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Three children (17, 14, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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gardening

A walk around the garden

I hang the last sock on the line to dry and take a moment to check the kitchen garden. It’s coming along nicely. I need to take the hoe out at lunchtime to sort out the weed seedlings which are beginning to appear among the sweetcorn. Let the heat of midday dry them out on the surface.

The summer raspberries are doing well. I’ve left three thistles to grow among them. The purple mop head flowers are in full bloom, attracting the soldier beetles. That’s one diving into the purple petals. I lose count of how many beetles are among the spiky leaves and blossom. Both the larvae and adults will eat aphids. I never need to spray the garden.

I’ve used the three sister method of growing as usual. Sweetcorn, squash and beans. All working together. It also tickles me, as I’m one of four and the youngest of the three sisters. I wonder which plant I would be? I’d go for the sweetcorn. I love to walk among them, as they grow almost to my height.

The garden is slightly behind. I was slow to plant out, but it will be what it will be.

Picking up my laundry basket, I take the long route back to the house, via the greenhouse. Passing the hazelnut trees, I can see the nuts are almost ready. Not that I’ll see any, as the squirrels are faster off the mark than me, every year.

I’m pleased with the greenhouse. I’ve planted it well. Everything is planted in the borders. Not too many weeds, as I’m using my collection of cut off plastic bottles to water the roots and below the surface. Run off is minimalized. I grow small cucumbers. Half sized. The first one is ready to eat.

No spraying in the greenhouse either. I encourage my friendly mini beasts to visit with nasturtiums, and the cucumbers do their bit too. A spider almost hidden in a cucumber flower.

Bit of a mystery. Last time I was in the greenhouse, I noticed a dead hornet being dragged by an ant. It was fascinating. Such a small creature moving another many times its size. Like a caveman pulling a hairy mammoth, as I told my husband that night. Today I notice the hornet is in an empty seed tray, I left on the greenhouse path. Did the ant drag the hornet up and over into the tray, and if so why? Was it removing it from near the ant’s nest to stop other hornets turning up?

I like to work with nature. It doesn’t mean I always understand it.

Also in the greenhouse, is one of my cucamelon plants. A new one for me. The fruit tastes of a cross between melon and cucumbers, just as the name suggests. Its vines are beginning to find their way up the wall of the greenhouse. I spot the beginnings of the fruiting bodies. The length of my little finger’s nail. Maybe a week or more till we can try them.

Peppers are swelling too. The tomatoes and basil plants are bushing up.

I leave the greenhouse door open, but block it with a tray to stop the rabbits getting in.

Final stop, before I go in. The raised salad beds. Guarded by two fences which keep the rabbits and their nibbling tendency away from my salad. One bed is full of lettuce, turnips and tomatoes. The other popcorn, courgette and tomatoes. Some rows have failed, but the rest is thriving.

My double fence doesn’t keep the sparrows off. Oh my goodness, we have so many sparrows and they like to nibble my lettuce. No problem with slugs or snails this year, but the marauding sparrows make up for it. Brought out our last surviving garden goddess at the weekend and gave her a new outfit. She now scowls at the sparrows and shakes a bell. Go find something else to eat.

Finally back in the house. Next load of washing is ready for the line. Time to go out again. Might take the shorter route back to the house this time. It seems I’m so easily distracted. Although I didn’t check the blackcurrants. I could just pick a few. Maybe take a few kitchen scraps to the hen house, while I’m there.

In the potting shed

Out in the potting shed today. Perfect day to be outside and sorting out garden matters. I’ve been a little lackadaisical about sowing seeds this year. I am most years and it works out, so trusting my instinct seems to be the way to go for me.

One of my aims this year is to grow our own Christmas meal. It takes planning. I’ve done it before. Much more of a challenge to grow some parts of it. I’d never be allowed to rear a goose and then serve it up. I suspect everyone would refuse to eat it, let alone dispatch it. We’d be left with an aging goose, called Charlie I imagine, wandering around the garden for the next few years, as a reminder that I really shouldn’t get carried away with some of my ideas.

No. Some parts of the meal are best left to others.

I can grow other elements of the meal. Potatoes, brussels, carrots and parsnips. Last time I substituted red currants for cranberry sauce.  I hid a bag of homegrown peas in the freezer to ensure they were not eaten before.

I also want to grow as much as I can for our Halloween meal. The past few years, I’ve almost managed it. More by accident rather than planning. This year, I shall make more of an effort. Pumpkin, sweetcorn and turnips are my ideas so far.

