Friday 26 August 2011

Missing in Action

Well the title is a little bit of a lie to start with, sorry. I've been Missing in Inaction. I haven't been doing too well at all and that even includes having a lovely birthday and a lovely garden party and getting some commission photography work. I go for life like a sprint when I feel ok, everything done at once and then, because it is meant to be a marathon or lets be more realistic, a nice enjoyable walk, I end up exhausted and out of the journey for days.

Here are some super lovely photos of my Birthday and the birthday party/welcome to our (very nearly) finished garden party.

At the pond with Eimear for a lovely Birthday walk - look enough wishes for everyone and the swans have recovered after the male was killed a couple of years ago :)

 I put the candle in myself, no one else was here!

out for dinner at Wagamamma :)


the party -
 Courgette and lemon cake and balloons with bunting - hurrah :)

 Hanging lanterns and a fire pit to keep us warm - plus some of my favourite people *blush*

But things at the allotment have been ignored, apart from Andrew going up and collecting dinner. I have only seen it once since I last wrote and the experience was a little upsetting as there are weeds everywhere and plants that have gone over and some lovely berries have been eaten by insects and birds. I got a little upset and then angry with myself and we had to leave.
I do have this - my 1st apple from the James Grieve tree... I shall consume it later :)
For most of this week I was going through a nervous breakdown and on Tuesday I felt suicidal. I'm only telling you this because I want to share the fact that a Suicide Prevention website (I don't know which one, I was in a pretty bad state) recommended (amongst other things) getting out into Nature. Ecotherapy saves the day yet again. I pulled some clothes on, grabbed Maggie and went out, luckily I had already spoken to Andrew on the phone and thus remembered to take my keys and take a Valium.

I don't remember much about it apart from the route I took and the panic I felt, the bag I flung over my shoulder had a camera in it (as always) and I managed to take this walking back home -
It made me smile and I think I'll make it my flavicon.
Okay, so the walk didn't exactly make the world seem like a better place and suddenly I wasn't depressed but I did feel a little stronger and a lot more tired = I fought the voice in my head, snuggled up on the sofa  in fresh cosy clothes (not soaking with panic sweat) and give myself the grace I needed. I slept until Andrew came home. It was not the finest day of my life but I made it through.

This Saturday (and if the bloody rain would stop for 5mins, tonight as well) we shall go to the lottie for a while and really try to get it into some shape. The bag of berries Andrew bought home for me at the start of the week give me a wake up call - a spider in a raspberry I was just about to eat, a caterpillar on another and a maggot, oh dear god, a maggot in a blackberry!!!!! = my lottie needs me and I shall answer her call.

***Today I shall hopefully finish the Turkish Delight company's promo photos and then once the owner sees the files I can share with you a little of what I was up to these past days when I was well enough. I swear this stuff looks and smells gorgeous but I do not like it. It's that jelly texture, so at least I haven't been found in a corner rocking and in sweats with a massive sugar overdose and a lifetimes worth of shame. I have eaten a quarter of one piece out of hundreds. Now if a chocolate shop was to ask me to do promo pics, well, I may really have to go AWOL, hahaha.***

Love and hugs to you all, don't listen to those people who say the summer is over - they lie! ;)
And a hearty THANK YOU for all the comments on the previous post, they really helped me feel connected to the world through this latest bad spell xxx

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Hey there, just needed a chat...

It's a bad day, a pretty darn awful one actually. I never really understood Churchill's description of depression being the 'black dog', mine is a black fog (maybe he had terrible handwriting and his f looked like a d ?) I am surrounded by this fog today; too dense to see any future, to dense to really see the present or the past and damn it, it's heavy, oppressive. I'm being mentally buffeted about ~ a little fishing boat being rolled from side to side, up and down, I literally feel seasick and my double vision isn't helping one bit. My fog horn goes unheard, the winds are howling and it's dark, so very dark and cold.

So this ought to be post about the back garden and work we both did over the weekend to try and get it ready for this weekend - my birthday party is planned to be in the garden, but we'll have to see what the weatherman says I guess. It was all pretty boring stuff, I don't think either of us touched a single plant! It was all gravel and wood, and paint but it's really coming to a climax now. Of course it will look much better with balloons and bunting and a glass of wine in hand ;)

The wood here was reclaimed out of a skip, with permission. It fits perfectly and Andrew didn't even cut it :) We're leaving it unstained and letting it weather.

Super clever as he is, this was all in the plans from the start; a wee hidden area where all the bins go and the storage for the patio furniture etc. It will look tidier than this at some point, forgive us, but we are creative types and therefore messy.


