Saturday, 4 August 2012

Accidental planting

Sometimes it is the complete accidents which really win me over. This is a pot of Asparagus Peas. They have the prettiest crimson flowers which are, completely by chance, fringed by lime green sprays of parsley seed heads.
The parsley itself is accidental: originally sown in a pot eons ago and since then it has reappeared year after year, growing almost as a hedge in a gravel strip down the edge of our drive.
Didn't plan it. Can't take credit for it. And the Asparagus Peas turned out to be horrible. But it looks great!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Basil galore

The greenhouse is full of masses and masses of basil. The smell on a warm day is phenomenal. I am picking and using it by the bowlful: at supermarket or garden centre prices probably about £2 each time.
Whenever I have tried to grow it outside it has been devoured by slugs and snails, so I am delighted with this crop. It is almost making up for my dismal failure with coriander. Don't know what I am doing wrong there...But let's not dwell on that. Let's think instead about all that basil, and the tomatoes which are ripening just in time to go with it. Shame this isn't smell-a-vision.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

At last: sweet peas

It has been a long wait but at last the garden is full of the fragrance of sweet peas. Last night they smelt fabulous in the sultry evening air.
I know I need to keep picking them to encourage more flowers, but it is so warm that no one is spending any time inside. I think a vase full of them on the table in the garden is the best bet.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Abandoned but beautiful

Anyone on a waiting list for an allotment may wish to look away now.
This is the plot next to mine.
Believe it or not, a huge amount of work was done here up until around April. It was completely cleared and rotivated, and lots of planting was done.
Close up you can see that below the weeds there are neat, straight rows of beans, onions, potatoes and lots, lots more. Anyone hoping to acquire a plot take note: weeding is not a once a year activity. It is constant.
Technically this plot isn't abandoned: the plot-holders have just found it almost impossible to get any work done on it since the spring, given all the days lost to rain plus work and other family commitments. They are planning to return to it and start again in the autumn. But I think they have pretty much given up for the time being. I know the feeling and I sympathise: I have been close to it a few times myself.
In fact I'm just recovering from what I am starting to recognise as my "annual wobble". It seems to occur in early summer when the weeds just keep on coming but nothing is really ready to harvest, and it seems like bloody hard work. Today saw yet another trip to the lottie abandoned due to rain, and that's the last chance I will have as I am at work for the rest of the week.
Over the past week, though, I have harvested tates and the first of the beetroot and spring onion; and that has cured my doubts for now. Kohl rabi, coriander, rocket, leeks and more French beans have gone into the spaces vacated by the potatoes where the soil is beautiful. That's made it all seem much more worthwhile.
As for the plot next door, the poppies are beautiful but I just don't know whether my neighbours are going to attempt to harvest anything from beneath the weeds, and if so what they'll get. Otherwise all their hard work earlier in the year will have been for nothing.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Drunk in charge of a lawnmower

We have barely been able to walk on our grass for the past few weeks as it has been so wet: more of a swamp than a lawn.
But suddenly, after a whole 48 hours resembling that which we used to call "summer" the water table is back where it belongs i. e. lower than the turf, which was my cue to leap into action with the lawnmower. This, however, was late in a Sunday which we had spent on Spanish time: everything happening at it's own pace including a long, late, slow lunch with (possibly) slightly more wine than falls within Department of Health guidelines.
The electric cable tangle had to be seen to be believed. At one point I managed to get it simultaneously wrapped around a plant pot, the protruding edge of an uneven paving slab, a tree, and my right Fit Flop. The combination of a high voltage cable and vicious pyrocanthus thorns is also probably not to be recommended.
Thankfully both I and the National Grid emerged unscathed, but not before I managed to mow up a concealed dog poo.
You will understand, I'm sure, why I have not posted a photo with this update. Be thankful, dear reader, that you are not reading this in Smellyvision.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I appear to have a new dog

Today I finally washed the dog. And properly. Two shampoos. No mercy shown to eyes, nose or mouth (although I was very gentle and careful). And no squeamishness - even the cling-ons and Intimate Areas got a jolly good scrub.
I was stung into action by a fellow dog-walker who greeted us saying "Blimey Caspar, that's the dirtiest I've ever seen you". Needless to say, her dog is black...
Now, however, he looks fabulous: the whitest, softest and fluffiest he has ever been. And totally pissed off - hence refusing to stand still for a photo. I want to show him to everyone who has shared my despair at his love of filth, mud and fox poo.
For now at least he is even banned from the garden.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Bloody dog

The bloody dog ate the first very nearly ripe raspberry in my garden today. Feel like I've been here before somehow......

