Wednesday 5 February 2014

What's cooking?

Mmmm, looks promising! What am I cooking?
Soil. I took a look at my pots of auriculas and they looked SICK. Oh dear, let me guess. I knocked one out of it's pot and there they were, those horrible, fat, white vine weevil grubs chewing away at the roots. I've got dozens of plants and every one of them will need to be re-potted. I've scrubbed the pots and I'm using a fresh mix of John Innes compost. I'm sterilising batches of the used soil in a battered old baking tray in the Aga - those weevil grubs are dead meat!
A couple of dozen plants treated, and a great many more to go!
A friend came round with a brace of pheasant. They had been hanging for over a week so I was able to do some rather more conventional cooking.
They taste good but careful chewing is required in case of lead shot!
We are skulking in the house because the weather outside is fearful. We drive a 4x4 so the flooded roads are not, as yet, proving a problem. On a quick dash to the shops for provisions I cheered myself up with a bouquet of white roses. £2 from Lidl and they are behaving beautifully. They were in tight bud when bought but just look at them now! I can remember when flowers in the middle of winter were incredibly expensive and you had to pay £2 for just one bloom.

 I was given a tiny pot of daffodils at the garden centre whilst buying the John Innes compost. They are sitting on the kitchen table with the hyacinths that I planted before Christmas and they remind me that spring IS coming - but not yet!

The rain stopped and the sun shone, just for a little while, making everything look a great deal more cheerful.

But now it's back to battering winds and driving rain. We are thankful that our home is warm and dry and the electricity still working. But candles are at the ready and the wood pile well stocked!


  1. Replies
    1. It may look like spring inside, Coulda, but outside it's another matter entirely!
      Fascinated by your gourmet dining review. The hotel just up the road from us is under new management, due to open next month with a policy of home-grown produce and ingredients sourced within a twenty-five mile radius. Shall report in due course!

  2. The roses are just lovely. I, too, am anticipating daffodils! Lovely photos all around..stay warm and cozy!

    1. Just two pounds for so much pleasure! We are doing our best to stay cozy, Susan, and are quite successful until we step outside. Floods and road diversions today as we went to visit friends.

  3. Your house looks warm and inviting. Lovely post, so inspiring!

    1. Thank you, Sunday, the wood stove is well stocked and we are keeping warm!
      I've read your book review and it sounds just the sort of read that I enjoy so I shall keep a look out for it. How was the ballet? Carlos Acosta was on the radio this afternoon talking about his efforts to restore and run a ballet school in Havana. It was a fascinating programme, to be continued next week.

  4. Oh, I know that problems with the vine weevils - each year they killed a lot of my plants, I have no longer Heucheras in pots about this problem.
    In the borders they damage all plants this year, a big problem in my garden. We watered the whole garden with millions of nemathodes, and in March we will do it again.


    1. Oh, dear, your problem with the weevils sounds far greater than mine. What horrid things they are. I had the same problem with my auriclas last year and used Provado liquid vine weevil killer, but obviously with only limited success. Perhaps I should go down the nematodes route.

  5. What a pain with the baking of soil. I'm sure the scent of compost will quickly be replaced with that of pheasant.

    I'm hardly in a position to offer any weather sympathies, we've just had a foot of snow and are expecting more next week. I love to see hyacinths, though. They really say spring to me.

    1. Have to say that the smell of baking soil does not stimulate the taste buds!
      Yes, there seems to be crazy weather allover the world. Today's worry is about wind damage, and, oh yes, It's still raining!
      I've got three pots of blue hyacinths perfuming the house, just lovely.

  6. I heard about the floods in UK, I hope you'll stay safe. Well, the pheasants I prefer to see out in the field or wood than on the plate :o). The roses really look lovely. Have a cozy weekend.

    1. Thank you, Alex, we are safe and dry, inside the house at least although traveling about is quite problematic as many of the local roads are flooded.

  7. Interesting that you cooked you soil. I would have started fresh and thrown the old lot out but I think the English gardening culture is more resourceful and sustainable than we are in the States, anyway. Are you worried about the lead shot in the pheasant? I'm surprised the hunters are still using lead bullets. Love that bouquet and the free daffs. Spring is still a very long way off here.

    1. I've used fresh soil for repotting but I didn't like the idea of even throwing the infested stuff in the bin. I'm trusting that a good long session in the oven has sterilised it and I've now put it on the garden.
      I'm thinking of pheasant as a healthy meat. I believe the shot still is lead but I may be mistaken. I take great care never to swallow or bite on it! Next time I see the gamekeeper I shall ask for information.
      Punishing winds and rain here so although some flowers are braving it outside I am not!

  8. Yikes! I once took care of my parents plants and found those fat white .. *shivers* in the pots.

    You have a great sense for spring. Your home reminds me of my parent's home. It also shows the seasons: Easter eggs, flowers ...

    Is the weather behaving? We have "just" rain in Vienna today.

    I would love to contact you via email, but could not find your email adress. It is about a skirt :-)
    Please send me an email:
    Thank you!

  9. 'Yikes' indeed!
    Don't rush me with Easter eggs yet, first there are the hearts for Valentine's Day!
    Weather behaving? You're joking.

    I've sent you my email address. ^ ^
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