Monday 30 July 2012

Un-Seasonal Weather Affected Disorder

I have come to the horrifying realisation that I have a new illness which I have called USWAD or Un-Seasonal Weather Affected Disorder. Hence my lack of blogging recently; there is only so much rain and chilly days during what is meant to be Summer that a girl can take. My body thinks it's winter and I've been doing a lot of hibernating style activity (or non-activity as the case may be).

I have struggled on valiantly when that yellow orb does decide to appear and stuff has been happening at the lotties and indeed, in the back garden too. I just haven't bothered writing about it, for which I am truly sorry - I know you must all be so hungry for your Grow Our Own news ;) Before I tell you any more I would like to say a hearty Thank You for all the comments on the last post; it makes blogging so much more fun when I have interaction with my most gorgeous and intelligent readers.
The allotments are still a mess and it is still depressing but as to your great ideas about resolving (or trying to resolve) the issue I must report with a heavy soul that it just isn't going to happen. We don't even have the collective ability to make a committee work, it was tried for 2 years and it failed. Monumentally failed. Embarrassing isn't it?! So we can't go to the council as a body and ask for the things we pay for to be done, we can't complain unless we all do it individually and to be honest, what councillor could possibly be bothered listening to so many moaners when they have proper work to do. Our Allotment Officer is over all the parks, countryside and the cemeteries. Bickering about so and so who has paid for their plot but isn't using it, it really the last of their worries.

But anyway, it's good to vent sometimes and I have a blog so... Thank you for listening.
Last weekend we had a new family member born - eek! So we didn't get to the plots and instead I was fawning over my tiny little niece and getting all soppy. But the weekend before we worked HARD, really hard and it was brilliant. So permit me to share, possibly in a couple of posts as I don't want to bore the pants off you and you probably have Olympics to watch anyway ;)

Plot 24a
So I'll start with this plot and first just say YIPPPEEE! As we lifted the Garlic and they are fabulous. Eeek! Look, they were just getting rusty all over and we'd been eating some green and loving it so we knew they were ready.
Just drying them now in the shed - didn't bother with fancy plaits this year as in previous ones as we had so much other work to do.

Looky at the lettuces! We are inundated and have been eating so much too; there's not much more rewarding than walking past those sweaty bags of pre-washed ready to go bags of salad (which cost a fortune!) and instead eating freshly picked leaves which are or better quality and varieties that actually taste of something! Ummm, I do love my peppery leaves.

The Summer Raspberries are just going nuts as usual. I reckon we get about a 10% of the crop every year, hahaha, all those birds just get in there before us and fair play to them, we're just too slow. As part of a huge shake up in the lottie layout to come, these will be getting moved over to 14b so we have better access to them and they can romp away as they so wish.

Heartbreak alert! ~ After losing every cherry on the tree again (3rd year running) we lost about half of our 1st ever Victoria Plums. I think, I hope this is just the plant doing a 'drop' so it can concentrate on making the rest of the survivors succulent and delicious. You know, just like the 'June Drop' in Apples.

I'll leave it there you know, I have a lot of boasting to do and I would like to sit down and fully enjoy every moment of it - right now I am in a good bit of pain having fallen hard, flat on my face on Saturday in the town centre. I now have a very beautiful bashed up knee, toe and a sore everything all down my left hand side, sitting still for any length of time hurts.

But guys, I'm back and I shall be writing more often, that really was an unforgivable break in proceedings xxxx

Friday 20 July 2012

Utter Allotment Shame

A summery day, we had 1 ~ hoorah! The 12th of July was a stunner and Andrew, Maggie and I took ourselves off up the coastline of Co.Antrim. I may be biased but that is one of the best drives in the world and it's right here on our doorstep. It's perfect, just stopping at little beaches along the way and letting Maggie run whilst we chased her and also looked for cool beachy treasures.

The fair I was at last weekend was brilliant, there were lovely and friendly stall holders, it was really well organised and then loads of lovely people came and they had their shopping heads on :) It was a real buzz.