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Good enough to eat

I'm growing broad beans in the garden rather than the allotment this year. That way it is easier to grab a couple of handfuls when they are just big enough. Last year I found that if a couple of days passed without getting to the lottie the pods grew into whoppers with that tough grey skin on the beans.
I have some in the ground and I'm also experimenting with a later sowing in pots to try and extend the season as we all enjoy these vegetables. I chose a Heritage variety, "Crimson Flowered". They are recommended for pots and containers and just look at their beautiful dusky pink pods. They have been in flower for quite a while now and the lower pods are starting to form. I'm hopeful of a reasonable crop, but even if the beans don't amount to much these have earned their place on my patio.
I'm now sitting in the sun for the first time in ages, about to pod some of the previous sowings of broad beans. I had almost forgotten what sun on my skin felt like. This is a reward for hard work at the lottie this morning. Ah...bliss

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Arghhh! Bird in the greenhouse!

For the third time this week a stupid bird got stuck in the greenhouse. I've got a bit of a bumper basil crop going on in there at the moment so the last thing I want is it covered in sparrow poo.
The bird is coming in through the autovent then failing to find its way out.
On Sunday Him Indoors sorted it out. On Monday I sent the dog in to chase it out, since I really don't do birds. I hoped that in his usual hyper terrier way he would create a commotion and get it moving, since at that point the bird had actually got itself wedged between some garlic that is propped up to dry in there, and the window. Unfortunately, the dozy hound just stood transfixed in the doorway, staring at it.
Today the in-laws discovered it first and chased it out. If they hadn't been there it could have been stuck all afternoon. Don't fancy our chances of making pesto with the after-effects of 4 hours of panicking sparrow, do you?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Please don't rot...

The garlic isn't looking too good. I gave up waiting for a warm dry day to harvest them and ended up lifting them in the rain last week. Since then they have been on slatted shelves in the garage, but the leaves are not drying out. I have already found three which are starting to rot.
I've got rid of those and shifted the rest into the greenhouse. Can't think what else to do.
Any tips anyone?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Productive at last

Youngest daughter helped me harvest the rest of the Rocket potatoes plus the Arran Pilot today. She immediately claimed them as hers and told everyone she grew them.
The soil they came out of is absolutely beautiful. No waterlogging at all and a fabulous texture. It is so much better than the soil at home - there's really no comparison. It reminded me why it is worth keeping the lottie even in tough spells like the past two months.
Later on I replanted with a row of kohl rabi seed and a row of French Beans. Naturally we had to eat Madam's potatoes for lunch along with pork, lots of roast garlic, and a fabulous salad of beetroot, spring onion, orange and baby broad beans.
Sugar snap peas made a gorgeous appetiser dipped in roast garlic mayo. Nearly everything homegrown.
Despite the rain the garden and lottie are productive at last.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Where to start...?

I think nearly every chance I have had to get to the plot in the last month has been rained off. Everything is growing fantastically but that includes the weeds.
I managed an hour and a half there today between the kids' swimming lesson and the first downpour. I got the red onions out and they look great. Did as much weeding as I could without compacting the soil, gathered some beetroot, strimmed the path and then started harvesting the tates. They're huge but I fear they are going to fall apart in the pan. Full of water. I lifted half a row of Rocket before the rain started. Just another four and a half rows to go!
It was a good amount of work for a short amount of time. But the weeds are still overwhelming. This shot is from the far end of the plot near the compost bins. There's a row of tates in there somewhere, honest ...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Still waiting for someone to "bring on summer"....

Monty Don pronounced at least two weeks ago that if garlic was showing signs of rust it was time to harvest it. I already knew mine was pretty much ready, but Monty's word was, as ever, my command. Trouble is, every chance I had to go to the lottie coincided with it pouring with rain. That's great for the spring sowings but hopeless for onions and garlic which need to be stored.
Today's visit followed that depressingly familiar pattern but I was passed the point of no return by the time it started raining. And here are a few of the Early Purple Wight Garlic which, along with Albigensian Wight and Picardy are now filling four shelves in my garage, waiting till they are ready to plait.
Yes, they are muddy. Yes, they came in wet. And yes, I will have to keep my fingers crossed they dry out and don't rot. But in the back of my car and in the garage too, it now smells like summer no matter what the weather throws at us.
Now what shall I cook to go with the odd bulb of garlic tonight...?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Bring on summer

