Thursday, 27 November 2014

I'm still here

It's been a long time since I wrote to you my lovely friends. I hope that in my absence you have all been well, merrily busy with Christmas plans and just plain content in your souls. Anyone out there who has also written a blog recently - I promise I will try to get caught up with your adventures as soon as I can.

My dears I am afraid I have had problems with my medication and ended up in minor anaphylactic shock some weeks back, it's taken a while to recover and on top of that I have started another new medication and in the meantime have had a bit of a nervous breakdown. Lordy, it doesn't rain but it pours. Today is the first day in a goodly while where I have been able to look after myself and think sort of straight.

I feel I would also like to share that fact that a close relative has/is going through hell. It was late in day when this dear person found out they had Cancer, it fact they were to discover that it was already in many places in the body and was a particularly aggressive kind. The future looks bleak and thus I haven't felt like writing, nor will I feel like it for a time, sometimes the allotment simply isn't important.

Oh a side note Andrew and I have been nesting in our lovely home and trying to cope with the stresses and worries by making the kitchen, dining room and living room more beautiful and less cluttered. It is wonderful to have these distractions. Here is where I can introduce some colour and light into this post and share a treasury I did on the theme of our paint choice for the kitchen - 'Overtly Olive'. It's a simple and silly thing I love to do on Etsy, making these treasuries as they are called.

Much love and best wishes. I hope to be in a position to write again in the next weeks but until then, tell those that matter you love them, fill your lives with joyous and even silly pursuits and simply enjoy each day as it comes xxxxx

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Winter Warmers

A hot chocolate made with lots of froth and a cheeky little gingerbread man are the things I need right now. Oh and a blanket and for everyone to stop driving around and making noise and for me to have a wee dose....

It ain't happening and holy moly a huge stream of light just reflected off the window of the house across and way and I'm temporarily blinded. Still typing though, I'm awesome like that :) lol

Although work was achieved on the plots at the weekend I want to share with you those things that made me feel all warm inside, literally and figuratively. Sometimes I feel there are just too many photos of soil and muck and rain on the internet at this time of year that I feel it my duty to liven things up.

First we simply must talk about the new gas heater in the shed and if you haven't got one - get one, they are fabulous. We also recently purchased a new 'welcome' mat and another blanket - you can't have too many blankets. The whole shed has been cleared out and now there is space again to sit and indeed be warmed by the fire.

Maggie had her jumper on but she couldn't truly feel the benefits of the new heater as all the good smells and interesting noises were outside the shed. In the end she was a wee shivering wreck and went to guard the car by sleeping really hard on the back seat.

Here are a few photos from around the sites near by. Top row ~  One stubborn and glorious dwarf sunflower, still lots of cosmos about and a rudbeckia from 14b. Bottom row ~ one of our sunflowers with the seeds well and truly being devoured by the birds, a sweet sort of weed in the main path (I love everything with colour at this time of year) and a snail, yep he was inside there sleeping, I felt suddenly that snails have it right - carry a cosy house around wherever you go - dastardly clever.

I'll show those photos of messy and then cleared areas some other time but for now, it's cold in this here house and I need a nap with a blanket. Maggie has it right - she's been snoozing like a champion all day so far ( I love her little snores).

Hugs, love and stay warm friends!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Cape Aloe

Are you like me, do you need to know about your plants in detail once they are in your loving embrace? Well, yesterday's delivery of (excuse me but my plant is a girl *blush*) Rosie led me to do some research; I'm sharing most of it here so you too can feel like a professional ;)

*  First I went to the RHS, naturally. They had virtually no information at all, in fact I was so shocked (it was like getting a googleplex) that here is the information they had. 

"What?!" I hear you scream.
"I know" say's I.

I mean even I have known since forever that it exudes a clear gel that eases minor burns, insect bite and rashes. I've heard it alluded about in face care products as great for re-hydration and toning! Come on RHS, look up Google images, Wikipedia even and write something!

*  So next on to the Kew gardens website and lo and behold we have some information..

