Tuesday 27 March 2012

Some pretty photos, just because it's lovely today

These have been taken over the weekend and I think one of two were supposed to be blogged last week after the St Paddy's post but I forgot - oops. Please do enjoy......

one of the outbuildings up at Gleno (farmers shop/hardware shop/ grocery shop)

Purple Sprouting Broccoli - yay (this was gobbled up)
 Sunday and Sunday

Plum Blossom (fingers crossed for a  harvest this year)

happy two tone daff

rhubarb forcing it's way out of the forcer (so to speak)

more happiness, in purple :)
I'm in love with this guy

My bouquet of double daffs and purple tulips - patio doors open, chairs out = bliss
part of our back garden in the sunshine :)

Friday 23 March 2012

St Patrick and Rhubarb

Did that title grab your attention? Did you think that I was going to tell you all about my new an exciting research into the link between St Paddy and rhubarb? Well, I'm not - I don't know if there's a link, I don't care - the whole St Paddy's Day thing grates on me; why does everyone think they are Irish for that one day and then use it as an excuse to get rat a*sed?

Okay, shame on me, *hangs head*,I have neglected you but I didn't mean too; I shall explain. On St Patrick's Day (last Saturday) the sun was a-shining and Andrew and I were pepped up and ready to go (after 2 coffees) and worked hard at the Lottie. Maybe a little too hard, looking back on it, especially when I had a full day at the craft Market on Sunday. So I have been in break down mode since Monday and thus my fingers and brain haven't been communicating very well - hence no blog post until now. I shall make up for it!!

So Saturday, no we did not wear green, sing Danny Boy and paint our faces (though we did have a beer whilst working but we do that sometimes anyway and I am North Irish so I am allowed - don't judge me!!!) No, we did something much more traditional - we planted our Spuds :) Now that is what you really ought to be doing on St Paddy's, now you know.
We're growing Estima and Sharpe's Express this year. Here they are before we took them to the plot - basking in the sunshine, doing their very last bit of chitting before planting time. I do have a thing for potatoes - it's that whole put 1 in the ground and wait a while and then dug out 8 that look just like the one you put in - it's the first potent encounter I ever had with magic and it reminds me of a slightly sepia coloured memory of my Papa and I in his back garden, gathering food for dinner....
Sharpe's Express

Here they go into the ground. This happened over the period of the afternoon as Andrew went away a few times to get things, such as horse poo and beer and ice lollies - all at different times ;) Here on the right you can see the beverages.

But here is the good sh*t!!! Hahaha - beautiful, non smelly horse poo from a fabulous source for free - hoorah. I love free stuff and it is full of worms, which is something our plots severely lack I am sad to say. You can see some of the poo in the spud trench too, I've just noticed that in the photo. But here's a great big boot load of the stuff to feast your eyes upon.....

I was able to buy some fence paint and new brushes (yay for my pincushions selling! - made me feel good to buy it myself) and got painting the shed. It is looking great already, though I have more to do around the back and a second coat on the door and all the trellis and 3 benches! Eeek, but I do love the finished look. I hope it's really obvious that this is the 'before' photo.

So onto the rhurbarb. I love that word, rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb...I think I may have to get a pet of some sort so I can say it out loud in public with glee. Here is the 14b plant which had pushed the lid off the forcer :) We still have to make some more delicious rhubarb and ginger compote with it (2nd batch), this time Andrew says he may add some of the Raspberries from the freezer to it as well - ummmmm, tasty.

I'm going to leave you now with more photos of rhubarby goodness. I have more lovely photos to sure of around our plots, new life brusting into life all around and it's wonderful. I show you them next time, for now - it's dinner.

Friday 16 March 2012

A walk

Yesterday morning I took Maggie for a spur of the moment walk. It was one of those instances where one is finishing breakfast and just makes a decision, a definite decision that something is to be done and off you go and do it.

We went up to the lottie. I have no photos to share with you, I didn't bother taking my camera. But we were there, I promise, I took a picture with my phone and posted it on Facebook for proof! We sat on the bench without another soul in our field and we just listened to the many birds and watched the clouds roll slowly above our heads. Maggie ate a biscuit (I think it was probably her highlight!), I smiled at our guerrilla planted daffodils swaying in the breeze up at the boundary hedge.