I bought 2 punnets of strawberries in Melton Mowbray market today. They turned out to be a bit ropey so I hurriedly made the second lot into jam. I could have done without this job when I already have lots of other things to do tonight, but the house is now full of the most gorgeous smell of jam-making.
Bring on summer!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Plant Swop

The plant swop at our village hall this weekend was a great success. I took surplus borage plants, lettuce, wild rocket and red cabbage seedlings and some self-rooted honeysuckle from the garden.
I swooped for foxgloves, aquilegia, a hosta, a flowering currant and a variety of other unnamed gems from enthusiastic gardeners who I trust but who just didn't know the names of all their plants. Rather like me, in fact.
I had some time on my hands that afternoon so they all got planted. But horror of horrors - the cosmos and foxgloves are already being eaten by slugs. I knew there was a reason I have none in the garden. So I am lying in wait for the little critters tonight: tweezers and salt water at the ready!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Just another rock'n roll Saturday night...

Urgent dash to the lottie with the strimmer coz for once it WASN'T RAINING! Managed to avoid the plant labels but did inadvertently strim through a garlic. Just another rock'n roll Saturday night...

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Lincolnshire garlic harvest is approaching

It's my day off but it's too cold, wet and windy to go to the lottie today. I need to finish weeding the raspberries. The original canes have been in for about 4 years now and are pretty choked with weeds. More weed than canes in places, if truth be told. I started the job on Monday but didn't have time to finish. Ah well, I'm sure the weeds will wait until I next get there...
At least I managed to keep the garlic weed-free this year. I am growing Albigensian Wight, Early Purple and Picardy: all autumn planted and they are doing really well so far. With luck the plot is sufficiently well drained to ensure that the immense amount of rain we had during April doesn't rot them. That would be a real pain at this late stage in their growing season.
I planted too close together last year and it was almost impossible to weed between the bulbs once they reached a certain size. So this year, predictably, I went to the opposite extreme. You could probably march an army down the rows this year. But don't they look great?

Friday, 27 April 2012

Plant Swop May 20th

I have been busy sowing seeds in the greenhouse this month. Amongst other things I have borage, red cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, hollyhocks, salads, spring onions, raddish, sweet peas, runner and dwarf beans, carrots, lovage and meadow sweet all doing well.
Any surplus I have will be coming with me to the Plant Sale or Swop which my friend is arranging (Claypole Village Hall on May 20th if anyone is interested). Seems like a great idea to me!
It is probably a bit cool yet for some of the other things I want to try like aubergine and peppers so they can wait a while.
In the meantime the 40 borage plants which I potted on are playing "in, out, in, out, trundle all about" on their little trolley as I move them outside and back in again in the awful weather this week.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Now where did I put that spinach soup recipe?

I've heard people say that farmers are never happy - always complaining that it is too wet, too dry, too hot or too cold. Well I am starting to know how they feel. I have been stockpiling any and all containers which could be used to get water down to the lottie and have installed 2 more water butts because of the drought. Currently, however, the butts and containers are all chock full of water, it has been raining for a fortnight and the garden is too wet to walk on.
I nipped down to the lottie this afternoon, not intending to do much but wanting to check nothing major had been flooded away. I suspect the 3 rows of carrot, beetroot and spring onion seed I sowed last week are probably half way to the Wash by now. Certainly nothing has germinated but that's hardly surprising.
I wasn't really dressed for lottie work...but then again how do you dress for the allotment when it sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next, and is rounded off with a good battering of hail stones? Whilst I really did not want to walk on the soil too much conditions were just right for weeding. I couldn't resist pulling some up and chucking them on the compost heap, although as you can see the dandelions behind the spinach escaped my attentions. Must make a mental note to charge up the strimmer and take it down when it dries out a bit.
Last year's perpetual spinach is loving the current conditions and is growing like mad. I cut a large carrier bag's worth and figure today would be a good day to dig out the biggest pan we have and whizz up some spinach soup. That should see us right.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bugger the manicure: just get over this rock

