Friday 29 April 2011

Photos galore from a happy weekend

I was happy last weekend on my plots and so if you will indulge me, I should like very much to bombard you with photographs. This is my diary, I want, no I need to remember that there are times when I can feel good; full of vigour and a desire to work hard, my hands in the soil, the sun on  my back and the sweat slight persperation (I am a lady after all) running down my skin.

Okay thinking back it wasn't perfect as I did have a terrible panic attack on Sunday and couldn't talk to a soul. I had music blaring in my ears and it all ended in tears but, BUT, I am glad, oh so glad that I was there, that worked so hard and with my Love, we changed those previously terrifying areas into managable places, nice places, productive places ..... :)


 The scary area on 14b that HAD to be tackled whether we were ready or not - luckily we were ready :) !!

Okay, the difference between boys and girls...
The boys have a good chat about everything, us girls, get on with it, hahaha. Whilst Andrew catch up on the gossip - we had the Gardener's Questiontime Radio show in Carrick last week. But I had work to do and currant plants to save from the weeds ;) I have no idea the number of trugs it took me - but my arms are feeling toned!

The plastic was breaking down so A. was taking the greenhouse apart - I thought this would be a good place to keep him, keep him out of mischief, ahaha

 A frog! yay, I love frogs. I have left lots of long grass by the compost bins for them to stay nestled in and stuffed lots of grass cuttings under the shed again - got to try and look after our allies in the gardening world.

 Left over carpet from Mamma G's house being put to good use covering over a weedy patch and also giving us a nice clear place to work and for Andrew to nap. Like our crossed forks? - that was an accident but hey - that could be part of our coat of arms - eh?? (I'm all Royal Wedding fevered today, hahaha)

Look at that - compared to the first photo - this is simply heavenly. The messy bit will be tackled soon, that's our pumpkin patch :)


 Again, trying to look after my buggy friends..
 Concrentrating on the silly and fun details now - pretty-ing up the shed with flowers

 pretty :)

Green and blossoms and Maggie = happiness

Wednesday 27 April 2011

slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails

I have an issue. I am writing about it here in the hopes that I shall learn that I am not a freak and that in fact other sane people feel the same way about this..

I hate slugs. I mean I HATE BLASTED SLUGS!!! They are evil and should only eat stuff I don't like and then die a happy death with food in their mouths as a beautiful little birdie swallows them whole. There glad we got that out in the open.

When I see a slug on my rounds (patrols) of the lottie I get a little touch maddened and tend to pick him up and fling him as far as I can way into the hedgerow (or to be perfectly honest, sometimes into someone else's plot - yes shame on me, but the anger takes over and I just lose it).

Here is a particularly nasty fellow - even looking at this photo makes me want to chuck something.....

Now snails also come under the banner of 'the enemy', for what is a snail but a slug with a house. But here is where the issue lies....I can't hate a snail as much as I hate a slug.

Is it precisely because of the house on their backs that I like them a little more - am I elitist?? Do I see the snail as more worthy of being left alone merely because it has a shell??? Somewhere deep down do I see the snail as more advanced than the slug and worry for it's ability to pay those mortgage direct debits??? I fear I do. Oh, lordy I never thought of myself as a snob but when I see a snail I think - 'oh you shouldn't be here eating my food; I think I'll just move you carefully over here anyway from my plot' and I carry the damned thing to the hedgerow. What is all that about?? I mean look at it - it's hardy gorgeous under that shell!

Does anyone out there the same? or the question should probably be: Is anyone out there willing to admit they feel the same?

Oh yeah, and puppy dog's tails was just because of the nursery rhyme - here's Maggie's tail though...

Tomorrow we shall do a major catch up (with photos) on the miracles we have worked on our plots :) I have the text started and the photos uploaded at least!

Monday 25 April 2011

Gone AWOL - Arduously Working On (the) Lotties

Saturday saw the arrival of a little package filled with lottie based happiness. It was the conformation that our next year of rent had been received and we got the now traditional little gifts from the council to go with the 'paid with compliments' note. This year we got Cauliflowers (some seeds have already been planted!) , Courgettes (yuck!), Salsify, Sweetcorn and 2 keys Eden Allotment key rings :) Thoughtful of them to send us 2 as we've joint lottie holders. Though I do wish I could open mine up and put a picture of Maggie in on one side - she owns the plots too and she's darned cute to boot. We were super happy.

So since then we have been at the plots whipping them into shape. There wasn't any St George's Market for Cherry Blossom Tattoo this Sunday so we have had 2 full days at it and boy, I must say I ache all over but am very proud of the work we have done. 6 large trugs full of weeds and grass cuttings yesterday afternoon alone!

