Monday, 30 June 2014

An amazing thing

Maggie and I were at the allotment today....for 2hrs! I will share the story and more photos later in the week, but you must understand - I needed to share this. My biggest achievement for many years.

Friday, 27 June 2014

My Beautiful N. Ireland

Well, would you Adam and Eve it? This here post, the one you are reading right now is my 777th! That's a bit of happy trivia for you on this fine day. Wow....I don't know if it makes me feel old or just proud that I'm still ticking along. Haha.

So I was exhausted yesterday (I'd walked over to the fabric shop and back and it was super scary and a really big deal) and took a while just lying with my phone, looking through the photos on it and listening to music. From there decided that I wanted to show you some of my beautiful country; photos taken whilst on our staycation, snapshots from the phone. I really couldn't run and play and chase Maggie whilst carrying my 'big camera' ;)

*** We had a great day 'up the coast', one the world's most beautiful drives through the Glens and Causeway coast. The first stop was Carrick-a-rede rope bridge which Andrew had never been to before! The views from there are amazing - these two photos on the left were taken from the mainland, looking at the wee island only accessible by the rope bridge and in the distance is Rathlin Island.

Next we went to the Giant's Causeway but any child brought up here will have been to this site sooo many times that I literally only took this photo of a tiny thing in the gift shop. I have no idea what purpose it was meant to have, so small and not even heavy enough to act as a paperweight, uummm.

Lastly (after a delicious dinner in the Causeway Hotel) we visited White Rocks beach...Maggie loves a good beach. And this one is as clean as you could ever wish for :)

*** We had an evening in Belfast at some super fabulous bars and beer gardens with a glorious dinner in a fancy new restaurant but it was our 9th Anniversary and some things are sacred; so though I have many photos...they are staying relatively private, though there are a few on Instagram :)

*** Our week long heat wave drove us out into the back garden to do very little other than read, listen to music and for me - sew :) I have re-opened my Etsy shop online and lots of new photographic cards and felt birds have been going up recently, it feels so good to be back in action.

*** This is the height of my allotment adventures.....
.....blasted hayfever! I mean really, look at that weather but only now am I truly medicated to the hilt and able to cope with the weeds and flower pollen. Anywho, Andrew was able to go and some maintenance has been done and our first harvest (other than just rhubarb) came in last week ~ roses, lettuces, broad beans and potatoes. Plus we have been able to give some away to family :) I shall be there again soon and then hurrah! this blog will get back to business.

*** This is the most recent day out to Belfast's Botanic Gardens - we love it there. Right in between Queen's University (where we both studied) and the Ulster Museum...

So I hope you liked this pictorial catch up of sorts, personally I think it's much better than photos from a holiday resort on the Island of Rhodes where we were meant to be going. I love my home country; despite it's political problems, it's one of the most beautiful places I know.

Hugs and happy weekend!
Carrie xxx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

4th Happy Days Collage

It's been a while hasn't it! Boy, I've been up to lots of stuff and none of it allotment related but I thought I'd share anyway cause I love reading about other people's lives on their blogs when it's truly about them and not the usual subject :)

Andrew had a week off for holidays there which was lovely and happily coincided with a mini heatwave here in good old N. Ireland. We were for heading off to Rhodes but decided against it and it was really and truly the right decision for us, no question. There was lots of sleeping in for Andrew; sitting in the sun reading (and for me, sewing); we visited a couple of National Trust sites and celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniversary!

More about all that stuff in the next few days... First, I really wanted to keep up with my #100happydays project. I may miss a day or two here and there but on the whole I think I'm keeping up pretty good. I'm on day 87 today, but here's the 4th installment for you - 61 to 80 :)

#100HappyDays 61-65 - '' ~ an allotment blog
61 - Maggie just not wanting to get out of bed today.  62 - Damn you woman! Cutting my hair without even a warning...though i look HOT! Still, there best be biscuits in this for me....  63 - Found a lovely old anniversary card today in one of our 'random' drawers  64 -  Feels great when you get the washing dried outside :)  65 - solar light up eyes Scottie dog....anyone else creeped out?!

