Friday 28 October 2011

An Apology

Dear Readers,

I am so sorry I have not been writing this past week. I have the ear/throat infection from the depths of Hades and I am miserable. The medication has me in asleep one minute, in a dazed stupor the next and when it is running out I am in a lot of pain and feverish. I ache all over, even my eyes! Woe, dear friends, is me.

The sun has been out yesterday and today and the weekend is just there, waiting, merely hours away and I am too sore to even have a shower and get dressed. Plus I can't go outside anyway, I am meant to be 'enjoying' complete rest and I can't blasted well talk! (I would weep but it would hurt too much *shakes head sadly*)

Hoping you are well and happy. Get out there and enjoy the Autumn sun, it's such a beautiful rich tone - perfect for photography (again I weep) and get started into that soil; digging it over and getting it conditioned. Seaweed if you can get hold of it and lots of lovely horse/cow poo :)

Sending you love (but not hugs or kisses in case you catch this!)
Carrie xxxx

Friday 21 October 2011

Pumpkin vs Squash

The issue of Squashes and Pumpkins and which is what causes problems in the otherwise heavenly, perfect marriage of the Gaults. I get it wrong all the time and Andrew is, quite frankly, fed up and worse than that - he is now confused. As we all know Andrew does know his stuff, I am the mere student, so when I annoy him so much that he gets confuddled you know it's bad!

So in an attempt to recreate the harmony in the household I have looked up a few references to discover what the big mystery is..........

What I am so happy to tell you, is I am not alone!! The two are constantly being confused (yay!) due to the fact that 'the two terms have no exact botanical defination' (1). Happy me. Both they and the Gourd are members of the 'Cucurbita' family, the tricky bit comes from the existence of subgroups called pepo, maxima and moschata and differences in the stems.

Cucurbita Pepo
This my friends is the true Halloween scary Pumpkin. A real 'true' Pumpkin. They have hard orange skin that's great for carving and woody deeply ribbed stems. Confusingly this subgroup also includes some marrows, squashes, gourds and courgettes but lets not complicate things.

Cucurbita Maxima
This species 'also contains varieties that produce pumpkin-like fruit but the skin is usually more yellow than orange and the stems are soft and spongy or corky, without ridges and without an enlargement next to the fruit'. Hahaa - I maybe going mad but there are also known varieties in this group that are listed as Pumpkins but aren't really.

Cucurbita Moschata
Now thankfully these ones are easier to identify as they are generally speaking, oblong in shape and less orangy, more tan coloured, think Butternut Squash. 'The stems are deeply ridged and enlarged next to the fruit' in this case. But can you believe it - in your cans of  'Pumpkin' you will be shocked and feel cheated to learn that you are actually buying a 'moschata'. Oh for shame!!!
(Though if you are buying canned Pumpkin then I think you deserve a lie - grow your own!)

This is cute ~ 'Generally speaking a pumpkin is something you carve, a squash is something you cook and a gourd is something you look at'.

*Most of this info and quotes have come from a fabulous website called Aggie Horticulture - thank you
*The first quote comes from Vegetable Expert

Hugs - I'm off to look at Pinterest for interesting Pumpkin carvings - you can check out what I find here

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Apples and things to do with them :)

All these gorgeous photographs and recipe ideas can be found on my Pinterest mood board 'Allotment food and drink'. They are not my own, I really must stress but belong to other blogs.

To find out more about any of them you just click on the photograph, the link embedded within it will lead you to the source page! But for now, just enjoy and imagine what you can do with your apple harvest. Yum

Not much happening on the lottie these days - so sorry. The weather is just awful, so miserable! But we are still eating gorgeous squashes so that cheers the soul. Next time I'll show you some inspirational squash recipes (I do like the sound of the one above - squash and apple, looks gorgeous!)


Wednesday 12 October 2011

Hey, only me :)

I feel bad, I haven't been writing much these last days, but then again I haven't had much to say, so...

Happy (belated) World Mental Health Day! (it was on Monday). I hope you are all well and are with me in fighting the stigma of having a mental health illness - there is NOTHING to be ashamed about and we ought to talk about it as openly as say a broken arm. 1 in 4 of us will experience some poor mental health in our lives, it doesn't discriminate, oh no, it cares not what age you are, your social status, your intelligence or believes. Please, if you are experiencing problems or know someone who is - talk about it!

