Friday, 31 July 2009
But I must move on and I really couldn't wait (before I went on a design madness trip) to tell you about last night's little jaunt to the Lotties. Andrew had some more leaflets about the family fun day and our association stall to hand out/pin on sheds. We're just hoping the good folk of the lotties will donate a little something to the Association stall to sell to our visitors on the big day. It's next Saturday by the way (8th August) and you'll all welcome; if you're coming from afar I'll put you up in my wee house, as long as you spend money at the day and bring your own sleeping bag!!!
Anywho, the reason I wanted to write about it was because I was so happy with the responses we got. Everyone is now getting more interested in the fact that we're having visitors and a BBQ, stalls, a brass band and a petting zoo etc. They want their plots to look good and some have even been thinking of fun ideas themselves. It's a great little community spirit - the only thing that could dampen it would be the weather and that, unfortunately, may be the case. For instance I am sitting here in my living room with a long sleeved top on, jogging bottoms and a blanket over me, and a coffee in my hand tucked up tight against my chest (my glasses are steaming up intermittently but it's a price I'm willing to pay ~ it has been pouring for hours and the wind is fierce and it's making me feel cold. Maggie refuses to go outside, even though I'm pretty sure she must need a pee by now. She doesn't do bad weather, hahaha, a dog that lived on the streets, I've turned her into a softy.
Anyway, a great big virtual hug to all my fellow allotmenteers and fingers crossed we'll have a good day.
Plus if you don't like the new blog background blame Elle May's Mum, she started it. I love the look of her blog and wanted to be like her.
I shan't be happy until I know if it was a mistake or you like it. With the meds I'm on - it's near impossible to make decisions these days.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Makes about 5-6 lb.
3 lb beetroot, roasted
1 lb onion, chopped
2 pints vinegar
1 lb dessert apples, peeled and chopped
1 lb seedless raisins, chopped
3 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 lb granulated sugar
- Peel and cut the beetroot into cubes.
- Place onion and a little of the vinegar in a large preserving pan and cook for a few minutes to soften the onion. Add apples and raisins and continue cooking until pulpy.
- Add beetroot, ginger, salt and half the remaining vinegar.
- Simmer gently until thick.
- Stir in the sugar and remaining vinegar and continue cooking until thick again.
- Pot into cooled, sterilised jars, seal with a vinegar proof lid and label.
- Store for 6-8 weeks before using.
It takes a good few hours for the mixture to thicken up properly, but it is worth it!
So Andrew and I made it for the fun day, to sell on our own Eden Allotments Stall. We didn't have quite enough beetroot but it was easy to make the recipe work with some maths (which Andrew is good at ~ I suck at maths). We had bought a lovely new thick bottomed big pot in Ikea especially for preserve making and so we were rather excited to get going. Wow, the Gault household sounds so dull if that makes us excited!
It did take a while but nothing about is difficult and we were able to watch bits of tv and then go and stir the mixture; all made better by a glass of red wine in one hand, hehe. We got a lovely full Kilner jar (for ourselves) and 3 jam jars of the glorious food stuff out of our quantities. Okay, the house stank of vinegar for a couple of days afterwards but it feels great to make lovely things out of your own produce, and it will make money for the association on one hand and make Andrew happy on the other (me? ~ I happy to make money for the allotments, not so overjoyed with a stinky house and hubby ;) )
Just have to prettify (is that a word?) the jars with material over the lids tied with twine and they're ready to go. The chutney is the most beautiful deep red/purple colour and Andrew's labels look great, well done us!
Give it a go! Lovely pressie for a loved one, or for yourself x
Monday, 27 July 2009
Firstly Gary's plot was all strimmed down and then mown for him by Bobby, Doug and Andrew. It was hard work and took a couple of hours for the 3 of them but they didn't complain and threw themselves into the task. The sun was blazing on them as well and it was tiring just to look at them. I didn't help because the grass was over my knee height and in flower, my hay fever was bad enough over on my own plots with all that pollen flying around! Through my hay fever meds are a godsend to be fair, sometimes they are just pushed to the limit, hahaha. Hopefully Gary won't find the sight of his plot too heart wrenching now when he gets back, his work has been sending him off to Scotland recently.
Then there was the happy news that we have more preserves being made by Ronnie and Bill's lovely wife and set aside for our stall on the fun day. Andrew and I spent hours making chutney on Friday night (I'll tell you about it tomorrow), so we know only too well how much effort goes into producing stuff and then there is the added knowledge that it isn't all for you to eat!!!
We were given lots of unwanted pavers on Sunday for free for the second plot. They're great quality and a good size but I'll leave that for another day too.
Lastly I was given the most beautiful bouquet of sweet peas, completely out of the blue by Donald. How nice was that?!!! Take note my love, another man giving me flowers! Donald's sweet peas are fabulous, so many colours and the plants are huge, tall and heavy with flowers; after I was given that delicious smelling bunch I was spurred on to gave my much smaller and less productive plants a good feed ;)
My depression was horrendous over the weekend, it helped being down at the lotties on Saturday and keeping myself very busy. I worked so hard and you probably wouldn't even notice ~ don't you just hate that! But Sunday I couldn't even go at all. I sat all dressed to go but couldn't leave the house. How can I hurt so much when there is no wound to heal?