It’s all in the planning, if I want to do this from seed. So, what have I missed out? What would you grow ready for either meal?

Just so you know, I’ve already ruled out the suggestion of growing jelly beans for Halloween, as suggested by one member of the family. Hmm. There is always one. You can tell how seriously my family took the question.

How does it grow?

Happy Wednesday! Mid way through half term already. Someone, please pass me the slow-down controls. I have so many items on my half-term list that I’m never going to fit it all in. I purposely kept the week quiet, as this holiday is only a quick respite before we, and it does feel like “we”, plunge head first back into the exam schedule. Eldest is officially on study leave now, which will take some getting used to. “Are you still here? Haven’t you got a school to go to? (I’m secretly looking forward to it)

Anyway a list of “-ing” is due. My projects take so long to grow that there is only one finished one to show.

Sewing

I finished sewing my beetle blouse and wore it out this weekend. Very comfortable to wear. I do love this sewing pattern. Easy to make and easy to wear. What could be more perfect?>

I’ve moved on to my blue dress. It is cut out and I’ve started sewing it. I’m adding a little twist to this dress, which I’m slightly dancing on tiptoes about. It will make it just that bit more special and mine. Not that I have any events coming up soon to wear it, but it should work as an every day outfit.

Knitting

Knitting is a slow old business, especially when each row you knit is unquestionably different. The repeat is 24 rows, so no chance of memorizing it. I’m constantly looking back and forth at the instructions. I’ve finished the back and am a gnat’s whisker away from casting off the left side. It isn’t the easiest to follow, but I’m loving this knit. It may disappear when I block the cardigan, but at the moment the leaves are standing proud from the surface. As if it is growing out of the knit. (photo at top)

(In case you are wondering – sponion is spring onion)

Gardening

I’ve been gardening. One more of the raised beds is planted up with salad crops. The lettuce is doing well in the other bed, but apart from the odd radish, nothing else. They were old seeds, so I’m not surprised. I need to re-sow.

I’ve set up the bean poles for the runner beans and moved the hen run on to the area that will have peas, so she can clear it. We are down to one hen, at the moment. Georgina passed away at the respectable age of 8 years old. She laid the odd egg this year, but had clearly embraced her senior hen status. I’ll miss her as she was darn good at clearing an area of weeds. Hope to add a few more hens soon.

Greenhouse plants going in today. I bought a few different varieties, in pots, at our local garden centre yesterday, to add to the ones I sowed a while back. Also found a couple of aubergine plants. I haven’t grown any for so long. I love the way the flower looks like a gnarled hand holding purple petals. Anyway, youngest has been asking to make ratatouille – inspired by the film – so hopefully we’ll have enough aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes to give it a go. I hope he likes it.

Still bucking the trend, my potting shed and swinging bench have been repainted in a gorgeous, cheerful blue. Slightly different shade this time. Is it just me, or does the current garden furniture and paint fashion seem to be various shades of grey? No way would it work in our garden. The shed would disappear. We need colour. So blue it is!

Drinking

I’ve been drinking a lot of herbal tea, straight from the garden. Mainly spearmint, fennel and lemon balm. I’m sure it has helped to ward off the feverish cold that the rest of the family have been going down with. One by one. I love this time of year, when the herb garden is bulging at the seam with all sorts of leaves to cook with and also add to tea.

Outing

Over the weekend, we went to the Bath Canine Society Championship show. We took Hero. He is too young to show yet and I’m not sure we ever will show him. It was more about meeting other dogs. Strangely, he seemed more drawn to the Irish Wolfhounds rather than his own breed.

(my hop cuttings have taken and are starting to climb!!)

Parenting

Yesterday, I woke the children at 4:15 am. They’ve been asking me to do this for weeks. Seeing as there was no school, I didn’t mind. Give them their due, not one of them turned over and went back to sleep. Instead they stumbled outside in their dressing gowns and joined me to hear the dawn chorus and to watch the bats come in to roost. It is quite a sight. In the region of 60 to 80 bats. The bats swirl around, before finally going in. Almost like a swarm. It gives a better view of them, than the evening exiting, where they drop out of their hole and are gone in a flash. It lasted over three quarters of an hour. So many questions, which fortunately, I could answer. Memories made, it was time to go back to bed.

(Instagram clip of bats returning that I posted 2 years ago)

Right, I’m off to pot up some basil seedlings and plant another row of radishes.

Debs Random Writings

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