The rest of our time off was spent in the back garden or just loafing around. We did want to go to the allotment a lot but well, it's such an unholy mess that we simply couldn't face it. The Council isn't keeping the paths clear and the grass and weeds are knee height, a significant number of plot holders haven't bothered their asses over the past year and those disastrous messes are full to the brim with more flowering grass, weeds and diseases. I am furious, so angry at the lack of any care and the complete unenforcement of the rules ~ the council is failing us and ought to be kicking these people out! For goodness sake, we have a 2 year waiting list with people desperate to try growing their own.

pretty, yes, but this is suppose to be cultivated and growing lovely food!! (The plot next door)

So it's now been a whole week since I was anywhere near my plots. My hay fever has been very severe this year and with the afore mentioned mess of the plots in general I have been so bad I couldn't breathe last Friday night and ended up retching so much, gasping for air, that I threw up twice on the footpath. It was truly very frightening and reminded me of those asthma attacks when I was little; I thought I was going to die. I didn't die :)
I was put on different meds though and they nearly killed me again! I had to come off them after 3 days; 3 days which are lost to me, I either slept or was dizzy and very confused, those were my options :) But hey - I ditched them and I'm still here fighting away with a runny nose and itchy eyes. Thank goodness we live by the sea - last night's visit to the beach was a joy!

Andrew has been and collected the last of our broad beans :( It was fabulous while it lasted. We have kept some, blanched and frozen - a nice treat for those winter months. I don't know if it was just us but we had to skin our beans this year as they were quite tough otherwise. Must be something to do with the weather... He also brought home a load of spuds - boy those plants are doing us proud, it just never seems to end.

I shall be going to the plot tonight; fingers crossed I survive. We know (Andrew has seen) that the raspberries and currant bushes and gooseberries have been going mad with production so we need to fight off the birds and actually get some this year! As I write this I am just thinking I have most likely jinxed us simply by saying that out loud. Tut tut, I ought to know better.

I leave you with a photo of our raspberry+ harvest from 2 years ago - an image that sold well at the fair :) Oh I get so proud when people ohh and ahhh over photos of our produce :)

Hugs. I'll be back on form soon!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

nice pictures from me to you, with love xxx

I'd first off like to say a huge Thank You for the supportive and loving comments I received after my last post. I'm still not doing that good but I am a heck of a lot stronger. My weekend was a real disaster and as such I haven't anything I can talk off really but I do still have the beautiful images of our A24a plot that I had wanted to share in that previous post. So here they are and I hope you enjoy them, for me looking at them does give me a sense of hope and of beauty in the world.

Namasté sweet readers xxx

squash flower

rain washed apples

'Boltardy' beets

the rain splashed stamens of a poppy

Californian poppies really make me smile

one of my succulents about to flower

the very first time we've put straw around the strawberries :)



artichokes for Mamma

And a beautiful rose which I shall use to say thank you once more xxxxx

I have my doubts as to how much I'll have to share with you over the next while as I am still recovering and on Saturday I have a big craft fair to attend. I'll be doing a stall selling my photography so any news I have will be about that side of my life. If you are interested do check out my other blog ~

Thursday 5 July 2012

Planting Leeks in the rain

I am so cruel, you probably thought the worst didn't you? You all thought that the compote had killed me and that's why I wasn't blogging, didn't you, come on now be honest. Well the compote did give a sore tummy but the real reason was I went and made my laptop sick and couldn't write for a while. I can hear it!!! That huge, collective sigh of relief - 'She isn't dead!' - you're welcome :p

So we had a totally stinky start to our day at the lottie last weekend. Darn weather - what is going on?? I seriously feel like the poles have switched and we are suddenly having the Southern Hemisphere's weather - basically, it's autumn all over again :( It could happen!

But we soildered on after a wee hide in the shed and some coffee...

Look! I'm the only one working - stylish aren't I?

Today I wanted to share the Gault way of planting leeks and a little show of the things that are growing well on the plots. Our leeks have always done us proud and I can't eat onions, so they are pretty darn important to us when it comes to cooking. So here is the way we plant them :)

First they grow in modules. Then the soil is prepared and dibbered (we use Grandpa Gault's dibber for this) nice a deep. The hole is left as is and the plug plant is plopped in and not covered over!! They like lots of water and when they grow up we like to put old drainpipe over the bottoms so they are blanched and effectively you get lots of the white tasty bit :)

God this is so stupid, who am I trying to kid here. I'm writing this now because if I didn't I don't know what I would do - I'm suicidal. I hate myself so very much and the strange and frigthening thing is, I am quite calm about it all. Where has my sense of self preservation gone? I'm sitting here with the blinds drawn and I'm rocking slowly in the chair - I can't bear the thought of anyone seeing me, I embarass even myself by the very fact that I feel so useless and am over weight and lethargic. I used to be so into my exercise, now I can barely stay awake for any length of time.

My hand covers my mouth at the end of every sentence, as if I shouldn't be saying any of this out loud. But that makes me think that it could be very important to speak my mind, when I don't I tend to do stupid things instead.

But the words have stopped coming, i'm going to phone A. I cant think at all, there is too much noise in my head.