We have had a bit of a break from the lottie, garden, greenhouse and dog this week as we spent Easter visiting my parents in Devon.
On Easter Sunday Him Indoors and I left the girls torturing their grandparents and went to walk a beautiful section of the Devon Coastal Path between Beer and Branscombe. I have done this many, many times, usually taking the cliff path. This time on the way back we took the lower path and eventually dropped down to the beach where we enjoyed a lovely few minutes of peaceful sunshine.
The tide was exceptionally low and I recalled a vague memory of being able to get all the way back to Beer along the beach. Well clearly, as you are reading this you have already guessed that we made it, but it got a bit hairy (for which read slippery, scary, scrambly and toes-almost-in-the-water) at times.
There were one or two points at which I really did think: "Bugger the manicure - I have no choice but to haul myself by the finger tips over these rocks." It was much further, and took much longer than anticipated.
Happily the initials RNLI are not involved in the telling of this tale, and Him Indoors has graciously refrained from pointing out that it wasn't his silly idea but mine.
The photo marks the rock archway through which we could finally see Beer. To my immense and eternal relief.

Monday, 9 April 2012

So that's what they mean...

I have read and noted what the gardening books say about putting support in place for flowers and shrubs to grow through, rather than trying to prop them up after they have flopped over.
I have also thought what a good idea it is to use your own autumn and early spring prunings to provide such support, rather than buy over-priced green plastic stuff which will never really blend in. It is local, sustainable and saves working out what else to do with such garden "waste".
But whenever I have attempted to put such good ideas into practice my own efforts have never really worked out.
Now, however, I have seen the light. Or rather, I have seen the exemplar display in the cutting garden at Belton House. Everything about the size and range of these supports shows me where I have been going wrong. No mere pea sticks, these: they are great sections of branches, positioned and overlayed for the flowers and shrubs to grow through.
Thank you Belton House for providing inspiration once again.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

First tates (fingers crossed)

I planted some tates in the greenhouse 6 weeks or so ago. I have been earthing them up, feeding and watering them and as you can see they seem to be growing happily enough.
In theory these could be ready by 30th April. This is just the early taster. I have four more rows planted "properly" i.e. in the ground, at the lottie. They will require rather more effort I am sure.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Make every day like this one. Please...?

What a lovely day. I've had a lie in (since Sunday is my turn), brunch, and then we all took the dog for a walk. Unfortunately our planned route along the River Witham didn't work out thanks to some unhelpful local farmers. But when we turned our backs on the "Footpath Closed" sign we did get this lovely view.
I thought I would post this photo as it is a bit more interesting than a row of potatoes which have only just been planted...for that is how I spent an hour or so this afternoon. The rest of the tates (Pink Fir and Rooster) are all planted. I also prepared some space for onions to go in any day now, and am now back in the sun at home with a glass of chilled white wine. Him Indoors has some lamb on the barbie which smells fabulous and will be great with couscous and spinach just picked from the lottie. I'm physically tired from planting and hoeing, and my manicure is history. But life feels pretty good right now.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

I am a fire-starter...I am a fire-starter...

Him Indoors has been stung into action by yesterday's post. He has been to the lottie and done things involving fire. Getting in touch with his inner caveman, clearly.
Actually I am very pleased as he has burnt all the bulky garden waste which hadn't composted. It has reduced the pile greatly and produced lots of lovely ash to spread on the soil.
He left it once the flames had died down and I went to the lottie later on to check the embers were safe. Apparently only one small child fell on it: oops. As I have said before, allotments and childcare don't really mix.
Before social services get in touch I should add that it was a minor incident resulting only in a slightly singed fleece, thank goodness. I am not that callous.
It was quite nice down there so given the grim forecast for next week I took the opportunity to start planting the tates. Rocket, Arran Pilot, Charlotte and Kestrel are all now safely in the ground and praying for rain. The stuff in the greenhouse is also looking great. Broad beans hardened off and planted in the garden; mange tout and stuttgarter onions will be ready to go out by next weekend. Gardening at last.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Bright ideas

Him Indoors showed unusual interest in all matters garden-related this week, when he enquired whether I had sharpened my hoe in preparation for the spring weeding. Taking advantage of my speechless pause, he added: "Well they do say it makes weeding so much easier..."
Readers, I coolly informed him that he can feel free to sharpen any of my garden tools, any time he likes. He can even come and do some weeding if he really wants to help.
Needless to say no photos of Himself wielding any kind of garden implements were available to illustrate this post, so thanks to for the image. In the meantime I am sure you can imagine where I am thinking about sticking my hoe...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Drought Plan B

This is the other strand to the irrigation plans: a 3 litre milk bottle kept under the sink for all that water we just send down the plug hole. You know: the stuff you use to wash vegetables, rinse dish cloths, cook pasta etc.
We started collecting it on Monday and on Day 1 alone I collected 12 litres: 3 litres per shrub seems like a good soaking to me.
Of course since I started all this it has absolutely pissed down. We have had more rain this week than in the rest of the winter in total, I reckon. So it is official: I am a one-woman Rain-Maker! Do you think there's a career in it?