 The 2 plots have been completely hand weeded for the most part, all grass cut round the edges of every bed by hand (my hands that is), a fence lifted and moved, beds edged in slate, new pretty flowers for some colourful fun planted, and loads of seeds planted both in situ and in modules!!! Oh and one large portion of 14b carpeted :)

Photos have naturally been taken and will be posted later. Just a wee update for now - enjoy the holiday xx

Thursday 21 April 2011

From the heart

I've been thinking about writing this post all day. And now I've got here and the words won't come. Oh I could talk a load of nonsense and spin a great yarn - I'm from Ireland for goodness sake. But I don't want to do that, I have to write from the heart, like I always do.

So what's the problem? Well, I've been excited about telling you all about last night because last night I felt good and I was at the allotment and that made me feel even better. So = what this blog is all about, right?! Yeah, but today is a different story, I thought I was doing okay, I'd only had one panic attack and it was 4pm but then as I was getting out of the shower and coming here to write to you, I took another one, to be honest I am in it right now.

I am scared, my nose is itchy with those tears that want to come, I am biting my lip, I can't breathe well, I daren't be seen by anyone as I am ashamed and I want to cry and scream but by god I will not let myself cause I am going to write my way out of this (with meds).

So let's get comfy, open that chest and remember that this is going to pass. How are you feeling right now? Okay I hope, breathing deeply........... I need a minute. Sorry, a flurry of activity from the builders packing up for the day, I couldn't bare the noise, last straw

Last night then and I am calmer now.

I picked an area, I got stuck in and I kept my head down. I worked hard, felt muscles working that had been on holiday for a while and got a cold bum; my jeans were low, the t-shirt riding up as I was working on my hunkers. Yes two boys were watching my bum in all it's glory - let's get the shame out there and disperse it. Here is my corner of the plot before and after ~

Yep, the hayfever season is certainly starting and though I haven't taken any tablets yet I really should have because I am sitting here sneezy and with little hives on my arm, and itchy face oh and that horrible itchy roof of the month thing too. Plus is it just me or have the slugs in your area being taken steroids or something - they're HUGE! Lucky I was in a good mood and just flung them as hard as I could over to the hedgerow, I can not bare to squish a slug.

My super duper tiny alpines are coming out look - wow what a scary giant man! :)
The air was lovely there last night, the plots got quieter once the kids (and their parents!) went home and I saw a lottie friend for the first time in ages - so it was all good. I didn't panic once even when 2 new people arrived and were talking to Andrew; even when Andrew dandered off to see someone's fruit cage (the talk of the field) and I was left alone. I was okay :) I even would go as far as to say, I was feeling GOOD :)

So many seedlings, blossoms, new growth and freshly weeded beds. The smell of water on the soil as new seeds were planted and hope was born  - best wishes little Parsnip seeds 'Gladiator', little Celeriac seeds 'Prague Giant' (again) and Purple Sprouting Broccoli (I hope we get to eat you next year, the few paltry pieces we shared this year after the pigeons did their work has made me want you even more!!!)

So over all, it's looking like a plot again, all those other 8 lavenders died that where in the bed-end planting pockets; it was the frost. The other plot is a little behind but by gum we'll get there! (I never actually say 'by gum' but I do write it, odd...)

Anyway that is enough for one or maybe even two days. I'm not going tonight, I've already decided I just can't afford to rock the boat. Last night and the big hugs and twirls and falling on the grass in Andrew's arms (because he was so proud of me), are moments I want to savour in my heart and I feel if I went tonight it wouldn't end so well. So yoga for me in the house - kicking Andrew out to plant more delicious food :)

And just to rub it in I have been having the breakfast of Champions the past 2 days ~ unsweetened Swiss Style Muesli with home made Rhubarb and Stem Ginger Compote!!!

Hugs + thanks for helping through the panic  xx

Wednesday 20 April 2011

A moments silence... ;)

It is a sad and terrible thing when one loses a plant but to lose a whole tray of healthy baby Celeriac - well that's just plain carelessness... (with apologies to Mr Wilde).

On Monday evening we took down a lovely and I mean beautiful tray of celeriac seedlings to put them in the cold frame. They had been on a lovely sunny window sill in the spare room/dump room and were looking fab. Mr Gault here thought it was time for them to be hardened off.

