Thursday, April 29, 2010

Down Memory Lane a bit...

I have had memories pouring back to me today. It all started down the plot when I was covering our new brassica cage with fleece ready for the next few days of horrible weather. It looked just like an old Nissan Hut and then with the posters on the shed door 'Dig for Victory' and 'Land Girls I kept thinking of all the good things everyone used to do, simple things, like Alys on her Edible Garden programme last night. She made fruit leathers and also did flower pounding. These have definitely caught my imagination so I brought home some violets and pretty leaves and the hammer. It really works I love the leaves especially. I am about to collect all my favourite poems and fairy stories and I want to decorate the pages with the flowers that belong to the poems. This new found craft will work very well and a really summery thing to do. The Fairy story is one I was told over and over when I was teeny tiny and I treasured it in my memory as a special time with my Dad. He would tell me the story of the Lady in the Vinegar Bottle ( about a fairy with attitude) and the rhyme about the little girl who wouldn't wash her face, every night. As I grew up and mentioned either of these to others they would tell me they had never heard of them. I couldn't find them in books, were they real, had my Dad made them up? This became an obsession with me - until today that is - they were real I didn't imagine them, Dad knew them. Ian, my postie brought the proof. The Lady in the Vinegar bottle by Margaret Read MacDonald was written in 1940 as a variation on one of Grimm's Fairy Tales. I found Miss Nan Knockabout on the net. It was there all the time I just hadn't searched for it right. Both of these will take pride of place in my collection and I just need to find a fairy to press and all will be well. Where do I find one of those I wonder?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mange Tout, Rodney, Mange Tout.... Del Boy would say. Down on the plot today there was a hive of activity. When we asked Lionel if our peas should be going out yet he said he'd come and have a look. He did and exclaimed Good Lord, yes they definitely need to go out'. I guess it was because they were about to cling onto the next shelf of the greenhouse. So, as we already had our pea netting up and ready, out they went, under fleece of course. Our tomatoes needed potting on so we have done those. Our Lollo Rosso and Cos lettuces were ready to plant out under cloches, half a row of each. Sweet peas went out too to climb over the new trellis we have put up for the Tayberry. Phew! We then went on to re sow a tray of French climbing beans as there was nothing in the tray. It makes me wonder if I really had sown any. We also sowed cucumbers and courgettes but we still have the parsnips and swedes to do. The corn is coming on though, it's growing in front of our eyes. Ooohh, we do hope that this year will be better than last even if we do have to water ourselves instead of waiting for a shower. It was a good feeling to get really started again and to see our little seedlings or in the case of the peas, bigger ones, doing good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Colour Me... er... Brown?

Our days never seem to go the way we expect for one reason or another, today being no exception... We woke up to brown water running into the sink! We then realised we must have made tea with it, eeeww!!! Never mind we love our cuppa and the water had been boiled... Bri rang the water board after I had alerted our neighbours not to do the same as us. Jean next door, however, had spotted the sludgy colour as she showered at this point Bri was shouting don't go in the shower until the water runs clear, instructions from the Water board. They had also informed him that a water main in Lichfield was to blame it had been severed and it would be noon before it woild be repaired. Great, our bottled water is in the shed down the Lottie, no more tea then, no coffee made with milk either because our instant was non existent. What to do? Go out, yeah!! So we got ourselves off to Barton Marina (so we like water even if we can't drink it) We had never been before but promised ourselves a look see. Today was as good as any. It turned out to be a great trip out. The sun was shining, the sky a wonderful deep blue and the seagulls calling, perfect. It was a lovely place to visit with its little shops, bought a Stilton and pork pie, had a nice lunch and a pot of tea at the Waterfront Pub and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Yes, days may start out a bummer, but they don't have to stay that way. When we returned the water was running clear again and peace and harmony restored and yes you guessed a nice cup of tea...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh, the buzzin' of the bees

Having promised myself last year to start a proper aromatic herb garden, I have spent the last three weeks trailing poor Bri from garden centre to garden centre looking for Sweet Rocket, Woodruff and Bergamot which I finally found. To my delight, I have also picked up some Ginger Mint and a wonderfully pineapple scented Chamomile. These now complete my collection of perfumed flowering herbs which will bring in the bees to the strawberries, apples, plums and raspberries. I am expecting a good crop this year if the bees do their work so I have treated them to the cutest little bee house. The basement of the bee house can also be rented out to ladybirds who, I hope, in return for bed and breakfast will take care of the greenfly. I think I've turned green! But how am I going to deal with those slugs and snails? A glass of beer I think, not for them, for me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Kind of Package Holiday...

...comes with our postie Ian who brings me all sorts of holidays, the latest one being on safari to Botswana with Madam Precious Ramotswe. When I open Alexander McCall Smith's books I just go there off in the baking sun drinking Red Bush Tea and eating fruit cake on a scorched porch sorting out the latest mystery. Sometimes I go off to a tropical island looking for treasure in a little sea plane, but not so often as I go to Minnesota, baking cookies with Hannah Swensen as she solves the odd murder, or maybe to Pickaxe or Brrrr four hundred miles from everywhere with Quill and his two cat detectives, Koko and Yum Yum solving absolute mayhem. Texas with Biggi a grandmother deputy sheriff is another favourite hangout. I love armchair travelling, luggage is never lost and the plane always leaves on time. Most of all I love our postie coming down the path bringing a ticket to somewhere wonderful.

Last Leeks Standing

So what if it's raining again, we slipped down the plot this morning to check on the greenhouse and, to our delight, every little seed that we have sown over the last two weeks has germinated. What a happy sight! On our way back up the path, we collected a few last remaining leeks to pop into our chicken pot pie tonight to go with our cheesy mash and peas followed by lemon surprise pud. I also took note that our winter spinach has suddenly stopped growing and I had planned to use some next week in our ricotta and cannelloni dish. Last week, when the weather had picked up, there were real signs of baby leaves sprouting and they seem to have disappeared with the cold. The onions we had planted three weeks ago look promising, they have all got little green sprouts and the carrots I think are making an appearance but it could be grass. They look the same to me when they first start off, we'll soon know.Oooh, rain, rain, go away, so we can all have some fun.