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Rainy day jobs

A somewhat unanticipated consequence of this year's shortage of rainfall is the growing backlog of rainy day jobs. You know - those things you put off doing until there is really no excuse.
I am sure we all have them, but here are a few of my Rainy Day Jobs which are now starting to back up:
- sorting out the toy cupboard
- ironing
- going through children's wardrobes to find out what still fits them and what new stuff they need
- putting that spare timer for the irrigation system onto ebay. (Anyone want it? Make me an offer...)
- children's art projects (I am rubbish at them - Him Indoors is much better at these but every now and then the girls really want me to help them)
Only when all other potential activities have been ruled out will I turn my mind to any of these, but this year they are just not getting done. I blame the drought.
Or is this just another excuse for slovenliness...? You decide!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Water management plans

I think I have devised a water management plan that will enable us to recycle water and keep the veg plot watered with as little fuss as possible. I did a bit of this last year using a water syphon to extract the water from the girls' bath, but I have to say it was a bit of an effort at times as water being available to use didn't always coincide with me having the time or energy to do anything with it.
Here's one example of my antics (and their short-comings) last year. The subtle refinement for this year will make use of the green wheelie bin to store the water until I am ready to use it. The wheelie bin sits right underneath the bathroom window (I know this only too well because every time I used the syphon last year the hose pipe got stuck in the handle of the bin, necessitating endless trips up and down the stairs to sort it out).
You may well be wondering why the green bin won't be full of garden waste and compost awaiting collection. My thinking is: given that we now have a wormery there will be much less kitchen waste to compost; lawn cuttings will be taken to the allotment to use as a mulch; and anything left over which does need composting but isn't suitable for the wormery also be bagged up until I go to the allotment and put in the compost bins there.
So the plan is that whenever necessary I will syphon the bath water down into the green bin, where it will wait until I need it for watering whereupon it will be syphoned out either to use with a hosepipe (until they are banned???) or a watering can. This will also give me a water source in the front/side garden, significantly reducing the distance that I have to carry full watering cans as both our garden tap and water butts are in the back garden.
I think that's a plan. If you are wondering how you will cope if the drought continues and are not sure what on earth I mean by a water syphon, here's one for sale at Nigel's Eco Store. I'm not sure I paid quite that much for mine but then I didn't buy it during a drought. Happy watering!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Time for lunch

Feeling even more spring-like today. I've spent most of the morning in the garden. I bought half a dozen tiny Lavender Hidcote plants in the autumn with the intention of ultimately planting them to form a low hedge circling the base of our cherry tree. Suddenly it seemed like time to get them in the ground. Must have been all the weeds forming around the tree that reminded me!
As ever, one job turned into a bit of a mini project but it is all done now. The lavender doesn't look much yet but let's wait for summer before we pass judgement.
So: Dog walked. Lawn cut. Edges done (probably for the first and last time this year). Lavender planted. Time for lunch. I think I may even have earned a little bit of chocolate.

Monday, 27 February 2012


Our first visit to Belton House this year has really brought home to me the reality of the drought that this region, at least, has been in since last summer.
I have never seen the lake at Belton looking like this before. The water level normally extends to pretty much the point from which this photo was taken. The lake is, quite simply, half empty whilst at the lottie this morning it felt more like walking on sand because the topsoil is so totally dry.
The water situation is starting to feel serious. At least at home I have water butts to capture whatever rain we do get, and the means to recycle bath water once they run empty. Keeping the lottie watered will be a whole lot harder.
Back in the garden I have been unable to resist getting started. Trays of salad leaves, coriander, kohl rabi and mange tout are awaiting germination in the greenhouse, and I have also started off 2 trays of onion setts. I have always planted them straight into the ground before, but am trying it this way on the basis that I can at least keep them regularly watered here.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

