Welcome to our blog.

….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** 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

Back to it

Life has a way of grounding me. Reminding me not to get ahead of myself. Just because something hasn’t happened before, doesn’t mean it can’t happen now. I’m talking hard frost in May. It caught me on the back foot. Such a cruel blow.

(Good grief – sudden flashbacks to Philosophy class where we discussed inductive versus deductive reasoning. Good old Hume pondering if the sun will rise again, just because it’s risen every previous day.)

I knew frost was coming, but I hadn’t realised it would reach us. I mean, it’s May. How bad could it be? Usually the local weather puts out a special warning to gardeners. Telling us to protect our plants. Did I miss it? Anyway, we don’t get hard frosts in May around here, so why would I worry?

Hmmm.

Three veg beds totally destroyed. All my sweetcorn, beans and spaghetti squashes turned black overnight. Dead. Coldest nights in May for decades, they tell us. I daren’t count them, but it is well over 100 plants.

Admittedly, the odd one has survived. Waving their slightly tarnished, bright, green, fresh leaves over the devastated remains of their compatriots. The sunflower seedlings, in among the squashes, look like they are having a party. How did they survive?

To say I was gutted was an understatement.  I know it is minor compared to everything that’s going on in the world, but I’d raised all these from seed and my emotions were invested. I was already pondering recipes. {insert suitable expletive}

Deep breath.

I’m not one to give up. I did grouch for the best part of the morning, but by lunch time, I  had a plan. Fortunately, I have a handful of plants left in the greenhouse to fill a few meagre gaps. I still have seeds and there is time for them to grow. This would have been a show stopper if it was later in the season. It will set me back a few weeks, but that is better than nothing. I’ve also optimistically left the plants in place, just in case they have a change of heart and decide to grow back.

Also, when I look around the garden, I realise there is so much more growing. The figs are doing well and the raspberry cane are putting on good growth. The cabbages and leeks are ready to pick. I also received three blueberry bushes, this week, with berries starting to form. My greenhouses are untouched and thriving. Not everything has bitten the dust.

It will bounce back.

On a non gardening note, I’ve found my crafting mojo again. It’s been missing since the beginning of the lockdown. I picked up knitting needles, this week, for the first time and spent two evenings finishing off my cardigan. Also made a face mask, which a quick win.

I am an optimist. I will bring the veg beds back to life and I will finally finish my knitting. (Partly, as I have a cone of blue yarn waiting in the wings.) And I will listen more closely to the weather forecast.

Fortunately, it is the kind of disaster, (along with flooding half the house, this week – hang on, I didn’t mention that one…), that is always made better with the first rhubarb and custard pie of the year. Don’t you agree?

 

Word of the Week linky

Cucumbers – my Sunday photo

True story. While everyone was buying up toilet rolls and pasta, at the supermarket last week, I bought vegetable seeds and a cherry/custard pie. What can I say? It’s my favourite pie. And I’d run out of cucumber seeds.

A week later, the cucumber and courgette/ zucchini seedlings are up. The cherry pie has sadly already been eaten.

I totally get the panic buying. In a time when we feel like we have less control over what is going on around us, buying and storing is our way of pulling back control. That is OK. It is an initial reaction and natural. We just all need to know when enough is enough, and stop. To remember that there are other people too. I have faith that the craziness will grind to a halt soon.

Back to the seeds. It was a kit, with coconut growing compost, which means it is 100% peat free. I’m intrigued to see how they do. Looking promising so far.

For anyone thinking of giving vegetable growing a go, this year, you don’t need a big area. They can grow on a windowsill or doorstep. No need for a fancy container. Even an old food bag can double as a plant pot. Also there is no such thing as green thumbs. Or green fingers, for that matter. Don’t let that put you off.

I’m looking forward to sharing my surplus vegetables with friends and neighbours eventually too, as the growing season rolls on. If nothing else, slow food and slow living seems to be a good antidote to the panic buying, at the moment.

Time to sow some seeds.

(edited: tomatoes seedlings are starting to pop through now, which is relevant to my last blog post. Not counting my tomatoes yet, though.)

Leap Day Tree

Seeing as leap day is on a Saturday this year, I thought it would be a perfect excuse to do something good and as a family. It always feels like an extra, free day to me. We had to mark it in some way.

So we packed everyone and the hound into the car and headed off to our local tree nursery. It’s not too far and always has a good range. It rained and hailed and the sun came out too, as we walked down the aisles of trees. Everyone had their favourites. We’ll be back for an eating cherry and pear in the near future. The children really want an ornamental cherry too.

The hound enjoyed the walk in a slightly more tamed and varied forest than we usually take him.

In the end, we bought a hornbeam, although I was really tempted by the twisted hazel, but until we landscape it would be lost in our garden.

Next job was to choose a spot and plant the tree. True to form, as the spade cut the turf, it started hailing. Never has a tree been planted so quickly, but with such care. I snapped a few photos before everyone headed back to the house. With frozen hands.

So, we now have a hornbeam. Our leap day tree. Every four years, we’ll give it a little extra attention and marvel at it’s growth.

And probably still be talking about how we planted it, as a family, in the freezing hail.

Photos

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