#100HappyDays 66-70 - '' ~ an allotment blog
66 - A little bunch of early summer  67 - A bank of these beauties seen on our walk today. 68 - The most utterly delicious cherries ever are being eaten this day!! Yum  69 -Yum yum yum (biscuit)  70 - I'm nuts about fruit and nuts :)

#100HappyDays 71-75 - '' ~ an allotment blog
71 - Goodbye crappy old hi-fi.....your time is up 72 - Water lilies, ferns and irises 73 - A little bit of tongue out action today :) 74 - Trying to get back into sewing after 6 month break. Hands are so shaky! 75 -Obviously the lay out of Dunluce castle, town and gardens :)

#100HappyDays 76-80 - '' ~ an allotment blog
76 - So sleepy but still trying to keep watch for 'daddy' to come home :) 77 -Maggie loves to snooze in the shade after overseeing the garden work 78 - Fruity punch on such a lovely day :) 79 - Sewing outside in the sun....ahhhh 80 - Hadskis is awesome!

So more to come and a photo of our first harvest too - yay!
Love and hugs

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Joys of A24a

Hey there lovely people and welcome to the weekend! I hope you get at least one good wee segment of time to yourself to enjoy your lottie or garden in the next days. May the weather be just tip top!

I told you I was last at my own plot on the 1st June, eeek!, that's only one weekend missed and it feels like forever. I shall definately be at beautiful 24a tomorrow, I'll be easy to spot - just look out for the girl who seems to be dying from the sheer force of nature herself....blasted hayfever!!!! I've been on the medication a month now and doing fine but during this week, something crazy has happened and I often wish I simply didn't have a nose of the a roof of the mouth - arrrghh. She* does is you know, even though I love her, she attacks my face every year to some degree. (*nature)

Anywho, time for a photo update on 24a, I wonder how much it's changed already!?

The four main beds in 24a - '' - An allotment blog
The four main beds and so much green goodness....
But even better than a few photos I have something special for you all today. Yes, let me revel in the drum roll that is going on in my head right now (can you hear it??) I bring to you a HAND DRAWN PLAN!! (And the crowd goes wild!!!)

Hand drawn plan of a24a - '' - An allotment blog
pretty awesome plan of the plot June 2014
I hope it's self explanatory; the the brown is bark mulch and then around the shed there are cement paving slabs and pink gravel. OK, it's not as good as when Andrew draws a plan and it's all to scale and perfect but mine is colourful and gives you the same idea :) Feel free to ask questions or complain about my handwriting being hard to read.
I drew the plan last night and finished it this morning whilst Miss Maggie was with the Vet. Maggie remains 'the wonder dog' but she has been finding it impossible to use her right back leg, it has wasted away and after treatment for arthritis wasn't helping she needed more tests. Turns out she has nerve damage (it may even been in her spine), she isn't paralysed in that leg but she doesn't feel it much apart from some discomfort :( We also discovered she has liver damage. 
Limpy Maggie - '' - An allotment blog
As seen on Instagram this afternoon
At least she didn't have to go through with an x-ray as she is a little old for all that and has a heart murmur - the sedation could have been dangerous. So we are much happier to now know what is going on and I have pain medication for her if she has a bad day.

Well must go, my nose needs blowed, again...

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Charity Giveaway of RHS Flower Show Tickets‏

I was sent an email yesterday from the people at World Vision the world’s largest, international children’s charity. They have a project called Grow Hope'to raise awareness of Ethiopia’s transformation from drought to lush vegetation.Of course the title really just clicked with me as isn't that what I am doing through ecotherapy? Isn't what we are all doing by growing our own in the first place? Though lucky for us it hasn't all been out of sheer desperation, to basically survive.

'This year marks the 30 year anniversary of the 1984 Ethiopian famine, the worst in living memory. Thanks to the generosity of supporters, World Vision was able to work with local people and organisations to help turn the Antsokia Valley, which was hardest hit by drought, into what is now a lush, green oasis. Hope of a future free from hunger has grown into a reality. Families are able to feed themselves on the crops they grow and can enjoy life once more.'