Cape Aloe is pretty common then and grows in South Africa and Lesotho, though also very common in cultivation like Rosie. It is used for its colourless leaf gel in 'cosmetics, herbal remedies and food supplements' but also, and I didn't know this, for 'a bitter brown leaf exudate'

This bitter brown exudate is prepared from the cut area of mature leaves which are stacked and allowed to drip into a central well. This goop is then concentrated and dried to achieve a dark shiny crystalline form, referred to as 'Cape Aloes' It is taken as a laxative and purgative and may ease arthritis. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

*  The Eden Project tells us that in it's natural state the single stemmed plant can grow up to 3.5 meters tall! I really don't think my little one will ever get there. The leaves are generally smooth in the centre (though there may be some spikes especially on the undersides) and go out to spikes along the edges, which is where is gets the name Latin name ferox (fierce).

*  So here is Rosie all settled in her new home and loving the camera for me....

And here are the flowers that would be produced been half a chance - pretty spectacular!

Google image 
I lastly leave you a photo of Rosie with her new friend Claude (yes he is a handblown glass snail) and a reminder that my Cape Aloe came as a gift from Jersey Plants Direct.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Mustn't grumble

Okay so I'm not going to lie to you, it's bloomin' nasty out there even though they said today would be nice (nice for November that is). It's sunshiney but good grief the grey patches are like, well, seriously grey.

It seems going by this paint chart that it is literally 'smouldering' out there, smouldering with a little touch of 'celestite' in some areas. I don't like this, I think I shall have to schedule in some time for a cry later, after I finish this post.

So how are you?? What's it like where you are? Have you been able to do any gardening at all or is it all simply a muddy slushy mess like ours?

At times like this I find it's best to just turn away from the windows and look at lovely things online. I put together a lovely collection of gardeny-ness from the Etsy website - do enjoy.

I would very happily have every single thing in this collection, especially the dungarees, I think it's the best form of clothing for the allotment there could possibly be. You could be fighting with the weeds and bending over all afternoon long and never once worry about your bottom being shown off to all who care to glance your way. I must get me some dungarees (though cheaper than £75) - a revolution has begun!


Today I also received a gorgeous Cape Aloe plant from those kind and friendly people from Jersey Plants Direct. They even gave me a really cool information sheet about Cape Aloe history, the benefits of the gel it produces and even the best way to harvest the gel! I am going to read more into this; I'll share my findings: D

I tell you, he is in the kitchen, on the window sill for emergency burns! He's really cheered me up.

So off I go to read the information sheet and then drive into the depths of the internet to find out even more :) We'll all be experts by the end of the week, hahaha. And if you want to name him, I am open to suggestions ;)

Love and hugs

Monday, 3 November 2014

Your Allotment in November

Can you believe it? November is upon us and the clocks have gone back and the shops are filling up with Christmas decorations! I was even looking at coats yesterday and bought a hat, this isn't right, I DON'T do winter.

However, just because all is darkness and cold and rain doesn't mean there aren't things to do in the Allotment and wonderful food there to be harvested. So take those dry moments and run to your patch - here's what you ought to be doing and could be eating.

Plant out your:
* Garlic
* Any fruit bushes or trees you may have purchased
* Get those spring bulbs in the ground, deep down and snuggly warm. You'll thank me later, these first heralds of brighter days are a must for the soul.

Like us you could be eating:
* Celeriac (ours failed this year)
* Carrots
* Chard
* Kale
* Kohl Rabi
* Leeks
* Parsnips
* Pumpkins from out of the storage area

In the past we have also had:
* Brussel Sprouts
* Jerusalem Artichokes
* Scorzonera

Above all else this is the time of year when you get those beds cleared and dug over, adding the organic mulch or manure of your choice. We love the old Horse of Cow poo but have also used seaweed in the last years too. Covering those finished dug and nutrient rich beds is also a great idea. This protects them from frost, an overabundance of rain and allows the soil to stay a little warmer; the good insects and worms etc will love it too and you'll get less weeds.

Fantabulous Quote for the Month ahead :)

There is a part two of this to come as well - more the fun, warm, imdoors type :D

Love and hugs my friends