have done a lot more than the following 'after' photo shows. We shall have finished paths someday!

14b overview - 'growourown,blogspot.com' ~an allotment blog
before and after pics of the slow but steady work on 14b

After this it rained, it poured, it was almost biblical and we could have been washed away in our shed - though we would have had tea and coffee....

And that, my darlings is you all caught up :)

We haven't been able to go over since Wednesday as Andrew has been diy-ing here at home, laying a new and beautiful wooden floor. I have been reading a lot, yoga-ing and fiendishly hoarding any and all toilet rolls for some of my fussier seeds.  Maggie has been sleeping :)

I'll have a look at the seedlings etc for next time and record how everything is going.
Hope you are all seeing the changes of the season and gaining happiness from the lighter evenings.

Hugs and love
Carrie x

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Regarding that warning letter

I really ought to learn to let things go. I know this, I'm too sensitive and once hurt by something it takes me goodly time to heal. So regarding that recent warning letter we got - I am still smarting and though it has all been sorted out and we got our apology, I still feel slightly aggrieved.

I mean look at this, our 24a plot (a before picture!) compared to the one next door. I only use this plot as it is so very close, believe me there are a lot that are in a sad state. I do so hope they received a warning letter but now, after the 12 days given to show some improvement and active cultivation, here it lies as it has been for the past 5 odd years. Goodness, Maggie even made a nest in it once the weather turned colder yesterday afternoon.
our plot and theirs - growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog

Anywho, rant over.

***** 
We're bang on schedule with our two plots and though the weather has been fiendish and the soil often unworkable we have found ourselves lifting the last harvest and planting the first this week! ( I'll write in more detail about that soon)
leeks, last harvest - growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
leeks galore 
Forgive us if we haven't gotten around to finishing the paths on 14b but quite frankly we have just paid out a load of money for new flooring at home and the allotment does come second.

And so I'm off back to the plots now whilst there isn't any hail or sleet (yes we have been having both over the long Easter weekend) to try to finish weeding the forest area and possibly prune my roses.

Hugs
Carrie

Friday, 25 March 2016

A monster!!!!

This is all I have to say/show...

Take a look at @andrew_gault's Tweet: https://twitter.com/andrew_gault/status/713476020297457665?s=09

Hugs
Carrie

Thursday, 24 March 2016

First seedlings pop through

It's a dreary, dank day and I'm feeling a little depressed. Though Maggie is a healing balm and I have a great book to read and pen-pal to write to; plenty to keep me busy.

But I want to be outside, I want to be planting seeds and clearing the orchard patch at the Lottie.

So the closest I get is stepping out into the mizzily, maudlin morning and taking a peek at the seed trays. And lo, joy is to be found in those little green shoots! Life is pushing through the dirt and darkness and filling me with hope.

Let these bursts of gorgeous greenery delight your eyes too. We need to share the love, the hope and help one another see light ahead xx

seedlings ~ growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
Broad beans, Broccoli celebrese, Kale, Purple sprouting broccoli
And I noticed this baby too :)

seedlings ~ growourown.blogspot.com ~ an allotment blog
a tiny kohl rabi!
Hugs
Carrie

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Progress is joyful

Is there a happier sound than that of a wee, elderly dog barking in her sleep? I think not. And that is the sound I awoke to on Sunday morning, which led to a dozy smile upon my face. Maggie is the best thing we ever did - it's soon to be her adoption day celebration!

But the allotment is what your here for so I shall spill all the juiciest bits.

Sunday at the plots was a mixture of more soil prep and a mystery; our wheelbarrow had been pilfered! I was fine and dandy weeding the paths and pots with my trusty trug by my side, but Andrew was suddenly heard to call out "Where's the wheelbarrow? I need it." Well, my friends, this lead to a minor panic and a walk around our field, looking in ditches and checking to see if someone else (in a fit of wheelbarrow necessity) had borrowed it. Oh how we looked and tweeted to relieve the pain a little.

The day when on without our dear friend and we were sad. But wheelbarrow-gate was still haunting us. Deflated we left for some late lunch and lo! on the drive out Andrew's 20:20 vision spied our barrow and he jumped out of the car and rescued her. She had indeed been kidnapped/wheelbarrownapped but we had her back - joy! Just look at that loving glance...
wheelbarrowgate - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~an allotment blog
Where the wheelbarrow wasn't (left) and when we finally retrieved her (right)
So back from our lunch now and Andrew spread thick mulch all over our raised beds *with the use of the wheelbarrow. And now 24a look fabulous and tidy to rock!! I'm doing my best with 14b and later it was mulched a bit too.
glorious - no?!