Last night I learnt they had ALL died. It had been too warm and they all fried. A painful way to go I should imagine. I wonder what their past thoughts were...I like to think it was 'WHY?? daddy Andrew, WHY???' croak. *looking at the hubby with one of 'those' looks* hahaha.

Even more painfully I didn't manage to get a photo of them, or at least I thought I had but I can't find it. Oh dear, it seems we are both rather bad parents, tisk tisk. Off to drown my sorrows in a good old fashioned wake for the seedlings - any excuse for a wee glass of red wine - yummmmmmmy. Ooops, sorry, I'm meant to be sad *clears throat*.

By the way I was at the lottie tonight and it was nice and I took photos and what not and felt better - good old Ecotherapy. I shall write tomorrow xx

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Blossoms and panic

Andrew and I had a fabulous few days in Co Kerry there, down on Valentia Island. Okay the 6.5 hrs in the car was a little much but the island and meeting up with my lovely friend Rosemary made up for it all. I can honestly say that I felt well there for a whole day and a morning, smiling, laughing, taking photos once again, eating amazing food and just being me with people I love.

As usual though with every high there is a low and now I am going through one of thoser periods. Much is to do with tiredness but then lots is to do with being mentally ill (which I often over look and deny).

We went to the alllotment last night after dinner, yes people have indeed commented on how our usually neat and tidy plot looks a little like a small bomb has hit it. Give us a break, please!! We have a lot on these days with the house, garden, the Market on Sundays [have you checked out Cherry Blossom Tattoo?? - I am cheeky]. We took down some very happy celeriac seedlings that had grown up strong in no time and put them in the cold frame and got to work cutting the grass and weeding like mad people ( just manically fast not foaming at the mouth or anything, lol).

Well here are some photos that ought to cheer the most low of  us all - new life, new hope......


and Maggie :)

Lavendar to help calm me down
I had a big panic attack whilst there, which breaks my heart. It took me a few mintues to get out of the car in the first place and then as soon as I saw a couple of other people coming to water plants etc I just freaked out. I don't know what is worse, the panic attack itself or the feeling of embarassment and stupidity one feels at the same time. Anyhow, I ended up hiding in the shed and then we had to go home. At least this card by Edward Monkton always makes me smile through the tears....

 Ah well the ups and downs. At least I have photos of gorgeous tulips, happy Sweet Williams and the spuds starting to peek through and say 'hello'.



Hope all is well with your little seedlings and your fruit trees are heavy with beautiful flowers too x

Tuesday 12 April 2011

The back garden - an oasis of calm?

Oh lordy I think these builders are really trying to drive me mad and I'll tell you a secret, it's working! I just what to go out there, turn off all their generators and if possible find their own personal volume dials and make them all QUIETEN DOWN!! Arrrghhhhhhhh.

It is a glorious day, a t-shirt day and when you get those in April in N. Ireland it is usually time for a celebration let me tell you! But no, here I am inside trying desperately to hide from the noise and the choking dust (they are doing lots of drilling today and the sky is full of cement/concrete/plaster dust) oh and all the blasted white vans - I swear I think ALL the white vans in the country have descended on to our little road, most of them triple parked outside my front door!

So enough ranting, thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

The last bed was filled with soil on Saturday and the bestest horse manure in the land. Andrew knows a lady from school/work now too, whose family owns stables not too far from here! Oh joy upon joys, we went up and they said we could take as much horse poo as we liked = happiness! (Okay I have to point out I am NOT scatological, well not anymore scatological than any other gardener, hahaha) The heap was huge, taller than me by a good margin and not only warm but positively hot and steamy (oh lord this does sound like a porn post about poo - so wrong on so many levels).

So the bed was filled with the displaced 'soil' from in and around it, poo and lots of multi-purpose compost and lots of ericaceous compost for the planting pockets. Thank goodness for big name budget supermarkets - we got all that compost for a great price ;) We have all the main plants ready to go in AND Andrew just walked in through the door with a lovely looking azalea, the last piece of the puzzle. I have asked him to draw a wee picture for you of what is going where but I have a sneaking suspicion that he might be out there planting them instead, haha.
He is!! Couldn't hold himself back and who can blame him?

So what have we got. Well, the Paper or Canoe Bark Birch 'Betula Papyrifera' went in first. It's only fair as it's been waiting there on the patio in a pot for the longest time. This is one of our favourite variety of tree the bark, for which it is known, is stunning and I look forward to the tree settling in and growing up so we can enjoy it. Maybe one day Andrew will make a canoe from it (as the Native American Indians do) and we can sale away :)

Then the gorgeous Witch Hazel 'Hamamelis × intermedia 'Diane' (red/orange flowers), a 'Blood of China' red Camelia (in bud) and lastly our newest arrival, a rosy/red Azalea 'Nico' (also in bud). I am so excited ~ this really is looking like a real garden!!