Of course Maggie wanted in on the action..
I'm hoping to get to my poor neglected lottie tonight but I have a very lovely man coming over after dinner to drop off loads of Turkish Delight. Odd I know, but I said I would try to do promo photos for him - keep your fingers crossed for me (and David's business). Lucky I don't enjoy Turkish Delight, could you imagine! ha, I'd be taking photos of sticky icing sugar covered fingers and a hamster face of shame.

I must finish this now, the weight on my head and shoulders is too much to bare, I just need sleep but of course I have the builders outside. Do you think I could just tell them all to take a half day and leave me alone? No, I didn't think so...

Thank you to everyone who wrote comments on the last blog and 'Welcome' to some new faces. Flighty and Mo - you are both too kind with your praises xxx

Friday 12 August 2011

Grow Our Own's 3rd Birthday Party

On the 10th of August 2008 I started a little online journal about our relatively, gloriously new Eden Allotment Gardens. We had just had an Allotment Open Day to celebrate and share our joyful first harvest and I wanted to have somewhere to put the photos and my ramblings. I did have a paper scrapbook in which I had tried to write and put newspaper clippings but it was too fiddly. So then I thought (*bing*) I'll try a blog.

Entering into the blog world was hard and lonely, (I didn't know a single person who had a blog) but I was planning to do this only for me, to chronicle the development of our 'little piece of Eden'. When it came to the privacy settings I thought it wouldn't matter if I made it public - who would look at it anyway?

3 years on and much has happened, the allotments are 4 times the size they were for a start! I am still enjoying myself every day that I am well enough to write about my now 2 half plots and my garden. The journey is really on it's way now but I have no wish to arrive at any destination, I am truly enjoying the ride.

So today to celebrate all things Ecotherapy (or as I like to call it Allotmentherapy), to revel in the wonder that is the Blog and the catharsis of writing, to rejoice in the beauty of Nature and her gift of life and to thank my friends and followers, I am having a little party, with gifts xxx

The Inaugural Inspirational Blog Awards
by Carrie

Many people have helped, encouraged and enthused about our journey and I thank them all, you know who you are dear friends of the non-blogging world, of the non-gardening world! xxx

But here are some of the blogs I turn to for inspiration and fun - I hope this little button award will be accepted and placed with pride on their blog pages (it took me bloody forever to make it!) In no particular order......

Carrots and Kids
Canadian Garden Joy (or GardenJoy4Me as I know it)
A Small Holding
Down on the Allotment
Elephant's Eye
Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments
Two Chances Veg Plot
Flighty's Plot
Allot Of Veg
Here is your award....... tell me it's lovely ;)

{Please copy and paste the html I'll send to you if you want to accept it, put into your sidebar html place - hahaha, so technical aren't I.}

Ah, now the music is starting up and the show is almost over. I love you all!  It's MY party and I'll cry if I want too. Cheers and here's to more seed planting and good eating and most of all sharing the ups and downs x

P.S. I just ate the best Runner Beans with dinner ;)

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Almost there :)

The back garden is almost coming to its climax; it is very exciting indeed. Unfortunately the rain has called off play today and I can't get out there with paint brushes in hand to get that wood stained and those walls all whitened, ggrrr. I am all ready to go (in my mind) and wish I had more arms. We are got a delivery of gravel today and that will really make it look special.

These photos are from Saturday - the weed suppressing membrane going down and look, that bad weather was already coming in. A little to the left it was dark ominous grey, a little more to the right of the photo was totally blue!

I have literally been asleep since Monday, I mean 24 hrs a day Monday and Tuesday, being woken up only to eat and go to the toilet. I took up the offer of a permanent stall at St George's Market Belfast on Sundays to sell my photography. So the good weather that was supposedly delightful yesterday passed me by....

But this is today and I am so excited to share these photos with you -

A little nook for the bins and the storage unit which has the patio furniture and hammock and lawn mower in it.
Andrew getting that gravel down - he was so excited :)


The inside of the cube is stained but I need, need to do the outside so badly I am almost in pain, haha. It's rather stupid though to paint in the rain. So instead here is a close up of some stunning purple Valentia slate and an old quern stone which we have as our stepping stones, marking the transition from the outer garden to the inner garden in the traditional Japanese tea garden style :)

Friday 5 August 2011

Another catch up, this time, it's 14b

I have tried to write this post a few times now and the words just haven't been flowing. I know I'm not well yet again today but there is also a funny block when it comes to writing about this plot and I have only just realised that. It's so stupid, but then again so much about having mental health problems can feel stupid, so it's also very real. Plot 14b is still new to me (though we acquired it in May 2009), it's more open and I feel exposed, naked and a bit uncomfortable over there even though it's where my beautiful flower bed is. There isn't a proper wind break border between us and our neighbours or anywhere to hide, like under the pergola, in the shed or under the fruit arch as there is on 24a.

