Wednesday 14 August 2013

A milestone (a fairly straight up post I doubt anyone will read)

Within a few days either side of this date I will have celebrated the very first blog post I ever wrote (10th August 2010), my 700th post (this very one) and my birthday in a few days!I think it's times like this, when one is confronted with milestones, though small, what we start to question the purpose of things. I know I tend to overthink and thus am reflecting possibly a little too much...

I started this blog as a sort of journal for Andrew and I to watch our progress with the new allotment adventure we were undertaking; scrapbooking photos and trying to write a journal was exhausting. I never thought that it would be live to the world to see, I thought you had to choose weather you let people in or not. Blogger was terribly confusing for a first timer and I learnt things the hard way and goodness knows how awful, how basic, how unsavvy I once was. 700 posts later and I am happy enough to share our progress and the terrible failures with anyone who cares to look.

I have used this platform to talk about my mental illnesses, there have been large gaps in my writings (a big no no if you want to keep people interested, supposedly) but then this is a real blog, not for profit not to get praise and endorsements, it's just about me. I've had a recent meltdown in fact that has lead me to be tardy with everything in life until I could get to the point of trying again. During that time I have been asked by 5 different companies to guest blog for them on their websites - sorry but no can do, I don't take on pressure and I do not wish to be famous.

Andrew and I had a sit down and talked about it and 14b is going to go this year. We give up. The weed situation is too much to handle and we would instead love to concentrate on our lovely 24a and make it the best damn wee plot ever! I guess we're growing up and seeing that smaller done better is more rewarding than bigger though unmanageable.

The big ole mystery, the age old question is answered for you ....Why are we here??  (I confess to being particularly concerned with this during my meltdown.) Well I'm not sure where Douglas Adams' no.42 comes into it but I know now, it is just to enjoy yourself, don't hurt others (except maybe aphids and slugs etc!) and stop worrying!!
Photo credit/copyright : Skarpiagirl 
With love and a hope to post lots of harvest photos soon as I'm well enough xx

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Love bug housing

You may remember a while back that I received a gift from to review and it wasn't to my taste - flower grenades, that looked a little too much like grenades for me.. Well the lovely people at Prezzy box read my review and were slightly horrified to learn I had been offended. Dear love them, after sincere apologies they offered me anything else from their gardening range to review and I choose this insect house :)

Now this is more my thing and it was utterly delightful to receive, to make and soon I will have the pleasure of putting it up in the lottie. Plus I get a cute little tin to keep essentials in like plasters and antiseptic wipes or maybe all  the labels and pencils etc... It's a great wee gift and this, my friends I would recommend. :)

Look how cute the tin alone is and the contents are laid out so prettily too. I got stuck into building my Bug House right away and it was delightfully easy and I'm super pleased with the results and the 2 ladybirds that came with it = adorable!!

Ok, I am quite sure bugs aren't that fussed on how beautiful their homes are but darn it I'll try anything to welcome on board and help us fight the enemies...

I'm in a love bug mood these past few weeks since I started to clear up the embarrassing messy parts for the plots. We are seriously lacking in helpful bugs and though I made a makeshift bug house years ago and purposely put lots of grass and stones under our shed for bugs - we seem to have counted 4 ladybirds between us, 2 frogs (yay!!), lots of bees but not much more than that :( I want more good bugs! (Who ever thought I'd say that!!) The leatherbacks and those damned New Zealand flatworms of the past 2 years have destroyed the lovely balance.

So here is my Bangor Blue slate hotel which also has lots of dead and decaying leaves in and around it since I took this photo. On the other side of the wee fence is this pile of rotting wood and an old pipe where a frog has been living.

Plus we have a ready rotten log over on 14b where our other frog lives and lots of woodlice etc and I have been leaving the artichokes to flower to try and encourage butterflies and bees etc. Next year there shall be sunflowers too (I forgot them this year) and more echinacea and black eyed susans etc. Yes 2 frogs *happy dance* and you know why I'm so happy -  they eat loads of insects and nasty creatures and the ultimate enemy, Slugs and Snails!!!!!! Hurrah

Is it just me or are the slugs much bigger this year??
The RHS answers the question about who might check into your bug hotel.....
"A surprisingly wide variety of invertebrates including nesting mason bees and leafcutter bees, woodlice hiding from the sun – and woodlice spiders hunting woodlice, earwigs hiding their babies from predators, ladybirds and lacewings hibernating over winter, beetle larvae feeding on the dead wood, funnel web spiders spinning their traps and centipedes hunting down their prey."

Good stuff I say :)

Thank you Prezzy box for increasing our chances of more friendly, useful bugs on the plots and as for the flower grenades - well I have taken the seed out of the clay containers and shall be scattering them this weekend over by the field boundary.

Hugs and best wishes to all

Sunday 4 August 2013

Thunder stops play

Last Sunday we were back in action, reasonably early (for us) at 11am. The weather was a lot different, there was cold air and then sunshine back and forth until later the heavens exploded and thunder rumbled, rain poured and I thought for a moment if our shed would work as an ark - boy, the rain was heavy! In the end running out to get tools and running to the car and back etc I was soaked through - that sort of soaked were you just start to walk at normal speed; you simply can't get any more saturated, lol.

My big project was to sort of the back of our shed and get things off to the dump. It was rather daunting to begin with but then I really got into it and loved it all. I love creating a clean and clear area out of a complete mess - it feels like I am clearing my messy mind at the same time - it's calming.

So here it is (shame all on show here)...

We came to the same point about our old broken bench; there was no way we could save it, the wood was rotten so much in a lot of areas (and secretly, now Andrew has his fancy saw, he wants to make a new one altogether!) So he went all caveman on it and smashed it to bits. Fun!

Is it just me or are the slugs bigger this year, goodness there were so many under the old timber we had laying at the side of the plot. But when I meet our frog again I thought to myself, no way am I getting rid of this, I shall merely stack it up neater - obviously it's a great habitat for wildlife.

The finished cleaned up area - that big white bag has our fire wood in it and I even managed to get the wee hand rotary mover over all the grass. What a great workout for my bingo wings :)

Andrew was dealing with the old broad bean patch, they were all ready to be lifted and the peas too behind them in this picture, growing up a little net support.  I do love my broad beans so it's great that Andrew had done a succession planting and we'll have a new batch soon :)

There is something so utterly satisfying about those broad bean roots and those little nodules shown below; Chemistry and Biology in action! These nodules actively improve the soil by depositing nitrogen into the ground which is a great plant food and benefits the next crop you plant in that space ~ hurrah! Plus the stems are great fodder for the compost bin = free natural fertiliser and soil conditioner, and you know I love freebies :)
root nodules
ha ah, gone! and a nice big harvest in the shopping bag
Then little rain showers started to happen. They weren't particularly long lasting but they were heavy and put a stop to works for a while. 

 We hung on but then the real thunderous downpours came. The shed became our place of sanctuary; the noise of that rain on the roof was deafening and Maggie just was not happy at getting wet at all, she clawed at my leg until I picked her up and then I took the keys and ran to the car with her tucked under my arm - lucky she's so wee :)

But from all that work and the harvests of the day before we were able to come home, cold and wet from the (what felt like buckets of rain thrown on us) lottie and have this stir fry rustled up in no time - bliss. Chard, carrots, dwarf beans, turnip, all only a maximum of 24hrs old :)