The Camelia was a real find, I personally really wanted one as I love the foliage, so glossy and dark throughout the seasons but everywhere we looked they were ridiculously overpriced. That is until Andrew was browsing the internet and saw that the very same big name budget supermarket had a load coming in last Thursday - well he was at the door before they opened to get the best one - hahahaha. I love him and his thrifty ways - it really pays to look around! This specimen was actually on the short list and it's bigger and stronger than any of the ones we saw in the nurseries = SCORE!

And just to finish off this post....most of the builders have all packed up and left - one generator is still going but that's ok, for now. Ahhhhhh and now it has stopped; time for a nap Maggie? I think so too...

Saturday 9 April 2011

An late night trip to the lottie

Just for you guys (cause I love you) I made A and Maggie come with me for a walk up to the Lottie on Wednesday night to see what was going on. Why have I waited until Saturday afternoon to write about it?? Well on Wednesday evening just after we got home Mamma G fell and hurt her ankle and we spent the whole night in A & E, the whole night people, 7 hrs to get an x-ray!!! But at least she is okay - just a very bad sprain.

So my sleeping pattern (bad at the most normal of times) was really messed up and coherent blog writing has seemed too hard. But here I am, better late than never, all fulled up with coffee, sugar, Maggie licks and the sweet smell of horse manure wafting in through the patio windows :)

It literally takes 10 mins house door to shed door and this was the utterly glorious sight that greeted us at our plot - you now all know about my lust for Tulips so as you can imagine this was a happy sight. And even these little baby ones - aren't they adorable??

Look at the Rhubarb plants; they've gone nuts and need to be eaten NOW, not that I am complaining. (But A PLEASE make more compote, I feel that if I write it here maybe you will, your selective hearing in 'real' life seems to filter out my requests, hahahaha.) We had to remove the flower spikes that had formed so as the plant would keep on putting energy into these big bad boy stocks - yummm; but whilst I knew they had to go I really would like to see what a rhubarb flower looks like.

Oh dear look at the weeds! This is my flower bed on 14b (which at the minute says 4o on the sign as lots of the mosaic fell off with the frost, ahaha). After I took the photo A started to weed away, hahaha - his pride got to him but I'm showing the photo anyway, it's all honesty here! And those these look like weeds they are actually our lettuce seedlings - yippeeeee and here are the broad beans - hoorah!!! Finally it feels like Mother Nature is caressing the earth and giving of herself through sunshine, warming the soil, little showers instead of downpours and quiet whisperings to the world to wake up.

The fruit arch is doing so well, I must remember to take a photo of how the trees are starting to meet eachother at the apex. They must be happy; so much growth and lovely fresh green leaves and look at these beautiful pear blossoms and the apple blossoms on the family tree in another part of the plot. (See it was getting dark but I wanted to take photos just for you).


I'll write soon - the garden is looking fab and A is working away on it right now :)

Monday 4 April 2011

I have a secret :D

from the allotments
Happy times in the back garden are to be seen everywhere, apart from the horrendous wind (and the blasted builders and all their noisy activities and beeping machinery) I would have been out there today soaking it in. My little hideout is coming together I can see it and after so many months of plans and redrawn plans on graph paper it finally starting to come to life - eeekkkk!

Yesterday saw one of the most fun bits (for me) in the garden ~ planting bulbs. I LOVE bulbs. They hide under the soil waiting, just patiently waiting for the time when you feel you can't take this desolate winter, barren and sad, any longer and then they slowly emerge. They are organic, living anti-depressants. I defy anyone not to be cheered my the 'host of golden daffodils', the sweet and terribly shy Snowdrop, the bright and cheery Crocus and these....the Tulips.

I LOVE TULIPS. I lust after them and can not wait for the Glenarm Tulip Festival to open again (must check website!!) I am a silly flustered girl around them, all sorts, it matters not. For some reason the tulip gives me goosebumps - there I have said it, the cat is out of the bag - I Carrie am a secret Tulip - aholic.

These are Queen of the Night - ummmmmm. Dark, rich sumptuous purple. There leaves are even heavenly with tinges of red, oh I love them and look - lots of them in  my garden in little clumps of 3. *big happy sigh* And planted with them in the cherry tree bed (oh look at the beautiful greenery opening up on this darling of a tree!!! again my knees go weak) are Alliums 'Purple Sensation'.