I walked around 24a whist she continued to tackle the beast (a biscuit for large dogs, broken in half - ooops, okay it was my fault, I didn't read the label) and felt a little bit of joy enter my heart at all the buds and bright green shoots appearing. For a moment is was just me, Maggie, nature and my breath.

Then we went home.

Completely unremarkable you may say and indeed last night I would have agreed with you. But it was remarkable; almost amazing. It was the first time I have done such a thing alone this year after one of the worst nervous breakdowns ever, which had started in September and worsened continuously over Christmas and New Year and through a terrible February. Yesterday, for a few minutes, Nature showed me why I am alive, why we are all alive - to enjoy her splendour, to revel in the seasons and the optimism that Spring brings.

It was a remarkable event because life is remarkable and for a change, for a few little minutes, I understood that.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Dandelions and Daffodils

Hello my pretties, long time no talk to!
We have much to catch up on and the sun has just come out, Maggie has just gotten settled on her sofa and I have my cosy blankie....

I think owning an Allotment at this time of year can feel a little like a punishment, there I said it. I fear too many people are on the band waggon of 'grow your own and isn't everything wonderful', well no, let's be frank (whoever he is) and just look at the reality of the whole thing...it's mucky, it's brown everywhere, your hands are cold and cracked, your back aches, Andrew's head is spinning with crop rotations, all the celeriac had to come out because it was awful, there are weeds growing gloriously and vigorously and everything is quite literally poo (I hate how obsessed I become about good manure at the time of year, it is quite unladylike!). Plus even coming into our 5th growing season Andrew and I still haven't got on top of those blasted paths and I have seen 1, count that my friends, 1 adult worm in the whole 2 plots!!!!

There rant over, but I really do hope you see what I mean. How can one seriously get excited about the Lottie when you turn up to see this and you could ideally be in a cafe somewhere with a great book instead....

these are not the worst photos I could have shown you...
Though to be fair these beds are now all weed free (I take a bow) and some have lime on them (think brassicas), others have lovely poo on them. How can I really get annoyed when I think about how you are all in the same boat! At least we aren't like a lot of other people on the plots who haven't done a single thing since summer last! The vast majority of the plots are a disgrace, but I pat myself, well make that, I pat Andrew on the back for making us go and get stuck in over these past months.
Action shot of Andrew adding some lime :)
Can you believe it - March already! Yay, the Spring has conquered yet another Winter :) It's time to get those last minute prunings done - blackberries, raspberries etc and prepare to sow seeds like there is no tomorrow. I often wonder why we bother planting some outside under cover - 1st pic is Broad Beans planted in situ where Mice got to them, grrr, 2nd picture is Broad Beans planted and put in the cold frame - I love the cold frame ones and actually spent about 3 mins staring at them in their green glory last Saturday. It makes the heart sing to see such a vibrant healthy colour (especially when it isn't a blasted dandelion!).

Next is the flower bed with it's little tete-a-tetes and then the last of the leeks harvested. There is still rainbow chard and the rhubarb is going bonkers, I think we'll be eating it for weeks :) Our garlic is coming up well and the trees all look healthy, there is an artichoke flower already (yuck!!) and the Jerusalem Artichokes are heaving at the soil (yum).
..and this is only the small plant :)
But really overall, I am tired the moment I look at the place and I am not joking. Everything good is really good, I can't deny it but it does only amount to a tiny percentage of the productivity of the 2 half plots and really, grass and weeds are winning at present. Even when we do start seed planting, they'll be underground for goodness sake and I won't see the rewards for ages - I know, I sound like a very grumpy, hormonal teenager. My depression  has been horrendous lately and my mood is jumping about all over today (sorry).
May this make you giggle as it did for me - one of our failed parsnips in the weeding trug
But then there's the shed, oh. dear. god. help. us. all! We can barely get in or get what we want, out. It is a disaster of epic proportions. I didn't even take a photo for fear of causing heart attacks amongst you all and the shame for me really would be unbearable.

Let's end on a happy photo of my window sill - little daffs everywhere - yellow joy right in my eye line, swaying gently in the breeze. Happy St David's Day to all those Welsh lovelies out there - I must say you have a glorious flower and a fabulous vegetable representing you (whereas we have a weed - the clover and the potato, hahaha).
showing off here with my amazing 3 headed daff!
Love to you all, and wishing you strength to get out there in the cold and grey, damp days and try to see to beauty in brown soil, mucky boots and poo xxxx