Thursday, 9 April 2020

Glorious weather!

The weather is simply glorious and everything is bursting into life. It's good to be outside, unplugged from the radio and its constant stream of tragic news. Tonight all the members of our little hamlet will be outside at eight o'clock banging drums, blowing whistles and making as much noise as we can to show our appreciation of all that the NHS and other workers are doing to save lives in this dreadful crisis. No one will hear us, we are a rural community, there is space around us and we can barely hear each other. The village whatsapp is in overdrive and we seem to have returned to earlier times as products are shared and exchanged. One villager bought a huge sack of strong flour and everyone was invited to take some. Another villager has set up a table on their lawn on which are placed offerings of eggs and veg. I've given away veg seeds and am growing on plenty of veg plants to share. We stand at a safe distance from each other, pleased to have a conversation 'in the flesh'.
The pear tree is a mass of bloom
and as some flowers fade
other favourites are looking good. 
Pesky little insects on the tree peony!
and I'm waiting for this bud to open
it has never flowered before.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Old dog new tricks?

In this household it's more a case of old dog old tricks. I'm doing things that used to be part of my regular schedule many years ago. Yesterday involved, among other things, making yogurt, kneading four loaves of rye bread and cutting my husband's hair. (There isn't as much to cut as there used to be!) I used to cut all the family's hair until the girls rebelled  and then Marcia, a professional, someone who actually knew what she was doing, came to the house and sorted us out. In the summer months we sat outside while she cut and I painted this picture of her dealing with Wee One's  tangled hair.
Yesterday was a lovely day and Himself sat outside on a chair while I worked my magic with a pair of craft scissors. (Magic -ha ha! He has offered to cut mine but I've declined. Revenge?) We look a pair of old scruffs; he has been up the scaffolding tower replacing fogged double glazed window units followed by the ongoing task of lopping the tree tops.
Cutting the conifers clear of the telegraph wires.

I've been getting the vegetable plots ready for planting out. We slump in the greenhouse every now and then for a bit of a breather.

I'm still waiting for my seed potato order to arrive. It's many weeks overdue and by the time they are chitted it will be so far into the season that I don't know whether they'll be worth planting. But it's a hopeful scene in the garden, a lovely time of year, with the patches of bare earth holding the promise of tasty crops to come. We are aware that we are so very lucky to have the space of our garden to move around in and enjoy.

We are still unable to get any food delivery to the house in spite of a phone call from Sainsburys  at the weekend to say that we are eligible and on their list for a weekly delivery. Meanwhile the chest freezer is emptying nicely! 
I hope, Dear Bloggers, that you are keeping safe and well.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020


The sun is shining, tempting me to be outside, but when I put on my coat and boots and venture out I discover that the wind is still as viciously cold as it's been for the last few days, the sort of weather that makes your head ache. So frustrating, because the garden is bursting with colour and emerging growth. How resilient nature is! The little plum tree that stands in the teeth of the east wind has held on to most of it's blossom.
Other shrubs are bursting with life.

But my lovely camellias have suffered a certain amount of wind and frost damage.

The primroses, although they look so delicate, are obviously as tough as old boots. They've taken over the ground beneath my blackcurrant bushes.
This is how the veg garden is looking. The contents of one of the compost heaps have been put in the potato trenches and onto the greens plot.
Last years 'Charlotte' potatoes are planted, but the varieties that I ordered some weeks ago have yet to arrive. Deliveries have gone to pot, I've been unable to get food deliveries from my usual sources in spite of being in the vulnerable category. (The computer just wrote, 'venerable' - I like that!) The soil has taken a battering, months of rain followed by a scouring wind.
Absolutely the best place to be is in either of the two greenhouses. They are crammed with seedlings.

So is the house!
A few random potatoes put to chit.
'Red Cherry' tomato seedlings. 
Last spring I bought a dry-rooted rose for the house greenhouse, a spindly-looking thing, 'Maricel Neil'. I had grown it at our last house over twenty years ago and suddenly missed it's soft, floppy pale lemon flowers.
It has grown wonderfully and is full of bud-
watch this space!
A new cushion from my friend Janet.
Dear Bloggers
keep home, keep safe, keep well.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Strange times

Mothering Sunday and we woke to sunshine. But what a strange day. We had planned to spend it with our grandson and family but since we are in the self-isolating bracket we remained in our own space, thankful that ours is a generous plot.
The community are rallying wonderfully to the crisis. I phoned the local garden centre this morning and tomorrow they are going to deliver my order. Local pubs have changed to providing ready meals and there are offers from the younger members of our small hamlet to collect any items that we might need when they shop for themselves.
A lovely bouquet from Heidi to celebrate Mothering Sunday
and cards
from our vegetarian daughter
and from Wee One of her beautiful boy.
No cuddles and wild games for months to come,
that's going to be the hardest thing!

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

St Patrick's Day

Our St Patrick's Day daffodils are flowering right on cue. They are a cheering sight in rather grim times. It appears that Himself and I are officially old and are to be confined to quarters for the foreseeable future, so anything cheerful is very welcome.
As I wander round the garden I can see things springing into life, with buds forming on the pear trees,
shrubs full of blossom,
and my lovely camellias in flower.
There are still a few things to harvest from the veg garden along with a fresh crop of purple sprouting.
I'm planning what to grow during the coming season with greater care than usual so that we can be as self-sufficient as possible. Our holiday plans have to be cancelled, visits too and from family have stopped. If I spend a lot more time blogging you'll know the reason why!
Go carefully and keep well, folks.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Seed swap

Today was our local seed swap and potato day. Who would have thought that there is such a huge variety of spuds to grow! Shops and nurseries stock such a narrow choice and that is why an event like this is so valuable, keeping unusual old heirloom and local varieties of plants in cultivation.
In normal years, when we open the doors at ten, a large crowd has already gathered and they all surge in, many clutching their carefully harvested seed, ready to exchange. How different today, the virus threat kept many away, I think we were down to less than half our usual number.
What a shame, because the stall holders had brought a lot of lovely things.
Although, of course, when the stall holders looked around the room they couldn't resist buying some plants for themselves!

I liked the hive and herbals products.
Lovely beeswax candles!
And their beeswax food wraps are a great idea.
I couldn't resist photographing this jacket because it reminded me of my childhood when these fabric badges were very covetable. I wonder what happened to mine? The owner of the jacket told me that she'd bought it second-hand and hadn't visited any of the places depicted. We had a lovely conversation reminiscing about hotel luggage labels and other things that have disappeared into history. Am I showing my age? Yep, I am.
Thank you to those people who washed their hands, didn't cough and turned up to seed swap and share the pleasures of gardening.