Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Photo journal lacking certain essentials

This blog is turning into a bit of a black hole. At a meeting of the ladies-with-babies church group, I had the bright idea of reading the Bible instead of writing the blog in the wee small hours of the morning. I have been doing this (eyes permitting; comprehension somewhat fogged). Husband bought me a garden journal for Christmas so I've been transferring a folder of scraps into there. However, it was for a photographic record of the garden changing that the blog was started. Oh dear. Maybe if I ever manage to stay awake in the evenings then photos will appear. Can't see that happening for at least a year (Daniel slept through 3 nights last week for the first time; turns out he was ill). Watch this (increasingly fertile) black hole...

Friday, 8 November 2013


It seems that I can't manage to multitask in the wee small hours of the morning. After a church ladies with babies group meeting, I have been reading the bible instead of thinking about the garden and blogging. Which is a good thing. Apart from neglecting the garden. Hm. And still lacking on the photo front. Hmm.

Quick update:
Still eating courgettes
Eaten Coxes Orange Pippin apples, first production by tree planted 2011 - Toddler loved choosing her own
Eating cabbage (and trying not to think about slugs)
Curing pumpkins - tiny, very small and reasonably sized
Planted red onions and garlic in Bed B
Dug over Bed D, leaving wild pansies, and applied old compost

Had an exciting trip (in car! Husband away) to pick up cooking apples from a lady's backgarden. She advertised her bumper crop on freecycle so we got permission. Making lots of stewed apple for crumble and apple puree in preparstion for weaning. Found a recipe for apple peel cider but probably won't bother.

Came home from the post office depot via a walnut tree that had shed its load, so dyed my hands then some gloves getting the husks off. Not very large nuts but suitable for cooking. Fortunately the folks came back from France via a tree whose walnuts were immense.

Toddler enjoys these outdoor pootles, it gives us something to do, and Reginald is fine in a sling.

This multitasking means staying awake longer. Better resign myself to not keeping track of the garden until I have a spare half hour in the day. Pah!

Thursday, 19 September 2013


It took five days to get from picking to processing the crabapples, but 'twas done! We got seven jars of jelly that surprisingly set. One jar for the neighbour whose tree it is; one jar for Toddler to test with grandparents; one jar for Grandma and the Great Aunties; one jar for Granny the Jam Queen (who decreed it worthy of eating); one jar exchanged for marrow marmalade at another food swap; one jar started by us; one jar in the cupboard.

On the subject of eating, we had a Nigel Slater recipe to use up some cabbage and carrots. The cabbage have managed to hang on to their little hearts, so we're eating them.

Yesterday I relinquished the elderberry wine making due to lack of time (8 loads of washing on one non-rainy day to clean off baby sick and Toddler mud!). Instead our elderberries got turned into biscuits and cordial. The biscuits are soft like cookies and taste yummy, plus have got to be healthy despite the sugar. Rather pleased.

And how would we know what to do with all these things if the internet didn't exist? Thought we had a lot of recipe books but none of them have these in. This tablet thing is great! Husband gave it to me for Christmas, being a gadget man, and I wasn't too overwhelmed. I've been converted coz it's brill.

Yep, it's all about the eating at this time of year. Although in the back of my mind are thoughts about whether to sow seed from a bolted onion now; what to do about the moving of Bed D; the need to write down with a diagram this years' planting; the netting on Bed E being too large hole-wise; where to insert brassicas into the rotation; and other small ponderings. Mostly I just want to eat cake though (hey, it's a necessity for this milk producer!). And thus ends another 4am burping sesh.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Following the foraging fashion

As all those in touch with the zeitgeist will know, middle class foraging is where it's at. Yer man Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall seems to be leading the charge in front of the cameras (Husband loves the Bread book). At any rate, it's his fault that we've stripped the neighbour's crabapple tree, eye every passing shrub for signs of sloe, have filled a freezer drawer with blackberries and are planning to attack the rowan trees lining a military range. All because of Googling 'elderberry wine', for when one has an elder and Mum P unearths a carefully labelled demijohn (circa 1985), the signpost can't be missed.