World Vision will be exhibiting gardens at garden shows throughout this summer to mark the anniversary of the famine and celebrate the transformation of Antsokia. Plus, they are offering an exclusive chance to win a pair of RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show tickets.

All you have to do is register for a Grow Hope pack, on the World Vision website: 

For every person who signs up, World Vision will give vulnerable families in Zambia orange maize seeds, rich in Vitamin A, to ensure children can live a life free from the fear of hunger. And you will receive fresh Ethiopian coffee to share with a friend and some beautiful calendula seeds.

Well love and hugs -
[Just so you know I am not actually affiliated with this charity and am only sharing this story and fabulous competition with you dear readers, as it has been presented to me.]

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

blood like treacle - a simple catch up of sorts

Over the last few weeks I feel as though my blood has turned to treacle, there is a layer in and around my brain and I simply can't think without being utterly exhausted. My vision isn't even good, more wildly double, with lights flashing in the corners. I think I have been going through another long, laboured break down and well, I'm basically not feeling so great.

I haven't been to the allotment since the 1st of the month and on that day I didn't even take my camera, just took a few shots with my phone. There are some in the May folder I never did get around to sharing - those of how well 24a was doing. Maybe I will put a map and story together this week but honestly I can't promise anything.

So to ease my frustrations with this big pancake batter of a brain, dripping with treacle and these heavy hands and eye lids I am going to fight until I have a record of some of the general beauty that's over there in our space. I really want to share them, it makes the whole thing 'real' to me.

Here are the brightest, most interesting ones from back on May 31st

Little nature loving Maggie with her eyes closed and beard flowing in the breeze; A big clump of mushrooms from the horse manure we had around the raspberries; blueberries coming!; 2 slightly different versions of the California poppy, on the same plant; underside of a mushroom - they are so unusual...

Here are the ones I took with my phone the day after -
Broad beans - so many healthy plants; super poorly honeysuckle - yuck; a net cage around the precious blueberries :) and my stunning purple huge poppy (thanks to my bestie, Rosemary)

I even did some 'proper' gardening and thinned out the beetroot, every other one (Andrew says they are huge now and I can do it again), I was happy to do more than weeding (thanks to not working so much on 14b) I wanted to have a treat but all I had were dog biscuits, so... Maggie got my treat :)

I'll try to write again on Thursday, oh lordy, I feel so behind! Plus on top of developments on the plot I have some gorgeous photos of a National Trust garden Andrew took me to on Sunday there - a real head clearer..and Maggie was so happy!

Love and hugs - may your potatoes be blight free!!
Carrie xxx

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A bloody good rant

Maggie is furious, so angry in fact that she called a meeting last weekend to talk about a subject which Andrew and I had been getting more and more frustrated and upset about. Look, tongue slightly out = determination, haa.
Maggie calls a meeting - '' ~ an allotment blog

Our next door plot owners have had their land for the same length of time as we have had ours. Each year they did a little tiny bit of clearing and maybe planted one or two plants, one year they put up a bird feeding station, next they got a man to build them a huge shed and a lovely sleeper bench. In the past there has been rotovation, strimming, weed killing and if I'm not mistaken...burning. But it has never been productive.

They haven't been around for months now and the grass is up to my thigh, there are even rushes in there and it couldn't be in a worse state. Oh how I wish it had just been left alone from the start.

Arrrghh - '' ~ an allotment blog

What about the tenancy rules!! 

We have been battling their weed seeds for years and recently it has proved too much, particularly with other neighbours who don't care around our 14b plot (not to this scale but bad enough!). It's the reason we are giving that one up.

This is all we have to battle it with. We do our best but it's exhausting and time consuming. Plus, the council aren't doing a thing, either with evictions or mowing the paths as they are meant to; so the frustration increases here.
A little scythe and hand powered mower - '' ~ an allotment blog

We have got on top of this path....
Transformation of the 24a path - '' ~ an allotment blog

next, we have to tackle this? Arrghhhh....

The 14b path arrgghhh - '' ~ an allotment blog

Tomorrow shall be happier - I'm going to show you the joys of 24a and some pretty other stuff
Carrie xx