Rant over :)

And incidentally that is why I haven't been blogging - I had a nervous breakdown last week and I still haven't recovered. I am a bloody stubborn girl though and am fighting my way back to some semblance of 'normality', but not with out a lot of support and understanding from my loved ones.

The weather here has been a reflection of my inner turmoil ~ dull, grey, heavy and raining lots. So nothing has been achieved at the plots at all and quite frankly it's all a bit miserable. But on Sunday Andrew did go over and collected all this goodness!! He made a damn fine soup out of it all and it was healing and restorative, not least because we had that wonderful glow inside us that we grew all this!! Isn't it fabulous - garlic, rainbow chard, potato, celeriac, kale of various types, leek, borlotti beans and some of an utterly delicious, sweet pumpkin (Crown Prince). I can genuinely say there was no anti-bacterial cleaner in it though!! Sometimes photos do lie, hahah.

I have heard that it is also National Egg Week and National Chocolate Week - so if ever you needed an excuse, I think we all ought to be eating lots of chocolate sponge cake - you know, to support the cause ;)

This last photo just goes to show how close I have managed to get to any gardening since my breakdown. You have to laugh! This is a pincushion for wearing around the wrist and was made by your truly, especially for one of my bestest friends. Please do contact me if you would like one, hahaha!

Hopefully I shall speak soon xxxxx

Thursday 6 October 2011

Squished and Squashes

Tuesday night - you are so glad you weren't in my house, I had a breakdown. Uncontrollable crying for around an hour and desperate bashing of the noggin with my fist. It could not have been a pretty sight.

Wednesday - managed to get up and onto the sofa. Spent the day unable to speak or walk, think or type, read or listen. I was trapped, squished if you will,  inside a body I couldn't work with and a mind that kept telling me it was time to go. I guess you could say I was in a pretty bad way.

Today - slowly, I managed to get up, feed myself and do some housework :) Then I had a shower and did more housework :) My fingers were able to type the words that my mouth is still struggling so hard to say but at least I can express myself,  plus I did more housework :) I feel better than yesterday and this migraine is a walk in the park :) Plus the house is cleaner - yay go me!! Housewife of the week award.

Knock me down 7 times and watch me as I get up 8 times!

Look what is outside my patio doors  - isn't that a happy sight? This morning it made me smile inside, my face was frozen so you wouldn't have noticed but I was happy. Then this afternoon after all that rain it still made me smile - this time my mouth moved and I am feeling much more human :) Plus in that bed my dearest hubby has planted bulbs - those harbingers of hope!!!

We have snowdrops, crocuses and new to me - Summer Snowdrops!
"What!" you say.
"I know!" says I in return, "snowdrops in summer - yay!"

Pumpkins! (what a wonderful word, I may start using it as a curse word, I use those a lot these days) - okay 1 was stolen but look at all these babies and there are about 3 or 4 more :) I wish I had of drawn on at least one earlier in the year as a commenter mentioned 2 posts ago - genius. Just think, there could be a pumpkin out there smiling back at me, or sticking it's tongue out at me; I LOVE that idea - remind me next year!
Oh and seeds in the post from a lovely friend, Ann. She is very artistic and drew these beautiful floral packages herself! I am seriously impressed. Floral carpet seed bombing shall happen my friends - I will make this place glorious (we live just outside the limits of Eden Village- but we shall have many a bloom!)

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Have you seen this dog??

***Responds to the name MAGGIE (the wonder dog)

*** Last seen sleeping on her very own 2 seater sofa on her cosy blankie, quite like the photo above but with out the jumper on

***Cheeky little scamp who uses those big eyes to get what she whats (from everyone but me, I am savvy to her ways)

*** Has a love for biscuits, sausages, bran flakes, pretzels, cheese and fine red wine

***Loves to go for a toot toot, trip to the beach or to see her granny

***Apologises to no one for giving in to her need for loving and tickles (but then no one should)

*** Loves to make herself smell interesting by rolling in, well, crap :)

*** Desperately friendly - will cry at other dogs until they relent and let her sniff their bum

*** Hair is a little messy at the moment as she needs a good clipping though legs have been trimmed = looks fat but isn't!