Saturday, 26 April 2014

Watching the grass grow

The combination of sun and rain is creating  plenty of lush new growth. Everything is changing so quickly that it would be no surprise to actually see the grass growing!
I've put out every bit of netting that I possess to protect the newly emerging seeds and the seedlings from marauding birds and cats.
First thing in the morning I walk round the veg plot to see what might have sprung up overnight.
I love it when I spy a wobbly row of something or other appearing in the soil.
Peas and beans!
The netting seems to be protecting the onions quite well. A few have been taken, but that was before I found and patched a hole in the net! But even under cloches the courgettes are struggling. Heavy rain and low overnight temperatures mean that they are only just hanging on, and they are getting a bit battered and nibbled around the edges by slugs and snails.
This morning I walked with a friend through the woods to enjoy the bluebells, one of her favourite sights.

We managed to dodge some heavy downpours and it was slippy underfoot, but the bluebells flower for such a brief period that it is worth the effort to enjoy them whilst we can.
 In the garden I have sports of the wild bluebell in white and pink.
They are tucked into corners where it doesn't matter if they threaten to become invasive.
We eat our own organic produce as much as is possible. Supplies from last year are really starting to dwindle now. For lunch I made pickled cabbage with the last of my onions and stored apples. The apples had become withered little affairs but they have been very good up until now. I have just one more red cabbage left and half a dozen squash.

I cook the veg with just a few tablespoons of cider vinegar, some brown sugar and lots of nutmeg. I think it's possible to freeze it but there has never been enough left to find out!
For dessert we had blackcurrants from the freezer 
in a very simple recipe from one of my favourite cookery books.
(click to enlarge)
The boat seat is restored and back in position
and Himself continues with running repairs,
painting sheds, clearing the gutters
Old friends are re-appearing, this abutilon was a snippet from my parents' garden.
And now that the tree peonies that are under cover have finished flowering those that I planted outside are coming into their own.
In fact they are looking so healthy that I think I should be brave and plant them all out.

How do you fare with tulips? Each year a number of mine get eaten by the squirrels and I've never yet had a good display. Colours appear that I never planted. I seem to have the most success with white with just a few other colours surviving in a rather lonely fashion here and there.

I DID NOT BUY any bright red tulips!
But mostly plants flower, year after year, just the way that they should!

Friday, 25 April 2014


Woke to a dull damp day, nothing to see but grey when I look up at the sky, it's not at all what I want for Skywatch Friday.
It's more interesting to look down at the sky in the pond.
That's better, the rain has stopped. 
And there's even a bit of blue sky!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Around the lake.

Here's an old photo that shows the position of the lake in our hamlet. It is small and would be described as a pond in America!  It was created in the Middle Ages by monks as a fish pond, when fish was an important source of food. When we first moved here the water bailiff, an old man, was still living in the tenanted house that abuts the water. I've marked his home with a red dot in the picture below and our home in blue.  The whole community was owned by and worked for the 'big house',  which is now a hotel. Fred, the water bailiff, was a cantankerous man by all accounts. He had fallen out with his next door neighbours and refused to speak with them, which was quite something given that their houses were semi-detached and they lived in such close proximity to each other!
Now most of the houses are privately owned and the lake is run by a fishing club. We walked beside it today in the cold and damp

on our way to the woods to see if the rainfall had brought the bluebells out.
It's a wonderful time of year to be in the woods, the fresh, new growth is soft and bright, the pathways are snag free, clear of summer brambles and the bluebells, fleetingly, cast a haze of colour.

And if the sun were to shine we could enjoy the most delicate perfume!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bank Holiday

Yesterday we had a bit of British Bank Holiday weather - well, we had rather a lot of it actually.
Pouring rain! (Probably because we had put out all the garden furniture.)
Not that I'm complaining because it filled all the butts and water barrels, cleared a thick film of dust from the Sahara that had settled on the solar panels and watered the garden very thoroughly.
Earlier in the week Himself had dismantled the garden seat because  it is in need of repair. It's an old clinker-built rowing boat that had been used by the water bailiff who lived in the house across the road. The boat had been discarded and left to rot in a pile of brambles by the lake until, for the price of a donation to the local hospice, we 'rescued' it.
It is in need, once again, of quite a bit of repair. Himself better make a good job of it in case we have to row to higher ground!
Only joking!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Happy Easter

The reason my house/life is untidy is because I never throw anything away. I've got a number of theories for this - war baby, it may all 'come in useful'! Frugal Scottish/ Yorkshire parentage. Creative - I might do something with it. ('Might' being the operative word!) Whatever the excuse, I've got drawers crammed with stuff and here is just a bit of it, trotted out for Easter.
Birds' nests (with unrelated eggs.)
A very small white rabbit from my childhood.
Can you spot it?
An assortment of tin and pot eggs,
and a very fine beaded bird, a present from Africa.
Hanging baskets.
All that's missing now is chocolate!