Today is another BAD day so I'm off now to try and calm down on the sofa. Been depressed and uber panicky since I woke up and shaking even with a good dose of meds. Taken a little extra and hoping for peace soon, I find this all very distressing and frightening. I'm tired.
It's a lovely day outside and Maggie is sunning herself on the bench in the back garden; she's such a cutie.
Thank you all for the continued support and kind encouraging words x
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Insects; fascinating up close.
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Below is the view looking back to the entrance/cafe, check out those artichokes.
On the right it the gate into the main gardens which you can see at the very edge of the 1st pic.
Inside this is a magical place of 'rooms' as proper landscape designers call them. But immediently to the right was the most glorious old greenhouse with peaches growing away merrily and just out of reach - darn it! On the outside of this long building was a huge line of lavender-like flowers ('nepetias', I am told by my hubby here) full to bursting with bees. This gave us the idea to grow loads of lavender on our plot, something I'll write about soon.
You can see some beautiful trained beech trees on the left here, they were a big feature around the gardens except at the very back wall (in the distance in this 2nd photo) which was totally covered in many different types of apple. Just lovely, though again there was a sign forbidding you to eat any ~ double darn it!
Well, we'll be back to see the progress as a good lot of the main walled gardens is pretty young and it will be nice to watch it mature.
Monday, 13 July 2009
It was pretty stinky today down there, windy and some heavy rain and damn cold. It feels like February here a lot of the time, I truly find it difficult to believe this is JULY. Andrew is off for a few days for the 12th July national holiday and then he has taken a couple extra, so I have him all to myself for a whole week! Tomorrow we are going to try to go out for the day, away from the the Lottie, the house and Carrick altogether.
Along with the usual gardening work and planning we have had our heads turned with the organisation of the family fun day in August. I've been planting lots of seeds for the kids to pot up and have their own mini-lotties, thinking about games, begging folk to make jam/chutney/pickles and donate produce for the day and doing some photography and framing for the Allotment Association stall too. Lots to think about!
(My preserves group isn't really getting off the ground, so many people have plans to do things like that in the years to come but their plots and the plants thereon aren't mature enough yet. There just aren't enough fruits and extra veggies there to use. But it is something I'll keep working towards.)
August just isn't going down as the best time of year for this open day, most people would prefer spring and autumn events when things are a bit more exciting on the plots. However the Fun day is us taking part in National Allotment Week so it does make sense. However, who knows, maybe we could have more fun days throughout the year, I think it would be lovely to celebrate our work together and get to know eachother better. We are the largest Allotments in the island of Ireland and we have grown in such a short time!
Andrew is off to the Lottie again to continue his work in the shed ~ we have a great working bench in it now and extra storage. I still doubt that you could swing a cat but it does seem larger inside. I'm waiting for another panic to go away and am typing frantically to keep myself occupied but hopefully I'll get a nap in soon, it's terrible taking all this medication but I'd pull my hair out if I didn't (literally). Some days the Ecotherapy thing just isn't right for you, pity, it isn't a panacea.
Don't forget tomorrow (14th July) is the last day for entries into Matron's Worldwide Veggie Show 2009.
Friday, 10 July 2009
He is feeling the pressure of the fun day (he's on the sub committee for sales and children's education) but he finds his own way of dealing with the stress....unusual maybe, but it works for him.
looks like a bald hedgehog to me.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
That broccoli head is massive, the photo doesn't really show that.
Friday, 3 July 2009
I'm rather proud of this plot, it's where our early potatoes (2 varieties though you can only see one here), our leeks (which look great), squashes and a celeriac bed are. It's the first time we've grown celeriac and so far things are looking good, fingers crossed. Plus, of course, it is where my flower border is and it's filling up nicely and the massive blue container where there are loads of carrot seedling emerging. In fact I think I'll do a big collage of all the different blooms, as they are looking fab at the moment and post it on Monday.
So I have spent some time trying to get sleepy by making a collage of my new white rose and how it blossomed over the past couple of weeks. I really wish I could remember the name of it. Is it Arctic something?? Oh my brain is so tired my body just won't let me switch off. Wouldn't it be great if you could just unplug yourself for a few hours every night? xx
Sweet dreams everyone else
This ought to have been the last photo in the collage series but I was obviously too sleepy, ooops. I had to chop off it's head last night but it was great watching it and there is another one now on about stage 4. Plus a climbing rose we bought a long time ago has really begun to flourish, there are lots of buds on it and this absolute beauty was waiting for me yesterday. It's called 'Queen Elizabeth' and god bless her! We're growing it up the old front gates, how lovely that the first one should open right on the gate's handle - picture perfect.