Monday came quickly and seeds were been sown in the house shed when a letter from the Council - a warning letter, telling us that our plot would be taken from us if we didn't start cultivating it. What?? There were attempts at phoning the department, tweets were twitted and an email sent all asking how on earth could this be happening! Oh, a dark cloud hovered over our home that day and so soon after the stresses of wheelbarrowgate  :(

In all honesty I was devastsated after the amount of effort I had recently been putting in, just getting to the plots in the first place. Stupid, stupid people.

Well thank goodness it was Pi day in America (you know how they write the date wrong - well it was 3/14/2016, like 3.14 = Pi) and we took the opportunity to drown our sorrows in pie, apple and cinnamon pie at a local, lovely cafe. It helped. We came home and worked in the back garden.
apple pie - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
Uuumm - pie :)
Tuesday and back on the plots, there was pruning of the blackthorns and blackberry, plus tying in branches etc. I cleared the damnable old squash bed which had yielded not one squash for us last season but had plenty of grass, nettles and dandelions in it now (thanks neighbouring unused plots!) I tell you, it took hours to do that one bed! And I was exhausted.
squash bed - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
A cleared bed, an exhausted me

Wednesday saw the Gault's out and about at Castle Ward and Downpatrick, away from everything and just enjoying ourselves. But to top the day off, we came home to an email of apology from the Council for sending the warning letter to the wrong people. Thank goodness for 'sorry' and recognition that we do in fact have a lovely set of plots.

On Thursday I wasn't feeling good but it was St Patrick's day and that means only one thing in our house - planting the spuds! We got two new big pots and re-used an old fertiliser pot, drilled holes in the bottoms and planted our Sharp's Express in them. We'll take them down to the lottie soon.

Andrew made a quick wee video of the planting - 

So there you are, all caught up; a good lot of plot work, seed planting, home gardening and time away - it's been lovely having my hubby off for the week :)

Hugs and best wishes to you and your gardens
Love
Carrie

Monday, 14 March 2016

Hopping into action

I say ' hopping' so as to conjure up images of bunnies and the associated Easter/spring paraphernalia, but it's leading me astray already and now I'd like an Easter egg - concentration is lost....ummm, where's the chocolate.
***********

We awoke on Saturday to a nice-ish day which whispered 'allotment' on the mild air. Not wanting to be rude, we heeded it, went out for much needed coffee and then seed shopping, yippee! But oh my, we bought quite a lot for this first phrase of sowing. To be fair though, we didn't get that Japanese pine or the acer and managed to stick to the essentials, just about; nurseries look so good this time of year.

Once home we then, like amateurs, checked through our seed boxes and yes, threw a good deal of old stuff out but also came across a few 'in use' doubles to the ones we'd just purchased. Oh, well the new ones will keep until next year.
seeds - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
Andrew's seed box for veg (left), mine for flowers (right) and the rubbish trug
Naturally the seed planting came next and compost was sieved, the plug trays lifted down from a high shelf and brushed and...action. I am putting up a plant list in a different page to keep track of the names of varieties etc so you can see what we've planted as it happens. I didn't do any sowing myself, my confidence has nose dived and though it's so super easy and the seeds actually want to grow, I just came over all nervous and was sure I'd kill them by my mere touch.

seed planting  - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
preparation of a lovely bed for seeds (plus radio which has been outside for 2 years and still runs on the original battery)
seeds and a tip - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
super tiny seeds that will become tasty large beetroot
wire wool to re-use old labels - great tip from Monty!
Anyhow....radio on and Maggie standing by the gate and getting chased my me every now and then, we had a nice time and got lots done.
Maggie - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
fish, blood and Maggie :) 
Phew! *I wiped Andrew's brow for him* he did a lot of sowing; I watched and used my lovely camera for the first time in ages. This year (we say this every year) we are concentrating only on that which we will eat; we're more serious this time. One early potato ('Sharp's express') will be grown in a pot and no garden peas - they are just so cheap to buy frozen and taste as good without the effort!

spuds chitted and ready to go - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~ an allotment blog
Sharp's Express are ready to go, just need the soil to dry a little more
So much more to come :)
Love and hugs
Carrie
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