14b is right by good old 24a at a diagonal - here is a fabulous drawing by me to help you visualise. I drew this with my tongue sticking out so you know it's good, lol. Oh look, a ruler, now why didn't I use that and do it all to scale? Answer: I'm a free form artist, Andrew is the scientific one in this house.

Click to enlarge. I feel it is  now wonderfully clear, hahahaha

Anyway here's a little update as to what is going on. I didn't spend much time there for reasons I have explained but boy, it is productive and quite beautiful, if I may say so myself :)

These are our Purple Podded Peas send so kindly by Celia of..Purple Podded Peas :)
We haven't really got stuck in to them yet as the other peas are finishing up now and we don't want to waste anything but I reckon this weekend will be a PPP festival in the mouth :) Aren't the flowers that they have utterly gorgeous?? They remind me of the Sweet pea, 'Cupanii' that's my favourite but we forgot to plant this year.
 This is my flower bed - I am rather proud of this and it has supplied me with beautiful fragrant flowers in the house AND the bees and butterflies love them especially these -yellow Elecampane. This plant came up from Co. Kerry from my best friend Rosie - look at it now Rosie! (indulge me these photos Matron)
 Of course along with the flowers there are many other edible food stuffs. But ah haa - this allows me to throw in another flowery photo; the runner beans and climbing beans are there in the background scrambling up the home made wig-wams. The Runner Beans are lovely, not too long but oh so sweet and tender at the moment, the climbing beans are a little lackadaisical.  PLEASE ignore the weeds in this other bed, oh lord, the weeds are taking over in that plot . Here are our gorgeous Beetroot and Sorrel, we've been enjoying these so much, plus the Carrots and Parsnips which won't be ready for a while yet. This last photo is the Jerusalem Artichokes at the back of the plot - these make me happy as I love them and they are growing like crazy  beside 'The Trinty' of compost bins :)

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Catching up with 24a :)

Okay, okay, so it's been a while since I did a full post on one of our half plots. I guess to be honest, it's been a while since we spent the day at the allotments as the back garden is just too exciting and all we need do at the allotments is keep on top of the grass and millions, zillions of weeds everywhere (a very thankless task, eh?)

So here we go, you ready?..... First off look at our garlic drying! Oh my lordy lord above, is that not a glorious sight to behold? They are firm and I know they're really tasty because we have been eating some 'in the green' until now. They were 'Solent Wight' but I guess by now with 3 years of careful selection of the best ones each season to replant, they are Gaults :) 'Gaults' Wight', hahaha. I remember hearing somewhere that after a while the garlic in your plot will adapt to the conditions of your soil and the climate etc and through natural selection (well gardener selection) the best ones go on to reproduce and effectively they are your own strain. Is that fabulous, or is that fabulous?! I love learning things like that. So 'Gaults' Wight' are now available for say... £1thousand per bulb ;p

Then beside the bench is the 'area of shame' which I am not showing you. It shall be dealt with in the Autumn but suffice to say it is embarrassing as the day is long. Let us move on.

Ah, the celeriac and the leeks - looking good if I may say so myself. Andrew was watering them with what I like to term 'stinky juice', which is our own organic fertiliser. Yep, this stuff totally burns the nostril hairs and makes one want to vomit but hey, the plants love it. All it is is nettles and man pee left in a big container to ferment and mature. If you try this at home comfry is also excellent, as is seaweed but be warned - it isn't called 'stinky juice' for nothing, get it on your clothes or skin and you will smell BAD for days.

This is one of my favourite things to do - hunt for treasure. I was accepted at University to do Archaeology but unlike Andrew I just haven't the patience. This is as close as I am allowed to get to the noble work of digging stuff up. It is just like finding treasure though, isn't it? And of course, as with every year, it reminds me of that really joyous memory I have of my Papa and I doing this in his back garden - I was so young and mystified by the whole thing.

I won't show you are 'family' apple tree as pride comes before a fall and I am so proud of the tree this year! The blackcurrant plant on 24a finally gave up her goodies but we have seen so many blackcurrants that to force another bumper crop photo on you would be tantamount to torture. So on to the fruit arch; oh how it has grown, all those tiny saplings are now up to the very top of the arch and even crossing over. I could not be happier. Only a few fruit on each of the trees (2 pears, 2 plums and 2 apples) but the plants are doing good and that is great :)

Lastly, 2 more Autumn Raspberries - I hope I get them before Andrew again, hahaha. Or those pesky birds!

Writing this has cheered me up - I have had the worst couple of days, barely able to talk or think straight, so thanks for being there to talk to xxx