Well, all things seem possible at 2.30am (not so much at 4.30am) when on burping duty . So crabapple jelly is slowly being processed (two days so far due to Reginald's required upright position and my subsequently having no spare hands). Elderberries have been picked by Husband, despite the best efforts of Toddler and pigeons to scoff the lot, and more located beyond the garden. Much like successfully growing runner beans, it's oddly exciting to be able to eat these things. It's sustainable, local and free. Might start eating insects next (Google again)! All in keeping with the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy's 2008 Act of Chapter 'Reverencing the earth and its people', which rang bells with me as it summarises the purpose of my meagre attempts at sustainable living.

I shall dare to mention that as well as using cloth nappies and wipes, I've printed off a template for making cloth sanitary towels with offcuts so that I don't have to buy more (previously had them shipped from Canada, although the UK market appears to have caught up these days). Apologies to any relations who may now wish to disown me! But if I manage to create a decent pad, then Days for Girls need them as a necessity, so no avoiding the issue. And on that note, this early morning ramble shall cease.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Food Swap

About a month or so ago, a friend hosted a food swap at her house. Six of us turned up and it was lovely lovely lovely. I took elderberry champagne (made from the bush in the garden), a tonne of lettuce and rocket. I returned home with bread rolls, cake (I ate the biscuit there), two green courgette plants, two cape gooseberry plants, radishes, broad beans, green tomato ketchup and a jar of chutney. Aren't people clever!

Now there is another swap being arranged for September, at peak picking time. Unfortunately our garden is not offering much in the way of picking, or it seems that way. I keep watching Gardeners World on telly and feeling somewhat glum about our garden in the light of their amazing creations (where on earth do they find time?). It is not a good mindset. Positively, we are eating courgettes of both colours, raspberries, carrots and potatoes, which is a whole heap better than nothing. But I am still in a quandary over what to offer at the upcoming food swap. Husband's beer is still flat despite resuscitation attempts (he blames to ancient barrel seals), so can't take any. The blackberries round the corner might hold the answer. In muffin form.

Ooo, on the subject of blackberries, there's a pear tree and a grape vine growing outside the local school. This year we shall be foraging without shame! (But keep it under your hat or my food swapping pals will be swiping the harvest!)

It having now been half an hour since Reginald fed and been upright, I shall risk putting him down to sleep. It's 02.30 and bed calls.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Reginald makes his debut

At ten days past his due date, Reginald decided he would be born. Surprisingly, he did actually turn out to be male. I have until registration on Wednesday to convince Husband that Humphrey as a third name would be simply smashing.

All has been fairly quiet on the garden front. This evening (rather, yesterday - time flies when holding a reflux-y baby upright at odd hours) we ate the first and only cabbage with a heart. The outer leaves were lace, the middle layer contained many many slugs, but the wee heart was perfect.

On the subject of slugs, the other evening Husband spotted a large hedgehog in the garden. Hurrah! Might explain the mysterious poo on Bed A and the lack of slugs (other than under the netting). Haven't seen a hedgehog for years, so very pleased to have a local. Husband got excited and went to get a camera to capture the moment. Of course the hog had scarpered by the time he returned. We will have to be really careful about using any slug pellets. Although I only put a few in the netted bed when plants were just getting established and haven't since, there's still a niggle of guilt. What if Mister Hedgehog had ingested some?

We are eating raspberries, a few courgettes, strawberries and blueberries (well, Toddler is), potatoes, carrots, the two cucumbers and a cabbage. We are not eating French beans. Next year I am growing runner beans, which are far less fussy, even though Husband isn't a big fan. Stick 'em in stews and he won't notice.

Right, is it safe to put the little chap down without more sick? Need to get a sling for daytime wearing as the Ergo infant insert really doesn't seem comfortable for him. I digress. Zzzz...

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Ah ha!

In the process of making our 2012 family album, we came across this photo of the garden taken from scaffolding up to fix the pointing:

September 2012
We've got rid of the bed where the path now is, and the box lumps went to form a hedge between the square bed and the lawn. Otherwise it's pretty much as is, with some further alterations planned for autumn/winter 2013.