Sunday 22 December 2013

Christmas on the plot

Twas 3 days before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a Maggie...because she was snoozing as usual on her on sofa and it looked wild cold outside.

After lunch we decided to go and do the Holiday ritual of gathering our own parsnips and leeks. I am not impressed with what the weatherman and woman on tv are saying about the coming days...warnings for 80mph winds and bitterly cold raininess. So today seemed the wisest option for a visit to a place where the wind would cut through you on a good day and the activity is all about mud.

It was an incredibly welcome surprise to find this when we drove down the main path...tarmac, blacktop, whatever you call it, we now have some real road!!! This has always been the worst area so I am glad they started here but other areas have lots more hardcore down as well... It was a great feeling not to be sliding all over the show when we got out of the car :) Hurrah to you Council people and thank you!!

A road! - Grow Our Own

Look it put us in a happy/silly mood...
Christmas kisses - Grow Our Own
Kiss chase
So here is the last shot of the plot before Christmas and all the madness and subsequent exhaustion the days bring. I wanted an overall shot in case it's the last of the year. With reminds me Happy Solstice!! The days are getting longer now :)
A24a, Winter 2014 - Grow Our Own

A sign of Spring....
Daffs poking through - Grow Our Own

This is what we came for - the parsnips. We have honey roasted and mashed (with carrot) at this time of year - I think parsnips are one of my all time favourites. This bed was well and truly double dug last year but we think there may have been a layer of manure that these young parsnips hit early on in their growing and thus they are swat and many legged...a bit of a disappointment but still edible. We were hoping for the usual gorgeousness seen in the long photo on the right but we (Andrew!) didn't thin them out either so it's our (Andrew's) fault. These are our usual 'tender and true' - they'll taste fabulous so who cares really...

Digging up the parsnips - Grow Our Own

washing parsnips in super cold water-butt water, bbrrr
We also came for leeks and were not disappointed even after an earlier attack of rust; there are many left too. They are beautiful as always and as I am intolerant to onion..we eat lots of these every week. Have you seen the price of them in a supermarket!
Freshly dug up leeks - Grow Our Own

Still come colour on the plots...who says the winter months are dead on the allotment?!
Chard, turnips etc - Grow Our Own

Brilliant garlic bulbs; best way to store them really
garlic stored in the shed

An action photo of Andrew for you, he was doing the 'really cold hands' dance and insisted I take a picture.
Andrew - Grow Our Own - cold hands dance

from Me xx
Carrie - Grow Our Own Christmas hugs
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Monday 16 December 2013

Working hard (November)

Thanks for your patience. I really appreciate the comments too, they really do add rays of hope and love to my life and give me a little more energy to fight - sort of like those video games where you get an extra life. I love you dear readers xx

These photos and developments are from a very cold and very very desolate day on the plots in November when EVERYONE else in the allotmenting world seemed to be more clever than us and had staid at home, warm and comfortable. Well, that was until we got started and then realised that no, we were the clever ones and we had the whole place to ourselves and the birds and if you work hard and steady you warm up soon enough and get stuff done :)

* So the top of 24a...and the tree fruit arch, humm, what's happened to the trees?! *
A24a rear in November - changes afoot - GOO

Yes the 6 trees at the arch (2 apples, 2 plums, 2 pears) all had to go; they were all sickly and the fruit wasn't ripening or even, in some cases looking at all normal. They were too crushed, there wasn't enough nutrients to go around and we were over ambitious and naive. But that is another true joy about gardening ~ you never, ever stop learning and the plot is a constantly changing, evolving place.

Working on the fruit arch - GOO
They weren't easy to get out. Andrew naturally did the hard bit whilst I removed all the wine bottles that had edged our lovely little shaded path through and under the arch. Goodness, there were two rubble sacks full of glass - I think it would be least embarrassing if we took them to the recycling place in smaller batches!!
Way back in July..

Anyway, I left Andrew to his work - digging out and then digging over single digging/bastard trenching and adding loads of goodness as he went, just like the last post. Goodbye path! Hello 2 very exciting new trees...


I tackled this bed. It was a joy - loads for the compost and boy I love weeding. The soil was just perfect for getting those long tap roots from those blasted dandelions out ~ the whole thing in one go = *shudders of joy* Sadly, as with every single bed I didn't come across a single worm :( The New Zeland flatworm infestation we had a few years back has done terrible damage! Now I haven't seen one of those in a long time either which is great, but then, there isn't anything for them to eat...I am seriously considering a day were I guerrilla steal worms from roadside verges (hehehe). Don't worry I have a vis vest ;) ...

arrrgghhhhh, the horror! - GOO

This is where I got to before home time; all those parsnips are huge and gorgeous looking - roll on Chrimbo dinner! The turnips were tossed on the compost as they were tiny and weren't going to grow anymore this year...the beetroots were lifted a few days later and pickled but shhh... Christmas pressies ahoy! Looks yum.

now THAT is better - GOO

This is where Andrew got too before said hometime - see the way the whole field was becoming enveloped in a misty cloud? That cloud was cold and damp and rain was a-coming!

Oh but we went back since and there are more photos and stories to share - "hurrah!" I hear you exclaim. See you soon xxxx


Friday 13 December 2013

The Plan 2013/14

I have the plan, I have the plan, I have the (up until now secret) Plan for 24a = giddy giddy girl. Here it is, why make you wait any longer? It's simply not fair..... Andrew drew it, I think it may even be to scale (he is an Archaeologist after all) but I coloured it, yes, I just couldn't help myself, God I love stationary. It's got a red tinge to it but that's just due to the dining room light shade which is a fabulous red (NOT the same as having a red light in the window!)....

Now we have really gotten into this and it looks almost like the picture, well the top bit anyway. We started way back at the end of November but things have slowly deteriorated with my mental health and culminated in a nervous breakdown, a bad one and I have been completely out of action (i.e. asleep 18 odd hours per day) for a whole week and poorly for longer but of course not willing to admit it. I just kept pushing with all my sewing orders and not wanting miss out on being part of the Arts and Disability Forum's Christmas show. I am rather proud to say my robin made the flyer.....

Though now that I am exhausted and have been writing this for days, slowly, I have to wonder if it's worth pushing.....I feel too tired to show you photos and get you right up to date but I shall show you a few from the start of this, the new chapter in 24a's life...

24th November....
November collage 1 - Grow Our Own
Garlic goes in, still a good lot to harvest and that's only 1 bed, Maggie cosy in the shed

November Collage 2 - Grow Our Own
Andrew working on where the Sweet Peas used to be - double digging. Me getting rid of those Strawberries

I'll try to write again soon, just be super patient with me, it's going to take a while to really get recovered