February sun

Lunch in the garden with a sun-bathing dog. Pruning, tidying and getting ready for spring.
The auto-vent has opened on the greenhouse and I have been in to water and open the windows. It is that warm!
This beautiful day is marred only slightly by clattering and banging from a team of workmen putting scaffolding up on the house behind. Never mind: they have at least stopped for lunch.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Bees, Butterflies and Blooms

I am all fired up about pollinators! Inspired by BBC2's Bees, Butterflies and Blooms, which talked about not just annuals but perennials too, I intend to grow more insect-friendly wildflowers not just at the lottie but also in the difficult, narrow areas around our patio. Poor soil, full sun...sounds just right.
I will have to remove the chipped bark from the borders which is, of course, not a welcoming environment for tiny little flower seed. But that is no great problem: it is wearing pretty thin and has been scattered about by our resident blackbirds anyway. I will have a look at what seed mixes I already have. I know there are a few.
Him Indoors won't be impressed as I don't think he regards such planting as sufficiently "tidy". Never mind. If he doesn't read this he won't find out until it is too late!
Tonight's programme also showed a border with flowers interspersed with runner beans. Not sure how practical that would be in term of physically getting to the beans to pick them - but I wonder if that could work in the front garden?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Almost planting time

I know it is not Spring yet but it is starting to feel like planting time. I have enough common sense to know that temperatures are still too low for outside planting, but the greenhouse is calling...! I had reasonable success growing carrots in containers last year, as you can see, so my thoughts have turned to what else might be worth a try.

I had intended to plant a few of my potato surplus from last year in an old compost bag inside the greenhouse, in the hope of an early crop. They were just desperate to grow. Even in the gloom of our garage the remaining tates had produced masses of shoots, so I had put half a dozen into the greenhouse to chit in the light. After last weekend's incredibly low temperatures, however, the shoots were black and the tubers had softened and were oozing slightly. Not nice at all. So those have gone in the compost bin.

But never seed potatoes arrived yesterday: 10 tubers each of 6 varieties. So instead of last year's rotting surplus I have planted 3 nice shiny new Rocket seed potatoes, described by the producer as "Easy to grow and quick to produce 'baby new potatoes'... particularly well suited to growing in containers and potato bags". Sounds ideal doesn't it? And much more likely to succeed.

Reading other people's advice online it is clear that I will need to remember to water them lots and give them a regular feed. Last year's remaining tomato feed should do the trick, me thinks...and the remaining 57 tubers of varying types will be planted on the lottie when things warm up a bit.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Sylvanian Massacre

Not much was achieved at the lottie last week as we were busy with children's birthdays. As you can imagine, coming straight after Christmas the house was awash with all of their presents. No matter how many times I told them that the dog would get anything they left lying around, they consistently ignored me. That's what parents are for, I understand - being ignored.
I fear the little darlings got their come-uppance as on Sunday afternoon our mutley got hold of, and ate, a bus-full of little Sylvanian Family characters. We are not quite sure of the total body-count as no one seems to know how many of them were in the bus (No passenger log. Tut tut). But we do know that we are short of a head, an arm and a leg.
The girls are distraught. The dog is uncomforable. Him Indoors and I are thanking our lucky stars that we have pet insurance and hoping that the above items work their way through by natural means!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Land Grab

There is a land grab underway at the lottie.

I don't have a mower that I can take down to the allotment and I have never had time to worry about keeping the edges of the plot neat and tidy, but I have realised that I need to be a bit sharper.

There is an incredibly robust weed which spreads really quickly, and is well established along the grass paths. Surveying my plot compared to the very neat one next door I realised that the combined effect of the week and the rapidly encroaching grass down either side is costing me about a foot of planting space at the end of each row.

Thus, one of my Winter jobs has been to tidy things up and attempt to achieve something broadly resembling a neat edge, to reclaim the space which would otherwise be lost. The edge is properly marked with posts and line. I am roughly turning the soil over and I hope that some hard winter frosts will do the rest for me. With little to do over the winter in the growing department, I may even get it looking like a proper allotment!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

In the Bleak Mid-Winter

Just in case anyone is suffering from the Winter Blues, here is a high-summer photo. Poppies against a pale blue sky. Just to cheer you up. Why not?

I stopped on my way to work one morning in the summer to take this photo. The poppies had been taking my breath away each morning as I passed. This photo does not do justice to the vastness of the field and the huge expanse of colour. But in the depths of January it has to be good for the soul.

Lincolnshire Sky

Lincolnshire Sky